Boatyard Chronicles: Heat, Dogs, and a Toppled Power Pole

It’s quiet, the temperatures are rising, and it seems like not much is happening. But that’s only if you don’t look closely. Because our deck is transforming day by day, and we are progressing with sealing our windows. Our little doggo family has also found a new home. Besides enjoyable evenings with friends, we experience an unfortunate accident. We also savour Mexican specialties, improve our Spanish skills, and receive generous gifts.

It’s quiet here in the boatyard – except for the sanding machines that smooth out our deck a bit more every day. There are hardly any other sailors around, and our projects are moving forward step by step. But being anything but calm is currently not possible. The thermometer has climbed to 45°C (113 °F) for the first time, and in temperatures we cannot really get anything done except from sweating profusely. One of the reasons is that our underwater hull is black, so in the morning, one side is exposed to the sun, and in the afternoon, the other side is. It’s like having nice floor heating that we could very well live without at the moment.

A spot for the doggies

Before it got so hot, luckily we managed to find a spot for the dog mom and her 5 puppies. Sailing friends from Peñasco – Sarah from SV Mapache 2.0 and Marla from SV Cavu – pulled out all the stops and convinced Barb’s Dog Rescue in Peñasco to take in the little dog family. Rob and Sarah took SV Mapache out of the water in neighboring San Carlos to embark on a small USA tour with their minivan during the summer. It worked out wonderfully that Peñasco was on their way, so they could take the dogs with them.

A fateful decision

But before that happened, we celebrated our reunion with beer and rock music at Hair of the Dog. David even put on a small drumming show with the band. The night watchman was kind enough to let Rob and Sarah park their van next to our boat, which unfortunately turned out to be a pretty bad decision in hindsight. When we brought them coffee the next morning shortly after sunrise, we noticed that one of the power poles was lying on the ground. However, we didn’t pay much attention to it, loaded the dogs into the car, and waved goodbye to the little travel group.

No Joyride?

A short while later, there was a loud knock on our hull, and the agitated manager of the boatyard stood below. Our friends had apparently knocked over the power pole with their van and now had to take responsibility for the damage. We scratched our heads and couldn’t remember any of the accusations happening. When we went to sleep the night before, the pole was still standing, and when we woke up, it was on the ground. Rob and Sarah swore that they hadn’t taken a joyride around the boatyard that night. But despite the protests, it didn’t matter. They were deemed responsible, despite various witnesses, and the poor guard was immediately fired.

An unfortunate coincidence

Upon closer inspection, everything turned out to be a very unfortunate coincidence. The bottom end of the pole was simply rotten, and something had caused it to give way that night. The fact that the workers then examined other crooked poles, cut them down, and re-embedded them (which, in my opinion, amounted to an admission of guilt) didn’t change the boss’s conviction. Fortunately, no one and nothing were harmed, but the uneasy feeling remained. What could have been a minor issue unnecessarily turned into a big fuss thanks to the reaction of the manager.

All’s well that ends well

Nevertheless, we were overjoyed that dog mom “Milly” – as Rob and Sarah named her in reference to Milagros – and her 1-week-old pups found a better home than under a boat on the boatyard. Of course, we were also saddened that we wouldn’t witness the puppies opening their eyes and beginning to explore the world, developing their own personalities. But it was for the best for everyone involved. We now support Barb’s Dog Rescue with a monthly contribution. If you’d like to contribute as well, you can do so here.

Milagros Animal Shelter

On the same day, we took over the care of “Sailor,” a cat belonging to other sailors at the boatyard. We’ll look after him for the coming weeks while they visited their family in the USA. The funny little male cat is quite low-maintenance as he spends most of his time exploring the boatyard and reappears at meal times.

Window work

While we spend every morning on our laptops, we take care of other projects in the afternoons. We’ve already mentioned that we removed and sealed all the window frames and took out the window panes since most of them were leaking. Now it was time to install the new glass. After finally deciding on a sealant (I won’t go into detail here, but I can say it was quite a hassle, especially communicating with customer service from American suppliers), we could proceed with the sealing.

A disaster?

As we set up and spread the first bead of black sealant on the bronze frames, David predicted it would be a disaster. Well, we can’t exactly call it a disaster, buuut we did make quite a mess. Sealant oozed out everywhere – as it’s supposed to – when we placed the pane into the outer frame and screwed on the inner frame. However, cleaning up proved to be challenging. If the joint on one side was good, something would get smudged on the other side. And when we flipped it around, something happened on the former side.

