Ok the fish “net” story, Not a fish story

Chamela, Mexico 12\2\2014

Off we go!

We are anchored in Chamela, Mexico and the dinghy with Mark from s\v Cockpit (an Beneteau Oceanis 440) came by for a visit\help. He asked if we could swim strong or if one of us was a diver. That he and his buddy were not good swimmers. That his boat had a line wrapped on its prop. I looked at him and asked how I could do any better as he was in better shape\younger? He said because he was not a strong swimmer or a diver. 


Ok I said I can check it out. So I grabbed the weight belt, gloves and fins, mask, snorkel etc. This was going to be a free dive (without tanks or an air supply). As it turned out, I couldn’t tell if using an air supply would be a life saver or a hazard – it was not a line but a fish net! The equipment could get caught up in the net easily but on the other hand you could still breathe! They had the engine running which I had them shut down as I did not trust not being chopped up by accident. I put on my gear, weight belt which helps me stay down and not fight being beat up by the bottom of the boat so much. Even though we were at anchor there was some swell and the boat was rising and falling, and swaying back and forth. As the boat moved about, it made the net billow and rise and fall and generally move around under the boat.  Anyway I went in and surveyed the situation. Wow were they entangled!

They said they were having a bad day as they said when they first anchored, they were too close to the beach which they realized so moved.  Then, when they moved they had a dinghy mishap.

 This has always been a fear of mine. That is getting - caught up in a net and drowning. (Not far-fetched here in the land of really hard to see fish nets a mile long!) We have heard of stories about cruisers who have hit fish nets and have the fishermen in their pangas help them out. Also of cruisers where they had to cut themselves free as there was no one around. In bigger seas this would be most difficult and at night near impossible, guess you would need to wait till daylight but then would you be even more entangled?

Mark in the water showing the net, pulling on it.

So I went down under the boat and saw the mess, net going from bow to stern. The net was wrapped around the shaft and the line also with a few small red buoys. The net was wrapped around the prop and tangled the spade rudder. The net went down as far as you could see. The good thing is the visibility is great here at any rate. Mark offered up his knife but as I found out it was not a good tool. I did not use it but used the tool we got from Sailors’ Solutions (sailorssolution.com) " HOOKNIFE " and it worked great! Well worth the money in this case or any emergency! We had never had cause to use it and we have had it some years.  One of the features is the handle is long enough so you keep your body and hands out of the net. The knife end can also be put on a Shurhold pole for even longer reach but in this situation the way it is I think worked best. Also it has a hook-blade which worked great and was mostly what I used. So with the right tools, the Sailors Solutions HOOKNIFE and weight belt, flippers etc. it was do-able. 


It was not easy and as I found out my fears were justified. First I tried and slowly succeeded in cutting the line and netting away from the shaft. 

Mark talking to me, I am in the water. Mark's buddy is up on the boat.

There was still a bunch of line and net and a few buoys on the shaft but the net was free from the shaft. Next I worked on the the prop. This did create another hazardous situation. The more I cut free the net the remaining sections of net started trailing off the shaft and prop. These pieces are like banners, easy to get caught in as they are waving around like streaming flags. At one point I was coming up for air and my flipper got caught up in the net! I tried to free my flipper but then my ankle got tied up in the net. I was lucky to be by the stern of the boat where Mark was able to get into the water and free my foot. Later on, after some more dives my flipper got caught again. I was able to get the flipper off and it just stayed in the net but my toes got caught.  Took some doing just to free my toes! Darn nets work good. 

I am hanging onto the port aft of s\v Cockpit.

You can see some of the fish net.

After some time I got the boat clear from the net. It was a walk through a fear and as I was under the boat watching the net moving around try to lure me into it or reach out and grab me, I decided this was maybe more than I had bargained for. (Sounds like a scene straight out of the tv show, Mike Nelson in “Sea Hunt”!!) I did eventually get the s\v Cockpit free from the net but there was still a pile of a mess on the shaft. Also on the shaft was a line cutter. Guess it was taking the day off. 

