Saturday, November 14, 2009

Day 559 & 560 We just keep running.

OK, time for an update of the past few days.  It's been run here and there and work on this and that trying to get things done.  We've set Tuesday morning for shoving off but we're not sure we will make it.  We can only stay at this "marina" until then as they have a time limit and then we must either be ready or find a place to drop the hook or find another cheap marina for another day or so.

If you read the last post, you read about our scuba problems with the hose that goes to the buoyancy compensator jackets.  These are literally jackets that the big air tank clamp onto and then you wear them like a jacket.  We bought ours in 1980 when we first learned to dive.  They have been moving around with us ever since.  Well, it takes a special hose that hooks to the tank and then goes to the jacket so you can inflate them to make you go up and down in the water as you dive.  The type we have is no longer made so we don't have one for our second jacket.  To make a long story short, the "O" ring that seals it in was broken so we had to have some mailed in to fix it.  We had to buy twenty five to get the one we actually needed.  Fifteen dollars for the 25 rings and ten dollars to ship them in.  They were up to a dollar a piece.  Sometimes you have to bite the bullet.  The story gets better.  We found another scuba place(recommended by the local police divers) and headed up there.  They took one of our jackets and simply changed out the end fitting for the manual inflator hose and voila, we were fixed.  The jacket has two ways to inflate--by the hose from the tank and by manually blowing into a second hose on the opposite side of the jacket.  Now we had an extra hose and $25 of "O" rings we would never use.  I guess it pays to shop around before you buy.

We picked up the plastic shelf I talked about yesterday.  It fits like a dream and will give us lots more space(we're always looking for new places to store stuff).

We headed into Downwind Marine to have our EPIRB(emergency positioning locator beacon) checked by a factory rep.  They have a way of activating it(sort of)and getting a report as to how it is transmitting and is it working right.  If we ever go down, this is the one piece of equipment that can make a big difference as to not only will you be found but how soon.  Ours not only transmits a signal that we are having a problem, but also includes a built in GPS so it says exactly where we are.  We got there about 1100 and found we were the only people that had taken in their unit for testing.  Hey, if someone offers to test a very valuable piece of equipment (that your life may depend on)to make sure it works, why wouldn't you take it in.  While we were there getting ours checked, another customer piped up and said hers was fine and didn't need checking.  I asked her if the Coast Guard had responded when she had obviously set hers off.  Oh no, hers was "brand new.  It has to be fine".  It's thoughts like that that can get you killed out there!

We got to talking(the woman we met at Downwind Marine) about the errands we were doing for the day--heading to the Mexican Consulate to get our visas and our fishing licenses.  She asked if she could come along.  They hadn't rented a car and needed the same things we needed before heading South.  Sure, no problem.  We all piled into the car and headed back to the marina to get her paperwork.  Linda was great.  She's been everywhere and done lots of jobs and is now set to sail as much as she can with her new husband.  Once she got her paperwork, off we went.  The girls went into the consulate while I found a parking place.  There are different types of visa available.  One for 180 days(renewable for an additional 180 days) and one for a year.  We wanted the one for a year so we wouldn't have to worry about any kind of renewal once we got there(plus you will then qualify for Mexican health insurance).  As it turns out, to get the one for a year, you have to have your marriage license.  Who carries around their marriage license???  Not us.  Oh, plus they won't issue a visa any way for the 180 day period at the consulate.  You have to get that once you arrive at Ensenada in Mexico.  We'd hoped to have everything set before we got there.  Oh well,  we will just have to wait.  We found a place to get the fishing license.  One gets issued to each person, not just one for the boat(make more money that way).  They don't take cash or credit, just a cashier's check or money order(who doesn't take cash or credit these days?).  So back into the car and down to 7-11 to get a money order and back for the licenses.  Off for a quick lunch and we took Linda back to the marina.  No reason for her to have to sit in the car as we ran the rest of the errands.

Back to Costco and Walmart for more "provisions".  Now here is the problem.   Depending on who you talk to, you either need to FULLY provision your boat before you leave with everything you need or you don't because you will find what you need where ever you land.  We've heard it both ways from folks that have been around the world in boats like ours.  Tracy talked to a couple from Denmark that have been out for years.  They have their boat jammed like ours with provisions.  Another person we met(Steve the rigger that helped us earlier) says to just buy it when you reach land.  It's what he did.  Your darned if you do and darned if you don't.  We went with the Denmark folks point of view and have loaded Zephyr with as much stuff as we can.  From TP to kitty litter and pet food.  Paper towels to Sugar free Tang.  We just keep on bringing more stuff on board.  We could go the next year with out having to buy more food.  Now the menus might get strange after a while, but we are loaded to the gills.  We even found some vacuum sealed beef(3 pounds) in pouches at Costco that will keep unrefrigerated for over a year.

We've run here and there all over the town and still attend the seminars at Downwind Marine at night so our days are anything but relaxing.  We are almost to the "living the dream" part of the expedition.

I fixed the hatch that goes to one of the storage lockers in deck.  It was collapsing at one of its corners.  I re-enforced the corner with two stainless steel "L" brackets and epoxy.  Works fine now.  You have to get creative when you live on a boat.  Yesterday, I ran all the wires for the Pactor III modem that will allow us to send and receive emails and make posts to the blog when we are off shore.  It works with our new ICOM M802 SSB(like a Ham radio) radio.  We have a "tech" coming on Sunday or Monday to show us how it works.  I ran wires from one of our GPS units to the SSB.   Now, if we transmit an SOS, it will include our longitude and latitude with the message.  Our radio has an "emergency" button that when pressed, sends out a message telling people to come help us, we did something stupid.

Our backup GPS's for the navigation computer came in along with the "fender step" I showed you a picture of a few days ago.  Now we are set with backups for just about every system we have on board.  Of course, I attended a class last night on outboard motors so I will be needing more parts(will it never end?)so we will be able to fix ours should something happen while we are out cruising.  Zephyr is about to sink at the rate we are adding more provisions and parts.

Today, I get to dive on Zephyr to replace the zinc on the prop I told you about a few days ago.  It fell off on the way down the coast a few days ago.  Then we get to take down the genoa sail and fix the headstay(too loose for our liking).  It's like I said earlier.  We just keep fixing the boat in more and more exotic locations.

Well. that's about it for now(boy I can be long winded).  I started this post about 0500(still not sleeping more than 5 hours a night)and the Sun is now coming up so I can go take a shower before it gets crowded up there.

As always, more to come.

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