The Kingdom of El Mero

The sailors of Muelle El Mero secretly call their current home “The Kingdom of El Mero”. It hosts princes and princesses from all over the world: from Canada, Poland, Iceland, the USA and now Switzerland. The holidays were upon us, which we all spent together, far away from our families and friends.

A little bit of Christmas spirit came to our little kingdom. But only a little. Because Milagros has no Christmas decorations, and we were not keen on the Spotify Christmas playlists either. In Guaymas, we got the full dose of Christmas time: Inflatable snowmen, decorated trees, wildly flashing houses, and Christmas carols all over the place. The 25-30°C during the day with cloudless skies and sunshine didn’t really help either to get in a Christmas mood. But: we had to make Spitzbuben, my favourite Christmas cookies.

Christmas baking

Since we don’t have a mixer, we left the butter soften in the sun for an extra-long time and because we didn’t have any cookie cutters, we decided to make Spitzbuben carrés. We even found a rare specimen of raspberry jam. All too quickly these delicacies disappeared into our mouths. A lot of work for a short pleasure, but it was definitely worth the effort.

A bit of Switzerland

On the morning of the 24th of December, we drove to San Carlos, 45 minutes away, and treated ourselves to a pork shank for breakfast. Since it was also Saturday, we picked up more parts for our projects from Debbie. Now we finally had every necessary component to complete our solar project. There were still a few temporary installations here and there, which now needed to be replaced with the final parts. We ended the evening on Pete’s boat ‘Swansong’ with a lot of popcorn and ‘Mad Heidi‘, a very entertaining and entertaining Swiss independent film.

A beautiful Christmas Eve

For Christmas Eve we organised a potluck on the dock. It’s popular with sailors. Everyone brings a dish to share with the others. This way there is a buffet without much effort for everyone, and the bigger the group, the more varied the selection. At the request of a princess from El Mero, we contributed Santa rolls (we baked and gave away little Santas on 6 December, hence the name) and at our own request rotkraut to go with the turkey, which another sailor wanted to bring. In the end, we had a well-balanced and absolutely delicious feast. Only by the Christmas decorations brought along could one tell what the occasion was.

The Battle of the Settlers

With a few sailors in close proximity, we finally had the opportunity to play Settlers of Catan again. Unfortunately, our board game cannot be really be properly played only with two people. That’s why we’re always happy when we bump into other Catan enthusiasts. So, we challenged the two Australians Holly and Saxon to play. Since we had played Catan so many times before, we had got into the habit of choosing the starting point of the game as randomly as possible, thus increasing the level of difficulty. The two Australians called this starting set-up “suicide Catan”, as it eliminates a not-so-insignificant part of the strategy, but they accepted the challenge. The winner (me 😉) received a set of googly eyes, with which we fooled around with extensively after the game. It just looks so funny when you stick them between your eyelids.

New arrivals

In our little kingdom we also recently welcomed six little new arrivals. One female dog (the only one not spayed) of the pack of about 20 dogs has given birth. A fellow sailor built her a shelter out of an old freezer. Now we hope that the little rascals will find a nice home and not end up on the streets of Guaymas. In general, the future of the El Mero pack is uncertain. Since mid-December, the Mexican Navy is the new owner of this facility. What they intend to do with our little kingdom is written in the stars. Since the Mexican mills can grind very slowly at times, it is very possible that nothing will happen for the time being. We shall see, or we shall not.

I’m sewing

While the days are finally getting longer again, our to-do list is thankfully getting shorter. We were able to borrow a sewing machine from our neighbours and since then I have been busy sewing. The most urgent project was our bimini. We have been waiting for this moment for over a year and finally we were able to complete this project. After all, when we go south to rainier areas, we want to be able to sit in the dry. We were also finally able to finish the sail bag, which was still missing the cover around the mast. And other installations on Milagros got a new anthracite robe.

Rust is removed

Our windlass also got a new coat of paint, in grey of course. Wind, water and weather have left their mark, especially corrosion-wise. That’s why it was first given a corrosion treatment. Then it received protective epoxy primer and grey polyurethane paint. Now it looks like new again. But when we put it back together and tested it, it didn’t work. Had we broken something in the motor (again) when we unscrewed the ground cable? It had happened to us before, nevertheless. We held back our curses for the moment and checked to see if any power was coming in at all. And guess what. When we dismantled the bow pulpit, we also had to remove the navigation lights. We found a loose contact on the bus bar that both the navigation lights and the windlass share in the anchor locker. Disaster averted.

