The great propane adventure

One of the joys I’ve discovered of the cruising lifestyle is the amazing complexity of accomplishing tasks you take for granted back home.  Take filling your propane tank, for example.  Back in Seattle I knew of at least 4 places within 10-15 minutes drive of home to fill the tank I used on the houseboat.  Granted, if I got lazy about taking in the empty tank when I switched over to the full one and realized they were both empty around 6:00 pm when I couldn’t cook dinner and knew my shower the next morning was going to be cold, it got a little more complex.  But assuming a lack of laziness on my part, it was usually pretty simple to get the tank filled.

Forward to Manzanillo, Mexico.  We carry only one smallish propane tank as I kind of ran short on time and funds for adding a second one to run the BBQ and be a back up.  So after several weeks of coastal cruising with very few meals at taco stands, we ran out of propane.  At first I wasn’t too concerned about it, Manzanillo is a big town with a major shipping terminal, and propane seems to be a pretty common source of cooking fuel down here.  Of course, we were in the midst of our last few days with our friends, so I drank cold instant coffee in the morning and we ate out once or twice.  We even managed an uncooked meal or two, and when the four guys returned to Walmart to clean the shelf of the Red Dog beer on sale for $2 a six pack, I grabbed a Coleman propane cylinder that we can run the stove off on an emergency basis (or a few months back home where propane cylinders were cheap and it took awhile to get the exterior tank mounted and a line run to the stove).  Finally on Monday we found ourselves alone and armed with some directions from a fellow cruiser who has sent us an email detailing his bus rides to confirm propane could be purchased at a Global Gas facility.

I was going to tackle this trip alone as it was not going to be to the heart of the Manzanillo tourist zone.  But Jenn was ready to get off the boat which was rolling around a bit and decided to accompany me.  On the way out of the Las Hadas resort I tried to play my ace in the hole.  I approached the que of taxis waiting to pick up resort guests, and showed the cylinder I carrying in my back pack (it just doesn’t seem like something you should be carrying on a bus in plain site).  Pulling the cylinder out I explained “Propano” (yes, that is the word, I’m not just adding an O to the word).  After some chatter among the taxi drivers, one explained in some English and Spanish that for 50 Pesos they could take us to a scuba place that could tell us where to get the tank filled.  We continued to the bus stop.

Monkeys sounds like a good place for chicken.

We've got this thing for wings, and these satisfied our craving.

Nothing goes with wings like some Mexican pop music videos. Sadly, Jeans broke up in 2009 (thanks, Google!)

It did take a bit of a wait for our first bus, something we aren’t accustomed to with Mexican buses.  Say what you will about them, and someday I’ll write a whole post about them, but so far Mexican buses have picked us up with outstanding regularity.  I think we were on a bit of less traveled route so it isn’t run so frequently, so I’m not complaining.  Once we reached the main road, we grabbed some rather tasty chicken wings to fortify us for our journey, then followed the directions by getting on the R1 bus.  Our directions were to follow this bus to the end of the route and get off in a small town square behind a white building where the graffiti read “For good health, wash your hands.”  The ride was actually pretty interesting, taking us by Manzanillo’s shipping terminals, then along the waterfront before veering into town.  For once, I was the only Gringo on the bus.  I should say only other, but Jenn doesn’t stand out quite as much as I do.  Between craning our necks to take in  the views, and starting to try and figure out where the route terminated, we caught the eye of an English speaking local who dropped into the seat behind us and asked where we were going.  We explained out mission, and he told us to get out and catch our next bus on the street we were about to reach.  A little torn between local knowledge and having directions we were told worked, we went ahead and hopped off.  Something had caused a bit of a hold up at the intersection, and while we were waiting our impromptu guide also got off the now at a standstill bus and informed us we needed to catch the bus on the other side of the street.  Oops.  We waited awhile, began to grow nervous we had made the wrong choice but did manage to use the time to buy some fresh tortillas.  We walked a couple blocks, and I was going to continue but Jenn wanted to hold up in case the bus turned.  Good call, it arrived, we got on, and it immediately turned left.  It went by our landmark “For good health..” graffiti which is whre our directions said to catch it, a good sign.

