On the 10th of July 2020, we put our very first blog post online on the Milagros homepage. And we actually followed through until today, writing our butts off and posting ONE HUNDRED blog posts online. We’ve commented on all the ups and downs, tried to document as honestly as possible, and we think we’ve done a good job. What do you think? How do you like our work? What do you miss? Where could we be better and what kind of content do you like most? Write us a comment, a message, an email, a postcard. As always, you can also buy us a few beers to celebrate with our button at the bottom of every blog post. We appreciate your feedback! Thanks very much for sticking with us!

Lucky with the temperatures

I’m writing this 100th blog post here in Guaymas aboard Milagros, while outside sandpaper is being scraped across the deck. It’s 8:30 in the morning and it’s already 31 °C (88 °F) outside. Guaymas is notorious for its brutal summer temperatures, but so far, we have been spared. During the day the thermometer climbs to about 35 °C (95 °F), while at night it cools down a bit, which is really nice. Locals say it’s unusually cool for the time of year! Lucky us!

Outsourcing in Mexico

We decided to outsource the work on the deck. This costs us quite some money, but in the meantime, we can take care of all the smaller projects on the list. The work has to be done by July so we can go home for a few months. We have many, many small jobs to do. The goal is to get Milagros in the water as soon as possible when we return to Mexico in the winter. So, in the mornings we work on our computers, and at noon we get to work on the boat.

An Upgrade for our anchor

Another upgrade that has been ready to go since Puerto Peñasco (and thus over a year) but we never got done is our new anchor swivel. An anchor swivel sits between the anchor and the anchor chain and ensures that the chain doesn’t get twisted as the boat spins all over the place at anchor. So we got out heavy equipment, cut the ancient swivel off the anchor, and installed the new, modern Mantus swivel.

New UV-Cover for a sail

Pati is mainly busy with sewing. For example, our huge headsail needs new UV protection. For this, 65 meters (200 ft) of seams had to be opened, and 160 square feet of old, brittle fabric had to be removed and the same amount of new fabric had to be sewn back on. She set to work in her little sewing room, with the kind help of the mosquitoes that are unfortunately also at home here at the boatyard. It was her first time working on a sail, but she quickly got the hang of it and after about three full days of work, the new cover done. The cover is fancy charcoal gray, of course. Our goal is to replace as much of the blue fabric on the boat with charcoal gray as possible.

Tom rushes to the rescue

The hard sewing work takes its toll. The old lady (not Patricia, although they are actually about the same age) needs a little maintenance and repair here and there. So all of a sudden the trusty old Sailrite would only go from zero to full speed – of course you can’t sew like that. But Tom, the owner of the sewing machine, was immediately on the spot. Together with a friend, he took the pedal apart and found the problem: a contact spring had broken off. On this occasion, he also collected a deposit for the sewing machine rental – a 6-pack of beer per day – which he kindly shared with us right away.

Work on the windows

When returning to the boat last winter in San Carlos we noticed that our windows are slowly but surely starting to leak in various spots. In Pati’s last post you could already witness their removal. Better now than never, because with the painters on board we can make sure that the windows are tight once and for all. We took a close look at the disassembled windows and discovered that, as expected, the sealant had reached the end of its life. Said sealant was no longer fit for sealing purposes, but it was still holding the individual parts together nicely at least.

Mexican boat job experience

What followed was a classic Mexican boat job experience. We decided to take all of our windows to a shop that specialized in making custom windows. First, we did a test run with just one window, because you never know. We instructed the gentlemen to remove the panes for us. Should a pane break during the process, they should make a new one right away. No sooner said than done. The problem, however, only became apparent after we picked up the new glass. The new pane fit into one half of the frame, but not the other. The workers had probably taken the dimensions for only one side and then didn’t even try to see if the new pane would actually fit in the second half of the window. We decided to bring them the rest of our windows anyway, because overall, they did a good job.

A back and forth

When we went to pick them up a few days later, we were astonished. Again, various window panes did not fit. In addition, one of them was scratched, and one had a watermark from the manufacturer. I guess no one had noticed? We’re getting good at guesswork in these kinds of situations. We were assured that the problem would be solved immediately, should only take a few minutes. When we were still waiting after almost 45 minutes, with no end in sight, we said our friendly goodbyes. “Muchas gracias, regresamos mañana” (Thank you very much, but we’ll be back tomorrow).

