We are moving again - 40 days at anchor - Barra Bahia de Navidad lagoon

End of January 2013 Barra Bahia de Navidad lagoon.

Ok we have been at anchor in various places for well over 40 days straight. We have been out of the US for 3 months and have only been at a marina for only 23 days of those 3 months . That was because the marinas offered us deals for the Baja Ha Ha 2012. Like El Cid offered I think 3 days free if we stayed for 10 days total.
 We are currently at anchor at the Barra Bahia de Navidad lagoon. The Marina at the Grand Bay Resort is offering a deal. The advertised price is a whopping $2.40 a foot US. Then it went to $1.80 ft per day. Then to .90 cents ft per day now reduced to 68 cents per day per foot for a Super Bowl special. OK that got our attention.

 We have not had a hot shower other than a sun shower for 40 days.
We shower by hosing ourselves with the sltl water wash down and then soaping up. Then rinse off with salt water, then a final rinse with fresh water from the sun shower. Or sometimes we get a salt water bath if the ocean we are anchored in is pretty clear of debris (and fish)...then it's a fresh water rinse with the sun shower.

Or our latest gig now that we are in the Barra Bahia de Navidad lagoon is go to the Sands Hotel which is cruiser friendly and they have a dinghy landing. We buy a drink or have some food and go into the pool.
Our dingy is the second one with the gray outboard motor (Honda).
 At the dinghy landing you need to stern anchor on the dinghy so it does not get damaged by the sea wall. They have WiFi for 20 pasos a day.
Last place we had dinner (Sea Watch, Mexico Lindo) overlooked the pounding surf. They had a belly dancer and an art show with artist painting as we watched, very cool.
So a short walk to the Abarote (groceries) and dinner in town then back to the dinghy, no problem, makes life easier than the beach landings etc. Can even take a water taxi if we wish.
Debbie doing the after-pool shower thing.
You go for a swim in the fresh water pool (after rinsing off in the shower) then take a shower when you are finished swimming, it is an outside shower in cold water but it is usualy 87 deg so it is not too bad. It is all fresh water and you can leave it running while you soap up sneaking in the private parts etc. A nice rinse off and wala we get a shower! Life is good.
Sands Hotel pool and bar.

We can even order pastry or buy what’s on hand from the French Baker who comes by each day in a panga.  He has a shop on land and does this as a service for the boaters in the marina and in the lagoon.
Of course we bought some goodies!
Laundry is done in a bucket with salt water then a fresh water rinse then wring by hand and hang on line. I will not go on but you get the idea.
Looking at the Grand Isla Navidad Resort accross the bay.
My famous foot photo (You know from the beer ad?) as Debbie and I watched the sun go down on the beach at Melaque\Barra Bahia de Navidad.

We call this man the Puppet Man as he gives puppet shows. We first met him in El Cid and have since seen him around some anchorages.

 Our boat in the fore'ground.
Yes the hand rail needs some lovin.
Our Mickey Mouse Ears (Breeze Boosters)
Barra Bahia de Navidad lagoon.
A boat at anchor in the Barra Bahia de Navidad lagoon.
Bruce and Bridiget on S\V Sojourn, they came by for breakfest and then left for Tenacatita.

At the lagoon a restaurant, Maria's Tienda offers laundry pickup by panga and propane pick up and will even take a Cosco order once week. Life here is a lot easier than at the normal in the middle of no-where anchorage.

So a week of five star resort living at the Grand Isla Navidad Resort marina will be here tomorrow as we are getting a slip for a week and that will be even better. Then back to the rough lagoon living J.

We got some help with our Spectra Ventura 200T Water Maker

Chris on s\s Legacy came by – he is the factory-trained by Spectra - fellow cruiser who went over our water maker with us.

He checked the installation of our Spectra Ventura 200T Water Maker and found it to be fine. Chris gave us some pointers on removing the new cylinder and installing it back on. He also suggested an O-ring kit that has all the O-rings for the Spectra water maker and parts to rebuild things like the check valves etc.

 The next day we contacted Michael at Spectra water maker support that we have been dealing with and asked for that kit for free for all our troubles. He said sure. We do admit that Spectra water maker support has been real good. They answer us in a timely manner and have good suggestion. It is just that we are the moon (or it feels like that sometimes) as far as our location is concerned.

