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End of the 2012 Sailing Season

We departed San Carlos on the 11th of June, a few days shy of our 6 month visa. The weather was really heating up and we were spending more of our time on shore in a cold air-conditioned bar drinking beer than on the water. We returned mid May from the Baja in order for me to drive 7 hours back to Tucson, spend the night, attend a 1 hour meeting, spend the night, then drive back the 7 hours to San Carlos.

My Dad joined us for a week on the boat and we fished near every day. By this time of year the fishing is excellent! We bottomed fished out of the dink with squid or octopus as bait and filled the bucket everyday with Triggerfish, Pargo, Perch, Wrasse and one or two small Bass. The fishing is pretty tough in the winter when the water is cooler than 72 degrees but by mid April even a horrible fisherman like me can bring home food aplenty every day.

My Dad returned to Tucson on the Tufesa passenger bus we nicknamed, “The Chicken Bus”. This Chicken Bus has internet, comfortable seats, movies that play for the entire ride, and cold air conditioning. A one way from Guaymas to Tucson costs about $50 and is cheaper than gas for me to drive alone. We has envisioned on leaving San Carlos and gunk holing around until our haul out but we started so many ‘end of season’ projects we finally reconciled it was better to stay put on a mooring in San Carlos.

Friends of ours, Denny and Carla, were very kind and let us use on of their mooring balls in the bay for a almost two weeks. Carla has a membership to the resort pools and provided a much needed respite from the heat for Hil and the girls when the heat really cranked up and we were sweating like lit candles on the boat.

Due to our experiences last year in the Bay of Conception, we made screens for the large windows to the cockpit in La Paz before leaving. Once it heats up the bugs can come out in droves. We’ve been lucky this year and better prepared to handle the wide variety of flying critters to keep the bug bites to a dull roar on the kids. Apparently Hil and my dried out 42 year old skin is not as tempting as the girls white meat. We also sewed shade screens for the cockpit which was a huge blessing from the killer UV rays. With the screens and sun shades the boat was 20 degrees cooler than the outdoor temps during the day. We met a solo boater about to put his boat away in storage for the summer who gave us a couple yards of navy blue sunbrella material and a bunch of misc. colored scraps along with HUNDREDS of snap fasteners he didn’t want to carry with him on the chicken bus. We used every strip of material to sew hatch covers, a wheel cover, instrument panel cover, window covers, and winch covers. By then our 1950’s era metal bodied Singer sewing machine was getting a good workout. My sewing skills, nothing compared to my Mother’s, greatly improved and I believe could be compared to some commercial products we’ve seen.

Bahia San Carlos is NOT a place you would want to swim. Due to the protected nature of the bay and the all the boats in the Marina and anchored/moored in the bay, I wouldn’t suggest swimming- because there’s no pump out stations! The tidal flow is very good but the idea of swimming in a staff infection soup bowl grosses me out and I wouldn’t want the kids to take the chance of getting sick. With the increased heat and humidity we really suffered on the boat. Normally we would just jump off the stern to cool off and that would be fine in combination with a cool drink with a few precious ice cubes. With the remaining boat projects and the impending haul out date it was just too much work to get the boat prepared to day sail or gunk hole to seek cleaner waters for swimming. We finally said enough is enough and decided to leave Mexico early. Next year, I think June 1 will be our planned departure date from Mexico.

This was an expensive sailing season for us. When the steering started acting up on the way to La Paz, we replaced the whole steering system from the wheel to the rudders but that expense paled in comparison to the cost of living in La Paz for the 6 weeks waiting and working on the boat. Don’t get me wrong, we had a good time and decided to enjoy our forced vacation in La Paz. We listened to blues, rock-n-roll, ate excellent skirt steak tacos, sampled the local markets wares, and feasted on hand made ice cream but it we spent two times what we normally budgeted per month. Add that to some unforeseen expenses in San Carlos that I’ll write about in the next post and we ended WAY over our seasonal budget this year. If we weren’t so broke, it really wouldn’t matter. But we had a lot of fun and enjoyed all the new experiences and people we’ve met this season. As always, we learn from our experiences and know that next year we’ll plan on a hit and run strategy for La Paz. We’ll hit La Paz for a week to re-provision and enjoy the food and entertainment then race out to the nearby islands for three weeks gunk holing before returning for another shotgun week in La Paz. That way we can splurge and spend our whole months budget in La Paz and still hold our budget (maybe).

The boat, as boats tend, needs work. I’d like to spend the better part of a month working on various cosmetic and a few functional improvements next season before we hit the water. I’m ready to chuck the traditional holding tank toilet to sea and install a composting head on the boat. Hil wants me to ‘make over’ our berth like I did for the kids berth this season. Speaking of the kids, they are getting bigger and will want a room of their own soon which mean yet another make over. The cabin sole, the teak and holly plywood selectively located on the floor, is delaminating and splintering from the dry summers and 19 years of age. I’m thinking of a cheap route versus new teak and holly sole because I have two little spill masters that wreak havoc on cushions, floors, and countertops. Of course, there is also the never ending topside touch ups to continue.

Is it worth it? All the work of a boat? I think so. As Water Rat says in the “Wind in the Willows”,

Believe me, my young friend, there is NOTHING–absolute nothing–half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.

Of course, that’s right before Water Rat runs hard aground, but that’s neither here nor there…

You know an ICE COLD draft beer in Mexico is a very affordable price of approximately $1.25! Click Here to Buy Us a Beer.

2 comments to End of the 2012 Sailing Season

  • It was a pleasure hanging with you guys for a bit in La Paz. Best wishes for your carnival season and we’ll maybe see you at a Sea of Cortez anchorage next year. Michael and family

  • When are you guys heading back to San Carlos? We’re here sweating now, working on boat projects and hope to be heading off in October/November. We’ve been following your blog for about a year now and it would be great to meet if our paths cross down the line!

    Katie and Mark
    S/V Selkie