After several thousand miles of sailing, and our arrival in warmer waters, I noticed our bottom paint is not holding up well. When we bought the boat it was moored in fresh water and the bottom looked great during the haul out for the survey. And on the trip down, with pretty constant movement and cold water, I didn’t notice any growth (granted I didn’t jump in to check). But after some time anchored in La Paz, I noticed some growth starting, and by the time we sat in Banderas Bay for a few weeks, it was getting disturbing. It turns out this a a good place for disturbing bottom growth, as the going rate for bottom cleaning is a whopping $1 per foot. I would have paid $3. But beyond that I probably would have dug out the scuba gear. Although after watching another cruiser spend a good chunk of two days in the water, maybe not. But fortunately the rate stays the same regardless of the condition of your bottom.
In tandem with arranging for the bottom to be cleaned, I dug out the receipt the previous owner left on the boat for what I’m assuming is the last bottom painting, and realized I’m having issues because it was dated 2008. Bottoms Up Marine Service in Port Townsend was very responsive to my email and helpful with advice about how to prep the current paint (or what is left of it) for the next bottom painting.
Having worked out and date and time with one of the local bottom cleaning crews in the marina, we arranged for a slip and brought the boat in for the dreaded exercise in docking. This is only the third time I’ve docked the boat in Mexico, but with a couple friends on the dock to catch lines it went smoothly. Because the dinghy dock at the La Cruz marina is usually packed, and a bit of a walk from the happening spots we’ve been slipping in between Bella Star and Jace (aka Knee Deep). Since Jace pulled out the day before we went into the marina, we grabbed their spot since we were already so familiar with it.
We arrived mid morning, and our cleaning crew showed up within 10 minutes or our appointment. Not shabby for Mexican time! They were done within an hour, and stuck with the original quoted price. I pitched in a few extra pesos for a job well done. With the bottom clean, we started to think about the topsides. Of course we had given the boat the mandatory scrubbing that comes with getting a slip in a marina after weeks of anchoring. But there were some crews that do topside cleaning, and one of the cruisers on the dock I had been talking to about boat cleaning had just hired a crew that was well regarded. He sent the Jeffe, Ernesto, down to talk to me, and the quote was pretty reasonable. So, we took the plunge and hired them to start the next day on our boat. Of course this also meant a few extra days in the marina, but the rate wasn’t unreasonable and since Aaron’s birthday coming up it would be nice to be able to walk back to the boat after a night out rather than taking the dinghy on the search through the anchorage for our boat we sometimes find ourselves involved in after dark.
It took Ernesto’s crew two days to polish and wax the stainless steel on our boat, clean and wax the topsides, and buff and wax the hull. Ventured looks great, except now my motivation to do something with the teak toe rails is a little stronger. We’ll be working on that soon. We also spent the time in the marina to let the growth on our anchor chain die off by spreading it up and down the dock beside our boat. I never anticipated scrubbing my anchor chain as part of the cruising life.
Next post – How Ventured thanked us for all the TLC.
While the boat was being cleaned, Nicole arrived back from Seattle with a couple goodies from Seattle including our new Coast Guard documentation and some cat toys for Minion, kind of a late birthday present for him. And speaking of birthdays, she arrived on her husband Aaron’s birthday so we headed out on the town. After some happy hour draft beers at the Huanacaxtle Cafe, it was time for some tacos. Full from our trip to Red Chair Tacos, and approaching cruiser midnight, we poked our noses into the Huanacaxtle Cafe to say hi to their friendly beyond description staff on our way back to the boats. They waved us in and despite an approaching closing time offered to serve us more beverages, and agreed to let us plug in a computer and play our own music so we could dance. I had my laptop and soon started playing DJ, trying to play songs everyone knows and loves rather than dipping into my obscure collection. And then… the karaoke book came out. It didn’t take long for the door to be closed and our own private karaoke party to begin. We didn’t even have to request songs, we just ducked in the back room and punched in the number for the songs we wanted and they queued up. Besides ourselves and the birthday couple, we were joined by the Deep Playa, Panache and Wings of the Dawn crews, and the eight of us tore it up. The staff even joined in some songs while keeping our social lubricants flowing. It was a great time that would have been hard to top if we hadn’t returned a couple nights later for another karaoke party, this time joined by crews from Jace and Popoki along with their kids. If you ever find yourself in La Cruz, go say hi to the folks at the Huanacaxtle Cafe, they are delightful, friendly and have the best wings we’ve found in Mexico. Their Happy Hour draft beer is 10 pesos (we’ve agreed you can’t afford not to drink it) and the cocktails are 2 for 1 and they bring the bottle and mixer to your table and pour the alcohol till you say stop. And they don’t chicken out. But I have – I’ve yet to order a mixed drink but I need to do it once before we head out.
After just two days Ventured was sparkly clean, the hull shiny enough to reflect the sun hitting the ripples of water dancing around the boat. Since we had to do something to keep ourselves from feeling too guilty for paying others to work on the boat, we scrubbed the dinghy and installed the dinghy wheels (finally). We returned to the anchorage, happy with our investment and hoping Ventured enjoyed two days of spa treatment.