Jenn heads for the second bus out of the six we would ride on.

So now all we had to do was get off at the main gate to the power plant and walk a couple hundred feet to Global Gas.  No problem, until we went by a gate that really didn’t look like it led to the power plant, but it was a pretty big gate.  We had a hurried discussion, and got the bus to stop and walked back to the gate.  Oops again.  But they guards at the gate told us we were only about a kilometer away, and after this much time on the bus the walk sounded nice.  Sure enough, not far down the road we saw what was pretty obviously a gate to the power plant, and just beyond it, the Global Gas.  I had read some warnings in blogs about not just walking in, so we kind of hovered around the gate trying to locate an office, when an employee came out, took our tank and 23 pesos and headed back in.  I had done some math and showed him my note with 2.7 kilos written down, but he said “Dos kilos” when he took our pesos.  When he brought the tank back out, he told us held four kilos. It didn’t feel full so Jenn used her superior Spanish skills to ask if it was full and thought he said it was.  We started walking away, but after all this travel we decided we needed to make sure the tank was full so I went back with Jenn’s instructions and asked if was full.  This time the response was negative, so 23 more pesos and another short wait and we had what we believe is a full tank.  I’ll have to go back and check my math on propane tank volumes when converting from pounds to kilos – or just tell them 4 kilos next time.

Lousy photo but shooting out a Mexica bus window is tricky. Just an idea of the less than toursity area we drove by.

This would be the gate we should have got off the bus at.

And finally, success!

We had another bit of a wait for the return bus, which we used to grab some water from the Oxxo and sit and rest a bit.  We packed into probably the most crowded bus we’ve been on in Mexico and returned to the square were we needed to change buses.  However, we spotted a landmark sculpture a few blocks away and were in no hurry to return since we were aiming for arriving after the marina office closed to try to avoid the exorbitant 200 peso daily dinghy fee.  It is was one thing if you are splitting it up with 4 people and using the pool at the resort, but for parking the dinghy for the day while we were at the other end of town, it seemed a bit steep.  So we wondered down the street, which I had failed to realized was bordered by numerous clothing stores.  Well – at least that burned some time while Jenn examined their textile offerings.  Finally we reached the sculpture, at which point I was pretty sure a 10 minute walk along the waterfront would reconnect us with our bus route.  Finally – I got one right and we were soon on our way back towards the end of the bay our boat was anchored in.  We had to change buses on more time, near some major stores so we ducked in for a few extra provisions, stopped for some tasty tacos, and considered a movie before we realized it was in 3D which neither of us are big fans of, and it raised the ticket price to 70 pesos.  So we took one last bus to the resort, where we found our dinghy had been moved right to the bottom of one of the ramps because of some painting on the dock.  Perfect, we were down the ramp and motoring away before anyone could ask us if we had paid the dingy fee today.  For once we were quicker than the guard who seems to materialize on the dock as you land your dinghy.

A little site seeing on the way back.

I'm still trying to imagine actually using this "boat" for anything, but I wouldn't be suprised if it is regularly used for something.

So now back on the boat, with propane and provisions.  We’ll probably move anchorages tomorrow, most likely to Santiago for a day or two and then we’ll begin heading back north.  Having finally broken free of the resort near the anchorage I’m eager to get back to seeing more of the towns in the area. I really enjoyed seeing some areas of Manzanillo that weren’t on the tourist track.

 

And finally, back at Las Hadas.

