The astute reader will recall that Barra de Navidad has already been the subject of a post. We have backtracked, and are back in Barra. We had made it about 100 miles past Acapulco when the doubt crept in. Is this really what we want? Are we pushing too hard? Are we absolutely sure this is the right decision? The answer we came up with was, well, we’re not sure. We both agree that we don’t like the long passages. We are having a new, troubling issue with the engine, which absolutely must be relied upon to make a safe crossing of the Gulf of Tehuantepec. And I still have not secured the teaching position I had hoped for in Columbia as I have been unable to complete the required Skype interview due to consistently poor internet access. In short it doesn’t feel right.
So what to do? Each passing mile makes it harder to get the boat home if we decide we don’t want to continue. If the engine needs major work we need to be near a larger city with boating facilities, which after you leave Puerto Vallarta are non-existent until reaching Panama. Maybe we just need a home base for awhile. So we have decided to head to Puerto Vallarta where we will spend the hurricane season in Paradise Village Marina, which is reported to be a good hurricane hole. We will enjoy PV and surrounding areas, knock out a bunch of boat projects, including getting the engine back up to snuff and the bottom painted, and head out again at the end of hurricane season in November. We will either continue south to Central America or head up into the Sea of Cortez – that is the plan today anyway.
So if anyone wants to visit PV come on down! The marina is part of a larger resort, and I understand there are several swimming pools including one with a water slide where you come out a crocodile’s mouth. I imagine we will spend a lot of time in the pool as summertime temperatures and humidity in PV climb into the mid-90s. The resort even has its own mall, complete with a Starbucks. I am pretty sure by the time we leave we will be sick of it all, but it meets our need in terms of hurricane protection for the boat and marine support services.
In the mean time, life on the boat goes on. The Mexican courtesy flag had become quite faded and was looking decidedly un-yachty. Years ago I purchased a set of books called “Courtesy Flags of the World” which provides patterns for making flags of all the countries of the world that a cruising sailboat might call upon. I purchased a variety of colors of rip-stop nylon and have since sewn all of our courtesy flags on board (we carry two sewing machines – an old Singer for lightweight work and a Sailrite for canvas and sails).
On the way here we noticed the stainless steel fitting that the staysail attaches to had parted. We don’t fly the staysail that often so it was not a big deal. This same piece also broke on our last cruise when we were hove-to off the island of Tanna in Vanuatu – a bigger deal that time as the sail was in use when it happened. We found an expat with a welding shop, but paying him $100 seemed like highway robbery. This is Mexico where anything is possible – surely there is a capable local person? An adventure ensued. We inquired with the harbor master at the marina who gave us directions to a welding shop in the village of Jaluco, just several miles away. Armed with two new Spanish words, “soldadura” (welding) and”acero inoxidable” (stainless steel), we were off. We were advised to take a cab to a well-known school in the village of Jaluco, from there, we were to proceed a hundred meters farther down the road where we would find the welding shop on the left side of the road. We flagged down the first taxi we saw who took us to the school for 40 pesos (a little over $2). We walked down the street and easily found the welding shop. They did not have the correct welding rod but indicated they could get it there within a half hour. The owner went into the office and pulled out two dusty chairs which he wiped off for us.
Since it was going to be a bit of a wait, we wandered down the street to find some lunch. Jaluco is a small village, no tourists or fancy restaurants here. We were greeted with shy smiles and “Buenos Tardes” by most everyone we passed. We found a small open restaurant and sat down. Mexico has an amazing amount of small street side eateries with one or two tables or a counter. Most are mom and pop (and children and grandma and cousins) affairs. The proprietress bustled out and began speaking in rapid-fire Spanish, of which I was getting about every fourth word. After repeating herself several times and getting only confused looks, she hurried across the street and brought back a gentleman who spoke a little English who facilitated the ordering process. We each got an enchilada and a sope and total cost for lunch was 20 pesos – or slightly more than one dollar.
After lunch we returned to the welding shop where the job was nearly finished. Total cost was 300 pesos, or about $17 – and the welder gave us a ride back to Barra! We were back at the boat within 2.5 hours of when we started out. Total cost of job, including transportation and lunch was $20 USD. I love Mexico!