Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Why Sell?

The disarray in my hotel room in La Paz is a sure sign of how organized and easy it is to sell a sailboat in Mexico. I honestly can’t really figure out what exactly is going on here (in regards to my room or the boat). I know there is now a bunch of money in an account that belongs to one of the crewmembers of the Misty Moonlight. She does not even know its there but these 2 guys who halfway own Misty sure do. Tonight I finally just had to let it go for a while and eat lots of bakery items in bed while watching a movie. As we have often said, it is all happening now and part of that soon to be now is the Captain’s arrival to Cabo tomorrow. I’ll be there to retrieve her and am elated to have a helping hand in enduring the madness of it all. My advice is it’s a great idea to buy a sailboat but you should never sell it. It’s just not worth the effort.

So lets back up. Misty Moonlight got put up on the Craigslist market over a month ago. There was lots of interest but no one really wants a boat with a bum strut with a handmade brace. The decision was to replace it. Sharkfoot and I headed to Baja with different agendas. She was headed to be a kayak guide in the Sea of Cortez (RAD!!) and I was headed to be a land sailor in the Bercovich boatyard (SAD!!) close to La Paz. We ate 18 tacos together, passed 8 checkpoints and said out goodbyes.

I arrived to La Paz and two days was enough time for removing the old strut, arranging for the new strut to be made, showing some potential buyers the boat, hanging flyers, and developing an amazing gastrointestinal problem that is still being fought.

You work fast and hard when you are staying in a boatyard and so clearly see what might happen if you stay just a little too long. You might become the one-eyed sail maker who has had his boat on land for years with hopes of sailing away or the boatless guy who sleeps on a cot under a boat and does bottom painting without any protection at all.

More than anything, being around Misty without the crew was too much. It made my heart ache and if we wanted to sell the boat, I had to bury my longing to go sailing and pretend I didn’t love her so much.

I headed out for some beach time and Thanksgiving with a motorcycle gang. We enjoyed a roasted chicken from Wal-Mart, chorizo pasta and an assortment of pastries. Snorkeling with the Frenchman at the reef of Cabo Pulmo made the previous few days all worth it. By the time I got to Cabo (don’t ask), the guys who saw the boat had emailed, called and texted wanting to make an offer. I was beside myself and headed back to La Paz after a final outing into the nightlife of Cabo with the motorcycle gang.

We negotiated, settled on a price, and over the last few days the finer details of selling a boat in Mexico have surfaced. Apparently, you gotta get the dinero, go to Cabo for notarizing, get the strut put back on and aligned, get pissed at the buyers, deal with the owner of a boatyard who you owe a lot of money and…..Are you ready for the icing on the cake? At the last minute the buyers say they want to hear the engine cranked. Good idea on their part and for us, it means we will be working on the boat after all to get her up and running. All I can do is be thankful that I get to spend a few more days with the Captain on Misty. We’ll be back where we belong and wishing Sharkie was with us and Misty Moonlight was back at sea lulling us to sleep. If they don’t like the way she sounds, I know where I’ll tell them to go and I know where I’m going, I’m going sailing. Selling a boat is too much work.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The second happiest day of a sailor's life...

It wasn’t too long ago, amidst the ever-changing Misty Moonlight crew’s plans, that we spoke to one of our many coaches from last year. How were things? We asked.

“Great! I’m on someone else’s boat drinking someone else’s beer. It’s a great improvement!”

We chuckled knowingly.

When you asked me six months ago if I would be returning to the boat I would have way! Now I find myself on the fence. On the one hand is a winter free of burdens and plans. Boat hopping. Surfing. Traveling on a whim and a dime. On the other, an expensive, frustrating, greasy gamble—pull apart the engine completely, fix her, and head out on another expansive and unpredictable adventure.

While my mind (and my bank account) tell me that it’s time to move on from boat-ownership for the time-being, my heart protests. I’ll miss the glorious days of the three of us Windworthy Women, ripping along and heeled over, Sharkie making lunch, Hornsby at the helm (the wind always favored her), and myself, tucked into the leeward side of the cockpit, chatting on the radio.

