Posted by: vlbyers | July 27, 2010

Grounded but not Aground in Puerto Escondido

Wow how time flies when you are having fun, or doing laundry, meeting up with old friends and enjoying the internet and pool at the marina. I realize that I haven’t updated the post for many days…
As you have surmised from the title of this post, we are here in Puerto Escondido, this is one of the most protected harbors on the Baja of Mexico and the place we will have the boat hauled out of the water, put on the hard (on land) while we are away and also where we will be having some work done prior to our re-launching (getting put back into the water). So after going to Candeleros bay from Agua Verde, which was the first place we were actually anchored alone and far enough away from shore I could finally skinny dip, we headed up here to check out the area. We wanted to firstly check out the entrance to the anchorage, look at the place we get hauled out, confirm our haul out date, check on bus availability from here to Cabo, do some laundry, confirm our daughters vacation date and other internet things.

We actually arrived last Thursday the 20th and we obtained a mooring ball. There are several different anchorages here, the outer you can anchor or use a mooring ball and the inner anchorage is all balls for which you pay a fee. With the fee you get the use of the mooring ball, and all the amenities of the marina which includes toilets, showers, pool and un-hot tub, cruisers lounge with book exchange and DVD/Video exchange quite extensive, the dinghy dock, and the internet lounge complete with power. What more can a girl ask for. So we figured we would get our laundry and internet stuff done in a few days and then head out to some of the islands here where it is cooler and we could explore before we came back for our haul out.

Almost every day we have had a plan to leave the next day, first it was Thursday, then Saturday, then Sunday…well things happen for a reason I like to say, and I try to live and it certainly turned out this time to be for the better.

We met up with our friends from Seattle who were working on getting their boat back in the water since they have been gone, so most of the days were busy for them but we met them on Friday for drinks in the pool. For some reason I became violently ill while we were eating dinner, I did have ice from the restaurant and some have said that they had a similar experience, although we have been buying and drinking purified water for months, this must have been unusually bad, today is the 4th day and i am finally starting to feel like my old self again, reason #2 for our delay.

So the delay continued, then we noticed the battery monitor was not showing any charge on the batteries. I had been noticing the refrigerator not keeping the frozen stuff quite as frozen and milk and cream was going bad quickly, as were other non dairy items. The battery monitor gives a number which indicates the level of charge and also when you should recharge the batteries, this had been giving lower and lower numbers over the past few weeks also, the solar panels were not able to charge the batteries as they had in the past either.

So here is a little, very little as that is as much knowledge I have about electrical stuff, electrical class for you. On our boat we do not have instant and unlimited access to power, as you do in your home, provided you have paid the Edison bill. If you can imagine sitting in your car or your RV for hours watching TV, using your computer, blending up your favorite smoothie or having all the lights on cause well it’s dark. There is a point where, and we have all done it, the lights will dim and not even the door buzzer will work. Next comes the dreaded click click click when you turn the ignition and the engine won’t start and you sit waiting for your spouse or AAA to bail you out. So in essence what we have is a reservoir with electricity in it, when it gets low we either need to fill it up by running our engine or plugging up to the dock, same for car or boat except you probably wouldn’t hook your car up to the dock. In our usual day-to-day activities we are conservative but we run the engine every other day to keep our reservoir from running out. We also have a bank of solar cells which help when it is sunny, another reason we left Seattle:)

Well at this time we realized that the batteries were lower than they have been and now they were not seeming to hold the charge when we ran the engine. So there are several things that could be the culprit, the batteries (Larry has been saying sooner or later…for the last year), the alternator, the connections to all these and of course since we have things like an inverter, to allow us to use non 12 volt items on our boat, those wires and connections…

Let’s tackle the easiest first, Larry cleaned all the connections…no improvement. He then disconnected one of the banks, which equals 2 batteries in case you didn’t know, I didn’t, nope not that either. He then got our his handy-dandy little electrical charge tester, you know the gizmo with one black and one red lead and you stick it on metal parts all over and look at the register…uhhu. Well that didn’t give him much information (yeah I always thought those things were a bunch of hocus pocus, kind of like a water witch). Anyway many hours of work investigating the problem and having to put up with his grumpy, sick, and absolutely no help except to give ‘helpful suggestions’ wife, we still had 2 major contenders. The alternator or the batteries (my little voice just says ‘batteries, batteries), also we could plug up to the dock and see if the batteries get charged that way and for a bonus we get to use lights, computers and the refrigerator, what are we waiting for? So this morning we unhook the mooring ball and pull onto the dock for a few nights, our plan is to charge the batteries and then run some sort of equalization on the batteries, after taking out the alternator to have it tested. Larry gets the alternator out, not an easy task when you have a nice shop to work in, much less in a cramped, hard to get to engine compartment which is hot due to having to run the engine to get to the dock, but he is successful and we meet our friends who have offered to take us into town for the test.

Results are in:Batteries 2 Alternator 0, batteries are not charging even with direct connection to electricity and good news we don’t have to do that equalization test, but it does mean more than likely we need new batteries as the alternator checked out OK. We still have the problem (refer to the exercise above), of having electricity demands and no way to satisfy them unless we are tied up to the dock, or run the engine continuously-not a happy thought in 100 degree weather when your engine sits in your living room. So we are at the dock now and for tomorrow. Tomorrow is the 28th and we get hauled out on the 2nd so that leaves 4 days in between time, maybe we will be able to stay at the dock until then. Of course I probably don’t need to tell you that there will be no island hopping, no new anchorages until we are able to get the new batteries in, which probably means until we return in September. No worries cause the friends who gave us a ride to town were going in to return their rental car, we made a deal to rent the car for this next week-so we have an air-conditioned ride and can go shopping!!! Isn’t cruising in Mexico great? Oh yeah we’ll probably make a trip to La Paz to get new batteries.
Happy reading till next time-Vicki


Responses

  1. Happy to hear you are not aground. Your stories are beautiful…keep them coming!
    Steve says you will be home in August…come to the wedding (8/21) or just come to the country, you always have a place to stay with us in Carnation!
    Rita

  2. Wow, it’s been a year on your journey/adventure/new life. Love reading your blog. Is that what it is? It’s interesting reading about another persons, or two’s, daily life, at least the parts during the awake hrs. and the times choosen to share about. It’s fun reading. I’ve met several, 2 or 3, Vicki’s lately. Are you going to visit the NW later this year? Seems like you said something about it. Hope so.
    Trust you are back on complete power now and you’r all charged up. Just thinking about you guys, I feel like taking a nap.
    All the best. Dad


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