Honda oil change - not happening

End of February from Barra-Bahia de Navidad, Mexico. Anchored in the lagoon.

We have tried twice now to change the oil on the Honda 9.9 outboard engine. We assembled all the things needed and put them into a bucket and then the bucket went into the Achilles dinghy. We used the dinghy wheels to hold the motor off the beach. The first time we tried we went to Fortino’s Restaurant in Colimilla, which is a town by the Grand Isla Navidad Resort. (We had our laundry done there because there is not a place in Barra that you can do your own laundry. Anyway they didn't return some of Debbie’s things so we went over to claim them.) When we did we dragged up the dinghy on the beach using the dinghy wheels and then I tried to remove the drain screw on the motor. We were going to drain the oil into a old antifreeze gallon container. The screw would not budge!

The next time we stopped at a beach on the way to the Sands Hotel - we were going to the town of Barra for some grocery things.  Anyway we brought an impact-driver screw driver to get that pesky oil drain screw out. Went through the same routine only even after repeatedly hitting the impact with a glass hammer the screw will not budge!?? So now what? A bigger hammer?
Whats with this dam screw!

Getting the dinghy davit down

End of February 2013 – Bahia de Navidad lagoon

After some dinghy davit use we are getting it down. We now only raise the dinghy with the stern (of the dinghy) on the port side (of the sail boat). This makes securing it with straps easier because it fits now only one way.

You can see the two staps here in an X. We will have two made from jack line soon. We are playing with the lenght for now. One is a sail tie.

Straps keep the dinghy from moving around in wakes or swells or higher winds. This is a good way for when the engine is mounted on the stern also. It used to be we would raise the dinghy with the bow on the port so the engine weight would be on the light side of the boat, the starboard. Raising the dinghy with the motor and fuel tank and dinghy anchor and chain with rode along with the seat bag stuff was a chore. Debbie could do it but we would need to use the winch and crank it up on the engine side. A lot of cranking but it was way easier than a straight pull and that is with 6.1 Harkin davit blocks. Debbie and I were talking about how to make it better and I suggested an electric winch handle I had seen advertised, saying I wish we had an electric winch. Debbie mentioned we had the electric windlass. I thought where have I been?? Yes it is an electric winch and gets little use.

 The stern windless gets used only for stern anchoring which we have done twice and I hope not to do any more than absolutely necessary because of the rode getting messed up. We sit in a place for a couple weeks and the rode gets dirty and stuff growing in it. You do not want to just dump it straight into the lazerett. So it is a pain to clean up. If it were not for our fancy stern windless set up thanks to the previous owner I think that you would use a reel you put on the stern rail would be the way to go.
You can see the snatch block here. Also the stern anchor is still ready to deploy in an emergency if needed.
 So we put a snatch block on the stern rollers for the anchor rode for a fair lead to the davit block and that was all we needed. We then just put the davit line down to the windless and off it goes pulling up the dinghy. I or Debbie can actually bring the dinghy up by ourselves. We usually do not but it is easy to. Usually one has the bow davit and one the stern windless. There is no pulling on the windless, you just tail the line. This has become very easy and simple. We do this for security reasons. Lift it and lock it!

The dinghy wheels are on because we are going to the beach and use them to haul up so we can change the oil on the Honda outboard.

We are enjoying the 9.9 hp Honda motor s the Sans Hotel for a dinghy landing is well over a mile away from our bot where it is anchored in the Barra-Bahia de Navidad lagoon. The Grand Isla Navidad Resort is well over a half mile away so scooting along is nice. The wind often picks up in the afternoon making for a fetch and the dinghy handles well in it. When we leave often the lagoon is flat so we can open it up and fly along and have the wind in our hair! On the way back if the wind is up we still plain only we use less throttle. On some pang wakes we do slow down as we are still new to this but getting good.