I’ll miss the quiet nights at an anchorage all to ourselves, laughing over dinner, talking about absolutely nothing, engaging in a bawdy game of cards. Or rallying off in our dinghy, LV II, to adventures untold and sailing back using a shade tarp and a human mast.

But honestly, more than anything, I’ll miss the challenge. The 2 AM victories and the underwater repairs. I signed up for pulling up anchor at dawn, bleary-eyed and cursing, drinking coffee at sunrise, under sail, and headed to a faraway destination. I signed up for the University of the Misty Moonlight, which taught me a new lesson (or ten) every day.

I know I may be alone in this. Maybe that’s why they call me “The Captain.”

I look forward to the day when, carefree, with a guitar in one hand, and someone else’s beer in the other, I can look out from the deck of someone else’s boat and say, yes, this is just fine. But for the mean time, I want my crew, and my pony, and my beer, and my boat. It may be for only a day, before we send Misty onto her next great adventure under the watchful eye of some other windworthy folk, but that’s enough. Enough time to say our hellos, have a good laugh, and say, as it has been said before, “we should do this again sometime!”

Monday, March 15, 2010

Misty Moonlight is now a Mexican national

News flash*******

Misty Moonlight will be remaining in Mexico. That's right folks, she ain't heading north. No way, not happening, and the Misty crew could not be happier with the choice we made. We feel that it is important to share this information with friends and family that obviously think we are crazy enough to bash our way north since no one thought we were crazy when we headed south.

So instead of taking our boat home, we decided to stay and explore this magical place called the Sea of Cortez. We have had some time to relax amongst the pristine islands and fill our days with snorkeling, kayaking, lobster and urchin hunting, hiking the cliffs of insanity, frolicking with sea lions, getting surrounded by fin whales and enjoying the company of many good friends with lots of warm beer.
We are all sad to see it end and would do a number of ridiculous things if granted just another month or two. Don't ask. There are moments when we look at each other and we know, time is short, the voyage is not without end.
As hard as it is to think of life not aboard Misty, we know that all we can do is be thankful and take each moment we have had as the fuel that fills the soul.
We are proud to be where we are now, proud to have arrived in time for the adventure of a lifetime.
I asked the Misty crew to tell me some of the things they are proud of that involve the 4Th crew member--Misty Moonlight, either directly or indirectly. The Captain is proud of "that strut" (said with a finger pointed nearly in my eye), other repairs she has orchestrated (salt water impeller, injector pump, autopilot) and of course, the British Seagull.
Sharkfoot is proud of her map (words can't describe the amazingness of it), the Mirado black tipped warrior pencils, the massive hairballs she finds, the black mold she cleaned from within the boat, the plastic spoon she put in the dry milk jar, and the toothbrush holder (a sippy cup found floating in the ocean. As for me, I am proud of the fruit basket, the seal on the water tank, the curtains, and the way I check to see how much diesel we are leaking (it's really minimal or non-existent if we don't fill the tank too high).
Recently, one my proudest moments was knowing that we can now sleep through 39.3 knots of wind(according to another boats anemometer) like a boat full of babies.
There are a couple of things we have on board that we are all truly proud of. One being, our family of ponies that includes Pony, Pinkie and their son. They have shared the night watch, held shade tarps, and listened when the other girls would not. We thank them for their continued love and support. The other is our collapsible bucket for being the best collapsible bucket for the world. He is our friend no matter the circumstance and possibly the most useful item on board. He has transformed himself into a bathroom, mop bucket, dead fish holder, delivery bag for injector pump and a water scooper at all speeds. For this, we salute you.
Just remember, we live on a 30 foot boat and have not slept off the boat in nearly 3 months. If you shared 30 feet with 2 of your most absurd friends, one toilet, one fridge, one stove and 3 crazy ponies, you might find yourself wondering sometimes, what the hell is going on?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

