For only the 3rd time in my life I was outside New Zealand for our National Day! Looking over the news footage from here in Mexico, I felt rather proud of the way my country and countrymen (yeah, there’s not a good gender neutral word for that and I don’t care really!) have conducted themselves this last year. Goodness knows the world’s had more than its share of challenges but little old NZ had come out ahead of the field. Every American knows who and where we are now! I meet them every day, admiring us and our government. Its a pretty good feeling to have the most wanted passport in the world!

And then there’s Brexit. Need I say more!

We’ve had a really busy few days. 7th today. Bernie’s had been translating almost full time, so I’ve actually done most of the painting. However, today there was just the top black stripe to do, and the bit under the support pads. I had assumed (yes, I know, fatal mistake) Bernie would do the top and I’d do the pads, as I can’t reach the top. But no. He accepted a new job over night, and asked me to do the lot. I was fairly pissed off, to be honest. It involves lifting the extremely heavy scaffold round and round the boat. First to tape, then sand, then wash, and finally paint. Three times. So six go rounds.

By the time I got to the wash part I was exhausted and my back really sore. I had a bit of a melt down and threw in the towel, refusing to do more today. I’m going to suggest he helps me in the morning, that we work together, then he can translate the rest of the day. I do all the cooking, cleaning and laundry, so I don’t see why I have to do all the painting alone as well.

It’s getting hotter by the day. Definitely back into T-shirt and shorts weather. Even the kittens are sleeping on top of the covers again! They are the sweetest wee creatures. Jack goes in the crook under my chin usually, and graces me with little pats and grooms during the night.

Bernie has ordered another stuffing box hose and bearing for the drive shaft. We have no propulsion at present so won’t be going anywhere! We’ll be longer on the hard than expected, unfortunately. Its getting delivered to Glenn, who is luckily still in the US and can bring it down. Thank god. Or we’d be here weeks longer possibly.

I’ve met a bunch of people here, all working on their boats. An interesting bunch. Talked to a guy called Matt today! His brother, Marty, was killed by a Hell’s Angels mobster 15 years ago. So we talked about that kind of loss for a bit, and how being at sea helps. He owns a ranch in New Mexico and I told him Matt, Meg and I had visited that state last year. He invited us to visit his ranch. I’d be keen.

I think it’s the 9th today. We’ll get the painting finished today. Hooray. It looks good too. It’s a chilly morning, only 14°C. Not enough for this hot house flower so I lit the fire earlier! Even Jack has only just ventured out from under the covers, though he was motivated by having spotted one of my hair clips on the shelf opposite the bed. They are his current obsession and he can actually unclip them from my sponge-bag himself. He then carries his prize off in his mouth for all the world as if he’s caught a mouse. So pleased with himself. Its very funny. I find them hidden all over the boat!

We’re letting them out a bit more. I still worry they’ll fall off but they’re not showing signs of actually wanting to get off Momo. In fact they get quite stressed when we’re on the ground. They meow at us and track our progress up the ladder, demanding attention and reassurance upon our return.

10.02.21: The painting is finished and looks great. I sent a photo off to Michelle and the girls so they can see. Bernie’s translating today and just had a break to come to the little Mexican food place on the corner for lunch. Great food and super cheap. Saves me cooking!

We had an impromptu party last night. Some people we’ve met here showed up for sundowners. It was a lot of fun. Steve is a 66 year old solo sailor with a trimaran, based in Loreto. The other two, a couple, are Ashe and Luca who have 3 sons; Kalil – 11, Makawi – 15 and Ilo – 17. Really neat people. They’re on a yacht called Distant Star and know the Arena crew. So they’ll be crossing to French Polynesia at the same time as us and Utopia. Luca has a European passport so they can stay there. France has just closed it to tourism due to Covid. We need to apply for our permit to provision there soon.

I also met a young couple called Eric and Natalie this morning. Their yacht is called Bria Mia and they plan to sail to Hawaii, then up to Alaska and home to Vancouver. They have a lovely dog and my kittens are currently going nuts over the smell of her on me! Jack’s been half licking/half biting my foot and rubbing his scent glands all over me!

Nel and her two kids, Brody and Kai, are taking me to San Carlos tomorrow. They haven’t been before so I said I’d take them to brunch at Barracuda Bob’s! Tyler is staying behind to work unhindered by small people, on their yacht Polaris. I’m hoping Kim can join us, as it’s her birthday today and I’m sorry we can’t celebrate with her.

Friday 29th January 2021: Ready for Haul Out!

Well, the paint finally arrived in Guymas and Kim, bless her, took me to collect it. We’ve got everything we need now to paint the hull and are scheduled to haul out at Gabriel’s yard on Monday at 0800.

So we plan to sail the 20nm across to Guymas on Sunday and anchor there for the night, ready to go. We’ve decided we’ll have to keep the kittens shut inside while we work. I’m worried they might fall off; it’s a long way down, and there’s probably dogs around. Plus, it’ll be dusty so closing up the boat will keep it cleaner.

I’m having a very quiet afternoon today, as I had a diagnostic procedure this morning, under sedation. A nice little cocktail of midazolam, fentanyl and propofol! Can’t remember a thing. And the surgeon says all is well so I can sail off into the sunset without worrying now! The system was very similar to home and I felt totally at ease with the service I was getting here. It was a fair bit cheaper than home too, though I would’ve got it on my health insurance at home.

Kim and I went to Nancy’s the other day for a cards and pot luck lunch event with a bunch of local ladies, most of them sailors. A great bunch with very interesting and varied backgrounds. It was a fun afternoon. San Carlos is starting to feel a bit like home away from home, and I’ll be sad to say goodbye to everyone when we leave.

