Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Back in Sinaloa

Green Angels ready to help us with our fuel needs.
With a sigh of relief we pulled into the Marina Mazatlan parking lot last Saturday night.  We decided to make a long day of it and drove from San Carlos straight through to the boat.  As we passed through Culiacan, Sinaloa we neglected to fill up with gasoline so as we approached Mazatlan, 200 Km later, our fuel gauge was pegged on empty.  At the toll booth 30 KM north of the city we found a member of the "Angeles Verdes" or "Green Angels", who was able to sell us four liters of gasoline.  I held the funnel, Connie held the flashlight and Carlos poured the fuel.  100 pesos.  The Mexican government funds the Angeles Verdes to help out highway travelers such as us.  Thanks, Enrique Peña Nieto, the 57th president of Mexico!  Did I tell you? I love Mexico.

Sinaloa is the tomato state of Mexico
When we arrived in Mazatlan it was 83 degrees with a humidity of 88%.  The boat had been closed up for almost four months so there was no way we'd sleep in THAT oven so we spent the night in La Dofina as we had been doing most of the summer.  The next day we began the massive clean up effort.  All the surfaces inside and outside of the boat were coated with dust, the inside covered with the glitter of fiberglass from all the hull grinding we had done in the yard.  First we cleaned the master cabin so we could sleep, rigging fans to bring in fresh air, and putting down new bedding.  Then we cleaned the galley, every nook and cranny and washed every dish, every pot and pan.  The refrigerator fired right up, as it should, and soon we had cold beer and could transfer our food from the refrigerator in the RV to the boat.  When we shut down the RV fridge I saw thousands of ants inside the coach.  They had climbed up the wheels from the pavement and made a new home in the cool, damp interior of La Dolfina.  Ant Attack!  So glad we were living in the boat now.

I tried starting our brand new (rebuilt) Perkins 4-108 diesel engine and it would turn over fine but not fire so I called Bob at Total Yacht Works and he came over to check it out.  The next day he brought in an expert who adjusted the timing on the fuel pump and she fired right up.   Now we have to run her for about 50 hours to break in the engine before we head south.  The problem is that when we run the engine it heats up the cabin and that's where we live.  With it already being 85 degrees the additional heat of the engine brings the cabin temperature up over 90 degrees which makes it impossible to sleep.  Connie rigged a bed on top of the boat and I made do with fans.  We have not been able to put very many hours on the engine this first week as the heat and noise is a negative factor.  Plainly said, it sucks.

Meanwhile, Connie tackled the master cabin, then the galley, then the quarter berth, then we cleaned out the head and finally the v berth.  Now we are working our way through the main cabin and in a day or two will be absolutely finished cleaning the inside of the boat, floors, walls, ceiling, cabinets, drawers, cubbies, and every dog damn crevice in the whole stinking boat!  The good thing is that we got to know what's in every dog damn crevice and we were able to toss out a lot of junk.  If we have not used it last year then, hell, we probably don't need it this next year.  Next Saturday there is a "Treasures of the Bilge" sale for the cruisers here at the marina.  I've got a butt load of stuff I'll try to sell.  Then if it does not gain me a peso or two I'll just leave it at the gate and it will disappear overnight.   That's the good thing about cruising in Mexico. If you have something that you think has some value and don't want to just chuck it into the trash, just set it by the gate or the recycle bin and someone will take it away and hopefully make some use of it or maybe even make a little money off of it.  I love Mexico.
It is starting to cool down at night.

The Tohatsu outboard started.  The Honda generator didn't.  We took the old gasoline to the recycle barrel but the guy helping us took it instead to burn it in his car.  Now I have to clean the carburetor in the Honda generator.  The main jet is probably all lacquered up from the old gas sitting there all summer.  I found a YouTube video on the process so now I'm an expert on servicing a Honda 2000 generator.  Don't let that little spring pop out and get lost!  I'll let you know if I screw it up.

I've got the new solar panels mounted but am looking for some connectors to make it all nice and neat.  We are making progress on our task list, getting little things fixed that we know are broken.  Just today I found a break in the little hose that goes from the water meter gizmo to the water tank that tells me how much water is in there.  I could see where a previous owner patched the sensor hose with duct tape and it pulled loose.  It is kinda cool to see evidence of where Dennis, the previous owner, fixed something and it re-broke years later in the same spot.  I hope my fixes are more long term but you'll see, in the future some young guy new owner of Traveler will be ferreting around in the bilge and find my half-ass fix on some hose or wire.  I hope he has a grin on his face like it do when I find one of Dennis' "creative solutions".

Once we have the boat all clean and everything stowed as it should, then we want to take her out into the blue sea and get this 50 hour engine break in finished.  We are thinking we'd just head west from here into the Sea of Cortez and motor for 15 hours. We'll put the pedal to the metal and get on the headphones and I'll have 15 hours of Pink Floyd to keep me occupied.  Connie will probably be listening to Cuban music.  Once we reach 27 degrees north, 107 degrees west we will turn off the engine, take a nap, then power back to Mazatlan for another 15 hours. Once we finish the break in, Bob will check for oil leaks, change the oil and filters, and maybe readjust the valves and retorque the cylinder heads and manifolds.  Then we are good to head south!

In the meantime, we run the engine for an hour or two each day, clean things, spray silicone spray on things that are stuck, fix things that we find broken, and exercise every system we can think of, like run out all the anchor chain and use the windless to crank it all back in, hank on sails and check the running rigging, try the radar, SSB, VHF.  Also we're lubricating the tools, hinges, mounts, turning on lights, opening things, closing things, and drinking lots of cold beer in the process.

We also lubricate ourselves, having a nice cold cerveza in the afternoon and in the evening Connie makes herself a Mojito and I have a glass or two of red wine. Tonight we sat in the cockpit having dinner and listening to the local musician playing at Gus Gus restaurant.  We had fresh shrimp fried in coconut oil and breaded with our favorite Bimbo bread crumbs.


  1. I hate mechanics that overhaul or even install a new engine, furnace or (fill in the blank) and don't check to see if it works properly or even works at all. We once have a new Lenox Pulse furnace installed in our house and the process took most of the week ending on Friday afternoon. The workman left and said it should work fine. I fired up the furnace and I smelled gas. Shut the thing down and called the company - no answer!!! Had to go all weekend with no heat until Monday. They forgot to tighten the flex pipe for the gas supply. Not even an apology. Sounds like your Perkins mechanic.

  2. Less than 200 engine hours later the rebuild failed! see: