Feb 3, 2008 - Mazatlan - Last night was our second night at Carnival Mazatlan. I guess this was the real start of things. They had one of the Navy battleships in position just off the beach and when the ship attacked with its fireworks, the shore battery let loose with a huge barrage of fireworks! The show must have lasted at least a half hour, and was hands down the best fireworks we have ever witnessed. Just before he big shoe started we all gathered around for a happy birthday song and some cake to celebrate Karls groundhog day birthday. This was also our first night staying in the Hotel Belmar. This used to be a very grand hotel. It's a little run down now, but it is still quite nice and reasonably priced. Also pre festivities, Eileen fell down some of the stairs and hurt herself again. She seems to be OK today, but is in some additional pain that wasn't there before. The party was just getting started on the streets when we headed back to the boat for the night.
Feb 6, 2008 - Mazatlan - Carnaval is finally over here in Mazatlan. We all had a pretty good time watching all the parades, fireworks, and goings on on the street. There was tons of music and dancing, now we need a break from all the partying.
Feb 13, 2008 - Mazatlan - Well it looks like we finally found a decent place to haul out the boat. All the yards here in Mazatlan were extremely high priced. In all cases, but one, the total was more than any yard in San Diego , CA. Not sure why it's so expensive here. We plan to haul on the ways car at Star Fleet. Right next door to Club Nautico. So tomorrow I'll have to get all my supplies together.
Feb 15, 2008 - Mazatlan - So Bill at Star fleet decided that he didn't want to haul us out. He claimed that he insurance wouldn't allow it. Too bad that he had told me earlier that he had hauled a sailboat before. Oh well. So it's official. We are hauling at the Singlar yard here in Mazatlan. It is located in the high rent district. Carlos from Grupo Mar de Cortez gave us an unbelievable price to paint our top sides. We sort of feel like we are getting the expensive bottom job for free.
Feb 18, 2008 - Mazatlan - So much is happening, so little time. I have spent the past few weeks searching out obscure items for the Pacific crossing. Adrian wants white chocolate. Jamie wants Doritos, hot-dogs and lots of chips and salsa. I want...peace and quiet. Oh, such dreams! The funniest wild goose chase is Adrian's medication. It seems that here in Maz, the pharmacies either only stock one or two of each item or don't want to sell more than one box per day. It take six pharmacies a day to meet a 3 month minimum supply. I am dreaming of the simplicity of La Paz and wondering why I didn't provision for meds properly while we were there. Nonetheless, Adrian will be just fine.
We had a diver clean the hull for the first time this year. The water in the old harbor is just too gross for either of us to be willing to jump in and do the job. We motored to the Singlar marina Saturday morning and the boat was hauled out and on stands by afternoon. It was a bit disorganized and somewhat traumatic (I cried). I was pretty angry about the lack of care when we were entering the ways and the placement of the straps during the first hauling attempt. Things are top notch here, but the people are new to these jobs and unintentionally negligent, as a result. I think this will sort itself out in time. We had a restful day and spent Sunday exploring bus routes from the north side of town and a few stores en route. We went to Centro for papas locas with Idefix and Misty Michael. This morning we got an early start so we could be off the boat before the yard was clanging and banging full tilt. Adrian and I have spent the whole day in the wireless lounge. The computer has been downloading media all day and Adrian has been cracking the books. I finally sat down and spent hours grading two months worth of schoolwork so we can get it sent out before we head west.
I received disturbing news that the homeschool program that I've been using on and off for the last 5 years is closing it's doors this spring. We will be transferred to district programs or dropped altogether. I guess I need to get sorted and chose a curriculum for 9th grade. The debate is whether to pay to stay official or go with my own program and have Adrian take the GED along with ACT's and SAT's his senior year. I haven't decided, but I'm not too keen to spend a thousand a year on someone else's idea of a good program. We are really disappointed in the direction California's public homeschool program has taken.
What else? My back is OK. It's not perfect and I suffer daily from sciatica. It is improving, but much slower than I'd like. It sucks getting older. I also have an aggravated root from my root canal, the filling leaked through and caused some irritation. That should be resolved this week. If not, I'm getting it yanked out. To hell with preserving my teeth. It's overrated. I am ok with falsies. Gum gum.
So the yard is grinding away at the old bottom job and will soon spiff it all up. Then we get the topsides done. We've had the boat for almost seven years and we don't know how long before that that the topsides were painted, but it was about time. Gel coat was showing through and that's just not good. Jamie changed out the prop to a 17x12 (was 16x11) yesterday and he's cleaning through hulls and lubing seacocks and doing other obscure hard-to-reach odd jobs while he can get to them. I've also been working on a rag rug that's about 2ft wide and 6ft long at this point. I need to make it one foot wider and it will be a complete runner for the main cabin. It looks pretty awesome if I do say so myself.
