Happy fuel injectors!

Things have gone well on the engine maintenance. The machine shop that rebuilt the injectors and injector pump was done 2 days early. We remade a few hoses and had a local paint shop mix up some paint and insert it into a spray can (Which I’m sure you can only buy in Mexico). We were feeling a bit dizzy afterwards!
She’s purring like a kitten with a rebuilt fuel system. No more fuel in the bilge and saved a few thousand bucks to boot.

We stopped for lunch after we picked up the parts and had the best burrito ever had. Bacon wrapped with cilantro sauce, and always a mucho frio cervasa!!!!

Back on the Baja

We are back on the Baja. Gorgeous anchorage just north of La Paz. Our 340 mile journey/passage northwest and Sea Bella was a super star. Super nice evening l
anchored in emerald green water. We are now in La Paz, for some needed engine maintenance and then we’ll head north into the largest aquarium in the world.

So cruising life……
…..incredible places, good food and people, lots of sailing and unfortunately…….motoring. As much as we want to sail, the conditions aren’t always optimal for sailing.
The other big part of cruising life is maintenance. As someone once said of boat maintenance “everything is broken, you just don’t know it yet”. Others say “Cruising is just fixing your boat in exotic locations”. We are very fortunate as we have 2500 miles under the keel in the last 8 months and very few issues. But….new boats, old boats, well maintained boats and minimalistic boats all require constant attention to be safe and seaworthy. Those who have little mechanical skills can sometimes get by with credit cards but they have a difficult time getting too far from capable people/cities/marine expertise.
Last week Scott noticed a small leak on our primary diesel injection pump. Not huge and not urgent but definitely calling for attention. While a few drips a minute won’t stop us (or this motor) we have to be considerate of the fact that the fuel ends up in the bilge, and the bilge gets pumped occasionally overboard. We just can’t have that! Also, we are preparing to be “off the grid” for the next three months in North Sea of Cortez (and another 900 miles) and we just can’t have this get worse. So……a pump rebuild is in order.
We called a few Mechanics in La Paz and most seem booked out for the month. Waiting a few weeks to a month during the best season in the Baja seems very undesirable. So, with a little bit of advice from the mechanic in San Diego, a few YouTube videos and even a few phone calls to my Ashley, we decided to tackle this!


We found a machine shop here in La Paz that can rebuild the pump. It also seem prudent to pull the injectors at the same time as I have no record of them being maintenanced and the shop can do those as well.
Our motor is a Perkins 4.236 which is a great motor and is in good condition. Changing oil, regular care and feeding, and a little TLC this motor will last forever.
While pulling the injection pump sounds pretty easy it requires complete disassembly of the fuel system, making a record of the pump timing to the cams. I do not want to retime the fuel system!!
Pulling the injectors required some WD40 and a crowbar, hammer and sweat. Also, getting this work done by noon is also important as it is 90 outside by noon and life in an engine room at 90 degrees sucks! Lol
One thing I’ve learned in my life…..taking things apart is relatively easy. Putting things back together is much more difficult! So, lots of pictures and blue tape for reminders! Lol
Hopefully part two of this post will be in a week after we have all the rebuilt parts.

Boat Kids

Hanging out with boat kids and families who cruise is such fun! The energy, curiosity and laughter is quite contagious! Children have a special place in my heart, of course, since I raised 4 kids and taught all ages for 31 years. I am so glad for my diverse career and always reflect with a smile. These last few days on at our calm anchorage, I have been teaching Luca to sew. He asked if he could make a shirt. He also said he really wanted to do it all himself. I happily took the challange. He was the best student ever! Patient, inquisitive, focused, willing, happy, helpful and incredibly polite!

The Arkouda boys: Luca, Kai and Thad. Parents Mark and Carli and just as awesome.

YELAPA

If you like quaint, hippy towns, find Yelapa on Airbnb. Our 3rd time here and we love it even more. So much so, we will be back next November for a few weeks, with more family.

We met a lovely lady, Chrissie, from my hometown Santa Cruz, who has a few darling, open air villas. She kindly invited us up for a tour, fun chat, best view and a beer. Just 50 hand laid steps up from our private snorkel spot and mini achorage/beach. The jungle wall and cliff was awesome and so green, even in the dry season.

