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Position Report 2005-06-02
Bobos, no-see-ums, and bees
We are learning about the local critters. At times, tiny little black flying bugs attach themselves to us, and the boat. These are called "bobos". They seem to love to fly into our eyes and around our face. We have sprayed ourselves with repellent and that doesn't work. They are so persistent that we must leave our anchorage and hope they will not follow us.
No-see-ums are very small. I don't think I have ever seen one, but their bite is ferocious. The bite swells and itches, and oozes. Very nasty. We have a cream that is supposed to repel them, but Mary (the owner of the marina) says she doesn't know of anything that works. We have
very fine screen material that we are using to make covers for the ports and hatches.
A few days after we arrived, we washed down the boat with fresh water. Suddenly, hundreds of bees showed up to buzz around us. We were told that they are looking for water so we must keep any water wiped up and drink out of bottles with caps or cups with covers so as not to drink bees with our water.
We knew we were going to be here in La Paz for at least a few weeks, so we decided to get a few boat projects done.
We got our teak refinished, 5 coats, for US $200.00! This is the first time we have not done it ourselves. But at that cost, we just had to let some one else take care of it. We have to admit, it was hard to not stand and watch over them every minute. They did a very good job, in
spite of us.
We also got the boat bottom cleaned for US $1.00 per foot. And here, that means by the waterline length, not just boat length.
We also got our FM-3 visa. In June it would be time for us to renew our visas, which would require us to leave Mexico and return, and reapply for another 6-month visa. So our FM-3 visa allows us to stay in Mexico for 1 year before we need to renew again. And, you do not have to leave Mexico to renew an FM-3 visa. So, in the long run that saves us a lot of time and effort. We were concerned that we might be in a remote port and HAVE to sail to some place we did not want to, just to fly out and back in to Mexico.
How ingenious people here are! When we were getting our FM-3, we were informed that the forms must be typed. We got our forms on computer, so it was no problem to print out. But, when we were in town we saw a small stand with a man sitting in it. He had nothing more than an old typewriter. For a small fee, he would type the information into any forms you might have. It looked like he was doing a good business.
We also did a few small boat projects like screens for the ports, set up the hookah for diving at the islands, cleaned the primary filter for the water maker, and re-provisioned food items, (1 Kilo or 2.2 pounds of fresh shrimp and 1 kilo of scallops for US $ 30.00) and other items.
And, we had some t-shirts made with the Guenevere graphic on them. They came out very nice.
Around April 20, we were ready to head out, so, I went to start the engine so I could change the oil. I first checked the oil level, good, but
black and in need of a change. I then turned the key and only got a click! Well, that could be a dead battery, so I switched on the house
bank, as I knew it was topped up from the solar panels, STILL NOTHING. After some troubleshooting, I found the vent loop did not work and seawater had flooded the top of the engine! So, we contacted the local diesel mechanic and I removed the engine. I'm getting good at removing the engine. We are the 5th boat with this problem in one month, here in just this marina! We are not sure how long this repair will take, as we need parts from the US. As of June 1, the parts are not in yet.
Also, a number of boats in the area are having fuel problems with the algae that grow in diesel fuel if ANY water gets into it. We had a
meeting with about 6 boats attending and saw samples of BAD fuel. I was VERY glad I had put in a large inspection port in our fuel tank. As long as our engine was out and I had good access, I opened the inspection port and looked in. It was SPOTLESS, at this time. At least I don't have that problem to deal with.
There are always boats arriving and others departing from here so there is always something going on. Always new people to meet, dinner
get-togethers, movie trading, Spanish language practice and all sorts of other interesting goings on.
We watched the Baja 500 Off Road Race. It started and finished here in La Paz. It was exciting to watch the dune buggy type cars, and
motorcycles, roar up and down the main street of town. After the race I was talking to a Mexican friend who is the guy that outfits all of the cars
with radios, he informed me that this year was a sad one for the race. One of the drivers, on a motorcycle, had been killed during the race.
These guys are real heroes to the people here who collect their autographs so they are mourning his death.
The animal life here is VERY entertaining to watch. One day we sat in our cockpit watching a Great Blue Heron fish. He got 4 Sergeant Major
fish for lunch in a bit over 15 minutes! And, he was only a few feet from our cockpit. We took some great pictures.
On May 19, about 2 in the afternoon, we heard Dan; from "Afroessa" make a call on VHF FM channel 22. Almost ALL cruisers here in any port area monitor this channel, sort of like a cruisers phone system. The call was, "Attention to the fleet, there is a vessel in the anchorage that is
sinking!" The vessel's name is "Time Machine".
Lee, Dan's wife, stayed aboard "Afroessa", at the radio station to help coordinate all of the activities. A few cruisers had their dinks in the
water and jumped in to help. I dropped our dink in and grabbed my hand held radio, but I could not get contact with any of the boats at the
sinking boat. On my way out, I was informed that the Mexican Navy would help, if notified. I ran over (by dink) to the beach in front of the
Navy base. A sailor was on watch on the sea wall. Even with my VERY limited Spanish, and his lack of English, he got the idea that a boat was
sinking and it needed help. He called on his radio and got an officer over to talk to me. He said he would get a party together and be out. I then
went out to the boat.
