Two Days Before Beaching \”Beach House\” (remember, we\’re doing this intentionally!)…..

Dear F&F,
February 28, 2009
Bahia del Sol, El Salvador

Scott listened to the Pan Pacific net on the radio this morning. A whole different crowd of cruisers. Most of the boats on this net are here in Central America all the way down to Panama & many that are making the Pacific crossing. He found out about an evening net called Pacific Passagemakers that we will get more into when we are close to making our crossing. He still checked into the Amigo Net & heard the whereabouts of the Mexico cruisers we have become so familiar with over the past year. But it was fun hearing new boat names on the new net. Many more Brits, Aussies & Kiwis, besides us Yanks & the Canucks.

Alex the mechanic, arrived promptly at 9:00 am. He listened & took notes as Scott explained the underside of our boat & where we need supports when hauled out. Then the three of us went in his dinghy to look at the careening area. It was not what we imagined. It is basically the shallow edge of mud along the bank of the estuary that is exposed at low tide. There are 2 rows of large tires & some wood boards. Beach House would be sitting in mud as the tide recedes AND we would have to dig holes like crazy to ease up stress on the rudders and have access to the lower legs of the sail drive transmissions and propellers. None of this seemed easy at the proposed spot.

One tricky part is to hold her in position as the water ebbs out at a pretty fast pace. We met Carlos & we discussed the boat & plan with him. He also works for Murray (the boss who is in Canada) and Murray had told us that Carlos was the expert at figuring out how to support the boat as the tide recedes. We then returned to \”Beach House\” and Alex moved the engine off its mounts using our block & tackle. I serve Mexican food for lunch: chips, beans, chicken, lettuce, guacamole, salsa & sour cream put out to \”make your own combo\”. Anticipating my fridge to go offline the day we haul, out I have been steadily using up our food. To a certain extent I feel I have been cooking with smoke & mirrors.

We have confidence in Alex, that he is taking our situation seriously & wants to do make sure the careening is done in the best possible way. We found out that he is 30 yrs old, has been living on his own boat for over 10 years & brought her down from Canada a year ago. He has a girlfriend finishing her PhD in Vancouver in breast cancer research. He hopes she will take a year off & travel with him.

We would have happily paid a local guy to wash the boat, but the one guy around that Scott asked said no. Usually several boat workers come up to us at every marina seeking work. Not sure if they are all busy with other jobs here, or they are not used to boats showing up that want work. We found out that the 15 or so boats on the moorings are currently unoccupied. One has been abandoned for the past 4 years! Very odd. Since it is winter in the U.S. & Canada we don\’t understand where the sailors are & why they would just leave their boat here for long periods. I guess everywhere people have boats & end up not using them. This is kind of a transit stop. Most cruisers don\’t stay too long I guess.

We pulled out our hose & washed her ourselves. We knew she was covered in salt from our 2 days at sea, but we were amazed how much dirt still came off of her. The water left a lot of spots on the windows so we had to use some product to wipe those off.

Scott changed the water filters at the back of the boat. The filters were absolutely black & greasy like they had been filtering oil, not just water. Yuck! We have had them look dirty before, but never black with oil. This must have happened in Puerto Quetzal. It is too dirty in here to use our desalinator & we were told the dock water is not potable. We have been told this before at other marinas & used the dock water anyway. We have large household type filters that the hose water goes through before filling our tanks. We also have a ultraviolet filter that is supposed to kill any bacteria. We also have a second filter at the galley sink that adds another level of purification for drinking & cooking. I did a load of laundry that I will hang up in the morning. I hope it is cleaner after being washed than before!

Alex came by late in the day to tell us he called Murray in Canada & they discussed our haul out. We are now thinking to not go as far up the bank. Just \”beach\” the boat along the flat part leaving the rudders & propellers sticking out into the water. It will take longer for the tide to recede from this area & be exposed so they can do the work. But it should ensure our propellers & rudders are not mired down in mud. We will have less time before the tide rises again but Scott & Alex think they can do the job fast enough. The whole process is not something we would ever choose to do. Why oh why couldn\’t this have happened where we could have gotten hauled out more easily? I am quite nervous about the entire process. The only thing that gives me hope is that Scott seems to think it will be ok. I know he would not put our million dollar \”Beach House\” floating home intentionally in harm\’s way. I have visions of Scott & Alex down in the mud with tools & parts. Sort of silly that we washed the boat today. At least she will be clean for 1 day. We intend to do the deed on Monday.

I had thought I would swim or take a walk today, but all my energy was gone after washing the boat. It is a hot, sweaty job & takes the 2 of us nearly 2 hours. We are still not quite recovered from our night watches. I will be oh so much happier after \”Beach House\” is done with her mud bath and the new transmission is installed & we know for sure everything is fully functional.

During the day we get rocked around pretty severely by high speed pangas & jet skis seeing just how close they can zoom by without actually hitting us. Thankfully this subsides at night. We are appreciating the air conditioning to take the edge off the heat & humidity. We are going to turn in early again.

Scott & Cindy