reason to celebrate

So we got this free calendar. It came with our new radio antenna. Its a real nice calendar, every month of the year is a photo of a different VHF or a different hand held radio. It is just beautiful. Unfortunately that calendar just had no holidays on it, nothing to celebrate. Thus, the first annual Cactus Day celebration was born. We started Cactus Day with a pancake breakfast aboard Matilda and one of the first hair washings in far too many days. Then to the beach for cactus salsa a bit of tequila, and we closed the night with a lobster hunt. Next holiday...the first annual Muy Bueno Day. (Our lives just keep getting more and more absurd the more the sun and saltwater find their way to our brains.) Thats right w were celebrating all things that are muy bueno. Egg mcmuffins for breakie, The Princess Bride story time, tostada lunch with friends, the first annual "great muy bueno dinghy race," dinner and jam sessions. Que Bueno!! Onto more important things, "who won the great muy bueno dinghy race?" you may be asking. Well friends, LVII (our dinghy) had a great sail made of a blue tarp, boat hook, boat brush and human mast. The misty crew took first place(out of 3). Was there any doubt? So friends, we will be looking forward to celebrating Cactus Day (March 1st) and Muy Bueno Day (March 12th) in the years to come.

On to other Logistics. Misty had her best days of sail in the recent past on our way up to Puerto Escondito. Misty doing 6.5 to 7 knots heeled over on a west wind. Couldn't have asked for better weather to scoot our final push north. That's right, this is as far north as we go (this time). It's time to start making our way south to La Paz. Apologies for not writing more but time is short and the wind is calling. We are headed out for at least a week but will try to post some more home videos in the near future.

Luigi, Hornsby and I would like to leave you with a little something from the story "Danny the Champion of the World". (Its good for the soul so we recommend reading to yourself or to little ones in your lives.)

"Most of the really exciting things we do in our lives scare us to death."
-R. Dahl
from Ch. 2 "The Baby Austin"

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


On a typical Thursday night I expressed some of my concern for leaving. We had just reinstalled our newly re-sealed injector pump and while there was a certain amount of rejoicing when the engine successfully ran for an more than ten minutes without dumping a gallon of diesel into our oil reservoir, our celebrations were somewhat subdued. Experience has taught us that too much revelry at small (and large) repairs only leads to a harder fall when the next thing breaks. That, and the fact that in 12 hours I was getting on a plane to leave for two weeks.

The lessons of the journey so far were so fresh I was afraid they would break under the load of an all-too familiar life: New York City. Would I be able to assimilate back to NYC? I knew the answer was yes. Could I return to the boat in two weeks time and pick up where I left off? Could I take this new shape, this new version of myself, and stay solid enough to not melt back into an old and familiar mold. Hornsby assured me that my trip away was part of the journey. It was what needed to happen. Everything that has happened has had a reason, and so to with this. I wouldn’t be picking up exactly where I left off, it would be 150 nm to the north west, but the Misty Moonlight crew would be reunited, despite thousands of days apart, to continue the Voyage.

That Friday started like any other. I woke up to the spinning wheels of my mind, “…must re-time the engine…is there’s enough play on those bolts on the injector pump?…I haven’t even packed yet!” Coffee in hand, I thought nothing about the inevitability of the next stage of my journey, of Our Voyage. Instead I focused my attention to the subtleties of that Volvo Penta MD6A and with the help and expertise of Blake, we got that honey singin’ again as Lady Hornsby called the local hotels trying to get me a shuttle to the airport.

Without a minute to spare, I loaded the last of my warm clothes into my duffel and called for our rowing captain, Sharkfoot, to take me to shore, thankful for the sunglasses to shield my watery eyes. A quick goodbye on the beach and I was hoofing it alone, heading up the beach towards a shuttle. After twenty minutes of running I still came up two minutes late and caught a cab instead for a price that was practically our weekly food budget. We whizzed along the coast and I saw from the land, in a matter of minutes, what my girls would see over the next few days. At the airport I ducked into the bathroom to change out of my board shorts and sandals into jeans and shoes, checked in, and sat down to eat a lunch that Hornsby and Sharkie had packed me, complete with a napkin note that almost got me misty all over again. Before I knew it I was in New York City, where the wind-chill dropped the temperature into the 20’s and you can’t see the stars for the lights. It was all too familiar.