DVD Movies

End of February 2013 – Barra/Bahia de Navidad lagoon

 We digitized all our movies and or daughters movies. We have at least 125 movies? Not sure as some we cannot find. We watch  movie and if it is old enough I usually do not even remember it. The point though is we digitized the movies so we did not have hundred or so DVDs around the boat to store. Go ting but…now we have no movies to trade. The cruisers get together at dinghy raft ups or mention over the nets that they have movies to trade. So when we are on out visa visit to the US in a few months we will pick up say a dozen DVD movies at the swap meet or some lace (sending about the price of going to the movies :) on them. Then we will always have movies to swap keeping some fresh ones unhand, of course we will stomp them too J

Heat exchange stack tube tested good

End of February 2013 – Barra/Bahia de Navidad lagoon

We had gotten the heat exchange stack tube in yesterday and we were waiting to get the system tested. We figure we could pump out the good antifreeze if there was a leak. If we ran the engine and there was a leak it is likely the antifreeze would get contaminated and we would need to drain it all out and dispose of it.

We stopped by to see Marcus and Cyndi on the S\V Rebecca, which just came in from the South - Ensenada Carriza - and are now at anchor here in the Barra-Bahia de Navidad lagoon. We were coming back from the pool in the dinghy at the time. We had originally met Marcus and Cyndi in Chamela and have seen them since a couple times. We got to talking about our heat exchanger stack tube and he said he had a pressure tester. Enough said, I quickly borrowed it and when we got back to the boat Debbie and I pressure tested the fresh water system. It tested great, no leaks. So 4th time is a charm!
We first needed to trim a little wood away from the cap area so the tester cap would fit on. Then we pumped ten pounds into the system.
It is a 13 psi system or at least cap so ten was a good test pressure.
All went well, after a while still ten pounds!
 This time we centered the stack tube and then tightened evenly. I made a mark on the stack tube so we could see it through the radiator cap. This allowed us to make sure it was still lined up.  I also made sure the o-ring was on the inside of the forward flange up against the stack tube.
Tomorrow we will replace the impeller (we were only supposed to check it at the 250 mile maintenance and replace it only if needed however we think it's best to replace it because it got contaminated with anti-freeze) and then we will be done, for now.

Little jam session - Barra-Bahia de Navidad Marina

Early February 2013 -  Barra-Bahia de Navidad Marina

We went to a cruisers boat Don and Katie on S\V Valhalla at the Barra-Bahia de Navidad Marina where we were also staying for a guitar jam session. Good time by all four of us and I learned a couple tings and got a compliment on my voice which was need by me, as I am a bit self-conscious about singing at times. They had also gone on the Baja Ha Ha 2012 with us.

Beta heat exchange tube stack - 4th time!

Middle of February 2013 – Barra/Bahia de Navidad lagoon

OK 4th time is a charm! Yep we had to remove the heat exchanger tube stack(TS) yet one more time.

We were going to replace or at least inspect the impeller and loosened the cap for it.

What came out? Antifreeze came out, oh no!! Yep, and so there you have it. The raw water and fresh water were possibly mixing which I think they are but at least the fresh water (antifreeze) is mixing with the raw water. So it was either the O-rings were not sealed ot the TS was damaged.

We took the TS out and gave it to Jonco Marine who was at the Barra-Bahia de Navidad Marina doing some chain plate work on a boat. Jonco tested the TS and cleaned it. We got it back the next day. He said it tested to be OK so it is the o-rings. They are still good but they did not seal. So operator error – again. This time I will try a little different approach. Centering the TS then evenly tighting the bolts.

 The good thing is the TS got a good cleaning which I was not able to do. I have cleaned the TS and end caps up with 220 sand paper this time I was a bit timid to be so aggressive with the cleaning before. Next will be the heat exchanger flanges then a re-assembly.

Of course we had to remove all the antifreeze we could from the system. Also we re-routed a heater hose removing a loop and getting it away from two fresh water hoses it was touching, possibly heating the water up. The hose from the engine to the water heater.

Aside from that and scraping the water line water got cold we have been hanging out t the Barra-Bahia de Navidad pool and Debbie is working on getting well. We have two pool cards now as a friend let us use them and we get the use of the hot showers and pool with towels etc. We just dingy over and have apool day Not a bad way to spend the day!

We did take a trip to Manzanillo by bus but that is another story.