Chris came up with a way for us to get the new cylinder which will include the piston and all necessary parts assembled with it. Chris has a friend from Alaska who is coming to Barra Bahia de Navidad around Valentine’s day bringing with him a Spectra water maker order of parts for Chris. He will also be getting shipped to him our new cylinder. So the cylinder is going to Alaska then to Barra, Mexico. Seems reasonable right? That makes us extremely happy because dealing with a shipping agent and the extra cost for shipping in Mexico and the agent fees was a little much.
Chris also showed us how to tighten up the socket-head screws as the sleeves they are screwed into are also connected to the socked head screws on the opposite cylinder. So a wrench on each side is needed to insure a tight fit. This did help a bit on slowing the leak – yes, the loaner cylinder from Chris also leaks. Less wet vac work though.

So Debbie gets a Valentine’s day gift, who said chivalry is dead, not me J

Our first Shade Tree setup

From Barra Bahia de Navidad  lagoon – end of January 2013.
Pg 138 of the Pacific Mexico Guide book

 We set up our stern ShadeTree (ST) for the first time and it took quite a while to get set up. We had to read the instructions as we went. It is hard to complain so we will not as we are on the Mexican Rivera (Gold Coast) in the most beautiful weather and scenery you can imagine.

 Any way we did break a sweat as it was getting warm in the sun but we got it up. We need to make some cuts by the aft side stays for the Shade Tree to get by these stays. We wanted the ST to fit up against the mast and then to the topping lift before the solar panels on the bimini. A lot of people we see just get them from the stay to the back stay or however far to the stern they wish, eliminating the cut for the side stay. There may be other cuts that need making though.
This ST sure helps kepp the sun out.
We could then oen up the dodger by removing the windows and getting all the breeze!

 We want maximum shade for summering over during hurricane season so next to the mast on the forward one and the stern one.
 Remember we posted that Debbie got these from ST as over stock and saved us big. We were able to get the aft and forward ones. They are not custom for our boat though.

 This one seems custom. It is the right length and seems to be a good height.
The first day we had it up the winds picked up and we got 12-19 knots at anchor most of the afternoon. We were more concerned about dragging in the lousy holding of this lagoon than of any damage to the ST. As it turned out the next afternoon we got 15-23 knots all afternoon.
We covered the solar panel on top of the dodger with a blanket (Debbie was kind enough not to protest) so the ST would not get torn on the edges of the solar panel. The ST flexed although as we do not have it set up properly yet.  Even though the wind was strong, the ST did not make us drag anchor.
Wind blowing ST side ways.
 There were two other boats here in this anchorage a couple days ago that had stern ST’s on their boats but we did not get a chance to check them out. One was the Spectra Water Maker rep Chris on S\V Legacey.

There is a new boat at anchor here now that set their ST up at the same time and the ST did move around as much, we will dinghy over today.
The ST came down easy as Debbie suggested we remove it rods and all then remove the rods. Debbie even got it folded up and back into the same bag. We folded it like a sheet (Debbie said).

We did make water and did not lose any AMPS. We wanted to test out power as we lose one whole 135 WATT solar panel (Top of the dodger) and parts of another as the boat turns and shades part of one.
We made water from noon to 4PM and we started at 13.04 volts and ended at 12.90 volts so still at 100 percent charged. We would start at about 10 am till 3 pm next time for better sun with the ST up. Still very impressive as the Spectra Ventura 200T uses 10 amps per hour to make 8 GPH. We also used the electronics to track the wind and radios. The refer is always on and we were charging the pads and laptop etc. Just electric a usual. It was a test and passed nicely.

By topping lift.

 We did the measuring for the side stays and took down the ST and will do the cuts and sewing at a later date.
Now for the forward Shade Tree!

Washdown pump working

End of January 2013
It is a ShurFlow Extreme Pro Blaster delivers 4.0 GPM. We got the 4.0 because we though we could use it as a fresh water pump in case ours dies but we since bough nother for back up. It is after all a real important pump, the fresh water pump. Now we are thinking of adding another wash down pump to the stern. We like the bow one so much. We have it hooked to a Y valve so we get fres or salt water, of course the frsh uses the fresh water pump. If do the stern it is possible we could get a 5.0 GPM for the bow and use the 4.0 GPM for the stern.
We had a 5.0 GPM pump for the fresh water but it gave us problems because of our plumbing. We switched to the 4.) GPM and all is fine. For ash down though it is all ½ hose so no plumbing problems.
Debbie heat shrinking some wires, we are at anchor.