But my soul and my spirit drifted in a perfect bell curve. I was still very much on the boat, lying awake at night in that fourth floor walk up and waiting for the boat to rock me to sleep. Mistaking the streetlights outside for the anchor lights of other boats. Telling anyone who would listen about life on Misty, and realizing I was coming up quite short when trying to put it to words. But I was in NYC for one reason: money, and after a day of getting my bearings again, a day when I felt all the shifts in wind as if I were at the helm, I was at work, unloading a semi and a 24’ truck’s worth of gear onto 40th street.

Mercedes Benz Fashion Week may be glamorous for some, but for the non-union stage technicians of New York City it is a grueling two weeks of work with the opportunity to rake in the overtime hours and stock up some cash. Dressed in black, bearing hand-staplers, matt-knives, and the ubiquitous knee-pads, our bleeding knuckles and drowsy drooping eyelids tell the story of the effort demanded of a crew tasked with doing three fashion shows a day in one venue. No longer the captain of the crew, and compared to the fatigue of sailing, it felt more like the long awaited vacation than work.

By the following weekend, amidst a 21-hour day, I couldn’t be farther from the boat. I couldn’t even conceive of it anymore. All I saw were scrim-covered panels, and painted carpet runways. I rode the subway in a daze with deli coffee in one hand and a bacon-egg-and-chedder sandwich in the other. As the week progressed the end came into view. Just get through Tommy Hilfiger (a 22’X90’ planked walnut runway!) and I’ll be on my way back to the boat. A few trips to the local West Marine, and out to Queens in an effort to replace the stainless steel used in the Epic Repair of 2010 and I could almost taste the salt air.

Sniffling and coughing, I flew back across the country to a reunion I had long awaited. Two wonderful friends jumped from behind a van and we embraced in the way I had envisioned, full of joy an excitement. Hopping into the rental car we made our way back to La Paz chatting about all our various adventures. Upon arrival at the boat we were together again, ready to continue the adventure.

Since the moment I left I’ve been trying to make sense of this part of the journey. If there is anything I have learned so far from the Voyage of the Misty Moonlight it is that the challenges, the abnormalities, are the spice of life. If I only see the most superficially positive moments, then I would have lost my mind many months ago. Nothing on this Journey has gone according to plan except that we threw the plan out the window a long time ago and replaced it with the whims of the wind. We have invested our faith in knowing that everything that happened, every little piece of the journey from moment to moment happened and continues to happen for a reason. You just have to have your eyes and heart open enough to find the meaning.

I can not speak for Las Capitanas, but I suspect that without The Captain, they gained some confidence in what we have all learned together. I know that had to learn to let go and found myself in the shoes of our friends and family—out of touch and constantly worried. As I sit here on the boat, the girls are in town running errands. I am nursing a cold and I admit I feel out of the loop. Having stepped out of this life and into an entirely different one, I feel like a foreigner, a bit of a stranger in my own home. But I put my faith again in the idea that everything happens for a reason, and even more so in the bonds of friendship that no trip to New York could ever break.

Voyage on Misty!

Monday, February 22, 2010

The vacation begins…but this still ain’t no holiday!