So, for anyone who has Googled how to get propane in Manzanillo and stuck with this whole story, here is our directions:

If you are coming from Las Hadas, take the R8 bus out to the main road to the major shopping area (Soriana, Wal-Mart, Commercial Mexicana)  Take the R1 bus heading southeast to the end of the line.  We caught it near the Wal-Mart store.  It will follow the water, and a mile or so after turning away from the water will reach a small square with many food stands.  There is a white building that as of this writing has “For good health, wash your hands” on the wall – in Spanish. Get off here, and catch the R9 bus at the same stop.  It takes about 10 minutes to get to the gate, and it not the first gate you see.  When you see the power plant, watch for an Oxxo on your right, it is almost across road from the gate.  The Global Gas is about 300 feet beyond the Oxxo and the gate, on the Oxxo side of the road.  Return by reversing the directions.  If you don’t goof around, it is probably a 2-3 hour trip.

Adios Amigos – for now…

It was a good run, but our decision to spend the summer in the Sea or Cortez brought our buddy boat fleet to an end. We’ve had a wonderful time and will miss our new friends terribly, but this is part of cruising. Even as Jace and Bella Star head south (with Panache to follow when Zach recovers from last night’s goodbye party) Jenn is thumbing through our guide book for the Sea of Cortez to make sure we really want to spend the summer there. Our friends are off to do the El Salvador Rally, which we have considered (with much encouragement). Meanwhile, we will wander back up Mexico’s Gold Coast, spend a little time back in our adopted home of La Cruz, then start working our way to La Paz for a jump north. Both groups have been encouraging the other to join them by stating the benefits of their plan. We were informed that boats are fixed for free in El Salvador, while we claimed in the Sea of Cortez the fish not only catch themselves, they clean and prepare themselves too.

Ben brings Jace to an anchorage in his Gortons Fisherman foulies

Molly, Mickey, JP and Ben from Jace

Mickey and JP on Jace even captured Minion on their Nintendo DS attempting to change our plans. This is a handheld video with a digital camera of the DS, complete with directors commentary. Pardon the video quality, but this had to be shared!

We though about continuing to Zihuatanejo, but it is close to 200 miles without the short hops we’ve gotten used to here on the Gold Coast. We’ll see it on our next trip south, but right now our plan is to get an early start on the Sea of Cortez so we can be heading back south a little earlier next year. Unless we go to Mazatlan for Carnival… It is hard to make these plans in advance. Even Jace and Bella Star are undecided about their plans after El Salvador, so we cling to the hope that we may see them up north with us in a couple of months.

Zach, back in the La Cruz phase of our trip.

But for now, we are on our own. There are the never ending boat projects to catch up on, some stops we missed on our way south to explore on our way back, some favorites to stop at again, and some old friends waiting back in La Cruz. But it will be a much different experience with out “Belvenache” and Jace as cruising partners. To Ben, Mollly, Mickey, JP, Aarron, Nicole and Zach – fair winds and following seas, thanks for enriching our cruising adventure, and we’ll miss you until our voyages cross wakes again. Our livers, however, won’t miss you!

A sad sight, Bella Star leaving while without us.

Ventured & Bella Star, dressed up for cruisers on New Years Eve

Moving on to the Gold Coast

We have reached a portion of Mexico known as the Gold Coast.  However, gold in the form of sunshine has been a bit hard to find.  Even with some gray days to remind us of home, we’ve really been enjoying this portion of our trip.

Our original plan had been to stay on the mooring buoy in Yelapa early in the morning, before the pangero came by to collect more money for our stay.  But shortly after all being delivered back to our boats, the crews that would soon dub themselves Belvenache but were still hailing each other Bella Star, Panache and Ventured agreed to leave after dinner.  Describing the mooring field in Yelapa as rolly would be like saying a wooly mammoth was merely fuzzy.   An overnight sail was actually preferable to trying to sleep on a boat imitating our swimwear in a wash cycle.

So off we all went, rounding Cabo Corrientes and turning once again south.  And a bit east – as of my last look we are due south or Roswell, New Mexico.  The overnight sail turned into an early morning motor for a short period of time before discoverd the leak in the fuel line detailed a couple posts ago.  Once it was fixed in the morning we continued and slipped on Chemela near dusk, found an open spot to anchor and caught up on some sleep.

Jenn gets in some shore time.