Connected to the through hull valve with a sea strainer.

Connected to Y valve in anchor locker.

We first just connected some wires to the pump and when we wanted to use it we ran them over to a fuse block in the head and connected them. It worked but not what we wanted. Then we installed a push pull switch in the head inside the aft cupboard. That’s are fare as we got.
Then while Debbie was working on the Spectra Ventura 200T water maker we wired the ShurFlow Extreme Pro Blaster delivers 4.0 GPM to the hose battery bank through the buses. With no switch wired yet we use a fuse which sits by the through hull valve to turn it on and off. It only really runs when you open the hose nozzle.
Of course I hooked it up backwards :) so we had to flip it upside down. Not what the ump wants. When we move it it will be correct. It is in the right direction now but the in is the out etc.
 The ShurFlow Extreme Pro Blaster 4.0 GPM sits in the forward hanging locker. It is on the aft bulkhead and because of the HVACK ducking we want to move it to the forward facing bulkhead because of some space in there. This will free up some hanging locker space.
Next we want to move the pump a few feet and then wire u the switch. It is all complicated x ten while cruising!

Dingy plug fell out into the sea and sank etc

End of January 2013

We found a plug that worked in the hardware store in Chamela. The first trip was not successful because we did not know how to say stopper (plug) in Spanish.

We returned another day and brought the stopper that we got at Mega in PV with us. This time they knew what we were talking about and they had two different ones. We got one of each. The one that fit they had a bag of so on another trip to the hardware store we purchased two more.
Rowing to the beach
 We beached the dinghy using the dinghy and took a wood coffee stirrer and some paper towels with us which we used to dig out the emergency goop and install the new stopper that fit YA!

 Now you may say no big deal for a stopper on the dinghy. Well if you had been in the bad weather we had at anchor and experienced the ordeal of having to bail out the dinghy and then remove it from the davits as Debbie did in the storm because of a lousy plug in the stern it would seem a much bigger deal. Something that simple can make cruising life a lot more difficult. There are lots of different situations that we run into that never happen at a marina.

 We posted this while in Chamela but here is part of it to remind you of the problem we had.

Back in Chamela, we had to keep pumping out the dinghy that was on the davits because the plug I lost was filled with emergency goop to stop water from entering, also it stopped water from leaving. That meant it did not drain out the water. The rain water would start to slosh around in the dinghy making for a dangerous situation with the weight. We lowered the dinghy after deciding that we were going to catch cold and could not keep up the pumping all night. It was about every 45 min we needed to re-pump. Debbie then climbed into the dinghy (complete with her kayak life vest for safety!!) and let go of the davit blocks, careful not to get caught up in a big swell. She scrambled out of the dinghy using the stern steps and we let it hang off the stern.

Also if you take on a lot of water in the dinghy while leaving the beach in a heavy surf then to get it out you can remove the stopper while on plane and the water will drain out, You may want to bail also J but not if the plug has been sealed up.

 To make matters worse this all could have been avoided it the Dinghy Doctor had installed the dingy wheels with some fore thought. 
We moved the screw to the starbord side of the bracket.

The reason we discovered that the stopper fell into the sea is because the Dingy Doctor did not move the string that holds the stopper on when installing the wheels. The string went right across the dinghy wheel bracket once they (the brackets) were installed. All it took was removing the screw that holds the string to the stopper and moving it over to the other side of the dinghy wheel bracket.  We did that and shortened the new red string a bit and it will never happen again. The dingy wheels fold down onto the bracket like scissors cutting the string after a few uses. Then by fumbling the stopper while removing it while the dingy was on the davits the stopper fell into the sea, sinking in murky water to be lost forever.


 We also moved the stern lifting point where the dinghy is raised to the davits. We put the eyes that hold the lifting harness down by the bottom of the transom instead of at the top. It raises the dinghy much higher on the davits so the dinghy sits nicely higher over the stern anchor rode and for short sails of say two – three hours it would travel nicely even if the sea pick up some. For heavy seas it should be on the fore deck.

With lowered lifting points on stern, see how it clears the stern anchor rode.

 This does make the dingy a bit un-stable when lifting it on the davits with the engen on it. The dingy wants to tip one way or the other. To make it more stable we lengthened the lifting harness so the lifting SS ring is in front of the engine. This gives the dingy stability. Could be we will install two more SS lifting eyes back up on the top side of the transom where they were for this but we only raise the dinghy with the motor on it for security and then we lock it up each night. It would be fine in a blow at anchor. 

