Thursday, September 19, 2013

To Have And To Hold....

Friday, September 20th marks 33 years my wife has had to put up with me and a wide variety of crazy ideas, some which have worked, others, not so much. We will be spending our anniversary in a location many people choose as an "Island Getaway". Although we are not overly impressed with our current location, we are happy to be spending it in sun and palm trees. While we got married in the vivid warm colors of fall, we feel equally at home in turquoise blue, sun-drenched green, fringed in undulating white.

Awaiting estimates for lightning damaged parts and an insurance settlement has kept us locked up here where we have readily available WiFi. What the heck did people do in our situation before Internet? It seems a nightmare even now with this modern convenience, however, in the past it must have meant a trip back to the states, a huge phone bill, or even the end of the journey. While we grouse about the travail, it is still the best situation we could hope for.

Some claim diamonds are a girls best friend but I think, under these circumstances, Karen would be overjoyed with a new autopilot for our anniversary. Don't I know how to show a girl a good time! And I will be expressly happy with a new alternator and regulator for the diesel. Things that are precious are definitely defined by circumstance. These items allow us a level of comfort that would be unavailable without them, and yet they are only a fraction of the toys one can acquire for a comfortable cruising boat. 

We have learned a lot in our short time afloat. Learning to live within our energy means. Learning to trust our instincts about weather. Learning how all our technology imbues us with a certain false sense of security ie: a gps failure in our electronic navigation program would put us right back to the 1800's navigationally speaking. No autopilot, which means we spend hours at the helm doing the mind-numbing task of steering. I know that is why we are here, to sail, but it is also to relax and reflect which is difficult when the compass is the focus, not the scenery.

Our attempts to make art have been overshadowed by constant repairs. We have given much thought to our next projects but implementing them is still second fiddle to repairs, foraging food, and a smattering of socializing. Finding ideas is not as problematic as finding time. The  dubious luxury of unemployment, not enough time to do everything. Enough for now. Off to the hardware store to buy wire to rewire my stern light. See what I mean! 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Sea Turtle Release Isla Mujeres 9/14/13

Last night we went to the beach on the north end of Isla Mujeres to witness a turtle release of several thousand tiny little baby turtles. The eggs are protected here and a group from Centro Investigaciones Pesqueras harvests the eggs and moves them to protected areas to hatch. Then they gather up the new hatchlings and when they reach about one week of age they are released on several protected beaches. Releases are scheduled between May and October, usually at dark, so as to protect the hatchlings from birds. Several people attend  -  locals and tourists - and a few turles are handed out in cups to be handled and released. Children bring their sand pails and are allowed to have a few of their own to release. 
It was hard to get pictures as the instructions were to not use flash because it confuses the baby turtles. Also, the jostling for position to get a view was difficult. I moved into the water and then was jostled by the waves so first two pictures are out of focus. And, our camera has decided to stop working, so I am using my old cell phone.

Beach Gathering

You can see the baskets on the beach and they are full of turtles all clamoring to get out.

All the dark spots are turtles booking for the ocean. We are not supposed to help them and that is hard.

We stayed until it was quite dark watching for the stragglers, exhausted from trying to get through the surf. We couldn't help but pick up a few and put them beyond the surf line.
Below - Charlie helping and picture is very dark as I do not want to use a flash.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Southern Tip on Isla Mujeres

Sunday 9/1 we biked to the summit of the Yucatan Penninsula, a whopping 50 feet above sea level.
Our boat neighbor Scott acted as tour guide. We rode through the original village established in the early 1600's where the locals live, on our way to the southern tip, Punta Sur. We would like to go back to the village another day and spend more time, as there were some scintillating aromas wafting from some very nice restaurants. The village is more peaceful than being in Isla Mujeres Centro which is the tourist end of the island where the various ferry companies drop off visitors from Cancun.

From the marina to Punta Sur was a little over 3 miles riding the western road.  We  visited the Parque Escultorico, a sculpture park located on the cliff. The day was overcast but made for a nicer ride than a day of full sun. After leaving Punta Sur we rode back along the east road and enjoyed the scenery, and a swim on one of the beaches. It is on this road that the shell house is located.