Walking on solid ground after 36 or so hours on the boat.

Empty, but very scenic beach.

Chemala turned out to be an enjoyable stop.  The next morning we all dinghied ashore, making a successful surf landing.  Many of the anchorages along the Pacific coast of Mexcio involve breaking waves along the beach.  Landing a dinghy takes a combination of patience, timing, and general luck.  Failure to reach the proper combination of the three can result in an upside down dinghy and all of your cargo floating in different directions.  Leaving the beach requires the same set of skills, along with remembering to have the kill switch that inserted in the engine so you can start it (don’t ask me how I know this).  You wait for a lull in the surf, or at least a small set of waves, while hovering a ways off the beach.  When you fill the waves are a manageable size, you ride one in to keep deeper water under the outboard prop, which you need to have spinning to keep the boat going forward, and not sideways to the wave.  As the wave washes up the beach you have to kill the engine, swing the outboard up out of the water, hop out of the dinghy, and start pulling it up the beach. Oh, and time it so the wave brings you up on the beach, but doesn’t break over the stern of your dinghy.  This would all be a bit easier with the huge dinghy wheels many people have on their dinghys that actually extend lower than the outboard prop so you can just drive up on the beach and the wheels prevent the prop from hitting the bottom.  But… I don’t have those.  I did, as promised on the blog, install the less expensive and shallower wheels on the dinghy before we left La Cruz, and they help with pulling they dinghy up the beach on hard packed sand.

Even the few businesses on the beach didn't seem to be packing in crowds.

For you today, practically free - of other tourists. Or even locals.

Anyway – we landed successfully.  As we have a bigger dinghy than Bella Star we all went ashore in ours, and having a couple extra people makes the beach landings and departures much easier.  After a swing through what little bit of a villager there is at the head of the bay, we set off on a beach hike.  I kept wondering what we were missing, as we were hiking on a beautiful beach in a scenic bay with almost no one in site.  There were a few hotels and an RV park in the town, and after that it thinned out to almost nothing.  We (the guys) set our sites on a ruined building a mile or two down the beach.  Somewhere along the line someone heard that it had been dynamited twice, but while crooked, it was still standing.  Upon reaching it everyone took photographs, while Zach and I scrambled up and explored a bit.  While nothing spectacular, it was an interesting structure to scramble around on, and the crooked stairwells gave me the feeling of being a a live MC Escher painting.

Aarron works his magic for the camera.

Just the vacation shot you always wanted, in front of a crumbling resort.

Walking on this probably wasn't brilliant, but health care in Mexico is cheap. Just maybe not readily available in this village.

For reference, Zach is standing up straight.

And one more picture from a bit further back.

Back on the beach, we headed back towards our dinghies, pausing to chat with some fellow beach walkers with three schnauzers and a pug in tow.  Eventually the afternoon sorted itself out in a beach day, with attempted kite flying, boogie boarding, bocci ball, and of course a few cold Pacificos.

The boys playing with their umm, Bocci set.

And suddenly, the sky got all dramatic for a moment.

The next morning we made long haul to some islands a couple miles away, and after some probing around anchored in front a small sandy beach, maybe 400 to 500 feet long.  The island appeared to be home to quite a few birds, including some baby pelicans in nests. Again we made use of our day by snorkeling from the dinghy, and collecting up wood on the beach.  Aarron beefed up the existing fire pit, and built up a stack of woods in a ready to ignite form.  As evening approached, Zach set off with his Hawaiian sling, used to spear fish and bagged three fish for ceviche.  The rest of us used ingredients on our boat to make some dishes we all brought to the beach for a potluck dinner.  As we finished our delicious feast and dusk arrived, we lit the fire and celebrated the full moon with a raging bonfire.  It was quite a party, as we had collected enough wood for a few hours of bonfire, and Nicole even produced the ingredients for smores.

I still find it a bit bizarre to see cactus growing right next to the ocean.

Our own private beach, perfect for a day of sun and sand. And a night of bonfire.

The ladies do some floating.

