Arriving in La Paz
On the drive down there was plenty of time for our thoughts to wander. It was easy to compare what I was feeling then, in the car, to what I had imagined we would feel weeks or months ago when we were planning the trip. The feelings were a lot different. Honestly there was a lot of second-guessing and questions. At one point, I turned to Bryson and said “Seriously, what is going on? Did we actually buy a boat in Mexico? Are we really driving to Mexico right now?!?! Exactly why did we do all this?” Apparently we did buy a boat and we were indeed on our way! So walking down the dock and getting on the boat brought the whole trip home. It was truly a sailing trip then. (Bryson’s Note: We haven’t been sailing yet – so far it has been a boat-fixing trip)
What to do?
Right away we were both extremely overwhelmed. We knew we had a lot of work to do on the boat, but seeing it all before us was pretty daunting. Where to start, what to do, where to go? I madly started making lists and forgetting them and trying to do things all at the same time. Bryson just started washing her down, then we went and got some dinner and went to bed full of worries, concerns and excitement.
The next day we pulled everything out that we could, and scrubbed down the entire interior with biodegradable cleaner. It was really helpful just to get a handle on the situation, just clean and look around for the beginning of the day. Next, we made a list. A big list. After prioritizing all the items as a 1, 2 or 3 priority, we got stuck in. Bryson dove into the electrical and charging systems, and I began to tackle the radio installation and plumbing. Best not to think about all the jobs but just focus on the one at hand. For the past 12 days, we’ve just been working our way down the list here in La Paz, and we’re starting to get a hold on all the things that have to be done to the boat.
Unless you’re a sailor interested in fixing up a boat to go offshore, the last 12 days have been
pretty/extremely boring. If you are, read a few of the highlights below, all others can skip the rest. Electronics: About 4 years ago all the electronics on the boat were updated. What the previous owner didn’t do was remove the wiring for the old electronics. Equipment was removed (mostly) and the wires were left in place. So we have pulled out about 200 ft of redundant wiring. The short-wave radio was installed with about 2 ft of ground plane, and had a Coax wire to the backstay antenna. Not going to work – reinstall. Battery Charger had boiled all the batteries dry and needed replacing. Lights didn’t work. Too many electrical devices not breakered and running directly from the battery. The list goes on and on… just e-mail us if you are interested in the 4-page list of electrical things to fix. Plumbing: We’ve installed fresh-water and saltwater foot pumps, a 3rd water tank, and will be installing a water-maker tomorrow. Steering: There was a leak under the wheel so salt water was getting to the main steering pulleys. The bolts were almost rusted through, and the pulley and assembly came apart in 4 pieces when we pulled it off. We’ve replaced that, as well as all the steering cables. Had to remount the binnacle and seal it all. Engine/fuel; We’re fortunate that the fuel tank is easily accessible… that meant Bryson got to empty it, and scrape out the 25 years of crud accumulated at the bottom. He smiled the whole time! Had to install the battery off switch, remove all the old sour fuel, get and install a fuel gauge…
Work? What work? We left our jobs weeks ago?
Someone emailed me a few days ago and said: Send us some pictures of you drinking Margarita’s in the sun! You know, there really hasn’t been much of that/any of that! Our routine pretty much goes like this: Wake up at 7am, get some sort of exercise for about an hour, then get to work on the boat. Saw, solder, screw, scrape, pull, hammer until it gets too hot outside, then work in the cabin until it gets too hot in there too. Hose yourself down on the dock and repeat until about 10pm. If you haven’t worked on a sailboat or are having trouble imagining what it’s like to work on the boat, picture a cross between mechanics, Bikrams’ yoga, and meditation. Mechanics, well that’s easy; The hot yoga because the temperature is about 35 degrees below deck and you’re contorting yourself into tiny, awkward spaces; The Meditation, the patience of a Zen master is required not to break anything and get frustrated. By the time we are done, we wander up the street to get some taco’s at a nearby stand, and crash out in our bunks. I haven’t even had time (or the space) to unpack my duffle bag. I’ve been rotating 3 pairs of board shorts and 3 shirts. Despite the long days and hard work, it is looking good. Khulula is starting to feel like our boat, and every time as I look around her to see every repair, customization or upgrade, I smile to myself.