Lift and Seperate

Trip Start Dec 01, 2010
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
On the hard.

Flag of Mexico  , Northern Mexico,
Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Ashika is in a dirt field. But I like it here with its animated yard manager and helpful workers. There are cute little lizards here that run around wagging their black and white striped tails. When they see you coming they throw the tail up into a curl like a scorpion. This little acting job supposedly fools the local birds as they prefer less dangerous meals.

Scorpions? I haven't seen them yet, but I have no doubt they are here, this place is rough. There are packs of dogs here, both in the yard and out. They don't seem dangerous during the day, but hardly a night goes by without a turf war out there, somewhere in the dark, sounding like Perro is getting an ear not-so-surgically removed. This is Marina Seca Guaymas, located on a beautiful natural harbor approximately 400 miles south of Nogales and the US border. It's dusty hot and raw and completely Mexican, no Gringo Bingo here.

After our engineless sail into the anchorage at Santa Domingo we spent a couple of days trying to resuscitate the iron genny. We had been immersed in diesel for the last 48 hours when another cruiser suggested turning over the engine with the throttle full open. Sometimes the most obvious solution evades the tired and frustrated sailor! Coughing and sputtering she began to show signs of life. She ran very rough and it took another round or two of bleeding and pleading to bring her back to the robust tractor roar we love.

Once we finished our work at Santa Domingo, we picked up the anchor to sail deeper into Bahia Conception to the coves at Bahia Coyote: El Burro and Caleta Coyote. The coves at Coyote were exceptionally beautiful with islands punctuating the clear water and pristine beaches. We went kayaking around amazing geological formations dragging a fishing pole, but we were skunked. We spent a couple of days soaking up local color and hospitality, but too soon it was time to leave and make our haul out appointment in Guaymas.

This leg would be our last sail for many months and neither Dois nor I were anxious to leave Ashika and Mexico, but we could see the weather changing and knew we needed to get the boat and dogs and ourselves to a safe away from the monster hurricanes and tropical storms and will eventually ravage our cruising grounds. But it is still painful to leave.The girls were happy as usual to be sailing again, unaware of our reticence and we motor-sailed in light air and calm seas from Bahia Conception to reach our destination port of Guaymas. 

Our overnight crossing was long, and we would get little sleep, but this time we weren't so eager to get into port. The stars dotted both sky and sea as we shared our wake with surfing dolphin, flying fish and leaping manta rays. In spite of our reticence, the sun rose anyway bringing ten to fifteen knots of wind from our port beam. It was good to sail the fresh breeze in the final hours before entering the very narrow channel leading to Guaymas harbor. After a frustrating dance with freighters entering and leaving the channel, we eventually entered the inner harbor and anchored in just nine feet of water. At high tide we moved into the small marina and took a slip to fill our water tanks and wash down the boat. We stayed an extra day there to go into the city. I wanted to stay another day, but Dois was now insistent that we keep our appointment to haul out. 

The trip to the yard was only about a 15 minute motor, but it was nerve racking with windy conditions and really shallow water. Our depth sounder alarm was screaming and showed only six feet of water, and this at high tide! We knew our keel was touching the silt and mud. The shriek of the alarm was more than we could take and so we just turned off the sounder, if we were going to get stuck, that noise wasn't going to help. Things got worse when we got to the haul out area: there was no dock, only two concrete and steel runs for a travel lift and they were barely long enough to accommodate us; no one was there to catch our lines and there was nothing to protect us from the rusty steel structures; and the "channel buoys" (beer cans strung out on a slimy rope) marked a channel less than a boat length wide preventing any navigation once you entered the channel.

Dois docked us like he’d done it before (not too much yelling and cussing involved). Unfortunately the yard manager decided to back us into the lift and so we had to back out turn the boat around by hand. The wind, narrow channel, concrete dock and steel pilings ended in taking a nasty swipe at our new paint job. Damn (much more yelling and cussing involved).

We stripped the boat of her sails and anything and everything that could cause windage or blow away in a hurricane. We worked to transfer food and clothing and a hundred other “essentials” from the boat to the motor home in the sweltering heat. Slowly my apprehension turned to anticipation. I had gone kicking and screaming into the yard, stalled and made every excuse to delay the inevitable haul-out. I didn’t want our sailing adventure to end.  I thought when we eventually reached Guaymas I’d be ready. I wasn’t. But when I climbed off the boat in near 100 degree weather and climbed into the RV that Dois had cooled down to a chilly 76… well let’s just say I had a change of heart.

The motor home has always been a source of fun and adventure for us because we used it to go windsurfing all over California. It is difficult to leave our boat for the first time in six years but she should be safe here until we get back.  The road promises a chance to see our friends and family along with some new adventures. We will undoubtedly return soon to check on and work on Ashika, but we won’t sail her out of Guaymas until November when the hurricanes are gone. For now, we are all in our land yacht in air conditioned bliss on our way back to California!
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Pati on

Welcome back!! I will see you at Ports'o'call Saturday...
FYI: My abby cat is in kitty heaven. He was cremated on Wed. 7-21.

Charlie Otto on

Nice to hear about how your season ended out.

Charlie O

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