A close of of some of giant cacti growing on the island.

Prepped and ready for sundown.

The hermit crab races worked better in theory than reality.

More floating the day away.

A thrown together potluck dinner takes shape.

This hermit crab was a bit clingy.

The gang, minus Jenn the photographer. And yes, I'm due for a haircut.

Some of the many birds on the island roost for the evening.

And it begins...

Long exposure of the full moon rising.

The bonfire, with Steve standing nearby for scale.

Full moon and fire, a fun combination for our evening.

The whole Chemela experience was quite a highlight of the trip, a very beautiful area  with very little development, no mega resorts on the beach, and a sense of isolation but with access to some little stores that have enough supplies to keep you fed.  However, we are currently traveling with some boats that are participating in the El Salvador Rally and while they aren’t hurrying, there won’t be any more month long stops like La Cruz.  So our time there was limited to a couple days filled with full throttle relaxing.  I’m pretty sure we’ll stop in Chemela on the way back north, both because it is a convenient anchorage, and because it will be a nice spot to feel isolated before the jump back to civilization in Banderas Bay.  However, it will be missing something without Panache and Bella Star there to share in the fun.

Yelapa in pictures

Despite my recent trashing of Yelapa on the blog, it was a scenic location. I didn’t go crazy with the photos, but here are a few to give you a visual or our experience there.

Local boys with an improvised water slide.

Why I haven't tried skimming the water on my boogie board, I don't need to bruise my butt on the beach.

Either a giant staircase, or a terraced hotel.

A scenic mooring field. We prefer anchoring.

From a little higher up, showing the estuary behind the beach.

A bird for Melissa to identify for us.

Yelapa "cars".

A sidestreet off of the main road, err, path.

Or course I take pictures of the animals.

Cutouts a woodshop making wooden bowls.

All this walking for a somewhat underwhelming waterfall, but it was refreshing!

Jenn rests at the waterfall.

I was afraid to hold my hand next to this spider for comparison as it was about as big as my palm.

Yelapa's slum district.

The required picture of Ventured from the beach.

Minion fell in the bleach.

 

And fade to sunset...

Goodbye La Cruz, Good riddance Yelapa

It has been about a week, and we still miss La Cruz de Huanacaxtle. There is the still the occasional joke about making it back to La Cruz in time for happy hour at the Hunacaxtle Bar and Cafe. The group we hung out with in La Cruz really settled in, and the place began to feel like home. I’ll confess, when we did finally get our plans together to leave there was some discussion on our boat if we really had to. I’m sure we could have stayed, but with friends moving on it wouldn’t have been the same so we decided to migrate south.

I’m not sure what exactly made La Cruz so special, but it was. There was the warm climate, a good group of friends, sailing on Profligate, a visit from my sister, lots of good food stores, delicious street tacos, live music and easy, fun day trips to beach locations. And of course, the Huanacaxtle Bar and Cafe. It took as a while to clue in, but once we did the fun usually began around 4:00 pm, when two hours of Happy Hour began. Draft beer ran about .77 cents and there were wings and nachos to snack on. After Happy Hour we usually found some tacos at a local stand, and more and more frequently returned to the Huanacaxtle for their live music or what were usually private karaoke parties. The staff wasn’t just friendly, they actually became our friends. We will be passing back through and I can’t wait to go in and say hi to everyone.

I probably shouldn’t say negative things since I’m out here living the dream, but the low point of La Cruz was Philos, a restaurant with live music and featuring a menu of pizzas. We were told this would be the cruiser hangout in La Cruz, and it even had a blurb in our guide book. But we found the food mediocre, the beers overpriced and the service abysmal and in stark contrast to the friendly folks at the Huanacaxtle. While we were not there for the excitement, several of our friends had the staff threaten to call the police on them over a disagreement on the bill, which our friends were in the right over. Kind of a mistake on Philos part, these were not two guys who’s bar business you wanted to lose. I would have given these two a free beer if it meant they kept coming to my establishment! I did enjoy the music one night, but then realized pretty much every night the owner sang lead and he does not have a voice I wanted to listen to multiple times. It also seemed the patrons were less any cruisers we knew, and mostly Gringos who now live in the area.

