Log #63a Barra de Navidad to Manzanillo

November 8, 2018 in Logs by Series, Series 63, The Logs

Log #63a Barra de Navidad to Manzanillo

Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico

Nov. 19, 2018

Hi Folks,

Below is my first Log #63a Barra de Navidad to Manzanillo, of our 2018/2019 winter sailing season. We boarded Veleda in Barra de Navidad on Oct. 28, left the marina to anchor in the lagoon Nov. 1, and set sail for Manzanillo on Nov. 7. Presently we are down here in Acapulco after several long overnight legs covering 331 nautical miles.

All is well with us and the boat. The temperature is hot at 28° to 34° C (75° to 92° F, but we are at the Yates Acapulco Yacht Club, with a lovely large swimming pool easily accessible. We have two fans in the boat for cooling us down and sun shades above the fore deck and boom to shade the boat.

This log has some interesting pictures and a bit of a comparison of living in our Elliot Lake apartment and in Veleda and our new summer sailboat, Antares Spring.

I hope you enjoy the log, and would appreciate any comments or questions you have about it. I hope to start on my next log in the next few days, but do not know when I will be next available to the internet. Here at the yacht club in Acapulco, we have easy access to the net, but unfortunately not from our boat. We just go pool side to get on the net.

To day is a holiday in Mexico commemorating the Mexican Revolution from about 1910 to 1920 in which one in eight Mexicans lost their lives in power struggles between conservatives, reformers, revolutionaries, and liberals. The Reformists dominated and have had control of Mexico from 1920 to 2000.

More about our travels in future logs.

All the best,

Aubrey

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Log #63a Barra de Navidad to Manzanillo

Nov. 8, 2018

Manzanillo, Jalisco, Mexico

Hi Folks,

This is my first log of our 2018 winter sailing season from Mexico down through Central America.

We boarded Veleda IV on Oct. 28 in Barra de Navidad where she had been stored in the water at the resort marina since last April. Pancho, the local worker who had been taking care of Veleda, met us at the airport and returned us to our

In this picture Veleda can be seen at her summer slip and the lagoon in the background has a few boats at anchor. 

Pancho had arranged for the boat to be cleaned and the bottom scrubbed monthly. The windows leaked quite badly in the rain storms and he caulked them and replaced one window which became separated from the hull. Unfortunately much water still got in and ruined several books and pilots we had stored beneath the navigation settee. Several shirts and other clothing were similarly ruined and dispensed with. Oh well, the decks were clean as was the bottom, and he did a good job on polishing the topsides for us. When we arrived on board, there was no water, or any supplies. We should have asked him to stop off at a store on our way from the airport near Manzanillo to get some basic supplies and refreshments for our first night aboard.

However we had a nice buffet breakfast at the resort to start the next day. We still had three days at the summer rate until the end of October. Pancho launched our dinghy with the 15 hp outboard attached. We tried to start it, but a clogged fuel line gave me problems. After it was cleared the good old two stroke Johnson started well, but the throttle was stuck on high speed. After working the throttle leverage under the cowling with a bit of help from WD-40, I regained adequate throttle control, and all is well with our outboard engine.

The main engine started OK, but then died when I put it in gear. Did I pick up a bit of wood in the prop? I waited until a diver came in the early afternoon to do a final cleaning of the bottom, and asked him if anything was caught in the prop. No, the prop was clear. I tried again and still the engine died. Oh boy! Then Judy remembered that earlier in the day she had changed the fuel filters, but had not pumped them full of diesel. Oops. She did that, and the engine started well. That was a relief, as last year we had to wait around for six weeks to have the engine basically rebuilt before we could set off.

We put the mainsail back on the boom (We left the genoa on its roller furling for the summer.), put up our sunshades, and hoisted the dinghy on the dinghy-tow, ready for sea. After putting in 250 litres of purchased water (ten 25 litre bottles), we caught a water taxi to take us across to town to resupply, and enjoyed the rest of the afternoon lounging by the pool.

On Nov. 1st we motored out to anchor for a few days before departure. It was then we discovered that the alternator was not charging the batteries. In the marina we were hooked up to shore power, but at anchor we needed the engine or our 1000 watt Honda generator. Thankfully the generator worked quite well to charge our batteries. The solar panels work OK, but cannot keep up when we use refrigeration.

We were the only boat in the lagoon. Last spring when we left the boat in the marina there were over 20 boats in the lagoon. There was an active cruisers’ net each morning, and the French Baker would deliver fresh croissants each morning. Mmmm! It was too early in the winter season and we had the lagoon all to ourselves. We stayed in the lagoon for a few days as hurricane Xavier, downgraded to a tropical storm, was passing about 90 miles off shore. We were fine at anchor. However we had some torrential rains for a couple of days, and one day with heavy 25 knot winds. We took the sunshades down for the windy day. We found several places where the windows were leaking, a bad leak at the through-hull mast, and a leak on my side of the vee birth, probably coming through the deck-toe rail joint. After the storm had passed, we had once again hot (32° C, or 90° F) sunny weather when we could dry out the cushions, and put the sunshades back up.

On a positive note, we were able to get free wi-fi from the resort while out at anchor. Happiness is WiFi on board whether alongside or especially if at anchor. However it was quite intermittent and often frustrating as it would cut out while watching a movie on Netflix, or while sending out E-mail. During the rain storm, I was able to collect another 100 litres of water from our drain holes in the hard bimini. We now had full water tanks and a 25 litre jerry can of fresh water lashed on deck. The water at the marina docks was not fit to drink, a situation often found in Mexican marinas.