By the time I got there, another couple from the boat, "Savanna", had boarded the boat and got a gas powered water pump that was already in
place, started. It was in disrepair and out of fuel. The captain from "Mary-T" had also boarded with a mask and dove inside the boat trying to
find the leak.
I acted as the mobile radio contact and coordinator.
Not long after I arrived, the Mexican Navy raced out with a team of 6 to 8 people and a VERY large gas powered pump. I was very impressed with the reaction!
We got the boat back on her water line in about two hours.
As it turned out, the boat was in a bad state of repair, to say the least. It seems the owner has been neglecting her and it was rumored he was sinking her on purpose. But, the rest of us just can't see letting a boat die for no good reason! We heard a few days later that someone
purchased the boat from the owner and is repairing the boat.
We had to get our VHF radio repaired, as we were not able to transmit. We met Victor who owns a radio repair shop. Dan and Greg have been meeting together with Victor every Saturday to practice Spanish and to discuss and learn about each other's cultures. It's a lot of fun and the subjects' range from beer to politics to family.
We received DVD's of the last Survivor shows from a very dedicated friend of ours in the states (thank you more than you can ever know, Monty) and decided to have a Survivor party. We got permission from Sergio, the owner of a local restaurant to use his big screen television and DVD player. We made an announcement on the channel 22 "telephone". It is really fun to watch these with a group of fans. Even the waiters were watching and applauding with us. What fun!!
Another item that might be of interest to you? Who said fish do not learn? For the past few weeks we have had fish slapping the bottom of our
boat! We found out that they have learned that if they hit the bottom of the boat hard and make a loud bang, small shrimp will swim out. The
fish then eat the shrimp! At first it was fun, now it's a pain at 3 AM to have fish knocking on your boat.
Went to see Star Wars Episode III. The theater here is far better than most we have been to in the US. The seats are large easy chair types.
They are on a large slanted floor, so you can always see over the person in front of you. Also, they sell at least 3 types of popcorn! The
regular, a spicy type and Caramel corn! What fun! Best of all, the price was about US $3.50 each. If you go to the late show, the cost is about US $0.50 more.
On the last day of May, we were on the 8 AM cruisers net (VHF 22) and heard our boat name called. When we responded, we were told that a boat on the SSB (Single Side Band, used for long range communication) net was asking for us. We got word from another boat in the sea, by relay, that a boat we know "Cracker Box" from Oyster Cove in the Bay area, was about 22 miles out of La Paz with engine problems and their steering had failed! So, we mounted an effort to assist. We found a 60-foot boat
capable of towing them (a 38 foot Hans Christian) back here to La Paz.
Jill stayed aboard Guenevere at our Communication station and I, along with 4 other volunteers headed out of the marina at about 11:30 AM, to assist them. As it turns out, once we plotted their position on the charts, they were about 60 miles out! The trip was uneventful as the sea
was calm and the wind light for all but about 2 hours during the tow back. And at that time it was still not very heavy. We got back with them
in tow around 08:30 AM the next morning June 1.
After it was all over a few of us sat around and went over all that had taken place and how it had gone. We learned a few things from it and
will be better prepared the next time something like this comes up. So, the effort helped us as much as it did the distressed boat. La Paz seems to be a crossroads for cruisers. This month we have had the GREAT pleasure of meeting a couple of very interesting and notable cruisers.
We met Gene and Aggie, now aboard the sailing vessel Wanderlust. Gene made the movie "600 Days to Cocos" some years back. It is a very fine and entertaining video of a sailing trip from California to Cocos Islands and the Galapagos Islands. The movie has inspired more than a couple of people to follow their dreams and sail off into the sunset for the distant shores. By the way, if you are interested in seeing his video, it's
still available on VHS and I am sure you could get an autographed copy by contacting him at the Club Cruceros website.
(http://www.clubcruceros.org/), or, his direct email address is:
email@example.com. I think he is asking about US $25.00 plus something for shipping from here in Mexico to you.
The other gentleman we have had the pleasure to spend some time with is Sigmund, from the sailing vessel "Mary T". He and his wife have just
completed a seventeen (17) year circumnavigation! She is currently in the USA. I can't tell you what a joy it is to sit and just talk with him.
His mind is so sharp and clear, perhaps from the time at sea, or that may just be the man he is. He is so insightful. His mind seems to work
like logical poetry. He has had so many experiences during his years of cruising and has many fun stories.
So, that's about it from here for this time. We are still waiting on engine parts and just enjoying ourselves. We will be receiving a visit from our boys in a week or so and should be very busy. We hope to have the engine work completed, so we can go sailing.
Next month Corumuels, Elephantes, Northers, and Hurricanes.
Greg & Jill
call us up on a map and see where we are! To do this just click on the a link I have placed below...