Monday, November 12, 2012

When Will It End?

As with our initial cruising season, season number two is off to a shaky start. I finally left Barra following a very heated argument with our thoroughly incompetent mechanic, John Jones of Jonco Marine Repair. He refused to finish the break-in work after I had spent 5 days motoring around in circles a few miles out, telling me "do it yourself" (keep in mind that re-torquing head bolts is a non-trivial job requiring special tools). After nine months of restraint I finally blew a fuse on that remark and he hung-up. That ended a very long and frustrating experience with Jonco. Click the Lessons Learned tab for more on that sordid story.

I'm now back in the La Cruz anchorage, after 3 days of motor-sailing up the coast.  The good news is the engine is running strong.  The bad news is it's burning oil.  Hopefully, it just needs some more run time to seat the rings, but there's also a good chance it may be something more serious.  I'm trying not to worry too much about it at this point.  The plan is to pick up Millie and Colin at the end of the month and then sail north to Mazatlan where we'll have the engine checked out by Bob at Total Yacht Works who comes highly recommended.

I'm not quite sure why the cruising life has proved to be so difficult for us.  I've heard many stories of other boats that have gone through the same issues but, usually, the events occurred over many years or on many different boats.  We seem to have racked up all our mishaps at once. 

Let's recap the first year, shall we?  Please excuse the underlying tone of self-pity...

After many years of preparation we finally threw off the dock lines in early October of 2011 and sailed out of Alameda.  We made it all the way to Treasure Island, a few miles away, before being forced to wait out the first storm of the season at anchor in Clipper Cove.  Two days later we sailed out  the gate and had a mostly uneventful trip down the California coast until we got to San Diego, where the engine trouble began and we spent three weeks on repairs.

We enjoyed Thanksgiving in Ensenada waiting out weather again, and Christmas in San Jose del Cabo wrapped in fleece during one of the coldest years in Baja that anyone could remember. 

We could barely contain our excitement when we finally made the mainland coast of tropical Mexico.  This jubilance was quickly tempered by the theft of our friend's dinghy while we were all anchored in Matanchen Bay.  We considered ourselves lucky to still have a dinghy of our own.  This proved to be our only luck of the season.

By mid-January we made it to La Cruz, where we were soon slammed by a humpback whale in the anchorage.  After repairs to the steering system we continued our way south. 

Then, in February, the transmission failed as we approached Barra de Navidad and we were towed into the lagoon, where we spent many agonizing months trying to get our engine rebuilt.

In April our dinghy and outboard sank following a windy day of bouncing off the stern of the boat. 

By May we moved the boat to the marina as an early-season hurricane blew through Barra. 

In June we had a bee infestation in our mast and spent two days getting them out of the boat.  A few days later I managed to get a large chunk of the dock wedged firmly in the side of my foot which required a visit to the doctor in Barra to dig out the splinters. 

At that point we'd had enough -- we flew back to California.

And now, as before, our season begins under a cloud of apprehension.  We can only hope that, at some point, we'll leave these misfortunes in our wake and settle in to a comfortable cruising life.  When that will happen is anybody's guess.  Until then, stay tuned for more drama.
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Saeed said...

I Still say it beats working :-)