 While servicing the Honda 9.9outboard motor we had the cover off, I started fiddling with a sticker on it and found they come off easily. So guess what. Yep I removed them all! Now it is a lot less conspicuous and we think looks nicer without all the advertising.

 It is kind of like when you get a car or truck and it has all the little writing on the back. Now who really cares if your car has a V8 or fuel injection or airbags or whatever other items they are advertising. For that matter who cares what brand your car is other than you? So off they came and it goes along with the idea of making your dinghy the less conspicuous of the bunch and it could get passed over by a thief.

We have only known of two people that have had dingy problems. Both were anchored off a major port city, Mazatlan and one scared them off, they were boarded by them as the dinghy was on the fore deck, the story we got first hand.  The other lost it while it was up on a harness alongside the boat as the story goes, a panga pulled up under it and cut the harness free. Lift and Lock is definitely the way to go!!

Moving from Melaque to Barra de Navidad Lagoon

Middle January 2013 - Melaque

 When we first took the bus to Melaque to go to the bank from Chamela we saw the anchorage and this is what it looked like.
You really need a stern anchor here as the swells refract around the point.
Our boat, when we arrived a week or so later we arrived in Melaque.
We called this the window to the sea and it would get quite the show when the seas would crash on the rocks.
 You can see the stern anchor rode out here at Melaque.
The next picture is of us after we walked out to the end of this walkway.
Our Boat the Islander Freeport is over my right shoulder
 (a gentleman took this photo for us).
Ya! no more dingy landing in the surf! 
We are moving from Melaque to Barra de Navidad Lagoon.  There are a few reasons for the move – primarily because the cruiser fellow who has experience in working on Spectra water makers is there.  We met him yesterday when he came over to Melaque.  He brought us a spare part for us to try (which we did and did not solve our problem).  So he suggested he take a look at it which means bringing the boat over to where he is.  Next, the access to town is better – meaning we don’t have to do a beach landing with our dinghy.  There is a local hotel that is cruiser friendly and they let you tie up to their sea wall if you support them by buying a drink or meal every now and then.  Or there is panga service right to your boat – for a price of course (20 pesos round trip…not bad yet can add up since there’s the two of us).  That will allow us to enjoy the town after dark – something we were only able to do back in Chacala or La Cruz.  There is also water and propane service, which we might need soon.
The stern windlass comes in handy for stern anchoring.
The down side of using a stern anchor for a week is all the sea life and muck it brings back. Now to clean it up before we put it back into the stern lazerett.
Barra de Navidad is 2.5 nm across the bay.
Approaching Barra de Navidad.
Debbie took us in. She entered way points into the Garmin chart plotter from the Pacific Mexico Cruiser's Guide as well as a quide some cruisers published about this area. The channel is narrow and the whole area is very shallow. The channel sides are steep so veering off is an automatic grounding. To make matters worse the lagoon channel is not marked nor is the anchorage in the lagoon. Also we do not have a depth sounder. The next night we were there a sail boat ran aground trying to get in. Debbie got us in fine.
Entrance to channel to starboard.
There is a good surf spot right off the jetty to port.
You can see some surfers there.
Going in the channel.
Water taxi pick up on right of channel.
This seperate channel goes to the Sands hotel and to Barra.
There is a town off to the side in the lagoon called Colimilla to the right in the picture.
One of the many sand bars. Most you can not see. It seems the whole place is a sand bar with a few deep spots, if you call 7' deep.
Boats anchored in the Lagoon.
Bridle not on yet. Bruce in the water.
Our primary anchor is our 45 lb CQR and our secondary is our 45 lb Bruce. We have never used the Bruce before. It sits up at the bow side by side with the CQR. Because the bottom here in the lagoon is mud with sand and clay under that it is recommended to use a claw anchor so we used our Bruce. We wanted to use the chain because of the mud, it makes a mess of 8 plat or other rope rode. The chain helps hold it better also. The rule here is to let out 100’ chain and a claw anchor. We just changed the swivel from the CQR to the Bruce by changing a shackle. The shackle came off easy, yep easy and went on easy. Then we put the chain over instead of under the wheel in the anchor locker in the Bruce went down just fine. Nice to have the anchors work that well.