Mark bringing the dinghy around, you can see part of the net in the water.


Diving boat.


Anchor caught up in net.


The return.

Mark in the dinghy and I am on the starboard side 
ready to go under (away from the dinghy prop).

I am going down again on starboard side and you 
can see the net still lurking in the water.

(Debbie is on our boat taking pictures...I would have shown off had I known at the time!)

So Mark got in the dinghy and tied up to the boat and pulled it sideways to keep it clear from the net. I dove down from the other side (starboard) and tried to cut some more line off the shaft. I did get some good cuts but on the second try there was so much prop turbulence from the dinghy I could not see. 

At this point I was real tired so I said to try putting the big boat  into reverse and gunning it to see if the shaft would spin free. It did (well enough to get us out of the net area as it turned out) and then they tried to raise the anchor.


Holly cow!  They had anchored right in the net! As the CQR anchor was coming up it was entangled in the net! 
Mark's buddy borrowed my Sailors Solutions HOOKNIFE  and cut the net free.

OK I am all done, I am standing in the cockpit.. But the story continues. 

Here I come, not fearless but done.

Panga with fisherman (and boy, fisherboy) leaving
 Mark's boat after picking up restitution .

Starting to retrieve net.



 It was good of Mark to make good on the net and as the panga guys were picking up what was left of the net we heard him say eye-yi-yi!

Next I got a ride back to our boat s\v Elegant’sea and Mark went into the beach to make restitution.  

The next day as Debbie I were about to hoist our anchor Mark came by looking for a diver again. He said there was still some line around the shaft making it vibrate. We were leaving so we referred him to a local to finish the shaft off. Mark then headed over, as it turned out, to the same panga who owned the net and get some help. As we left s\v Cockpit had the panga along side.

I got a souvenir!

Me and handy dandy HOOKNIFE !

Mark said the restitution came to $300.00 USD and I can believe it. We shredded that net. At any time I expected a panga to come out and start giving us grief. They were on the beach but just let things unfold.  

Mark and his buddy (never knew his name) had stopped at Paradise Village Marina in Banderas Bay Mexico while we were there along with a Erickson sail boat s\v Valhalla.  s\v Valhalla had run out of fuel while at sea coming down the coast from Mazatlan where Mark and his buddy came to their rescue and gave them diesel fuel so they could make it into port. OK I know a sailboat has sails but maybe it was getting towards dark and it was new port to them or whatever. I do not know all the circumstances, just that s\v Cockpit were well thanked for the help.  So it was nice to be of some service to a fellow cruiser and especially one we know has helped others.

As for walking through the net fear, well I think that that fear is still there but at least I got some valuable experience from it. And now you can bet your swim trunks I will be watching for nets on the open sea as another net story we do not need!

 We went to a birthday party in Barra-Bahia de Navidad with three other couples. Two of the three couples had to dive and clear nets\long lines from their boats at some point. One couple said they came up on 13 long lines on one passage. Some as long or longer than 5 miles. "Long lines" are against the law here in Mexico but the fishermen do not seem to know that. Generally the fisherman will cut the lines\net to let you pass if you happen to see the panga. Last long net we came across we were 6 knot miles out off shore.

Night saiing test

December 19 2014 Barra-Bahia de Navidad Mexico

We will be leaving Barra-Bahia de Navidad for Manzanillo today. It is just a day sail so no overnight sail testing :). After a few days there we will be heading to Zihuatanejo and on that passage we will test a night head sail motor plan and then a night reefed sail plan with main and head sail. We will be doing back to back overnights so there should be good opportunities for this fun stuff.

We will test our Garmin GHC 10 under deck autopilot using “Heading Hold” and possibly “Wind Hold” on the night testing.



