Hooka-type dive compressor system - another cleaning - zinc replacement

Beginning of April 2014 - La Cruz Anchorage Banderas Bay Mexico

 The bottom was easier to clean although we only got part of it done. Banderas Bay turned lumpy making the boat start to pitch and that caused me problems under the water as I was bouncing off the bottom of the boat. We wish that California and the Sea of Cortez would keep the nasty cold front to themselves, we are getting the tail end! Of course it is not really cold, just a bit cooler but breezier and the bay is sloppier earlier in the day. It is 81 deg in the cabin and about 71 deg in the water which is cold for here. We called it a day on cleaning the bottom. Debbie got the water line cleaned and I got the new shaft zinc on and prop cleaned and some of the bottom, the keel cooler for the refer and the outside strainer for the water maker through- hull and all of the rudder and skeg.

 There was not as much sea grass and so not so many critters this time. It has been two weeks since the last cleaning and we did a nice job then. There are some barnacles and I saw one sea urchins on the rudder.

For some reason I thought that only a 10' extension chord could be used from compressor to generator. Now that we know it can be up to 50' we will put the compressor in the cockpit and use it there, making the setup easier.

Old shaft zinc. This was the first time we ever replaced zinc's our selves!

Some of the tools we use to clean the bottom and water line, replace zincs etc.

We do need more weight on the weight belt. Vallarta UnderSea has now gotten some locally made 4 lb. weights. We will pick up one or two next week. I keep bouncing off the bottom and sometimes end up upside down while scraping the or cleaning the bottom. I spend a lot of energy holding onto the suction cup to keep upright. We have I think about 12 lbs. on the belt now. Not sure as they are not marked and we have not a scale.

Fabiola's - for breakfast in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle

Beginning of February 2014 - La Cruz Anchorage Banderas Bay Mexico
On the corner of Coral & Pez Vela. No signage.

Not too far from Philo's Bar or Philo's La Cruz up and around the corner south.

We found this jewel - a hometown, real Mexican place on the Bucerias Group of Yahoo Groups so decided to check it out with our friends Bruce and Bridgett of s/v Sojourn.  They needed some technical support for their computer and SAT phone so we decided to do that over breakfast.   

They have good perked coffee and good food.

This restaurant is in front a of house, kind of in the front yard. 
This makes it feel nice and "Homey" :)

The "waitress" was the mom's/owner's daughter about 10 years old or so and very nice!

Bruce and Bridgett on s/v Sojourn

The food was excellent so we were pleased by this referral!!

The hot bread just kept coming and was very good.

We even had entertainment from a neighbor's yard across the street.

The WirieAP Failed

Beginning of April 2014 - La Cruz Anchorage Banderas Bay Mexico

We have been having problems with “The Wirie AP” so we emailed The Wirie for support. After the usual several email that support seems to need it was decided that a phone call was needed...again not easy being in Mexico. We have a Mexican Cell phone which is quite inexpensive. We had three appointments which the first one they forgot and then the second one they could not figure out how to call a country outside the US...really? The third time was a charm, they called. So this all took about a month. Not that we ever used this product much but we were finally in a position to use it. We are at anchor in La Cruz and can see some WiFi points that we can connect to, one without a password.

 So all jacked to finally use this product we tried it several times but it would drop the access point after a few hours. The speeds were not good but it was usable for email and you could get a movie but it was about a 10 hour download. That is fine if the connection is good for continued use.

 Anyway The Wirie kept failing. So The Wirie support said right off on the phone it was the wireless router. It was over heating. Of course it is past its warranty so they will not replace it. Now getting one in Mexico is not an easy thing. So this purchase was a bust I must say.

 The box that The Wirie is housed in seems air tight and water proof. Both the network card and the router give off heat. The box sits outside in the sun. Gee, do you think that inside the box it could get hot? The Wirie support said they have units in the Caribbean that never have problems. Hmmm… maybe the trade winds cool the box? I do not know but The Wirie support knew right off what the problem was and so that seems to say they know there is a problem. And why could they just say this over an email, possibly they need info that we were not supplying? Also the router has cooling vents in the back of the router. Some were covered by the velcro the The Wirie uses to attach the router to the inside of the box. Anyway we left the box open a crack to keep the router cool and this worked for a week or two and then the router failed completely. It is the dry season so we did not worry too much about it getting wet except for the morning dew.

 Because the Alfa router and Alfa WiFi card work together we will replace the router with the same Alfa router. We will drill a couple few holes in the bottom of the water proof box and then add some screening to help keep the router and card cool.