Barra - Sands Hotel for ribs

Middle of February 2013 – Barra/Bahia de Navidad lagoon

We went to the Sands Hotel in Barra for a Cruiser's rib dinner.

Edgar and Jackie run the restaurant there and I heard make a killer burger. I will definitely need to check it out.
Debbie to immediate right (her hair any way) :)
It was good fun and we did some dancing even though Debbie has had a bad cold. Debbie sucked it up and went to the dinner and they made up a veggie plate for her.

 The band was the “Banditos” and they were pretty good. They played a bunch of old rock tunes we could dance to. It is so nice here with live music for most things. Not disk jockeys etc.

 We took the dinghy over and after a couple stops for socializing at some boats at anchorage we blasted in. The 9.9 Honda outboard on the Achilles 10.2 just flies along. Being in the lagoon it was flat so we were just skimming along. We took a starboard turn to try a new route by an island and the spray from the dinghy was flying off the port side! Wild and crazy dinghying! We did make it without flipping the dinghy over and the run back is always weird in the dark (less than half moon) as there are no lights in the lagoon for markers. You will run aground in the dinghy if you are not careful.

Debbie was holding a flash light for us to see and be seen with. We actually did run aground twice leaving but were going slow at that time. Yes there is no need to speed except it is fun to have the wind in you hair and skim along at more than five knots. Just like sailing the Islander Freeport at over six - seven knots is way fun so is the dinghy stuff.


Our boat in Marina Puerto da la Navidad

Biggining of February 2013 – Barra Bahia de Navidad Marina

Our boat as it sat in the Marina Puerto da la Navidad. We were there in early February.

Our ding off to the side. We only had it there during one day as we worked on the anchor chain etc. Lift it and lock it! At least lock it!


Barra - Santiago by Manzanillo?

Middle of February 2013 – Barra/Bahia de Navidad lagoon
As we are in the lagoon with our Islander Freeport 36' sail boat.
In these pictures it is a great day, currently though it is blowing an easy 25 knots through here. White caps and oh well the 45 Bruce is holding us as it likes to - nice and firm! It is sunny and other wise a beautiful day. Some white caps and chop but no swell or current to speak of.
We were going to sail down to Santiago by Manzanillo. We had planned on going this Tuesday the 19th of February 2013. We talked about it but Debbie has had a cold and the grib files show six foot seas and 15 plus knot winds. We decided to blow it off. I am not sure if we will go there at all now. We waited here for our water maker part as the rep was around here and the part was coming here.  Santiago is 5-7 hour sail (24 nm) and of course we do not have an autopilot now so 5-7 on the way back also.

Here is a good place for weather for Santiago at Stans -

 Now it is blowing 25+ here at Barra and the seas are 6’+ and ugly. Tomorrow will be worse as the seas are now whipped up already.  Looks like we made another good call about not traveling!!

 We may take the bus to Manzanillo because there is a Home Depot there now which just opened and a Mega which is a large grocery store. We only have small Abarote (groceries) around here and are missing some items they do not carry. There is also a store we do not shop at that will remain nameless in Manzanillo.
We will re-look at th idea of sail to Santiago later in the week.
Or, next cruising season we plan on getting a jump on it as we will be in PV and not need to do the 1000+ nm trip to PV before we even get started. We plan on going to Acapulco and Zihuatanejo for Sail festival. When we do that we can stop at Santiago on the way. Santiago is an anchorage next to Manzanillo. Manzanillo is a big shipping port and we do not want to be by a shipping port with all the container ships etc.



OK so lets talk nets, fish nets

Midof February 2013 – Barra Bahia de Navidad lagoon

The nets can be a mile long or longer.

They can be fish hooks on long lines instead of nets.
There can be no panga around who set the nets or lines etc.

A panga sitting on the beach in Chamela.

Then usually not marked, they have by them clear empty Coke bottles that are the floats, if you get lucky they may have some empty Sprite bottles (they are green and easier to see).
Otherwise, they are extremely hard to see.

This is just a bait holder net but you get the idea of the Coke bottles etc.