Anchor rode re-build\switch - 1

12\14\2014 Barra-Bahia de Navidad Lagoon, Mexico

OK we have a problem. Our anchor chain is just not going work out any more. We have been keeping a measurement log and it is just gotten too thin in places. We were hooping to get this season from it. Not so. There is probably about 100' that needs to be discarded. We have in the past cut off some from the chain. This summer we cut 5' from the anchor back as it was worn. So we have about 185' of 3\8 3B chain. Another 125' of three strand rode spliced o to that. We wil go into the Grand Isla Navidad Resort Marina for a day to string out the chain onto the dock and cut out the bad part.



We will need a utility cleat in the anchor looker of our 36' Islander Freeport sail boat for the 8 plat rode we will be using.Of course there is no where o purchase oe so we will "brrow" ne from one of the stays. We have a smaler one we can use in it's place untill we can replace it with a new one.


Finding the placement for the cleat.

Looks about right. Who knows till we try using it.

The anchor locker has a thick deck and we were lucky to have screws to fit the cleat ad deck. Not our fist choice for cleats but it will work and we are in "field" here. No resources to wrk with but our own.

The 8 plate rode has 10' of 3B chain spliced on.

New and old.

The old 3 B 3\8 chain is stretched out to the point it now skips out of the gypsy.

Some links are also way thin.

New chain sitting in gypsy. Some point in the next 6 months or so we wil order 200' of 3\8 3B chain and re-splice the rode to it.

We stored the 8 plat rode in the bilge. It was for an emergency rode for our 45 lb Bruce anchor. Our every day anchor is our 45 lb CQR. We have never dragged with our CQR and it came with the boat. It also sets every time no problem! 

Chain to 8 plat splice.

We had never marked the 8 plat line. We strung it out on deck and marked it with some "lucky we had some" line markings. They came out a bit wrong in spacing so we had to redo them all and it was hot out!

We used this sewing tool to snake the markins into the 8 plat. Worked great.

Marking the line.

Green for 60\90 then red then yellow.

Re-doing the markings.

Ahaaa, all done. We now will see if we need to use the drum or can use the gypsy. It will matter on the way we can get the line to flow into the boat.









Cockpit binical re-paint

2014 - Barra-Bahia de Navidad Lagoon, Mexico

While still in Paradise Village Marina in Banderas Bay Mexico we decided to paint the binical part that now holds the two cup holders. This area is\was a work bench and resting place for all kinds of gear. The green primer paint was showing through and different kinds of stains doted the area. 
This is one of those little projects that seem to never get done but take little effort and have a big pay off. Why it takes so long to get them done, seems like there is always a more important task to do.

Sanded and ready for paint.

We purchased the paint from a paint store next to Zaragoza Chandlery in Puerto Vallarta.
It is an oil based paint and this took a few coats.

Looks nice!

B' day party in Barra-Bahia de Navidad

12\13\2014 - Barra-Bahia de Navidad Lagoon

 Had fun at the birthday celebration of Eulalie of s/v Elizabeth Jean, along with her mate Eric and other cruisers at the restaurant "Bamboo" in town in Barra.  




Here's the crew of s/v Meridian - Heinz, Dominique and Margarit.


Here's the crew of s/v French Curve - Mark and Cheryl


Here's the crew of s/v Elegant'sea - Debbie and Chip (!!)

This is fish soup. They put the whole fish in the soup. 
You can see the eye staring back at you.


Eric arranged to have cake from the downstairs bakery - what a treat!!


It was explained to us that this is not how birthdays are celebrated in Mexico but the cake was made special.  Eric wanted "Happy Birthday" written as "Feliz Cumpleanos" yet the decorator translated it into English!!  The candles he brought were extra special! 