Things are connected

We also finally found a way to control our autopilot from the cockpit. We don’t have a classic autopilot but use a tiller pilot which we connect to our wind steering system. To make a course change, we had to leave the cockpit and go to the stern of the boat. This tiller can now be connected from our chart plotter in the cockpit, because we added it to our our data network. Sounds simple, but a lot of thought went into how we could get the different technologies from different suppliers to communicate with each other.

Auto pilot control on the chart plotter

The gods are with Milagros

Milagros also got a new decoration on the mast. The signpost (Vegvísir) is also called the old Nordic compass. The beautiful symbol was given to us by our Icelandic friend Tyr, who is also based here in Muelle el Mero with his ship Ez Duz It. “If this sign is carried, one will never lose one’s way in storms or bad weather, even when the way is not known”. We have placed the Vegvisír at the front of our mast, from where it will guide us through the vastness of the seas. The gods are with us.

Taking a break

And yes, it has also happened that we didn’t work on Milagros or online at all! Almost every morning after sunrise we walk up the hill and look out to sea. And every day there is something going on at the dock. Sometimes a beer on Milagros in the cockpit, sometimes dinner on another boat, or a trip to the cinema in Guaymas. One night we watched Avatar II in English with Spanish subtitles for 2.50$. The snack package with popcorn, hot dogs, and drinks for 2 people cost five times as much.

There is sailing

And we also went sailing – with other boats. This is always very educational, because we get to see different ways of handling the sails and the engine. You can hear and feel how other boats behave and be there when decisions are made, and manoeuvres are carried out. And it’s always a lot of fun too.

It must be wiped

We sailed into Guaymas harbour on “Aurora”, a 54-foot (16.5 m) yacht. That was interesting, because we wanted to go there ourselves with Milagros and it was nice to explore the surroundings live on another boat. On the way there, however, we suddenly had smoke below deck coming from the engine. We quickly switched off the engine and Dan examined the situation. It didn’t seem to be overheating. We had already prepared the anchor as a precaution. But he quickly found the problem.

The engine was directly under the salon floor, and dust and sand were constantly trickling through a gap onto the engine. This accumulation began to heat up as the engine reached operating temperature and caused said smoke. Everything fine, the engine just needed to be wiped down. Easy fix. On the way, we noticed that the rigging (the steel cables that hold the mast in place) was quite loose. It had to be undone a few weeks earlier. While tinkering along, we sailed leisurely back to El Mero.

Things are beinig repaired

We also went sailing with Pete on his 40-foot (12 m) yacht “Swansong” because he had invited his two landlords for a sailing trip and could still use a few hands. However, upon inspection enroute, Pete discovered a leak at the rudder stuffing box (the seal on the rudder where the rudder stock comes into the boat). We suspected that it just needed to be tightened a bit more. But we didn’t have the right tools to do it.

So, we turned back, got out the really big pipe wrenches (one from Milagros and one from another boat) and dealt with the leak. Of course, one of the nuts was stuck, so we had lunch while a corrosion solvent spray worked its magic. Eventually we managed to tighten the stuffing box enough to minimise the leak. Then we were able to go out again and sail Swansong; it was the first time for us sailing with a furling mainsail. And as you can see, there is always something to take care with a sailboat.

Sailors’ midnight

We didn’t have much planned for New Year’s Eve – pizza and beer were the order of the day, and a prosecco was also ready to go. While we were still working on a few projects, the party started at Pete’s. We joined him later and all princes and princesses gathered around and on his boat. At 9pm sharp – the generally accepted cruisers midnight – we popped the corks and toasted the new year. Let’s see what 2023 brings!

Happy New Year

In this spirit we also wish you a Happy New Year. We would like to thank you very much for following our adventures and for always making us happy with a donation to the beer fund! It’s a lot of fun for us to keep the blog alive. Have fun and see you around!

PS: If you haven’t done so yet, you can sign up for our newsletter here. You will then receive an email as soon as a new blog post has been published.

Read more

1 Comment

Ciao zämme
Ich bi begeisteret jedesmol vo Eurem BLog……es macht mir viel Spass das alles z’läse……….ha ich doch sälber dr B-Schiin emol gmacht…..aber jetzte isch dä numme no zem Schiin!! Wiiterhin vieli schöni Erläbnis…härzligschd Lilly

Leave a Reply