In spite of the hectic yard pace, we're enjoying some down time from the harbor and social schedule that we seem to get wrapped up in. We're watching movies and doing family stuff that seems to be forgotten in lieu of pot lucks and sundowners and shopping for must-have items. I am glad we'll be here a week, especially since we have a place to go during the noisy work hours.
Feb 20, 2008 - Mazatlan - The topsides and he bottom are fully prepped for painting now. All the masking etc. has been done and Carlos has sprayed the first coat of epoxy primer to the hull sides. They have really done an excellent job, so far. The preparation that was done was very thorough.
Feb 22, 2008 - Mazatlan - The White LP paint was applied today. The boat looks awesome!
Feb 25, 2008 - Mazatlan - Saturday the blue sheer stripe was painted and we had a chicken bbq with the workers. Sunday is the yard's day off. Expectations fell today in the boatyard, when two of Carlos' workers didn't show up for work. So, nothing got done today on the boat. That means our splash day gets moved out another day, to probably Thursday. In other news, yesterday was my birthday. I am now thirty-seven. Eileen brought me back a cake from Panama bakery this afternoon. She had gone into town for another chiropractor visit. Hopefully, with the new glasses that she got and this latest treatment, she will start healing. She had fallen a couple times recently, and didn't realize that her eyes were out of wack again, until Andrea from 4-pack, mentioned that maybe she should get a eye checkup. Tonight we are going into town to try out a thai resturant for my birthday dinner. The other "thai" place that we tried out wasn't thai food at all. However, they did serve the best chinese food that we have had in Mexico.
I think it's official. For me 35 is the cutoff age for general health. I have had aches and ailments in absurd proportions for the last 3 months. Back injuries, teeth crumbling, falling down stairs and steps, even mid-stride, the need for new glasses ($50 US for test, frames and lenses same day), and my repeated crankiness reduction visits to the chiropractor for 1 hour massage and adjustment ($20 US massage and $15 US for adjustment). This time I had to go because I fell down a couple steps before crossing a street last week and landed in front of a car at the red light. Of course, I was out of alignment, but waited a week before deciding it wouldn't go away on it's own. I didn't think one year would have such a huge impact on my eyeglass needs. My right eye was much worse (hence all the injurys and falls on the right side). I have been wearing the new pair of glasses for 3 days, now. I even had to fondle the fruit at the market, it all looked so bright and attractive. Hopefully, I complete my dental visits this week and the eye correction alleviates my back-breaking clumsiness so we can finally head south or west. Or nowhere, painlessly.
Adrian is doing well. He's bummed to see some of the kid boats sailing away while we cling to the muddy bottom in Mazatlan, but we'll be off again, soon. He's catching up on schoolwork again, so he's free to enjoy the long passage to the Marquesas, but I have a feeling he'll have plenty of school days then, too. After all, what else would he do all day?
Feb 26, 2008 - Mazatlan - Work is progressing slowly here in the yard, but we may actually hit the water again this week. I told Carlos that I wasn't providing lunch this Sat. So maybe they won't keep us here that long. One can only hope. Not sure if we mentioned the pool here at Singlar or not. It is disgusting! We did manage to getthem to clean up the hot tub, so that we could use it though.
Feb 27, 2008 - Mazatlan - Last night we visited the only real Thai resturant in Mazatlan called Zab Thai. It was quite delicious, and a very nice treat to celebrate my birthday.
Tomorrow we put the boat back in the water. The end result is to say the least AWESOME! Carlos sprayed the gold stripes this morning. Once all the masking was removed this afternoon and the final coat of bottom paint was applied, the Flying Cloud looked better than new. The boys at Grupo Naval Marde Cortez did an incredible job, and we are very happy with all the work that was done, especially the attention to detail on the preparation before painting. Thanks Carlos. The price was also very good.
Eileen went for an MRI on her lower back today. It showed a problem with one of the disks being out of alignment. Hopefully things will turn out ok. We'll be talking to the neurologist soon.
- Mazatlan - Well, we've not gotten a second opinion, but basically my
back sucks. I have a "Gran Mal Hernia" between the L4-L5 vertebra
that has the nerve about half compressed. The only solution from
our first consultation was surgery to remove the herniated portion of the
disc. Apparently, it's so bad that the risk of having the sciatic
pain in both legs is guaranteed if the disc rotates. The surgery
is very expensive, but probably less than American copay. We are
going Monday to discuss the possibility of Mexican insurance and to get
a second opinion. We have several locals on the hunt to get me some
referals for local surgeons with the best reputations. We are now
definitely not going to the South Pacific and Jamie the great has to go
back to work because we will deplete the remains of our cruising funds
to pay for the surgery and rent an apartment or hotel room for a few weeks
to a month. Everything is up in the air right now, of course, but
Jamie will stay until the surgery is complete and I am up and around.
Whether I will return to work remains to be seen. We'll keep you