|Feeding Antenna Cable into the Mast|
|Enlarging a Hole in the Mast|
|Rigging the Flag Halyard|
|Raeme, the Shop Where Our Generator Was Fixed|
Back at the boat, despite my efforts in mounting the wi-fi antenna on the mast, we had almost no signal. It was much worse than it had been when we first installed it. I took my phone up the dock and verified that the wi-fi at the office was working fine. We just weren't connecting to it. It seemed that our main mast was directly between the antenna and the signal from the office. We moved the bow of the boat over about 18 inches and then it worked fine. We were able to eat buffalo wings for dinner and watch an episode of Breaking Bad on Netflix. Domestic harmony was restored.
|Entrance to Marina Chahue|
We dropped everything, grabbed a taxi and headed over there. Although we had no way to test it at the shop, it looked okay. They had drilled out the broken stud in the casing and painted it bright red. They must have felt guilty about taking so long because they only charged us 8,000 pesos (just over $600) instead of the 9,000 they had quoted us. We were relieved to load it into the trunk of the taxi and head back to the marina. The taxi driver was very interested in our boat and generator and I stayed and talked with him about it while Scott went to get the rusty old shopping cart that served as a dock cart in Huatulco.
It was too late to accomplish any mechanical work by that time, so I left Scott with the boat and went back to the grocery store to stock up on meat, produce and beer. Corona was on sale, so I got a twelve pack for about $9. I had walked to the store in the 90 degree heat, but took a taxi back. We have discovered that the Chedraui store has a lot of American products squirreled away in what looks like the gourmet foods section. It was there that I finally found diced tomatoes and had earlier located coconut milk. Scott was delighted to discover a limited selection of Pop Tarts. They also stocked a surprising selection of diabetic and gluten free foods, not that we needed them. We still had not been able to find anything other than tiny jars of peanut butter and had to go to Soriana to get the granola bars that Scott likes. Tortillas and tortilla chips are made fresh and are sold in the bakery section of Mexican grocery stores. While I had enjoyed the chips very much everywhere else, the Chedraui in La Crucecita made the most disgustingly greasy chips I had ever encountered. Oil literally pooled on the bottom of the bag. This was too bad because avocados sold for a mere 29 pesos a kilo (about $1 per pound.) They were considerably cheaper than apples at 45 pesos/kilo. I made a lot of guacamole and slathered it on everything I could think of besides chips.
|The Megayacht Docks in Marina Chahue|
|Our Shiny New Generator Coil|
Saturday was equally hot, although somehow it didn't bother me as much. Scott still wasn't enthusiastic about wrestling a heavy generator in the engine compartment, so he spent much of the day testing the coil. Finally, about 2:00, he decided we needed to go to the hardware store. For some reason, we seemed incapable of remembering that stores close at 2:00 on Saturdays. When our cab pulled up in front of Casa Pepe, they had already started rolling down the doors. Fortunately, they were kind enough to stay open long enough for us to buy the small wrenches and C-clamps that we needed.
|Ferre Tornillos in La Crucecita|
Luckily, the owner of the local screw store was not in a hurry to go home and was still open when we finished with the hardware store. We crossed the street and bought new bolts to reassemble the generator. It was very hot and ice cream sounded like a good idea. The ice cream store in the hardware ghetto didn't open until 8:00 PM for some reason, so we walked over to the main plaza and bought popsicles from a vendor in the park. We sat in the shade, eating our ice cream, while I amused myself reading the protest signs posted on the gazebo in the center of the park. They were exhorting the president to listen to the poor, treat them with respect, and provide decent housing . The signs would not have been out of place at an "Occupy" rally. After our break, we walked back to the marina and were ready for a cold drink. We went out to dinner to avoid cooking in the hot boat.
|Raising the Generator Engine|
|Scott Wrestling with the Coil|
|Swinging the Reassembled Generator Into Place|
Next, we attached the mounts to the rails. Scott tightened the bolts while I held the engine out of the way with my toes, my leg fully extended as I suspended myself above the gaping pit of the engine compartment. There must be a law requiring that all mechanical work be performed at the absolute farthest possible extension of one's limbs. We positioned the engine over the rails, with lots of winching up and down on my part while Scott struggled to get everything aligned. The last bolt required my sticking my foot into the far corner of the engine compartment to press on a crescent wrench attached to the rail and lever the motor into place while Scott fit the bolt into the hole. Finally, the generator was back on its mounts and Scott could tighten it in place. It was time to call it a day.
|The Blessed Fan|
|Sangria Flavored Soda|
Scott worked hard on the generator from 4:00 to about 8:15, when he fired it up and immediately shredded our beautiful new coil because it was not wrapped tightly enough and tangled with the fan. Scott was livid. I was disappointed, but we had made it to Huatulco without the generator. We would have to push on to Florida without it, as well.
We worked hard, getting ready to leave, on Wednesday. All the items we had stowed below when we left for the United States had to be dragged back up on deck and lashed in place. I finished oiling the teak in the cockpit and disassembled and stowed the barbecue. The weight of the dinghy and motor riding on the davits behind the boat had pulled the stern rail away from the side rail. The day before, I had winched the stern rail back into place and secured it there with a ratchet strap, but the motor had to be lashed to the deck next to the spare outboard. Scott spent the day installing the new pump for the autopilot and replacing all its wiring. I organized and stowed all the tools and spare parts that Scott had scattered about the boat from stem to stern. While it would have been nice to have the original freezer repaired so that we could use it for a refrigerator, having the space where it once resided to use for storage was a great boon. We could now access our oddball tools and spare parts without having to unload all the items stowed in the center cabin in order to get to them.
I went up to the office to pay our bill and check out. The harbormaster checked the weather for me and pronounced us good to go. He used the Mexican equivalent of NOAA at http://smn.conagua.gob.mx/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=48. It's in Spanish, but has good weather information. I also use http://www.weather-forecast.com/maps/Mexico?over=pressure_arrows&symbols=none&type=wind, which has animated wind maps for the visual learners out there. While I was in the office, I ordered a couple of 5 gallon bottles of water. We were getting low and planned on making water on the way to Chiapas. If our watermaker failed us, at least we would have enough water to get to the next marina. There were still last minute chores to do, but we were ready to leave by Thursday afternoon, which we hoped would allow us to arrive in Chiapas during daylight on Saturday.
After having been in Huatulco for two months, it was almost like leaving home all over again. We re-provisioned and restowed seemingly everything. Just like the first time, new tasks appeared out of nowhere that had to be completed before we could leave. The water company delivered our two jugs, but wouldn't accept our bottles from Barra de Navidad in trade. We had to empty the jugs into our tanks while the delivery fellow, who spoke perfect English, patiently waited. I spent the evening installing tie downs so that we could secure the new freezer. Scott wanted to replace the gypsy on the windlass. (The one we had didn't really fit our new chain.) It was 8:30 before I even started cooking dinner and bedtime by the time we finished. Fortunately, our planned departure was not until Thursday afternoon.
Thursday dawned clear and sunny. I was eager to get underway and finally get a chance to cool off. We would, however, miss the good wi-fi and being able to watch Netflix in the evenings. We hoped our new wi-fi antenna would allow us to find a signal further south.