We are currently cruising our Islander Freeport 36 sailboat in Mexico. We have been extensively documentating our Islander Freeport outfitting for this adventure. We will now be reporting what of our outfitng is of value, what works and what is not of value.
Beginning of October 2015 - At private slip in Nuevo Vallarta in Banderas Bay, Mexico End of June 2016 - Tied up in Marina Mazatlan, Mexico Found this post that could be duplicate but I think not, just never wrote it up and posted it.
These covers Debbie made from Home Depot cloth tarps.
Here we are stapling the backs together.
We used Stainless Steel staples.
Thankfully we were able to borrow the staple gun
from Tim on s/v Houligan!
Debbie did a nice job on these covers.
They also have now lasted us all cruising season.
The curve of this salon back piece was pretty tricky!
The ottoman is Sunbrella vinyl - we had it cut down and recovered
by an upholsterer in Aramarra, a neighborhood in Puerto Vallarta.
This is the settee and it is Sunbrella Linen fabric.
Because we were needing a car to get around in. We were renting one by the week here and there but it was a pain and getting too expensive. We decided the cash we saved from car rentals, airplane fairs, luggage charges and airport shuttles would pay for this car in not a long period of time.
First off, it is made in Mexico. It is used as taxis some
places in Mexico, and parts are easy to find.
This car has a vin number starting with a 3. You need to
have a vin # starting with 1,2,3,4 or 5 to import the car into Mexico. That
means getting Mexican plates and being able to drive it in places outside the
free zones, like Mazatlan. Importing is still a big question mark and we will answer that in the future and post it here, on the blog.
This is a nondescript car. It has no distinguishing
features. You probably have seen a lot of them but never noticed. They have
been made for almost 20 years now. Parts easy to get almost anywhere. (Say
Perkins diesel engine?) They are easy to
find and easy to sell. (Can we say a Catalina 30-foot sail boat?)
The price. Well a Toyota Camry is more money. There are
similar cars by Toyota as the Sentra but more money. You could look at the HYUNDAI
ELANTRA, TOYOTA COROLLA, OR HONDA CIVIC for comparable cars in the price range.
We did not want to spend more than $2,000 cash including taxes,
insurance title change etc. We also had a time frame to purchase a car, a
couple weeks. That would avoid renting a car for another week of time. We found
this car on The Auto Trader and it was $1700.00 and the seller was firm. The
car has some body damage on the right side from one of those yellow steel poles
they hit. It does not affect the doors working or anything working. We do not
care much how it looks.
We brought the car to a mechanic before we purchased it. The
mechanic said the car was in very good condition and worth the cash. The tires
are in like-new condition also.
We wanted AC and were hoping for cruise control for the long
drives. We got both.
So this is an easy car to get parts for, easy to sell when
we want to upgrade to whatever. It will go to the grocery store and all around Mexico
no problem. It is very good on gas and will carry most things we want back to Mexico.
OK not 300 feet of 3\8 anchor chain but a lot of other stuff :)
It will, like all used cars we have purchased, need a few
items. We will need to tint the windows so the AC can keep up better with the
heat\sun coming into the car. We will need to fix a small exhaust leak. And
sometime in the distant future we will need to rebuild or replace the high
pressure fuel pump. These things we will probably do in Mexico as the labor is
way, way, way cheaper than L.A. But the car runs great and rides nice. The interior
is nice and comfortable. It does have tilt wheel, power windows etc.
We should be able to easily add 100,000 miles onto this car
with little coast to us.
We do have our "Permanent Residence" status in Mexico along with our Mexican drivers license. We realize there are issues in importing the car into Mexico so we will work with a broker/agent when the time comes.
Middle of June 2016 - Tied up in Marina Mazatlan, Mexico Two of our AERE fenders developed leaks up by the "D" ring. This seems to be a manufacturer defect, not a user-caused leak. We contacted the AERE support and of course, they are out-of-warranty. However after several emails they said to send them the fenders and they would look at them. Well, no shipping from Mexico so we waited till we went back to the US about 6 months later. Then we shipped the two fenders to AERE.
Middle of June 2016 - Tied up in Marina Mazatlan, Mexico We have liked the refurbished Samsung Galaxy Tab3 tablet with an 8" screen and 8 gb of memory. We bought it a couple years ago. Then, when Debbie's Kindle Fire stopped working (stuck in a boot loop) we decided on another one of these Samsung tablets. We are hoping to eventually get an ASUS Transformer Book 2.1 tablet to replace our aging laptop. The devices are real affordable and portable.
Debbie can watch her TV shows on it while I am taking my siesta. She uses some Bluetooth head phones or plugs in her earbuds and enjoys the show while sitting in the salon or cockpit etc. They are great for downloading TV, or movies as we can expand them with a SDcard of 32 gb. On and on it goes so they work for us. If one goes into the drink then it is not the end of the world because at just over $100.00 each they can be replaced easy enough. That is if you can one brought down from the us :)
It was getting old carrying around a Kindle White Paper tablet just to read books so.I have started using my refurbished Samsung Galaxy Tab3 tablet for reading books. Got a app called "Aldiko" that is a book reader and seems to work good with e-books and magazines etc. So far we have not had to spend one dime for apps, e-book, audio books or actually anything.except for the iSailor app maps which we use for backup in case the chart plotter were to go out.The iSailor app works great on the Android OS.
