Saturday, March 5, 2022

LIfe in Barra de Navidad

Marina Puerto Navidad, Barra de Navidad

Intermezzo and I have been in the marina in Barra de Navidad for two weeks now. We are scheduled to leave here this coming Friday, March 11. I've mostly enjoyed the solitude of being on my own here and, though I'm living life at a pretty relaxed pace, my time has been fairly productive. 

I spent a good amount of that time getting my advanced engine charging system to work properly. The port engine has been intermittently cycling from charging to not charging ever since I installed the system about a year ago in Florida. Tech support for the Wakespeed voltage regulators thought the solar charging system might be confusing their voltage regulator. So, before leaving Puerto Escondido in January, I installed circuit breakers that would allow me to disconnect the solar system when I ran the engines. This didn't seem to help. Then I started to have alternator belt issues and thought that perhaps belt slippage was the problem. It wasn't. I finally ended up solving the problem by upgrading the Wakespeed firmware and reloading the configuration file. It seems to be working properly now. At last. I hope.

As is common with boats, fix one problem and another one surfaces. Now, my port water heater is leaking. It's not leaking from any of the piping or connections, so it must be the heater tank itself. Fortunately, it's a slow leak, so I can still have hot water for washing dishes while nobody is using the port aft berth and I can periodically bail out the locker beneath it where the heater is located. Before we get underway with crew again, I'll need to bypass the heater to stop the leak and we'll have to make do with no hot water on that side of the boat. I was able to find a marine exporter in San Diego to ship a replacement water heater to me in La Paz at a reasonable price. So, we'll be back in business once we get back there.

I'm most excited by the progress I made writing my Sailing Intermezzo book. I am almost finished with the "Hiatus" chapter, which covers the year and a half between when I thought I had ended The Voyage in June 2017 to when I resumed it again in January 2019 during which I did not post to this blog. A lot happened in that period, it was a tough one for me, difficult to read through my personal journal, sort things out and write about them.  Once this chapter is finished, the writing will go faster as I will have my blog posts for reference and I find writing in the context of my sailing is much easier, even if my personal life was challenging at times. I'm hoping to print and publish the book this summer.

I've enjoyed daily life here in the marina. I run in the hills behind the marina early every other morning, before it gets too hot. I've enjoyed brief conversations and hugs from Sue, wife and mother of the family Lisa and I sailed with on the 2019 Baja Ha-Ha on board their catamaran Winston. I've taken dips in the hotel pool and lounged around it, reading. I've explored the grounds and back roads of the resort on evening walks. I found a great coffee roaster in Barra town, Mokeke's Cafeteria, and love drinking their coffee. I went to a Santana tribute band show in the town square and had a great time listening and dancing to their music, including three encores. All this, plus keeping the boat clean, doing laundry, cooking, washing dishes, grocery shopping, taking care of business,'s a busy low-keyed life.

I spent my birthday on my own, treating myself to a nice dinner in town. I had figured on buying a big slice of cake from a street vendor who is usually near the water taxi dock, but alas, it was his day off. I had to do with an ice cream bar.  Just like last year with Robin. Only this time, no goats. It was a happy enough birthday.

I'm please to report that I have found crew for part of my passage back to La Paz next week. Pierre (Pete), a policeman from Quebec who sailed with Roy and I on the first leg of The Voyage in early 2019, will be joining Intermezzo as crew again! He's bringing one of his colleagues and sometimes patrol car partner, Marie with him. I'm very happy to be reuniting with Pierre, looking forward to sailing with Marie, and glad to be sailing "three-up" instead of singlehanded. Pierre and Marie will be sailing as far as Mazatlan with me. After that, it looks like I'll be on my own from there to La Paz.

We'll sail to Mazatlan over the course of about eight days, weather permitting, with stops in Chamela, Punta Ipala, La Cruz, Chacala and San Blas. Or, more likely, motor. Winds are still mostly blowing out of the northwest, the direction we need to travel. I'm hoping we'll get a few days of favorable winds, anything from northeast to west would be good. If headwinds are too strong, we'll sit them out at anchor or travel at night when winds and seas are usually more calm. I expect we'll arrive in Mazatlan on March 19 or 20, if we aren't delayed by weather or decide that more R&R is needed.

After Mazatlan, I plan on making my way further up the coast to Altata, cross the bar into the estuary there and visit the town, which is off the normal cruising path. From Altata, I can sail directly across the Sea of Cortez to La Paz in all but westerly winds. I'm figuring on arriving in La Paz during the last week of March.

Renée's daughter, Christina, son-in-law, Nate, and granddaughter, Maddie are going to join me on Intermezzo in La Paz on April 3.  Renée might even make it, too.  We'll take a short cruise to Islas Espiritu Santo and Partida. I'm looking forward to showing Maddie all my favorite beaches, swimming and snorkeling spots. Oh, and introducing Christina and Nate to sailing life, as well.

The news of the world is troubling, but it seems far removed from life here. I hope the madness ends soon.

Marina Isla de Navidad, Intermezzo's current home

My birthday sunset

Mokeke's Cafeteria, delicious house-roasted coffee

One of the several of what I take to be an angelfish with foot-long streamers that swim around Intermezzo

Intermezzo looking nice and neat in the marina slip