Renovations: A New Floor for the Cockpit

We are excited because we finally finished replacing the cockpit floor of our sailboat. This was a BIG project that required a cascade of smaller things to be completed first. We replaced the cockpit teak wood flooring (which was beyond saving and leaking) and put in PlasDeck, which is a synthetic teak substitute.

I will admit that this project was not much fun. It was a highly detailed, you-only-have-one-shot kind of project, and we had to work quickly as the glue dries so fast (under 15 minutes!). But, we are pleased with the finished result and are excited to have access and use of the cockpit again!

First, we prepped the floor and our new table pedestal (which Kirby built, then we fiberglassed, sealed and painted) where the table is mounted; this new pedestal will also gives us secure space to put a small trash can and (vintage) playmate cooler as well as an important toe rail/toe stop while the boat is heeling underway. We plan to put 3M non-skid tape on the sides as well.

Unrolling and letting the floor flatten before installation

After the floor sat in the sun for a couple of hours, it was flat and ready for installation. We had to prep the cockpit surface by sanding it to remove any large bumps and then cleaning it thoroughly with denatured alcohol.

Then we dry fit and traced each piece before gluing them to the seats and to the floor. You have to work in sections, and quickly, as the glue sets up in 15 minutes, also making it nearly impossible to wipe off or clean up if you aren’t cleaning as you go along.

Gluing the pieces in place (the seats were a lot easier than the floor!)

THE FINISHED PRODUCT!

TIPS: If you’re doing this job yourself, spend extra time up front on the template because once it’s cut, it’s cut! Make sure you have ALL of the materials ready before you start any work (take an inventory and use the checklist provided by the installation guide), and have dozens of clean WHITE rags with at least a gallon of denatured alcohol for spills and any glue cleanup. You can see a few videos of this project, here: SANDING, CLEANING, PREPPING FOR GLUE

FINAL TIP: Prepare to work quickly and swear (a lot).

Enjoying La Paz

Recently, we had some friends visit us from Michigan, and their lovely photos from our trip together reminded us how beautiful the beaches are, how great the restaurants, and how wonderfully laid back the town. Here are a few of our favorites (all photos courtesy of Seth & Daniela)

Kayaking at Balandra Beach

Balandra Beach, which is north, nearly at the end of the peninsula from La Paz, is a picture-perfect place to spend the day, drink coconut water, kayak, swim and enjoy the crystal clear waters. We were there early during mid week, and we had the place almost entirely to ourselves.

Come back soon!

Back in La Paz

After crossing the Sea of Cortez and making a near record beat south, we are happy to have settled back at Marina de la Paz, where we spent a few happy weeks last year and vowed to return in 2019.

Lunch at The Dock overlooking our marina

La Paz is the quiet, authentic, hippy-sister to Cabo, without the Spring Break party scene and huge resorts. Incredible beaches are nearby as is extreme wildlife and protected underwater parks while also close to two international airports,

Sunset over La Paz bay

We welcomed our first visitors! Seth & Daniela came all the way from Michigan; it was the perfect way to enjoy re-entry back into the city we fondly remembered. We ate great food, enjoyed beautiful beaches, and each other’s company.

Seth, Daniela & Kirby in their natural habitats
Seth getting a shot of Saguaro cactuses, mangroves & torquoise waters

The sailing club we belong to here is putting on their Bayfest festival this week, and we just finished watching the Tour de France race that was in town this weekend. Next weekend is the La Paz Jazz Fest which supports Mar Libre – a local marine conservation organization, so there is no shortage of things to keep us busy and entertained!

The remote “Office”
Lodos sitting pretty on B Dock

However, with lots of real work to do in the coming months, it will also be fun to be dock potatoes for awhile as we make trips back and forth to the US for work and enjoy being “residents” of Mexico again.

We hope to see you here sometime!

Crossing the Sea of Cortez

LODOS IS BACK IN THE WATER!

After being “on the hard” (out of the water) for nearly 6 months, we have decided that we are never ever leaving the boat again. <LOL> Well, probably not, but that’s how we feel right now.