We’ve had some amazing sunsets and sunrises here lately, changeable weather making for beautiful skies. There seems to have been a huge flock of cormorants congregating in the bay too. I got some pics while out in the dingy a couple of days ago.

I got a gorgeous photo of Kim’s gentle giant, Bandit, too and of her in the dingy with Zoe wearing her doggy life jacket! I’ll definitely miss this woman and her menagerie!

Sunday 31st.     Yesterday we heard from Gabriel’s yard that we couldn’t go till Tuesday. So we’ll sail over tomorrow now. Bernie also thought this morning that he was going to have to spend a small fortune on an AIS transponder. He was very down about it but it does seem that the InReach system might be enough. Its to do with Fiji requiring us to be able to prove our track and time at sea, on arrival. French Polynesia had just announced its closing on February 3rd. Omg! Plans change daily almost. This means we’ll have to do a straight hop from here to Fiji. Two solid months at sea. Grrr. Not my favoured scenario.

Still, what can we do? Gotta go with the flow.

Monday 1st February:                              After getting Momo ready for sea this morning, we pulled the pick around 1150 and were out through the heads of San Carlos harbour at midday. I had been feeling a bit queasy before leaving – hungry! – and realised I should’ve fed myself before leaving when we hit open water and encountered 1.5-2m fetch from the high winds last night. For the first time in my life, I felt sea sick. Hot damn! Do not want to experience that again. I believe the cats shared my misery. We all kept to one spot; Alex on his favourite shelf in Bernie’s cabin, Jack in my cabin and me steadfastly watching the horizon on deck on permanent watch! It’s a form of meditation, I decided, as it required definite focus on one spot to convince my rebellious tummy to settle down.

Bernie was tired, not having slept well and we had stayed up late too, talking. He was feeling low, mostly with all the extra worries on his mind. But he’d also talked to Michelle while I was ashore. We’d been invited with Kim to dinner at Nancy’s, but Bernie chose to stay behind. He’d said he didn’t feel well but I now think he wanted to be able to ring her without me here. He could just be honest about that. There’s zero reason why I’d mind. He was still on the phone to her when I got back and didn’t even acknowledge me when I arrived. I was actually pretty pissed off with the whole attitude. It’s fucking immature. He did the same think the other day when talking to his friend, Evette. So pointless. Still, we talked about it and he apologised, conceding it was pretty unkind.

Kim, Nancy and I had a wonderful girls’ evening anyway. We cooked a complicated recipe for corn truffles a local delicacy. It was delicious. And of course, we cooked with wine – champagne actually! Kim and I navigated home by braille I think!

So here we are, anchored not far from where we get hauled out tomorrow morning. It’s 1937 and Bernie went to bed ages ago! So I’m sitting in my bed reading and doing this. It’s flat calm. Andrew Deeley told Bernie today that he thinks we can still go via FP. I hope so. First things first, though! Bottom paint to do!

February 3rd.

Yesterday we sailed – motored actually – round to the shipyard to haul out by 8am. The bay is very shallow and murky and our depth sounder gave up, so we were tiptoeing in blind. With no apparent navigation aids we ended up aground! Never done that before! Very gentle, it was! One moment going along slowly, the next going nowhere.

Deciding the was no point stressing, Bernie emailed the yard to see if they were ready for us and give them a sitrep, and I cooked breakfast! Timing things to perfection, they got back to us after we’d eaten. Bernie then put the boom right out to our port side and hung off it while I tried backing us off the mud! It worked and we were free. Following rather overdue instructions from the yard that what appeared to be mooring buoys were actually colourless lateral markers leading us in, we regained the “channel” and came into the slip without further drama.

I’d put the fenders and lines ready earlier so all we had to do was pass them the lines and watch while they backed the lift over us and put the slings underneath us. We did have to remove both forestays to allow the lift to back up. The mast is held with the halyard at present. Before long we were out of the water and in our spot for the next week. The supports were set under us and the lift drove off, leaving us high and dry! The whole thing was efficient and the guys doing it helpful and friendly.

Within the hour they’d brought the water blaster and were cleaning the hull for us. At almost bang on midday Bernie started sanding, while I got lunch ready. He stopped and started a lot so I thought it must be hard going, listening to him. After 45 minutes he came in for lunch, then I did an hour non stop. Its a decent work out but not that bad. I’m a bit concerned at how unfit Bernie is, and lacking in stamina. So we took turns, with me doing the bulk of it, and knocked off just before 4pm. Pleased with our progress, with 3/4 of the sanding done, we went to shower. Then, of course, we rewarded ourselves with rum & whisky!

Today we have finished the sanding and washed the dust off. Bernie has put epoxy round some through holes and is starting painting. That’s probably all we’ll do today but good progress. I had a nice long chat to Mum and Dad after lunch. Good to see them. Video calling is awesome. I wish Matt didn’t hate it! Talked to Fizz yesterday. 💖

4.2.21: Another very productive day and the first coat is done, as well as the extra coat on the leading edges. It’s looking really good. The kittens seemed to have resigned themselves to being inside, though they’ve found some creative ways to express their displeasure!

We got invited to another boat for sundowners last night. Vince, off Northern Dream, a boat builder from North Pole, Alaska! He’s a very colourful and garrulous character. We enjoyed ourselves immensely and we’re impressed with his yacht. Yes, he built her! I think Bernie now wants a work shop on Momo. My cabin might be in danger!