The nets are also hard to get out of your prop or from around your keel and the fish hooks are even worse.
You can see the net of Sprite bottles piled up in the panga.
This was in Melague and these fisherman were just netting bait (guy at bow) for the next trip out.
He will fling that white net out and it will fan out into a big circle, they are really good at it.
 We have luckily only encountered one fish net/long line. It was on our passage from Chacala to Punta de Mita (Banderas Bay).  

We were motor sailing and were one boat length away from running into the net when we spotted the Coke bottle floating upside down. OH no! We turned hard to port and continued on for almost a mile or more before the net stopped. It was a good point of sail thoughJ.
These nets can change your passage from a say five hour passage to an eight hour passage easily. There are usually more than one and it takes time to go around them. We like to be ten miles off shore when doing passages but it creates it’s own problem. The anchorages are usually not marked and at night can be a bit dangerous. So arriving during the day is or can be important. At five knots going from three miles off shore to ten is another hour easily each way. Add that to a six hour passage and it may be the difference of sailing or motoring to get there before dark, not counting nets J.

So at three miles off shore there is a lot better chance of nets/long lines. Ten miles off we have never seen any but have shrimpers to contend with.
Some people have reported hitting a net and the panga coming over like a spider on a web and cutting the net to let them pass through. As we have said before people here are very nice. There can be a panga nearby and it may look empty with someone actually sleeping inside. That is a sign there is a net. The pangas  are usually not lit so at night forget it.


Here is a small version of this. While sitting in the Barra/Bahia de Navidad lagoon this fisherman was laying net by our boat at anchor. He rowed around in a circle with a milk jug as a beginning marker. He was letting the net fall out of the stern of the row boat as he went along rowing hard.

After a while he then started to retrieve the net and fish. You can see a little float on the net. There were quite few of these to keep one side on the surface. To see them while blasting along in a dingy would, let’s say be very difficult perhaps. So you do not blast along, like we did last night :)
So what do you do? Well the weather is real nice and so you just hang out looking around. The water is warm so it is not a problem to dive over in day light. The fishermen are nice so they are not going to hassle you, they will try to help. The whole place is beautiful so you just go with it and maybe it takes a few more hours in paradise to get there. We are on sail boats after all so time is just time. We get more time out on the water J.




Divers installed two through hulls for AC and WD

Before we left on the Baja ha ha on 10-29-12 in San Diego we had divers come by and put in two under water through hulls(TH) with valves and add a scoop to a third, the water maker one. The divers did a nice job. We got two 3/4 “ through hulls installed. One for the 12000 btu Mermaid HVAC unit and one for the wash down pump.
 We got them and the divers from a shop a few doors down from Marine Exchange that sells zinc's.
I though I wrote this post befroe but could not find it while moving some pictures.

First they drilled a pilot hole with an air drill.

Almost needed exta long TH because the hull is so thick.

We put caps on the new TH's for saftey reasons.


Chamela Bay video and shrimp boats

When we were in Chamela Bay in the beginning of January 2013

Here is a video of Melaque. After a week or so we up anchored bow and stern and went to the Barra Bahia de Navidad lagoon.


While we were in Chamela bay a bunch, about a dozen to fourteen shrimp boats came in one after the other. Hmmm what’s up? It was the holidays and they stayed for about a week.

  There were a few of us at anchor in Chamela bay at the time and we all went to figuring out what was going on. We asked the locals who had no idea really.

The kids said there was lots of shrimp but that made no sense or they would be out shrimping.

One cruisers said they were from Mazatlan and there was bad weather so they were waiting it out. Well the weather was not that bad and Mazatlan is a long enough way off. It sounded good though.

One local said it was the moon phase and they were waiting for a full moon. Hmm
So we never found out but you could pick one :) or make up your own!


Beta 250 hour maintance, not that easy, Party, Ribs

Middle of February 2013 –Barra/Bahia de Navidad lagoon

We started our 250 hours maintenance of our Beta 38 hp motor. We are in the Barra lagoon at anchor.
We probably have about 325 hours on the motor now.

