Journal 6 -San Diego to Cabo San Lucas
Wasting Away in Margarita Ville

    NOV 18 – 30, 2003
    FROM :Baja Peninsula,  MEXICO.


    Lat: 24 o  46 ‘   Long:112 o   24

    Well, here we are, still in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.   The home of the margarita –that’s not
    why we’re still here….. we’ve had a minor setback, but in the optimistic style that one must
    adopt as cruisers, we’re glad it happened here.

    We had been preparing for a departure yesterday, and in our passage prep had noticed a
    diesel smell. Upon investigation it was evident that the metal fuel line carrying the fuel from
    the uplift pump to the fuel filters, had corroded through and was dripping diesel fuel onto
    the engine and subsequently into the bilge…. Not good.   Henry managed to wrangle it off
    and thus ensued a number of phone calls and some interesting sorties into the back
    blocks of Cabo in search of a variety of hoses, welders, fitters et al.   We feel fairly secure
    at anchor, but Murphy’s Law (and we’re sure Murphy and Neptune are drinking mates)
    would have it that we would need an engine right at the time we didn’t have one.   About
    10 years ago, Cabo San Lucas experienced a storm in early December which was
    unforecast, violent, and caused the demise of 43 cruising yachts in this anchorage.  The
    only boats spared were the ones who made a quick and early get-away.   The weather so
    far has been fine, but we were well aware that without engine capability our options for a
    quick get-away if such a situation were to arise again, would be limited.   Henry did a super
    job negotiating through the back street mechanics (who are quite talented and very
    helpful) to “jury-rig” a temporary hose fitting – it worked, and the diesel is now running
    again.  Not a permanent fix, but it will get us out of a jam, and importantly to the fuel dock.  
    The proper part is on it way to us now, but compliments of the Mexican customs system
    and a public holiday (Revolution Day) this week, the part won’t arrive here till next
    Monday.   We were initially disappointed, and it means we will have to take one of the
    stops (Las Friales) off our itinerary, but, it’s given us a chance to do some other jobs,
    have some more margaritas (!) and reflect upon a few things.

    We’re enjoying Cabo more than we thought.  One of the great things about being here is
    the birds.  I often thought that if I had to serve my time on the planet as an animal, I’d like
    to come back as a cat living in my house.  Having been here though, I think reincarnation
    as a Cabo pelican would be very cool.   The pelicans “rule” the docks – no-one hassles
    them, they have their own
    unusual to see a pelican hitching a ride on the aft deck of one of the sports-fisher boats
    who have generously opened their bait tanks so the pelican can help himself to whatever
    baitfish is left over – a moving feast!.   The other siginifcant bird presence is that of the
    frigate bird.  These are icons of the tropic latitudes, powerful and graceful with their forked
    tail and 6’ wingspan, they glide over the anchorage.  It feels good just to watch them.

    Another of our positive experiences here was provisioning: we’d decided to top up with a
    couple of weeks’ worth of groceries.  The local “gringo” supermarket, walking distance
    from the dinghy dock, was terrific: a medium sized supermarket, clearn, well stocked but
    expensive.   We took the advice of some other cruisers and took a taxi (fare negotiable) to
    Soriani, a Mexican store that had opened 2 months previously.   We went on a Sunday,
    thinking all good Mexican Catholics would be in church.  Wrong.   Everyone was at the
    superstore and it turned out to be quite an outing.  It was an amazing place, a kind of
    combination of the best Target you’ve ever been to and an upmarket
    Safeway/CarreFour/Coles (pick your supermarket).  The place was the size of 2 city
    blocks.  The selection of delicatessen items was wonderful as was all the packaged
    goods.  A large variety of hot food dispensaries including a bakery, tortilleria, fruit
    smoothie shop were laid around the periphery, and Christmas goodies (including the
    quintessential poinsietta plants) were in abundance.  We thought we’d treat ourselves to
    some candies – some fat green spearmint leaves and  some caramel chocolates.  We
    rarely have such treats aboard and felt like making an exception.  We followed what we
    thought was the process: if the sweet bin had a yellow tag, then one put a yellow tie
    around that bag of goodies.  However, when we got to the cash register, said candy bags
    were summarily confiscated from the load and put aside.  Clearly, we’d screwed up the
    process, and didn’t have enough local language to sort it out, so we reluctantly left our
    lollies behind.  Darn.

    On resource management….. one of the things about living aboard, is that you’re
    essentially managing your own little city….lighting, sanitation plant, water reservoirs &
    piping etc etc…..   We have 155 gallons of fresh water capacity aboard Dreamcatcher.  
    We’re neither frugal nor free with it and we were curious to know just how long those full
    tanks would last.   They ran dry this morning: 23 days after we had filled them on our San
    Diego departure…. This works out to about 6 gallons a day (apologies to the metrics
    folks), or 3 per person.  We had Graham aboard for the first 10 days, so we figure we’re
    averaging about 2.5 gallons a day each, including dish-washing.  It’s a good benchmark
    for crossing the Pacific – we plan to have a seawater supply pump in the galley before that
    to reduce the usage for dish-washing and cooking.    So, we hopped in the dinghy,
    purchased 2 x 5 gallon collapsible jugs and filled them with fresh water at the fuel dock, in
    addition to buying 2 other big containers of purified drinking water….. so, with the to/from
    dinghy trips, dinghy dock fee, walking time, filling time etc, we figure it took about 2  hours
    and  quite a few dollars just to secure the same amount of water the average Joe uses in
    a 5 minute shower!  I don’t think either of us will ever take running water for granted,
    again.  (we’re still thinking about a watermaker)……

    One thing we should have mentioned earlier was Henry’s tattoo…… at the final Baja Ha
    Ha beach party, he’d had enough margaritas to say “yes” to a temporary mermaid tattoo
    on his upper arm “it will last 2 weeks, senor !!!”   si !     Well, half of it smeared off during a
    sweaty session in the engine room the next day, but the remaining ink was more tenacious
    and the tattoo has stamped itself permanently to various parts of the boat: the sheets,
    pillows, the white drawer fronts, the bulkhead etc etc……    so that little adventure has
    been entered into the “NEVER let me do that again!” list !!   


    All the above was written at anchor at Cabo San Lucas, before Glen found out that her
    Dad is seriously ill.  At the time of sending, Glen will be wending her way back to Perth
    Australia to spend time with her family.  Henry will remain on the boat till Dec 14th, when
    he too, will be Australia-bound.
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Location and Sail Plan