The marina office was able to put us in contact with a mechanic who could look at our alternator problem, but he would be tied up for the next few days with a fishing tournament in Manzanillo. OK, we were heading down that way anyways, and so we set off Nov. 7th for a 27 mile motor-sail to Manzanillo, our first voyage this season.

As we exited, I was surprised to see a gigantic tanker wedged in the rocks just outside Barra. 

 

 

 

 

As we went around those treacherous rocks we had a good view of the broken ship, rusting there for years. 

We had no problems, motor-sailing with just the genoa out in light NW breezes. We were favoured with a few dolphins as we approached Manzanillo. In the road stead we saw a half dozen large tanker and container ships at anchor, including a large ugly boxy car carrier. We dropped anchor in 25 feet of water in a small well sheltered bay just outside of Las Hadas Marina. A few mangrove swallows landed on our forward life lines, happy to have new perch.  Next day after walking up a steep hill, we caught a taxi downtown to a Walmart where we stocked up on canned goods, dry goods, booze, and other supplies. In the late afternoon the mechanic came aboard from a fishing vessel returning from the tournament and took our alternator and regulator as well as the original 55 amp alternator that came with the engine in 2010 for testing. Unfortunately both alternators were defective and would cost more to rewire than to buy a new 70 amp alternator that was available. The mechanic had a difficult time in hooking up the new alternator, and had to go ashore several times for tools,advice, and ultimately brought our another older gentleman to help the final hookup. It was complicated as we have two banks to be charged, a deep cycle 12 volt start battery, and the house bank of four 6 volt golf cart batteries. We have an Echo charger to ensure the start battery is charged first, and the house bank is hooked up to an E-metre which gives a digital readout of the state of the house bank including the present voltage, the charge or discharge rate, the number of amp hours used since a full battery and the number of hours available at the current rate of draw until at the 50% level. These features were a complication to installing the new alternator.

Veleda at anchor outside Marina Las Hadas

A comparison of Life Aboard

our apartment in Elliot lake,

our 44 year old Grampian, 30 Antares Spring,

and our 40 year old Ontario 32, Veleda IV.

This past summer was our second summer in our lovely fourth floor, two bedroom apartment in this small northern community of 9,000 in Elliot Lake. I love the balcony which overlooks a tree clad hill behind us.

        Early fall scene from our balcony

Winter scene from our balcony

Judy has taken over the second bedroom as her quilting room, complete with quilting table and frames, a sewing machine designed for quilting and a first for Judy, an ironing board and iron. (Such was anathema to her for ironing clothes!)

Living is easy. We have all the traditional amenities, including a large four burner electric stove with oven and broiler, a microwave, hot and cold running water as much as we want, a toilet, shower and tub, unlimited wi-fi, lots of cupboards and storage space, furniture that is not built-in, including two lazy-boy chairs, and mobile phones. The only basic amenities we do not have are a dishwasher and air conditioning. We didn’t need the AC as we only used our fans twice all summer. There is a good laundromat in the building. These are standard home fittings, but such as we had not experienced since selling our house in the Beaches area of Toronto in 1998. Since then until 2017 we lived on our boat or in our 28 foot trailer where such amenities cannot be taken for granted.

We bought the Grampian 30 at a very economical price which included the cradle and rail bed as well as the mooring buoy in the North Channel Yacht Club, a 25 minute drive from our apartment. It is adequate for short term holidays on the North Channel and Lake Huron, but not as convenient as Veleda our Ontario 32. Antares has only a fixed two burner propane stove and no oven, whereas Veleda has a gimballed three burner propane stove with a small oven. We are not allowed to have a barbecue on our balcony, but I enjoy barbecuing in the cockpit of Veleda. We do not have one for Antares yet.

Antares has a small sealed 25 gallon water tank with only a foot pump in the galley whereas Veleda has two water tanks for a total of 55 gallons with opening ports for cleaning and filling, and has powered taps for hot and cold water in both the galley and heads. Veleda has a foot pump for overboard water whereas Antares does not.

Both Antares and Veleda have adequate storage room, but we have a lot more stuff on Veleda. Antares has only a holding tank as required in Ontario, whereas Veleda has a holding tank but can direct the effluent directly overboard via a Y-valve (illegal in Ontario). In addition we have a macerator pump on Veleda which can pump out our holding tank overboard when we are at sea (also illegal in Ontario). In our apartment there is no maintenance necessary, whereas on a 40 year old boat there is frequent maintenance necessary. One of our sayings is that “cruising gives us the opportunity to do maintenance in exotic locations”. Life in the apartment is comfortable and easy. Life aboard is active and interesting.

The chair Judy is in has been replaced by another lazy-boy chair, and my inversion table can be seen on the balcony.

The North Channel between Manitoulin Island and the north shore of Lake Huron is one of the most beautiful cruising grounds in the world IMHO (in my humble opinion). Europe was fine, the Mediterranean was historical, the Baltic Sea has some good cruising grounds, the Bahamas and the Caribbean were laid back and warm, but in our estimation the three best cruising grounds we have encountered are the North Channel of Lake Huron, the north shore of Lake superior and the B.C. and Alaskan fjords and coast lines.

The proximity to the North Channel was one of the reasons we selected Elliot Lake as our retirement community. The North Channel Yacht Club is a self help economical yacht club, right on the doorstep to the North Channel. Here are a few pictures of the area.

The North Channel Yacht Club

North Channel Scenery                                                                                                                               

Veleda in The Benjamin Islands of the North Channel

Antares Spring in the North Channe