The first thing we did was replace the fuel filter.
It was straight forward and we back filled the filter with diesel fuel. Then we used the hand pump Beta has for bleeding the fuel filter and then the injector pump. All went well and we started the motor up and it ran fine.
job well done.
After looking for the next task Debbie said “Oh, you did not need to do that yet”. I had misread the maintance schedule so oh well we have a new fuel filter early and will still keep to the schedule, a new filter never hurts.
Then it was remove and clean the heat exchanger tube stack. Not so easy.
Here you can see what looks like salt deposits by the aft flange. It shows it does need some attention.
 Here you can see what looks like salt deposits under it also.
 First though we had to track down some more antifreeze. That took three bus rides to three towns and then the store was on the highway. That only took over three hours. That day was shot but we stopped at the Sands and had some pool time.

Now how many auto part stores can you look out and see a Vaquero! (cowboy)
We got one gal of 50\50 and found a gal of 96% straight to mix and use for our depth sounder . Different story though :)

The manual tells you how to remove the exchanger tube stack, kind of but not how to replace it. We emailed Phil Jones our mechanic in San Diego and he said we may need to move the alternator out of the way and hit the heat exchanger tube stack tube with a piece of wood and a hammer. That we needed to do.

After some pounding with the wood and hammer on the forward end of the tube stack it came out the back, not easy but it did come out.

Of coure we had to have a look see :)
A hot and sweaty job - it is at 85 or so degrees.
This all took most of the morning and then it was time to re-assemble.
 Phil "The MarineMan"also said to align the heat exchanger tube stack with the aft flange. Nowhere in the manual does this get mentioned. We did this and put the motor back together, the air cleaner, the alternator and hoses etc. We filled up the motor with antifreeze and burped it. There was leaks at both ends of the heat exchanger tube stack. OK now we had to pump all the antifreeze out of the motor and take the heat exchanger tube stack apart and try again. This time we just put the hoses back on and filled it with antifreeze, there were still leaks. This time we took a day of, manana, our new mantra! Of course we are still at anchor and now have no engine but who cares - we are in the Mexican Rivera! We went to the pool at the Grand Isla Navidad Resort as a guest of Richard on S\V La Brisa a 43’ Mason. We met Richard as he heard we had a Beta and wanted to check it out. He has since ordered a new Beta 60 hp for his boat. Any way he had a couple pool towel card sto let us use if we wished from past crew. We also got hot showers, always a good thing with plenty of hot fresh water.

Richard is on the right. We are also all going to the Ribs feed at the Sands Hotel with a band
''Desperados" Saturday night.

The entertainment, or maybe we all were:)
We took Richard up up on the offer and then went to the free party that night. Open bar and hor’douvers. Good time.

The next day we went back to work on the Beta.
Here you can see two notches in the heat exchanger tube stack on the end where the space is. The flange is supposed to line up in the space that runs through the circle and where the straight line is showing. I had lined it wrong twice and made a notch each time I did.
There are also marks on the flange.
Cleaning the aft flange.
Looking from aft int heat exchanger.
Looking from aft int heat exchanger.
Looking from forward end. We also mopped out the antifreeze.
You can see right through :)
This time we got some more information from the Beta forum about tighten the exhaust end first to make sure the heat exchanger tube stack is aligned with the flange and that is what we had been thinking. We tore it all apart again and cleaned the flanges and the heat exchanger tube stack again and really good. We put in the heat exchanger tube stack and then the stern O ring (both o-rings got some silicone grease). Tightened the flange down and it was aligned correctly.

Filling the accumulator tank with antifreeze, a little at a time, slowly.

Burping the coolant.
We could still move the flange a bit side to side but when we installed the forward O ring and tightened up and we slowly filled up with antifreeze again. We checked and re –checked and still no leaks. We then re-assembled the motor and called it done for the heat exchanger tube stack. Gee that was not easy!

 We decided while we were there to put on the Locktight on the two motor mount bolts that keep coming loose. We checked one and sure enough it was loose.
We loosened it more and Debbie put on the Locktight  (small hands).
Then we did the same to the other one.
Next we will start up the motor tomorrow after the Locktight has had a chance to dry some and check for any leaks.

 Next is replacing the impeller and changing the oil.