 At this time we are just using the Alfa card connected to the PC with a 10’ USB extension and we have it sitting on top of the dodger. This works for now at anchor and I am using it to do this blogging. We are connected to a WiFi hot spot we got a password for. This setup will not stand up to any weather this way and we cannot use the Kindle Fire or the Kindle White Paper as there is not any wireless through the boat as the router would have provided. This we liked even though we used it rarely because it is hard to find WIFi anywhere close to the anchorages. There are a few places where you can find WiFi but usually you need to go anchor off the place which is not close to any dinghy landing. Also most times you need to go to the place and have a lunch and get the WiFi pass code. This is what we have found so far.  This is a subject that could have a post of its own - the WiFi access.

 As we will be summering over at Paradise Village Marina and they have changed their WiFi policy we will need to use the Alfa card and router so they will need to be in the box for weather protection and this means replacing the router with the same router. The box is already set up and the system did wor k- it does in our case at least need some modifications for cooling.

Hooka-type dive compressor system - run it!

Beginning of April 2014 - La Cruz Anchorage, Banderas Bay, Mexico

We used the DeWalt with the Honda EU 2000I generator and I was down cleaning the boat bottom just over two hours. It was great having unlimited air! Got a real premium job done.

We will run the dock cord to the Honda EU 2000i and then put the DeWalt in the cockpit and run the hose out through the stern steps. That way the compressor will be far away from the genset. We will just leave the dock chord on the life lines. It works for sailing that way.

We are on a single SS income. Remember we are not pro divers. Just want to clean the bottom. This system worked great and cruisers with the Harbor Freight model seem happy enough with them also. I have said that we are looking for a better water trap but it takes time in Mexico to find the stuff and even to get ashore etc. I figure better to have it than not because we see others with them. It is not expensive. We can always remove it. The other water trap in the picture we posted is much sturdier and we can mount it different.

The Honda EU 2000i is running and the DeWalt is running to fill the accumulator tank. This was the first time running for the DeWAlt and the drain for the tank was open at the bottom so the air was hissing out. I realized this just after the video and shut it.

Running the DeWalt off the inverter may just be a bad idea and we will skip it. The thing is we do not need the Honda EU 2000i for any other reason but bottom cleaning. That means we need to leave up on deck for 8 months of the year for just bottom cleaning. The other 4 months we need it for cloudy days etc. Oh well it is what it is I guess.

Here in Mexico all the bottom cleaners I have seen use water traps. Do not know why and maybe they do not either?

We set the PSI to 90 and this worked for air delivery to our 5' 6" draft or more because our water line is under water We have about a 40' hose.

Had to go to a truck-brake hydraulic shop and get a 1\4" fitting crimped on the old Hooka hose to connect to the water trap or water separator. We also saw single air line fittings there of all types.

Then we attached the water trap and we are good to go diving!
 The water trap is all metal going through and has a plastic outer housing. We are still trying to get a better one.

With the stern steps dropped down into the water.

For us, using the compressor with the accumulator tank works good. We do not use the system but a couple hours every two weeks, if that. We are going down to clean the bottom this coming weekend and the bottom looks like it is staying cleaner because of our good job last time. It should not take as long to clean the bottom this time. It is time to replace the shaft zinc and that will be a first for me.

When we get a bottom job this summer the time will be even less. The accumulator tank saves both the Honda EU 200I from running at a higher speed all the time I am under water or on the surface talking, or getting ready to go in the water or just not breathing through the regulator etc. The compressor also is working less because it just shuts off. The noise is also reduced. 

Once the compressor reaches 150 PSI in the accumulator tank the compressor shuts off, starts again at 120 PSI. This in turn ramps down the Honda EU 2000I to echo mode, meaning it is running at it's lowest speed, fairly quiet and not using as much gas. We need to dinghy out everything which also means gas so this helps on the schlepping.

This works out for us and with the drain on the bottom of the accumulator tank the system should last us quite a long time. It was also fitting our budget

We know of a boat for sale in the La Cruz marina that has the 12 v hooks system. I was thinking of asking if he would sell it but at even half price it would be too many pesos for us.

It is also very nice to be in control of our boat bottom, zincs, keel cooler for the refer and thru-hole strainers etc.   The fun factor is there too, staying down as long as we like.

Now we are going to try to use this system to clean our anchor chain while it is in the ocean. Debbie my wife will operate the windless and pull it up say 6' at a time and I will try cleaning that section in the water on so on. We have been doing this on deck and it is messy and not that easy. I imagine we can not get all the growth off but possibly the heavy stuff.

Hooka type dive compressor system

Middle of March 2014 - La Cruz Anchorage Banderas Bay Mexico

I generally post to Sailnet.com, the forum "Gear & Maintance" to as questions about this kind of stuff. They have a great following and seem to answer quickly.