We brought a new cruiser family with us, sailing on “Nirvana”. The 10 of us explored the town, delicious foods from the funky yacht club and hiked the 2 beautiful waterfalls. See ya next year Yelapa!

1 AM

“Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep!” Ahhhhhhh, it’s still dark out side.
Last night, before crawling in bed at 8:00 PM we set the alarm for 1 AM to start our next leg north. Kathy leans over and before I get out of bed she asks me if I want any help and I say “sure”. She will get the coffee made then work the foredeck to get the anchor up.
As I roll out of bed I am happy that the temperature is hovering around 75 degrees as the last few nights have been a bit cooler. A short sleeve shirt and shorts will work for this dark passage.


I roll up to the forward cabin and come to my nav table. I flip a few switches, anchor light off, running lights on, steaming lights on, autopilot, navigation equipment and radar all flipped on. The last switch is a front deck light for Kathy so that she can see the anchor and other ground tackle on the bow.
As per a conversation with a few other cruisers the night before, I switch the VHF radio to channel 68 so that we can all keep tabs on each other as we are under way. There will be about 20 other boats making this passage north as a short weather window (about 10 hours) has opened around Cabo Corriente. This is the point (land mass) that extends into the Pacific off Mexico’s coast that opens the bay to Bandaras Bay, which is the home to Puerto Vallarta and La Cruz.

This isn’t a point with the harsh realities like Conception, north of Santa Barbara, but it is a point none the less that demands respect and planning. We have been waiting for this weather window for 5 days now.
As I come up to the cockpit I hear Kathy say that she see’s 5 less boats in the anchorage which means they already headed north. Cabo Corrientes is about 50 miles north and our final designation is about 60 miles. We should make the point by 11:00 AM and hit the window perfectly……if the forecast holds.
Life jackets are laid out, cushions are brought up for comfortable naps and I check to see that all the navigation equipment is on. I also notice I haven’t repaired the light in the tachometer yet. Next I set all the navigation equipment to night mode which dims the lights. This is so the light of the displays don’t shock our eyes and effect our night vision underway.
Start the engine… oil pressure up….battery charging…
…Kathy is now on deck surveying the front deck and taking notice where the anchors lying, about 25 feet below and at the end of 125’ of chain. She reals the first 20’ up with our electric windlass, removes the anchor bridle and signals me with her right hand that the anchor is lying about 30 degrees off the starboard bow.
I engage the transmission forward and slowly move the boat forward towards the anchor while Kathy reals the chain in. Moments later she gives me the signal the anchor is up and she quickly secures the anchor with a shackle to prevent it from moving. Depending on the seas and weather it isn’t uncommon to take a wave over the bow and the anchor needs to be able to take the impact without moving or dislodging. She also stores the bridle and secures anything else forward of the mast.
Anchor’s up and underway. My eyes are now scanning the anchorage for other boats while referencing my radar screen. I’m happy to see a 3/4 moon up and have the light to help navigate out of Perula Bay. Kathy makes her way back to the gallery to prepare coffee and to stow her galley so that we don’t have dishes on the floor once we get offshore.
Rounding the point out of Perula we see bigger swells than we anticipated but spaced far enough apart that Sea Bella just gently rolls over the 6’ swells. No wind and we won’t be sail for at least a few hours. Perfect really when you want to round a point offshore. The water temperature is 75 degrees and a whole 10 degrees cooler than it was just two weeks ago in Zihuatanejo 250 miles south of here. Burr….seems like we are headed the wrong direction. I set the course out on our B&G Chart plotter, making sure we get at least 5 miles offshore to avoid the local fishermen’s nets. I also chart a course on my Navonics app on my cell phone as I have found two chart opinions are better than one……in Mexico.
“Reverence, Reverence, this is Sea Bella on channel 68”. Reverence answers on the VHF and we also have a conversation with Freedom Kirkland. Freedom Kirkland is wrapping up their cruising season and heading north to pull their boat out at San Carlos. Kirk and Charlene will head back to their Canada farm for the summer and return next fall for the next sailing season. Reverence is headed to La Paz to meet family in early April. Sea Bella is headed to La Cruz for some canvas work. We will meet back with Mike and Leah on Reverence sometime in the spring to explore the Sea Of Cortez with many other friends that have the same cruising plans.
Kathy makes her way to the cockpit with a cup of coffee and a blanket and settles down for the evening next to me. We wait for the sunrise…….
….the adventure continues……