Learning curve

We learned from it and decided to divide the whole process into two steps. With each frame, we become faster, and the joints become neater. Thank God, we only have 10 windows, and hopefully, we’ll never have to do this work again. But we understand why it costs $300 to send the windows to the USA and have it done there.

An important project

Another item that had given up the ghost was our kitchen faucet. The base had rusted through and now stood more or less upright in the kitchen landscape only because of the connected hoses. The new faucet was quickly chosen and purchased. But who could have known that its fittings were different from the previous one? Even after more than 2 years on the boat, we still haven’t learned. But it’s still quite astonishing. How many different fittings can there be for American faucets? The new ones were not the same as the old ones, and they were also different from the bathroom faucet. We knew from the beginning that we wouldn’t find a suitable, single-piece connector here in Mexico. However, after visiting various stores, David found an acceptable combination. We have running water in the kitchen again, and that’s what counts.

I finished sewing!

I also had to finish my sewing projects because Tom, the owner of the sewing machine, wanted to return to the USA. With the help of a wheelbarrow and Mario, a boatyard employee, and with payment in the form of beer, we transported the sewing machine to San Carlos. Tom lives there with his pickup camper on the beach. After a few beers with a beautiful view, it was time to eat. Mario drove with us to his neighborhood, Guaymas Norte, and after a sightseeing tour, he took us to one of his favorite taco stands. Mmmmh, tacos are always a good choice!

Soup time

We also got to know another Mexican specialty. Hortencia, a cashier at the Oxxo just around the corner and the new partner of a sailor here at the boatyard, invited us to her home for Pozole. Pozole is a typical Mexican stew. According to Wikipedia, “The main ingredient in Pozole is special thick, nixtamalized corn kernels. The kernels are precooked in a water-calcium oxide solution for several hours. This process causes the corn kernels to lose their fibrous husk. After that, the corn is removed from the solution and washed. Before it is ready to eat, it is boiled a second time for several hours, and then usually pork or chicken is added.” It is said that Pozole originated among the Aztecs and other indigenous tribes in Mesoamerica. Historical texts state that the Pozole of the indigenous people was made from sacrificed human flesh and eaten on special occasions. We had one with pork, or so we were told.


Spanish lessons with dessert

We enjoyed the evening away from the boatyard, with music and a cooling fan. Although Hortencia and her son Saul don’t speak English or only a little, both of them are excellent at speaking simple Spanish. This allows us to have normal conversations with them and understand what they say. And when we don’t understand something, they can describe the words in a fitting way. This way, we learn a lot and improve our Spanish more and more. And it’s also more fun when you can have conversations. For dessert, we had not only pineapple tamales but also homemade mango tart with mangoes from their garden. She even gave us a whole bag of those mangoes. Thanks to our ice maker, we quickly turned them into mango slushies, a much-needed refreshment.

A Reunion

Out of nowhere, David received a WhatsApp message from Alex of SV Blue Wind in May: “Where the hell are you?” We had met Alex (a compatriot from the French-speaking region) and her partner Christina at the very beginning of our sailing journey in Puerto Peñasco and hadn’t seen them since. Now, almost 2.5 years later, they were taking their boat out of the water in San Carlos. So we headed to Hair of the Dog for another reunion celebration.

An Interesting Encounter

While catching up with each other, a guy around our age appeared next to us at the bar. He spoke a few words of Spanish with the bartender, but you could tell he was from the USA. He struck up a conversation with us, and it turned into a funny exchange. He spoke to us in Spanish, and we responded in English. He immediately offered us a shot of tequila, which we politely declined, but then he insisted, and we ended up having one. Okaaaaay. He introduced himself as Jacobo, or Jake, and he was quite a character. He was lively throughout the entire bar, joking around with everyone and everything, and he was simply an eccentric – perhaps a bit crazy – guy. It turned out that he was also a sailor, and his boat was docked at the same marina as Blue Wind. David and Jake even spontaneously came up with an idea for a sailboat with a giant fan that could sail without wind. We never get bored, that’s for sure.

In three weeks, we will already be flying back home. Judging by the temperatures there, we might have to start wearing our wool sweaters 😉.

Instead of offering us a beer (which you can still do of course), head over to Barb’s Dog Rescue and make a donation. Any amount helps them to keep the rescue going. Thank you so much!

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