 We are anchored in La Cruz Anchorage in Banderas Bay, Mexico and it is very active echo system. Every two weeks or sooner we need to clean our bottom; we have a 36’ boat.
 We have been using a dive tank and an old Hooka yellow hose with a regulator that was given to us. We connected that to a stage one and then use a div tank on deck. We need to dinghy in the tank and take it for re-fill which is not easy every two weeks or so.

You can see the dive tank on the starbord side.

The problem is the dive tank air gets used up quickly. There is no solution for this that I am willing to do, like holding my breath etc. It could be the regulator on the yellow hose is a low pressure regulator for a Hooka setup. A say 30 pis regulator and the tank is much higher so air is getting out even when we are not breathing. Any way this is not diving forum so I will skip all that and just say we want to get rid of the tank. But it is a money thing.

We have plenty of solar power on the boat so we would like to use a 12v compressor to supply endless amounts of air at a price we can afford, we are retired and on a small fixed income.
We have found one we think may work fine. We could sell our current system here in Mexico where the prices are high for dive equipment to recover some of the costs.

 This system can be had with a 35’ hose, regulator and compressor. Uses 10 amps and is affordable. We can clean most of the bow are with a snorkel so 35’ seems enough. We do the keel are and zincs and prop with the tank the rest we get with a snorkel.
So after all this does anyone have any experience with this system?

The system seems like it should do the job we are wanting it for, cleaning the bottom of our boat.

*mask not included For those wanting to use a more conventional regulator a Promate regulator is included. 12v Hookah diving air compressor Power:120w 12V Weight: 9 lb *battery not included Lightweight aluminum with easy carry handle Uses our long life, oilless, efficient, DC motor designed for clean breathing. One of the advantages of this system is the low power draw of 10 amps of safe 12v DC current. With the average deep cycle marine battery you will have enough power for all day use. Also you can put the compressor and battery on a float and not be encumbered by the length of the hose. Satisfaction Guaranteed. Rated for 5 meters of depth. 25 ft (35 ft available add upgrade to cart) diving dedicated , food grade hookah hose, brass direct screw connection to air compressor Nose clip and ear plugs included. With this kit you will be swimming with the fishes! Please leave feedback and please tell your friends. International Customers give a minimum 6-10 business days for arrival.
diving-us.com dive system


Our plan here is this:
Check and fix any leeks from the dive tank to the regulator. 

We switched out the regulator that came with the yellow hose to the one that came with the dive tank. I think the yellow hose regulator is rated for a lower psi and air is being forced out when I am not breathing it. Check for leaks at other places also. I am not convinced it will not leak so we will stop at Vallarta UnderSea to heave them check the fittings. We also pick up the re-filled dive tank today. 
 If we can get 2-3 bottom cleanings from one dive tank then that will make life a lot easier for the rest of this cruising season.

This summer we will purchase the Resun MPQ906 DC Air Compressor Pump 12V unless we find even a better one of the same type. There are at least a few of these type of pumps available and this is so far the best I have found. So are rated for more air and some are 6v, 12v and 24v.

The regulator that comes with the kit, along with the pump and hose is not really a regulator. It does not regulate the air flow. The air just goes through the regulator and if you do not breath it goes on out into the water. 

You can get a less expensive kit with a snorkel with the yellow hose attached to the snorkel and it does the same thing. So once we get the pump we will connect a snorkel to our existing yellow hose and use it that way. This is not a problem as I have a C-Papa machine that I breath with at night because I have Sleep Apnea. The breathing machine acts the same way as the Resun MPQ906 DC Air Compressor Pump.I was tempted to use the C-Pap machine for the bottom cleaning but do not want to take the chance of messing it up.
So there you have the plan. I will let you know the final outcome just in case this all works out good it may help others.


We just left Vallarta UnderSea and Armando calibrated both of our regulators. The one originally on the yellow hose had a small leak. He corrected it and test the other. Both are now working perfect. Armando also gave us some O rings for the dive tank valve. We connected the stage one and the yellow hose with the other gear and tested the whole thing and found none.

The tank should be stamped with the pressure rating. In our case I think it may be 2400 because last time we got it filled the tank gauge read 2000 but it could have been somewhat higher as I did not look that good. I’ll check that out again. We had just got it hydro’static inspected and filled. Our tank is an old one and a smaller one. Does not hold the volume of air as the newer tanks do. I can get just abot a bottom cleaning out of one tank if the prop and bottom are not bad.

Juanito and our boat to the left.

Thompson Compressor (I think used for nail guns)

"The Thomas 1020 (in your second set of pix) was the hull cleaning industry standard for years. They went out of production for a couple of years and hookah makers and hull cleaners moved on to other compressors (the 1020 is available again, but is difficult to find and much more expensive than it used to be.) I now use the Thomas 1207."

DeWalt 150 PSI 2.6 SCFM compressor. Shows water traps.
Supports two divers and is used by the crews cleaning bottoms on the docks for a living.