As long as I’m on my negative streak, let me move on to our next stop, Yelapa. It is about 15 miles from La Cruz, across Banderas Bay and is touted as a beautiful little village, populated by native people that own the land as a collective. Sunday morning around 7:00 am, we set sail motor for Yelapa. Let’s just say Yelapa got off on the wrong foot with us, and never got back on the right one. Because it is a deep bay, there are mooring buoys to tie up to – for a fee. I already had heard several stories about boats dragging the buoy, or swinging into each other. When the panga came out as we approached, Nicole on Bella Star tried to negotiate a deal with him as we had three boats coming in. Rather than bargain, he just drove off, and approached our boat. Thanks to the VHF, we were already aware of what had happened to her, but tried to bargain too. He gave us an off hand wave of his hand and drove away. Apparently he knew if we were coming in, we were getting a buoy from him and paying full price for it. Well, sometimes cruising costs money, so we took a buoy and paid up – it cost more than a night in the marina in Mazatlan. The price did include a dinghy ride ashore, so after waiting a bit to make sure we were staying in place (and backing down on the buoy after the panga left since he was telling me not to pull on it) we headed ashore to wait for Panache to arrive. Of course, the panga dropped us off in front of the palapa he worked for who encouraged us to sit down and have some drinks. I was a bit surprised beer was only 20 pesos, actually cheaper than at Philos. This in a town with no road to it, so everything is brought in by boat. We had a some beer and nachos and as Zack and Steve from Panache arrived requested our bill. Our waiter gave us a total 35 pesos higher than it should have been, and when we questioned it he corrected it by “realizing” we only had two beers, not four. Okay – maybe he did make a mistake, but he still pretty much flat out asked Jenn for more of a tip as he was giving her change.

With the Panache crew ashore, we decided our time was a bit short so we hiked to the closer, smaller waterfall. The trip though town was fun, the street was more of a path with enough room for the occasional 4 wheeler and pedestrians. We climbed a staircase with branching paths to various doors to arrive on the path, and walked about 30 minutes to a small waterfall where a few of us braved the cool water to splash around a bit. Then a walk back down to the beach, where we sat back down at the palapa for another round of beer to cool down from all the hiking walking. Steve from Panache asked our waiter (same one as earlier) how much the nachos were. He replied “80 pesos”. Funny – when we looked at the menu on our earlier visit and ordered them, they were 60 pesos. A question of the price brought a menu and a correction. I’ll say this, maybe our waiter just made a couple honest mistakes, but it sure felt like he was trying to pocket some extra pesos if we weren’t on our toes. He did make it up a bit by bringing us a couple free shots of Racilla, a moonshine version of tequila that was surprisingly smooth with a nice smokey flavor.

After our afternoon session at the palapa, and an unsuccessful quick scan of the beach establishments for the Super Bowl on a TV we headed back to our boats. I managed to get a slow internet connection with our Banda Ancha and tried to call the Super Bowl party I was hosting in spirit, but while I could here Andre and the crowd saying Hi to me, my voice was not reaching them. Still, hearing some friends back home was enough to make up for not being able to watch the game. The small bay was very rolly and it didn’t take long for all of us to get on the radio and agree that after dinner we were going to head for the next stop down the coast rather than wait till morning.

So, goodbye La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, until we meet again and we will. And good riddance Yelapa, I doubt we’ll be returning. While your town is in a picturesque bay, we have found other places with their own beauty, better anchorages, and waiters less prone to arithmetic errors in their favor.

Sorry for the lack of pictures, I’m still on a pretty slow internet connection. We’ll be heading to a bigger town today or tomorrow and I’ll upload some pictures from Yelapa and La Cruz. And despite my little grumbling, I’m having a great time even if we are experiencing so much gray and rain that I’m not sure if we are in Seattle or Mexico.

