Log #62m Leaving San Carlos

February 10, 2018 in Logs by Series, Series 62, The Logs

Log #62m Leaving San Carlos

Bahia San Carlos

Feb. 10, 2018

It is Saturday, Feb. 10, and we are sitting out here in Bahia San Carlos at anchor after having our engine finally fixed this morning! We arrived in San Carlos from Canada, leaving in heavy snow conditions on Dec. 17. We launched Veleda on the 21st only to find out the engine would not start. Since then, seven weeks ago, it has been a litany of one problem after another as I will outline below. 

However, as I described in my last Log #62l Stranded in San Carlos, we have enjoyed some travels and experiences here in and from San Carlos as well as warm sunny weather. We have had only three days of rain for the past seven weeks, warm days at 25 C and cool nights at 15 C.

Our latest adventure was an ATV saffari. I love the machines, and hope to buy a used one next year for use up in Elliot Lake, as there are miles of ATV trails and an active ATV club up there. Many use ATVs in the winter rather than snow mobiles. As these were four wheel quads, Judy was quite willing to drive her own, and so off we went, the two of us and our guide Adan. We first went up to Nacapule Canyon where Judy had gone a few weeks before with her bird watching group. I wished we had earlier rented a car and gone there ourselves for a day as it is an interesting desert canyon that has zip lines across the canyon, rope bridges, and other aerial challenges along the canyon walls.

Rope Canyons and a rope bridge across the canyon wall

After an hour in the canyon, we motored through San Carlos, past La Manga west of San Carlos to go up another canyon with a spring providing water for the area and allowing a growth of palm trees up this dry canyon mountainside. From there we went down along the beach, making like dune buggies as we plowed through the soft sand of the shoreline, and then up around a challenging hillside in four wheel drive up the rutted sandy trails to the top of an overlook across the shoreline.


We enjoyed the view from up there looking from the northwest to the mountains above San Carlos. On the highways we were going along at 70 km per hour (about 45 to 50 MPH) with no problems. Great machines!


San Carlos is on a bus line to Guaymas every 20 minutes for only 16 pesos, or about 75 cents US. We have gone into the larger Ley grocery stores as well as the Walmart and Home Depot in Guaymas several times for shopping. The San Carlos Marina has good WiFi aided by our WiFi booster so we can access the internet for E-mail, and surf the net for our Canadian newspapers and news outlets, Netflix movies, as well as the library in Elliot Lake to download E-books. We have fallen into a routine of lingering over the newspapers and crossword puzzles on line each morning until about 10:00 am before cleaning up and starting our day’s activities. A lazy life! If we have had to wait several weeks for our engine repairs, we might as well enjoy them.

Incidentally, I have updated all my logs in Mexico on the website www.veledaiv.ca. Give it a look if you haven’t been able to see them before.

Back to our engine problems.

When we launched Veleda we could not get the engine started. The first problem was to replace the piston rings, for which the engine had to be hauled out of the boat and taken to Alex’s shop. We ordered the rings from a supplier in California after the New Year (of course they were closed from Dec. 23 to Jan. 6) and a week later shipped them to Nogales, Arizona, as we did not want to get caught up in Mexican customs. We drove 400 km up there in a small rented manual shift Chev Avio and overnighted in the Motel Six where the parts were delivered by Fed Ex. It was interesting getting used to a manual transmission again. I only stalled a couple of times when coming to a stop. The tie-up at the border going into the USA was over an hour with transport trucks waiting much longer. Returning next day we just sailed right on through the border with no delay whatever. We also stopped at Kilometre 24 which is the Mexican Customs Authority to obtain our Mexican Tourist Cards which we did not get when we first came down by bus.

Upon replacing the piston rings and installing the engine back in Veleda, it still would not start! This problem was the fuel injection pump and the injectors, which were serviced after another few days wait. Still the engine did not start! The timing was thought to be the problem and the engine was again opened to make adjustments, another few days wait. It still would not start.

Engine being lowered with the head off

The exhaust rather than pumping air out, sucked it in. Well, it must be the camshaft is out of line and may have to be replaced. This involved the engine being hauled out yet again! Another few days wait. It would cost over $800 for parts after we contacted our California supplier, and would involve another trip up to Nogales, AZ. However a couple of days later we were informed the mechanic could repair it in his shop.

When the engine was next installed, it started OK, but did not pump out any water! The exhaust line was blocked. Upon tracing it through and removing the mixing elbow which mixes cooling water with the exhaust fumes, it was found not only blocked, but had a hole at the elbow bend. We would need a new elbow. So we contacted our supplier in California to get an estimate of cost and delivery date. A day later Alex informed us one could be fabricated locally for less than $200 US. OK, go for it.

Alex bringing the engine aboard

Since he had contact with a welder and fabricator we also gave him our broken boom crutch, a bent piece of stainless steel piping from our original soft bimini, which serves as an arch across our hard bimini, to be welded. That was on Thursday Feb. 8. Alex showed up unannounced today with the new fabricated elbow, and installed it. The engine started up OK, and after a bit of adjusting, we had water ejected from the stern tube, and we finally have an operational engine!

He then set up the gear shift and throttle levers, and after a bit more fiddling he got the fuel gauge and tachometer operating, and we were ready to go! Hallelujah!

This was by noon, but the winds for the next few days are forecast to be blowing from the south, of course from the direction to which we are going. Rather than checking out of the marina today, we decided to stay alongside until Monday when we would have a better forecast.This will allow us to do a final laundry, shopping, water up, and send our last E-mails with access to the internet before heading out.

We did a test run, motoring out of the marina to be sure everything was operational, and anchored out in Bahia San Carlos for lunch. It was all OK. The engine responded well, and even revved up to maximum revs at 3500 rpm. Last year it would only wind out to 3100 rpm. Also Alex repainted the engine with a silver metallic paint so it looks clean and new. The cost for all his work, not counting parts was only 10,000 pesos or a bit less than $500.00 US. I was anticipating at least $2000.00 US, as it was a major engine overhaul, and having the engine hauled out twice was time consuming.

We will give him a bonus when he returns on Monday with the welded stainless steel arch, and then hopefully make an evening departure for a two night, 40 hour sail down to Topolobampo. Sending this out to you will be the last E-mail sent from here. We are on our way!

However the winds arpected to stay up from the south for another day, and so we will probably not depart until Tuesday evening. Murpy’s Law. Oh well, what’s another day!