Two diver setup on this compressor.

After watching this video I decide the 12v system was just to rinky dink.


 DeWalt 150 PSI 2.6 SCFM compressor. 
Supports two divers and is used by the crews cleaning bottoms on the docks for a living.
 A friend who was a professional diver cleaning boat bottoms bought the Harbor Freight 6 gal model and is happy with it. 

We here in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico do not have a “Harbor Freight”. 

So we thought at Home Depot in Puerto Vallarta we could get the Porter-Cable 6-Gal. 150 psi Oil-Free Pancake Compressor but what were we thinking! No way, at least not now.

He says for as much as he cleans his boat bottom on his 40’ sail boat is is fine. He no longer does it for a living. Also another friend who was a dock mate with us in San Diego got the 2 gal model and had to return it as it did not supply enough air. He got the 6 gal Harbor Freight model and was a happy bottom cleaner.

They may have had them at one time but not now. They could be dis-continued as I think the  DeWalt one we bought could be. We do not see the  DeWalt one on the  DeWalt web site now. So we left Home Depot and went to a tool store. They sold some of the “Trooper” brand items but had no “Pancake Compressor” types. Then off to Bucerias to another tool store who said they do not carry the  Porter-Cable 6-Gal. 150 psi Oil-Free Pancake Compressor any more. That their  DeWalt 6 gal is over 4000 pesos (well over $300.00 USD) and to get it at Home Depot in Puerto Vallarta but he would have the water traps in next week. OK back to Puerto Vallarta and a stop at Cosco but no luck so then to Home Depot and pony up for the DeWalt 6 gal Pancake Compressor. Home Depot had another brand a “Husky” but we did not like it. There were too many parts exposed and it was taller making it hard for us to store. We paid about twice as much by the time we got the  DeWalt out of Home Depot but we consider it money well spent. Actually it was about $100.00 USD over the non-sale price of the Porter-Cable 6-Gal. 150 psi Oil-Free Pancake Compressor.  Things are just not easy here in Mexico when trying to buy a specific brand or model no matter what the store. Add in the language barrier as we speak limited Spanish. Debbie does speak some Spanish now but still it is hard to get the point across. We think we can run the  DeWalt on the inverter and eliminate the Honda EU 2000i generator. The  DeWalt draws 10 amps.

So we went out and purchased a DeWalt compressor. Fits in our forward hanging ocker which is really a storage locker as our close are rolled up as they are not cotton, they are a light breathing easy dry non wrinkle fabric.

We will clean out the hanging locker soon so this compressor sit in here nicely.

We had gone o the tool store in Bucerias, Mexico and ordered a water separator or water trap and then went back this week and they forgot to order it. He said that his friend at another sore in Mezcales had what we wanted (he called him) so we drover there but guess what. He did not. 

So we had him order the one that we liked, this one. It will be in, in yet one more week but the bottom can not wait that long or it will get real hard to clean so we got a temp one for now.

We did find a simple one that will get us by a a paint store with some more looking. We also picked up some nice air fittings  that will not rust.

We also picked up some SS scrubber pads for cleaning the water line. At dinner with Danny and Debra on S\V Cyclades they told us these SS pads do a real nice job on the tough spots along the water line.

 We went to Vallarta UnderSea and Armando put our dive tank regulator back together for us. Now we will sell the tank and regulator setup. As we suspected it is worth a lot more here than in the US. Easily enough to off'set the Depot air generator and extras we purchsed.

Surf safari

Middle of March 2014 - La Cruz Anchorage Banderas Bay Mexico

Surf safari!

We were on a quest for our" 6-Gal. 150 psi Oil-Free Pancake Compressor" when we were in some traffic with this tour truck from Vallarta Adventures .

Puddle Jump party crashed

Middle of March 2014 - La Cruz Anchorage Banderas Bay Mexico

We crashed the Puddle Jump party so we could say good-bye to some of our friends that we will not see before they leave. It was held at the Vallarta Yacht Club.

Jack, crew on S\V Pied-a-Mer III.

Dick Markie, Dockmaster at Paradise Village Marina, talking with Andy Turpin of Lattitude 38, the sponsor of the event/Pacific Puddle Jump

Ken on M\V Oogachaka-  blog

Pam of s/v Pied-A-Mer III (in the blue shirt talking with fellow "jumpers".

Eric of s/v Pied-A-Mer III (with hat on) talking with Andy Barrow, Commodore of the Vallarta Yacht Club, host to the event with Lattitude 38 magazine.

Alan and Laura of s/v Rhapsody (facing the camera) talking with other "jumpers".

This sail fish was put into the back of the pick up as we were leaving, 
caught from a sport fisher boat.