So we finally made the long journey down the coast of Baja to Cabo San Lucas. We were in time not only for the Captains flight to NYC (to earn some dough for the Misty funds setting up runways for J-Lo’s latest fashion trends), but we were also there in just enough time to have the Captains help taking out a fuel pump with some blown seals and reinstalling a freshly overhauled one. That Volvo Penta MD6A was now running better than ever, the skies were blue, the winds fair and the beaches white. What a time to have to say farewell to the Captain. With no choice, the misty eyed Misty Crew rowed the good Captain to shore and left her to walk the beach, luggage in hand, to find the airport shuttle. Suerte Capitaina! We’ll miss you, a few tears, and then the Misty Co-Capitanas step up. Mom’s gone!! So what did we do??? Fuel up and buy some cold beers.
We had 2 weeks to make it from Los Cabos around the East Cape to La Paz, 123 nautical miles. That motor was runnin’ real nice and Hornsby and I were sharing the co-captainship as well as you could hope for. We stopped along the way to La Paz at one of the most beautiful little coves along the Baja Coast, Los Frailes. Just North of Frailes about 3 NM is Cabo Pulmo Reef which is home to one of 3 living hard-coral reef systems in North America, and the only one in the Sea of Cortez. So of course, Hornsby and I jumped in for an epic snorkel around the cove to the point and back. We found, by day, our first Crown of Thorns Sea Stars (that change colors), crazy sea cucumbers, eels, urchins of all sizes shapes and colors and tropical fish of all kinds. By night, and this is where it gets good, we suited up with wetsuits gloves and flashlights and headed out on our first non-Catalina night snorkel. We weren’t really sure if we would see any lobster at all, and if we did see them if we would even know how to catch those quick little bastards. But 45 minutes later we had 5 good-for-the-eatin’ spiny lobsters. Turns out you just gotta’ grab them as quick as you can, and when they squeal just hold on tight and head straight for that bucket with a real tight lid.
This was the trip we had dreamt of and it only took us a broken propeller strut, broken salt water impeller, overhauled fuel system and about 1000 nautical miles to get here.
So you may be reading thinking all the trials were over and Hornsby and Sharkie were getting fat off fresh seafood and cold beers. Wrong, wrong, wrong. There were a few minor bumps and hiccups, not even worth mentioning, but what I will say is that this was when the famous quote was born…”I love being scared to death every day of my life!”.
All was swell enough for the first week, anchoring and sailing smooth as butter until we were in sight of La Paz. We had left anchorage at Bahia de los Muertos at 1:00 am, as the tides through the narrow Cerralvo Channel can be tricky with an opposing wind. But that meant we were coming into La Paz on an outgoing tide with the wind in our face. So with only 12 nm to go we crept along at anywhere between 0-2 nm an hour. Perfect, we should be in La Paz by the next day. To give you a better idea of our speed…It took us what seemed like hours to pass Isla Lobos, which is a rock outcropping 10 feet wide by 30 feet long. We sure do know that little island well. The tide mellowed out and 3 knots never felt so fast! We got into the Bay and finally after getting up at 1 am Lady Hornsby and I were looking for a nice marina, cheap and maybe close to town, (as Carnival was starting the next day). There she was, shining like a beacon in or guidebook. Close to town, the cheapest in the bay, Jacuzzi tub. Lets just for privacy sake call them “Salchichas” Marina (Sausage Marina). So they sent a pilot boat out to get us, which was a red flag because if we were already in town and the pilot boat would take 10 min to get to us, that would make the marina a ways from town. We waited the 10 min, doing laps around La Paz Bay. They finally arrived and let us know that the marina was actually 2 miles from town, but there were taxis. Ok, it was still cheap and there was still that Jacuzzi. So we followed them through the shallow bay…plotting our way on the GPS, just in case. And of course, about 5 min into the journey the depth sounder fell from 10 feet to 5, 4, 3, 2, 2, 2, and then that familiar tug on the bottom of the boat that says you have run aground. AAAAHHHHHH!!!! Every day a thousand freaking days in this country!! The guys in the panga seemed oblivious to the fact that we had hit the bottom but lucky for us we knew the drill to get the boat floatin’ again. (Knowing how to get your boat off the sandy bottom is not something you are proud to admit, but lets be honest, if you haven’t run aground yet, you haven’t spent enough time on your boat.) They promised us that they took boats with a much larger draft than ours through the channel and then explained that the channel was actually about 200 yards to the south. You can imagine the frustration as we had understood that the pilot boat is supposed to guide you through a tricky channel. So after a few minutes of explaining how the whole un-grounding process worked, their 80 horses pulled us out of the sand and onto the next sand bar. WOW! Really?? Ok, lets