We got stuck in San Carlos for so much longer than we’d hoped – there were only a few days in the month of January and February that we could even get our boat back in the water; the marinas are fairly shallow, and our boat has a deep draft, so with mere inches to spare, we needed to get the boat into the water right at the peak of high tide. We missed one date in January but managed to successfully launch her on 1/21/19.  Taking the boat in and out of the water is one of the most nerve wracking things I’ve ever watched.

We spent 2-3 weeks doing nothing but cleaning and organizing and rebuilding the boat so she was ready to set sail in March. But, then we discovered that when the workers covered our solar panels last winter with a tarp – seeking shade – it drained our batteries to the point that they were destroyed and wouldn’t hold a charge. They don’t carry our batteries in Mexico, so it meant driving back to the USA again for us…..a very expensive lesson (many thousands of dollars later), we realized we have to be more vigilant if we ever leave the boat alone again.

After our final repairs, we finally set sail at midnight on March 18th, which is a national holiday in Mexico. It took us 17+ hours to cross the Sea, and we were happy to see our dolphin friends around 3am to keep us alert and engaged. You generally hear them before you see them at night – it sounds like someone blowing water out of a snorkel.

Our abbreviated itinerary in between tight weather windows:

  • Midnight on the 18th left San Carlos/Marina Real
  • Arrived Caleta San Juanico at 4pm 18th
  • Left San Juanico for Puerto Escondido at 8am on 19th
  • Arrived PE at 3pm & waited out the bad weather Wed-Thurs
  • Arrived Island of San Francisco at 5:30pm on 3/23 – very rolly anchorage due to strong NW wind that kicked up from 7pm-3am
  • Left Isla SF 8:45am on 3/23 for La Paz – arrived La Paz at 4pm

We saw whales and dolphins everyday – sometimes multiple times/day – keeping our pristine daily record in tact!

Our daily dolphin visit!

ROAD TRIPPIN’ DOWN THE BAJA IN MEXICO

The Pacific Ocean – as seen from the van vs. a sailboat

We have a van and a boat, and it’s impossible to get them to the same place at the same time, so we left Lodos safely floating in San Carlos while we made our way back to San Diego and then started our road trip down the Baja.

Traveling is humbling. You meet adversity, stay in dodgy places (Baja Cactus) and always experience something new and foreign. I continue to be in awe of meeting the kind and generous people of Mexico  – they are patient with our poor Spanish, honest and almost always welcoming.

We traveled nearly 1,000 miles vertically down the Baja, stopping in Ensenada (at the Marea Vista) for a first short day, then two longer days, stopping in El Rosario, the infamous resting stop for the Baja 500 and Baja 1000 – an international desert road race that goes roundtrip from Ensenada to La Paz, traveling over the rough and tumble landscape of the desert sometimes at speeds in excess of 100 MPH and Santa Rosalia – an old Copper mining town with a French influence (and an outstanding historic bakery).

Kirby drove the entire way – all 944 miles of it. We were stopped 9 times by Federales and Military police wanting to know what we were doing on these quiet roads and why we were there, always waving us through with a smile and often well wishes. I think the new president is making good on his anti-corruption promises, which is why we encountered so many of these roadblocks.

Sometimes we slowed to give the charities a few coins at the toll booths that are often vacant and not taking tolls; the locals take the opportunity to gather money that goes directly to their communities instead of snaking its way inefficiently through the government first.

Inoperable tollbooth taking makeshift charitable donations

We listened to Michelle Obama read us her book Becoming, and I felt like I was changing listening to her story and voice, seeing the serene nothingness of endless miles of cactus, saguaros as old as the redwoods and millions of desert flowers blooming. We even spotted a few notable birds (tanagers, hummingbirds, hawks, orioles, ospreys, herons, vultures and shrikes), no doubt migrating this landscape for cooler weather north.

Mardi Gras Queen & King in Santa Rosalia

We visited towns by road that we’d only seen by sea and on foot – participating in a glorious small town Mardi Gras parade in Santa Rosalia showcasing their finest dancers, princesses and princes on top of handmade floats while friendly Federales cleared the roads and parents cheered their support, trying to catch candy and prizes tossed to cheering children lining the roads.

We finally arrived in La Paz today (Sunday), where we will drop the van, get some sleep, see some friends at the marina and then catch a flight back to San Carlos on Tuesday to begin our slow sail back south again.