It’s not all sunsets and cocktails

As promised in the last post, admittedly a while back, here is what happened after we treated Ventured to a good cleaning and some general TLC.  Once the crew was done cleaning our boat, we headed back to the anchorage where we belong.  While the docks can have a lot of socializing and become their own little community, we prefer the cost of the anchorage.

A couple days after re-anchoring, we did a provision run and returned to the boat with bags of groceries to stow away.  It really doesn’t work on the boat to just set the groceries on the counter and deal with them later, one asshole overzealous powerboat running through the anchorage can send the contents of the counter to the floor quite quickly.  As we were stowing groceries, Jenn felt some heat near the stairs down into the cabin that cover the engine.  About the same time I suddenly smelled a burning electrical smell.  After a quick check through several cabinets I pulled the engine cover off to witness several wires arching onto the engine block, setting the insulation on fire.  Luckily Jenn’s suggestion to turn off the batteries solved stopped the arching, and the small bursts of flame from the insulation also stopped.  Once things calmed down, I began checking the damage.  Five wires melted through, in a less then easily accessible spot.

This is not the way your wiring should look.

Luckily our fridge runs directly from the battery bank (a combination of laziness and convenience due to the installed location), we can hand pump water, there aren’t any anchor light nazis and we have a handheld VHF that covers the area we were anchored in.  So I had some time to work on this, which was fortunate cause it took a couple days.  I had to sort out all the wired, unwrap them from their shielding, splice in new wires to replace the melted pieces (and this is the temporary fix, I need rerun the wires) and take out the alternator to have it tested.

Once all the new wires were in, I set out with the alternator to find a testing location.  I stopped to say hi to Deep Playa and ended up looking at their Nigel Caulder book (an accidental omission to my cruising library) and reading how to do some of the tests myself.  I then spoke with my mechanical expert David, co-owner of Cheers Automotive in Spokane, and he felt the voltage from the alternator wouldn’t be sufficient to blow holes in the insulation.  I more likely culprit is the combination of age, friction, vibration and heat cycling, as the wires lay right on top of the engine.  After several days of keeping the batteries off while we weren’t on the boat, and watching the new wires while we were on the boat, my repairs seem to be working and  there has been no more arching, fires or melted insulation.

Fast forward to our resumed travels (yes, I’m jumping out of chronological order, I’ll come back to leaving La Cruz and visiting Yelapa) and becoming becalmed a few miles south of Cabo Corrientes around 3 am.  Jenn fired up the engine, and I poked my head in the engine compartment for a quick look and noticed fuel dripping off of a line.  Quite close to the location of the wiring fix, actually.  After looking things over I decided the leak was coming from a line that returns excess fuel delivered by the fuel pump to the fuel tank.  One end of the hose unscrewed easily with a wrench, but the other end took a wrench, vice grip and choice words.  Once it was off I found a spot where the protective cover and hose had chafed through, most likely unrelated to the wiring issue.  What I couldn’t find was a replacement hose or something to seal with.  As it was late, dark and we were both tired, we decided to wait till morning to fix it.  Our speed dropped from 3 knots to .1 knot as the wind died and we ended up essentially adrift, but far enough off shore and with no traffic in sight.

At least I found the problem.

Prepped for a fix.

When dawn arrived to tackled the search for a host sealant.  I got lucky and found the Rescue Tape I thought I had in the second place I looked.  I’ve never used it before, the the instructions were straightforward and half an hour later I had the hose back in place.  We fired up the engine and so far so good, although I’m continuing to monitor it.  I’m hoping it will hold to Manzillo, a couple stops down the coast where I think I can find a replacement hose.  So far I’m very impressed with rescue tape, but not my ability to remember where I put things.

Rescue tape to the, uh, rescue.


Rescue tape works wonders, when you can find it.

So Ventured is still shiny and clean on the outside, but having some internal bleeding I’ve stopped with my boat first aid skills, but need some surgery to fix for the long term.