La Cruz de Huanacaxtle
I have a simple rule of boat maintenance. I try to accomplish one boat project every day and when I am done, I allow myself a beer or a drink. The beauty of this rule is that I get to define and choose the project, and if the project gets too big, I can break it up.
Unfortunately, the first rule of boat maintenance fell apart when we got back to Bandaras Bay and pulled into the La Cruz marina on March 8. With our upcoming 2800 mile passage to the Marquesas only a month away, there was much to do to get the boat prepared. As a result, we spend the majority of our time in the area working on the boat.
The 9th was my birthday so we invited the crews from Capaz, Totem and Soirce as well as Greg of the Coast Guard Couple over for a party. Kathy served up a most excellent Paella and a good time was had by all.
We started two major projects while in La Cruz. One was to replace the AC powered refrigeration with a more energy efficient DC powered compressor. The other project was to reconfigure the bimini and install two 85 watt solar panels.
I had the refrigeration compressor waiting in La Cruz when we arrived and got started in earnest. I did the mechanical and electrical installation and hired Don May of Fresco marine to do the plumbing and to charge the system. Don is reasonably priced and is great to work with, so if you need work done in PV, he is your guy.
On March 12th Kathi's former co-worker and friend flew into Puerto Vallarta for a stay split between the Mayan Palace and the Krystal. We joined her for dinner a few times during her stay and made a trip down into the old town where we saw the Mexican military band perform while perched on a restaurant balcony overlooking the square. We probably didn't need that pitcher of sangria after the first round of drinks, but the ribs were excellent.
We had signed up to do the Bandaras Bay Regatta and moved to Paradise Village Marina in Nuevo Vallarta on March 14. The next day, Lynn McNulty and (Doctor of Chocolate) Kristi Leissle arrived. Lynn stayed with Ron Anderson while Kristi stayed on the boat with us. Unfortunately, due to the backlog of projects, we were unable to sail in the regatta, but Kristi had found a ride on another boat so we got to live vicariously through her.
Ron and CJ Anderson, expats from Seattle, have made careers in Banderas Bay and now have a fantastic home overlooking the bay in La Cruz. We, as well as the crews from Capaz and Totem were invited to their house where we had a very enjoyable dinner. I must extend a special thanks to Ron and CJ not only for the wonderful dinner, but also for receiving my compressor and for taking care of the import duty. (I did pay them back)
We really enjoyed having Kristi aboard, but too soon she had to fly home so that she could fly back to see family in New York.
We continued to chip away at boat projects. Once the new bimini frame was fabricated, I installed the solar panels. Once this was done, we had to have the bimini re-cut and some modifications done to some of the other canvas work. For this work, we used Camillia Fox. Though not cheap, her work was excellent and it was done when she said it would be. This was a rare occurrence for us in Mexico.
Our scheduled departure was for April 5th and on April 3rd, my former co-worker Steve Froebe arrived. As it turned out, the forecast was calling for light winds for the first 300-400 miles and we really weren't ready to leave, so we worked feverishly to get the boat ready to go. Steve pitched right in and was a joy to have aboard.
The staff at the Paradise Village marina gave my a free boat shuttle ride across to the port captain's office and I checked us out of Mexico on April 8. For immigration, they actually sent two agents over from the airport to the port captain's office. We now had 48 hours to get out of Dodge.
On Friday afternoon we finally got underway with a final stop in La Cruz to top off the diesel. While we were there, we had our last shore side meal at the marina. At 8:30 pm, we were finally on our way to the Marquesas.
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