We had Mike from "Rescue Refrigeration" come by and charge our 12000 btu unit. We want to fix this unit once-and-for-all because it is now the last broken item on the boat. Our 5200 unit in the stateroom works great and the fix for it was replacing the Schrader valves which they did at the factory before we left on the Baja Ha Ha in 2012. We called and talked to Mermaid again and after some more emails we found out that only the Schrader valves needed to be replaced. We had always thought that the Schrader valve stems had to be replaced also and that was a big job.
So if we just need to replace the Schrader valves that makes life way easier. Mermaid said that they were 99% sure that is what is leaking. So we decided to purchase the Schrader valve replacement tool and do it ourselves. One reason is that Mike from "Rescue Refrigeration" estimate is way high and we can save a lot of cash by doing this simple job ourselves. Even factoring in the cost of the tool we will save some good cash.
We then found out there are two sizes of the C & D tool. We called a refrigeration parts shop but they only sold wholesale. They also wanted us to be Certified to even size up the the tools. Ok back in the US we are, with all the regulations etc :).
"5/16 is for 410A/R32 rated high pressure equipment, 1/4 for everything else.
5/16 fittings are manufactured so you can't mistakenly fit lower pressure rated equipment which has 1/4 fittings."
So because the Mermaid 12000 we have has R417-A the tool size would be 1\4.
We found a C&D Valve CD3930 1/4" Ball Valve Core Removal Tool for $50.00 on Amazon and eBay. We purchased one.with no-questions-asked on eBay. Let you know when we actually replace the valves and re-charge the unit up.
Two Schrader valve with covers on them - the unit out and
Beginning of June 2016 - Tied up in Marina Mazatlan, Mexico
While we were in the US we went to "Play it Again Sports" in Ventura calf and purchased two wet suits. We had two suits to trade in. Debbie had bought a spring suit with a hood from a cruiser that she did not care for and on a trip to the US to see our doughtier Debbie purchased a full suit for me. That suit was a size or two too small for me. It is really hard to buy a wet suit for some one I think.
The long suit I plan on wearing in the Sea of Cortez as the water there can get cold. It is a new 3.2 and an O'Neil suit XXXL. It fits fine and a decent price. I aslo wear the long suit if there are jelly fish.
It costs about $1.00 a ft USD to have the bottom cleaned here plus say $7.00 USD to have new zinks put on. These suits will pay for them selves. The spring will get paid the first time I dive and clean the bottom. The full suit we take three bottom cleanings.
O'Neilused spring suit. This now will be my bottom cleaning outfit :) I was wearing a long sleeve light rash guard and board shorts. Problem with the non rubber rash guard is the weight belt. It would swing around on my waist and get uncomfortable no matter how much I tightened it. Te wet suit should stop that. I could wear the rash guard under it. This also offers more barnical protection.
The dive weight was marked as 5 lb by the price tage but is stamped 4.5 lb. Not a big deal 1\2 lb. This should help with the added buoyancy of the full suit. With out a dive tank to weigh down my body the full suit will make me more buoyant. I think you are supposed to me neutral weight. SO if you are laying in the water at 6 ft down you should not rise or sink. It makes it more work to fight floating while cleaning the bottom not to mention bouncing off the barnacles etc.
Cleaning the bottom is good exercise and can be fun. When the water is clean and clear and worm like it is in many anchorages along the Mexican Reviare then seeing whats going on under the boat is fun. Some times I need to swipe fish out of the way as you would move a cat from your chair. Keeping the bottom clean adds some good speed to the boat for passages and makes it easier on the gear. In the warmer water we usually clean it about every three weeks while cruising. In the marina about every 4-6 weeks.
Beginning of June 2016 - Tied up in Marina Mazatlan, Mexico
At first I thought that I really made a mistake when installing this eye bolt. That we did not install fender washers. As you can see below the eye bolt is digging into the stern of the dinghy. It is leaning and is becoming un-safe. Then we realized these were installed where we bought the dinghy at the "Dinghy Doctor" in San Diego, Cal. We had trouble with a couple other items they Dinghy Doctor installed so be aware if you purchase there. One was the DaNard dinghy wheels mounts. First theyused the wrong screw heads. They used wood screw heads and so they stick out where as machine screws would have fit flush. When installing these mounts on the out side of the transom they crossed the Achilles drain plug safety tether. So when lowering and raising the wheels a couple times it cout the line in half and the plug was then lost while pulling it out for drainage. This took place in Chamela (Perula Bay)where services are scarce. So the answer to this is inspect the equipment before leaving the shop\boat etc.
Here is the starboard lifting rye.
We took out the lifting eye bolt(s) and will install fender washers in both.
The port side has a small flat washer installed with the eye bolt.
Nicely installed now with big fender washers and 3M UV 4000.
We installed these chocks for towing something behind the dinghy. We find we use them more for tying up the dinghy so we were going to change them around. We took out the screws but could not get it of so I re-screwed it in and will just continue to use them as is, which is fine really.
We had cleaned and folded the Achilles dinghy so we re-folded the dinghy up in it's bag with its cover and were are done with it for the summer. Each season we re-greese the ors where they come appart for storage and each time we blow the dinghy up we re-rease the seals on the valves for inflating the dinghy. The Achilles dinghy has been the bright spot for our inflatable gear.