Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Things Cruisers Deal With....

That They Don't Usually Post About

Sunday morning as we were motor-sailing along just out of Chacala, the captain suddenly put the motor in neutral and said, "We caught a fishing line".

We got the boat hook and after a few tries we managed to push the 3/8" yellow nylon line down and off of our rudder skeg. Unfortunately we were still caught in a monofilament line which was attached to the nylon rope. It was smaller and much harder to see, so we finally launched the dinghy to get a better angle. After a few more tries we pushed it off the skeg and went on our way.

These fishing lines and nets are quite common down here. Some boaters just cut lines like this, but we would rather try to extricate ourselves without damaging anything because what we damage has to be replaced by the poor fishermen.

Paperwork is one of the things that I get real tired of doing. In America you can sail your boat anywhere, anytime, no paperwork required. But here in Mexico you must check in and out of every port at the Port Captain's office. It reminds us of filing a flight plan, so it's not totally impossible, but you have to go to their office to do it; you can't just call on the radio.

They want to see your Vessel Documentation, your Temporary Import Permit, and sometimes your Passport. You fill out a form telling the length of your stay and where you will be going next.

Hey, we are retired! We have no idea how long we will be somewhere or where we are going next. But we usually come up with enough answers to satisfy them, and we can always go back and change the details if we change our mind.

So far on this trip we have dealt with recurring refrigeration issues and now battery issues. It seems our seven year old batteries are reaching the end if their lives so we have ordered new ones which should arrive next Monday. They aren't cheap, but, Merry Christmas to us.

As I understand it, when you are on shore power your battery charger keeps the batteries up near 100% power. When you are on the hook your engine's alternator (or solar panels) just don't keep them topped up, so you are constantly drawing them down into the 50-80% range and that shortens their life. We were lucky to limp along as long as we did with these. When the new batteries are installed we will be more diligent about tracking charging/discharging cycles and keeping them topped up with the generator.

So those are just a few of the things cruisers deal with but don't usually post about.

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