try that again. We were finally free of the sand, common sense told us to follow those old GPS points right back out the way we came. You can imagine their surprise when we informed them we were not following them any further and were going to find a different marina for the night. The next lucky spot was “Don Juans” (again for his privacy). We called him on the radio and although he was more expensive and without Jacuzzi we were willing to settle for just about anything now. We had docked and decompressed for about 30 seconds and good old “Don Juan” came down to the dock to greet us and let us know that someone else was coming into the very slip he had just promised to us. Ok…on the verge of a breakdown we turned on the tunes and had a dance party as we motored back out of the bay we had come to know so well for Marina Palmira 2 miles back. One thousand days were almost over.
Is this starting to sound less like easy-living vacation and more like Real World Misty Moonlight? We stayed in La Paz for a few days to see what Carnival was really all about, to stock up on provisions and clean up the boat. After a few days in the harbor we were ready to get back out on the water and get back to this vacation stuff. We had heard that Balandra was one of the most beautiful beaches around La Paz and we were curious to check it out. We anchored in the early afternoon and relaxed on the boat for a while, enjoying this vacation we were on. After a while we decided to snorkel in to the beach and around the point and we saw some round rays, spotted rays, crazy nudibranchs, and some scorpion fish. What a day this had turned out to be. You are waiting for something to happen, aren’t you? The vacation was over as night fell and the swell from the north kicked in and hit us abeam and the boat started rocking and rolling. This was going to be a long night. Sleep was close to non-existent between getting up to check the anchor and attempting to sleep in the recovery position. (You know the one where you put someone on their side, so they don’t choke on their own vomit and put one knee up to stabilize them so they don’t roll over.) So Balandra wasn’t as nice of a place for us as it is for some folks traveling the Sea of Cortez and we pulled anchor as soon as the morning hit and were off to find someplace a bit mellower for the next few nights.
We headed out to Isla Espiritu Santos a few hours sail from Balandra and found a nice little cove to spend the next few days. The vacation was back and we spent the next day mostly at the beach reading, napping, snorkeling the cove and hanging by the bonfire at night. Things seemed almost too good to be true; cue the end of the vacation. To sum things up, as night fell things started to go a little wrong. I started to feel a little ill and those tacos from Carnival caught up with me and we’ll just say the shooting pains in my stomach, cold sweats, ringing ears and numbness in my face were only some of the symptoms of Montezuma’s revenge. Just as this was happening in the charmin of the Misty Moonlight, a Brown Booby made his roost for the night at the top of our mast. Lady Hornsby tried to shoo him away a little unsuccessfully by throwing avacado seeds at him and shooting him with the boats high-powered squirt gun. (Generally when shooting water straight up in the air the one who is going to get wet is not the Booby at the top of the mast, but the booby behind the barrel of the gun.) Lady Hornsby was finally successful shooing him off the mast with the main halyard, but not before he dumped the largest, fishiest pile of poop I have ever seen merely inches away from our open hatch. Tomorrows project: clean the boat.
Next day, vacation again. Montezuema had cleared his way out of my stomach and we had a nice relaxing vacation day until the sun went down. Here in the Sea of Cortez, they have these night time winds, the coromuels, which can come out of nowhere from the south and pick up pretty quickly. So right as I was settling in the v-berth for a good nights rest the winds started picking up. In no time the winds were up to 15 knots, the waves at 3 feet and building and it seemed LVII, our dinghy, tied to the stern was going to be swamped for sure. So Hornsby calls me out of bed and I crawled into LVII to get the British Seagull (our outboard) off the back of the boat and mounted onto Misty. Next, get the dinghy onto the boat in 15 knots of wind and lashed down, pay out 50 more feet of rode on our anchor line and attempt to sleep, again in recovery position between anchor watches and waves smashing the hull.
I laugh to myself at times like these and wonder who the crazed sailor is that ever said that sailing is 90% boredom. We’re not bored yet. Every stretch of this “vacation” brings new challenges and always new adventures and even at 3am in the recovery position rocking and rolling I can honestly say that there is nowhere in the world I would rather be than on this boat.
The next morning we had to pull anchor and head in to La Paz to pick up the Captain from the airport, its time for her to come home to the Misty Crew. We wouldn’t want her to miss any more of this wonderful “vacation”.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Epic Repair of 2010