Kato Marine Island Davits - refit - 5

Beginning of December 2014 Bahia de Navidad Lagoon


The Kato Marine Island Davit project is complete. We are currently in Bahia de Navidad lagoon and have the dinghy with Honda 9.9 on it and the DaNard dingy wheels with the other gear inside (fuel tank, oars, fender 20’ lock and cable etc). and the davits are holding up just fine. We can lower the stern steps and raise them, securing them with the sliding bolts and the rail slides. OK we have one bummed out rail slide because our stern steps are not working perfectly. The hinge on the stern steps needs to be re-built so the stern steps hang to one side. This has nothing to do with the davits, the Achilles dinghy weight puling on the stern rail. This was a problem before we re-did the dinghy davits. We could not open or close the stern steps because with the dingy loaded it was causing the stern rail to prevent the steps from closing properly and we were concerned that without the steps secured the stern rail would fail.


John helping with the engineering.

Not now - we can drop the stern steps and come and go as we 
please with the full dingy raised! Swim or paddle board or kayak as we please!

Bracket we had made for chain plate bolt.

Bracket we had made for chain plate bolt with SS support. 
This is still a mock-up.

Sizing up the placement for the brackets to hold the support. 
They will be welded to the davit support.

The SS bracing is from old salvaged stanchions. We cut them to fit. This saved us some coin as we were overrun as it was from welding costs. We will remove them next summer and have them buffed and we will polish them. They do have a few gouges but again this is not a YC boat and the gouges are not all that noticeable.



Red line indicates what was welded onto the
 Kato Marine Island Davit for stern rail support.






Red line indicates what was welded onto the Kato Marine Island Davit and stern mount.


We welded 8" onto the existing  Kato Marine Island Davit stern supports. We got the original ones from  Kato Marine Island Davit who had made some for another 36'  Islander Freepport.

We welded one foot to the bottom of the  Kato Marine Island Davit davits. But we had cut 6" off previously to originally mount them so it is really 6" you would need to add to the length. Also we welded a support from that bottom stretch to the exisiting outside support. The curved section.

We need to make some minor adjustment. Perhaps we will re-position the stern anchor.
We need to replace some screws with the proper size ones.
We do have the Garhauer Marine LiftingDavit mounted which will not be the case most of the time but good now for our testing

Gabriel, John's assistant, helped putting 
the Kato Marine Island Davits together after welding.




In the Bahia de Navidad Lagoon.

Next summer we are adding a power winch to the engine side of the davits. We have the winch now and most of the wiring but need some SS welding done first. We just ran out of time to install it before we left Paradise Village Marina in Banderas Bay Mexico. With the electric winch we can change/remove the 6.1 blocks and use one block and just a hook on the dinghy. This will raise the motor end of the dinghy up much higher on the davits, plus we will just click the remote!


Stern steps down, no problem!

Stren steps floating.

Also now we can raise the Achilles dinghy with the steps in the water, this makes life easier. There were many a times when some line got fouled or other issue and we had to re-lower the stern steps to deal with the issue. This was a real pain in a lumpy anchorage and you are tired from a day of it and it is dark. No more, we just step down and fix the issue.  We can also now lower the steps before lowering the Achilles 10.2 dinghy. This means we do not have to push off the dinghy with the Shurhold boat hook to get the dinghy out of the way. This was a pain. Now just lower the dinghy and step in! As much as we anchor and use the dinghy this all makes life so much easier.

Now our stern anchor rode clears the dinghy. Before with the dinghy sat too low in the davits and the stern anchor rode would chafe the bottom of the dinghy. No more, not a problem.


We have marked the areas that we have had welded so if another 36’ Island Freeport owner wished to add the davits then this is what works. You can still duck your head under the dinghy to see if a freighter is bearing down on you.



The dinghy gets turned around when the motor is mounted on the boat, not on the dinghy. The bow clears the Honda 9.9 outboard nicely.

We did not need to add a lot of SS tubing and we did not need to muck up the view or clutter up the stern rail. There is enough of that with bimini solar supports and Air Breeze wind generator support SS tubing :)