The sculptures in the park are from many artists around the world and have weathered over time making them all the more interesting, yet in some cases crumbling beyond recognition, as the salt air has contributed its own artistic flourish.

We can all practice our Spanish translation skills.

The pictures below were taken as we wandered the paths through the garden.

As we were walking the path along the waters edge I photographed the rock formations and some of the flora and fauna clinging to the cliff face.

You can see the edge of the brick path in this photo.

Back to the top.  

A simple shade cover with log  bench for peaceful contemplation

Our view where we stopped for refreshments.

Charlie and Scott

The shell house. Hard to photograph due to trees and privacy fence.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Can Leap Be Three Places At Once

We were showing friends the house and shop on Google Earth and this is what we saw.
Leap is visible next to the shop. This picture was probably taken in September 2012 during our yard sale as you can see the covered tables in the yard.

Then for kicks we continued looking for Leap and......
Here she is in Demopolis Alabama. Leap is the sailboat with our white van parked in front of her. The trailer we borrowed is parked on the left. This photo was probably taken in March as the tail gate on the trailer is down and Leap's blue Bimini is up.

Next .....

The sailboat in the center is about where we were anchored when we first arrived in Isla Mujeres.
You can see the blue bimini top and the dingy in the back. 

Food for thought all of you Orwellians out there. 

Lightning Strike Update

We hope we finally have found all the systems that were electrocuted by the strike.
As of today we lost:
VHF antenna (VHF radio will have to be tested once we get antenna installed)
Windex wind indicator
Stern light
Xantrex solar panel multicontroller
Two 12v fans with lights
Alternator and voltage regulator

Because we lost the solar panel controller our solar panel wouldn't charge the batteries, a fellow cruiser loaned us a controller, but it was too small to keep up. And, because our alternator/regulator system is down we cannot charge our batteries with the diesel. We do not have a wind or gas powered generator. Our batteries were getting too low so we had to come into a marina and hook up to 110.
We prefer anchoring as it is much cooler, less noisy and mosquito and no-see-um free.
Now we are docked at Marina el Milagro, and because it is hot and buggy we decided our first night here to turn on the air conditioning which runs on 110, only too find its circuit board was electrocuted too.

So added to the above list is our air conditioner.

Getting parts here is very difficult. It is not just our limited Spanish,but also finding someone that can prepare an estimate for the insurance company, order parts in a timely manner, let alone work on the systems. We tried just ordering the Windex and it was quoted 3 times what we would pay stateside.

We have a friend Chip, that is a pilot, and he has offered to get parts to us and take the autopilot back to the states for a quote and repair or replacement. Chip below on foredeck on his very cool aluminum French built sailboat named Funiculi, Funicula.

We still have not had any concrete answers from the insurance company as to what they are going to do, and what if any,  is the deductible when one has experienced an "act of god" striking ones sailboat. 

Although all of this is frustrating we still manage to get out and do some fun things while waiting for answers to all of our questions. 

The reefs here are murky and the fishing is poor to non-existent.  We have only caught fish when we have been sailing. We use a handline and troll off the back of the sailboat. We have twice been out sailing on our friends, Scott and Diane's sailboat- an Amel Super Maramu 53ft named Ati, and caught fish.
However there has been much conversation surrounding what kind of fish. Charlie thought King Mackerel, a local thought Wahoo, and the Italian local thinks King Mackerel. Either way, it was good eating!

This picture is on Ati. Scott on the left,  Charlie on the right.
Charlie and the ....?
Left to right, Horst a fellow cruiser, Scott, The Fish, Charlie

Ati, is Scott and Diane's first boat and they are more than willing to have  sailors come out with them as they are still learning about their boat and all of its systems, rigging and sailing. Horst, 75 yrs old and his wife Ingrid, went from a 16ft sailing kayak, (that they took all over the world) and bought a 50ft custom built German sailboat and have been sailing for 9 yrs.
We do have a blast meeting all the sailing characters. All with great stories and if we ever get outta here we will have more stories too.