If you are going to survive on the ocean you have to be able “to make chicken soup out of chicken shit”. That is exactly what we did in Turtle Bay. We have come many miles since then and been dealt a plethora of other challenges but the story of our time spent there is worthy of recollection. I can only hope to pass on some of the emotion that surrounded that epic repair.
It all started around 3 am when a loud clunking noise startled the Captain and Sharkfoot as the night watch was being passed over. I crawled out of the V- berth to find a confused Misty Crew. “Maybe it’s a large air bladder from kelp banging on the hull that’s stuck in the prop”. We killed the engine and hove to (this uses the jib to keep you from moving- essentially an E brake). We rationally discussed what to do and what the potential problems might be. I offered my services to do an underwater assessment of the prop and started to gear up into my wetsuit. I descended into the water via the swim step while attached on a harness to take a peek. Some kelp did come out and all appeared clear in the prop. We cranked her up and yep, the most horrifying noise you can imagine your boat making at 4 am still remained. We were worried the prop might eat through the hull so again we hove to. The decision was made to foul the prop since that would eliminate the noise and prevent further complications. We knew we wanted to keep the propeller from spinning and also keep all parts attached.
The moon was nowhere to be found and even heaved to we were doing 2-3 knots. To be blunt, it’s a terrible time to get in the water and work on your boat. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Fear and rational aside, I descended into the water while a scared crew (only later confessed) watched from on deck. My only goal was to get the rope wrapped around the blades of the prop so it would not turn. The swell combined with the speed over ground was intense and I found myself being pushed and pulled around in the water as I worked tirelessly to do what had to be done. After 15 minutes below, Sharkfoot demanded that I get out and I did because I was satisfied with the rig. Exhausted and cold, I climbed on deck and mumbled the specifications of the fix. It was now possible to cover some ground without the clunking. Silence never sounded so promising.
We had planned to continue on to Magdalena Bay (235 miles away) but decided it best to sail back north 10 miles to Turtle Bay. We made great time until early morning when we hit the “doldrums” and progess was almost non- existent. We were 5 miles out and hoped to arrive by day’s end. Moral low and totally exhausted, we heard “misty moonlight” being hailed on the radio and all 3 of us got a little choked up. Our friends had waited for us all night and within a couple hours arrived to give us a tow. We dropped anchor under tow and started the “epic repair of 2010”. We took some underwater photos of the propeller to determine the problem and through assessment realized that the previous diagnosis was incorrect. Actually good news!! Diagnosis: The new strut on the propeller shaft was nearly corroded all the way due to electrolysis.
1st Remove propeller shaft from under boat while avoiding sinking the boat
How? Send 2 divers under boat to pound out 4 screws and quickly insert homemade plugs (time : 6 hours)
Note: it is a bad idea to drop the cutlass bearing to the bottom of the ocean during this process. It is a good idea to
get GPS coordinates for where you dropped it since your tank is out of air and the search will take place tomorrow.
2nd Drink coffee and get geared up and ready for the great bearing search
How? Find some air to dive with and some nice Mexican folks that want to help you.
Note: The only air available was from a air compressor and you had to remained connected to a 30 ft. hose at all
times. There were 2 mouth pieces and down we went ( Manuel and I). Visibilty was around 4 inches and the bottom
was black mud that loved to turn into a black cloud.
Result: Manuel, the guapo, blue eyed diver found the cutlass bearing. It was no short of miraculous.
3rd Take the cutlass bearing to the “shop” where Dad and Sharkfoot have been manufacturing a stainless steel brace.
Note: The captain and I arrived to Alberto’s (the local mechanic) to reunite the bearing with the strut which was a
joyous occasion. We ate chicharrones in celebration.
4th Tow misty to the local fishing boat with giant winch to get ass end out of water for reassembly.
5th Lift boat
Note: it is a good a idea to ask if the winch is operating. If not, no worries, man power will suffice.
6th Send misty divers to pound out plugs and reattach newly braced strut with gobs of 5200 (the nastiest waterproof glue
on the market that is now everywhere we look)
7th Lower boat, put 6 strong hands on the steering wheel, put her in gear and crank her up!

Note: this all came together in less than 36 hours, thanks to:
Manuel, the diver
Dad, the designer and overall hope
Alberto, the mechanic shop owner
Enrique, the shuttler
Ernesto, the smile that helped coordinate
Mom, the spicy soup provider
Pedro, the guy with the fishing boat

And it was time to head south the following day with a rebuilt strut and the belief that anything
you want bad enough is possible with a little hard work and a lot of support. Those days in
Turtle Bay are why we are here now. I honestly think we could still be there if not for the
kindness of strangers and friends. Sharkfoot and Captain Luigi, we made it.