The curiousities of Mexico

We always experience curious things during while here in Mexico, for example, when we brought the borrowed propeller remover back to the workshop. Patricia entered the deserted workshop ahead of me and walked to the office. As she peered around the corner into the office, she took a few steps backwards. Because a sheep (yes, you read that correctly) walked up to her. Laughing, two gentlemen followed it, one of them the senior boss. Then a second sheep came running from the backyard, followed by three puppies and two dogs. We had entered a zoo, not a workshop! Back at the boatyard, it was back to work.

Scratching and cleaning

The cleaning work on the old, heavy bronze frames began. The old glue and filler had to be removed. Over the years, various attempts at sealing had apparently already taken place, so now it was our turn. Equipped with various scraping tools, we set to work. What remained were beautifully clean window frames, ready for installation. We’ll see how smoothly that would go. Windows (or “portholes”, if you fancy boat terms) on boats are notorious time eaters and major pains in the ass, if a boat owner can ever bring him- or herself to tackle them.

Progress on the deck

Meanwhile, the painters worked their way forward step by step on our deck. Their opinion was the same as ours – it was time for a fresh coat of paint! As always with painting, preparation is 90% of the work. They have been busy sanding and filling the deck for four weeks now. The goal is a perfect surface, nothing more, nothing less. That takes time. The poor guys have to toil outside in the heat, the sun beating down from the sky. Since Pati had already started the sewing machine anyway, she sewed them a sunshade for the whole deck. Those will remain mounted while we’re gone, so that the brutal Mexican UV radiation can do no damage Milagros and her new deck while we are away.

Fun is not neglected either

All this sounds as if we were just slaving away. But that could not be further from the truth. As always, when we are at the boatyard, we only do as much as we feel like. Sometimes 8 hours a day, sometimes two, sometimes none at all. This is how we prevent ourselves from burning out and losing the spirit. Yes, we know that sounds like “complaining on a high comfort level” again, but working on a boat is hard, sometimes complicated and the potential for frustration is immense. Therefore, we try to find a good balance.

Excursions, Party, BBQ

The boatyard is quite empty at this time of the year, but there are still a few cool people here working on their boats. There’s always time for a chat, a BBQ, night outs playing pool with a couple of beers too much (guess on which pictures too much beer was involved) or parties at Hair of the Dog in San Carlos, where I always get to play a song or two on drums with the band. We also made new Mexican acquaintances and are invited for example to great afternoons with lots of Carne Asada. So, time flies and we have lots and lots of fun in addition to all the work.

A cute gift

Under our boat, some very, very cute new friends have moved in. We have become the proud owners of a small dog family. The very pregnant mother showed up at one of our barbecues and decided to give birth to her babies right next to Milagros and in our presence. So so so so so cute. The only problem with this is that the Boatyard does not accept street dogs. They are usually caught directly and “taken away”. Understandable, because in Guaymas the situation with street dogs is out of control to say the least. The government of the city does pretty much nothing and so new dogs are born in every corner of the city.

We build the family a house

In our case and thanks to a little negotiating skill, an exception was made. The dogs are allowed to stay, but they have to be gone when we fly home to Switzerland. Who knows, maybe there will be a happy end for a Mexican street dog family? Of course, we have set all levers and contacts in motion, so that the little family finds a nice home. Without further ado, we set up a camp for them under Milagros, cozy and protected from the Mexican sun. Have we already said how cute the babies are? THEY ARE SO CUTE!!! Mama is also a really great dog; we really need to find a solution!

Step by step

While mom is taking care of her little ones under the boat, boatyard life continues. Step by step we move towards the end of our season. Item after item is checked off our list. Milagros is enjoying her spa treatment and sooner or later she’ll have a brand-new shine. When the deck is done, she will be our masterpiece. We have then literally beautified and improved her from top to bottom. As the German saying goes – constant drips wear away any stone. Life means well with us.

Last but not least we also wanted to say thank you. Thanks for following us on our adventures, for the many, many beer contributions, for the feedback, for the comments. We really enjoy creating content for you – if you want you can also say thank you by contributing to our beer kitty by clicking the button below. You can also become a monthly contributor by heading over to Patreon. Thanks a lot!

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