Posted by: vlbyers | December 14, 2009

Cruising-what a life

Tuesday Dec. 8, 2009
This cruising life is more than sailing into exotic ports and sitting on the beach so I thought I would write a little about that aspect.
Today we left Mazatlan for Isla Isabella to spend a few days, this is the laying on the beach and snorkeling exotic port part, and then on to Puerta Vallarta another exotic port.
Larry spent most of one day getting parts together for our water filtration system. In the states we would fill our tanks from our hose at the dock and treat it with bleach. For washing, showering and cooking we would use it as is, for drinking we put it through another filter. In Mexico we are unsure about the potability of the water anywhere, even when we are told that it is potable we are still not sure. So Larry put together a 2 part filter system that we use before the water goes into the tank. We have also been challenged with just getting water. If we are out at anchor we can’t hook up to a hose, so water limits our abilities to stay out of a marina for very long. There is a watermaker on the boat but it hasn’t been operational since we have owned the boat. Larry and Andrew spent many hours cleaning and repairing the pump and replacing all teh tubing that takes the water from the ocean and sends it to the sink. When they got it operational they discovered that a few parts needed to be replaced so the parts were ordered, picked up at the next port and then installed. Now we are able to make 3 gallons per hour of desalinated water, yep it takes the water right out of the ocean and makes it drinkable for us. We get more independent with every improvement we make.
Since we have to eat and a good part of the eating is done on the boat to save money and eat the type of food we enjoy, we need to shop for food. You all know what goes into shopping but we don’t have a corner Safeway or Costco. Usually I am the one to do this chore, called ‘provisioning’ in the cruising world. Since we are usually quite far from a sizeable store, anywhere from 3 blocks to 8 milee so I either take the bus or more usually ride my bike. Of course riding my bike means that I have to put it together since we dissemble our bikes for passage and put them securely on deck in a protected bag. I have learned much about bike assembly and am proud to say that I can put my wheels, chain, brakes, pedals and handlebars all on correctly. I made some bike ‘bags’ out of cat litter boxes which hang from either side of the rack on the back. I haven’t weighed what I have put in the boxes but I would bet there has been 35lbs in each bag. So far I haven’t crashed or hurt any of the food, even eggs have survived their journeys.
Larry is usually the one who gets the weather reports prior to going on any passage. This is not as simple as turning on the TV or radio, it involves having a company send us some files over the interned and we then upload them. Of course we also talk with others who are planning to leave about the same time we are and compare our different sources. You all have heard some of the exciting passages we have had even when we have consulted the weather.
Anytime we start a passage we check the oil, transmission fluid and the coolant of the engine. Since we want it to serve us for many years we also have many other parts that need maintenance on a regular basis.
About once a week, maybe less depending on what the weather is and what we are doing, we do laundry. No that hasn’t stopped either since we have been cruising. We have only done it when we were in a marina so far, except for that one time when I did it in a bucket. Andrew likes to save money so he does his in a bucket much of the time. Imagine carrying your laundry and cleaning supplies not only in and out of the laundry room in your house, but off the boat down the dock, walking a minimum of 2-3 blocks, finding out what coins or tokens, getting those, then proceeding to wash and dry the clothes. One time it took 2 hours to fill the washing machine since I choose the hot water option, then there was the time the dryer shut off before the clothes were dry because it overheated and then I had to put in another tokes since the time had run out while it was ‘cooling’.
Well with all the paradise that we have found, the beautiful sunsets and sunrises (I have seen more sunrises in the past 4 months than I have seen in years), the snorkeling and swimming we do have our fair share of shopping, laundry, boat maintenance and challenges with not having a car and living in a small space. Oh by the way Isla Isabella was most certainly an exotic port where Frigate and Blue footed boobies nest and we were able to get within an arms length of them. Some of the babies were just newly hatched and some were so covered with down they were our ‘santa babies’. We had warm water to snorkel and swim in and a beautiful nearly deserted beach. At the most there were 5 other boats in the anchorage, one of them were our friends from Lady J whom we shared some snorkling and dinner. Yes Paradice
When you all are dreaming about our adventure and all the wonderful exotic places we have seen try to throw in a little thought of laundry and groceries hanging off of my bike, just to balance it all out.

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