Rick and I are now back in California again. Since our last post in May, we sailed Cool Change back across the Sea of Cortez from La Paz to Mazatlan, and had her hauled out for a bottom job, new hull paint, a new cutlass bearing and a number of other maintenance details, while Rick and I luxuriated in a nearby condo we rented. We then buttoned up Cool Change to withstand the hurricane season in Mazatlan under the stewardship of a local boat management company, and flew back to California in mid-July. Our renter will be moving out of our Coloma home by this coming weekend, and then we will move back in. My left hip is scheduled for replacement two weeks later, on August 15.
It is good to be back in California, especially to see family again. My sister Sharon lost her husband only days after we returned to Mexico in May, and Rick’s sister’s husband Rich is currently undergoing chemotherapy. So it is a good time to be home again to be with our family. Three of our kids are planning on visiting us while we are home this fall. And it will be so nice to soak in our hot tub again once the cool weather returns.
But at the same time, it was very difficult leaving Mexico and leaving Cool Change behind. She has been our full time home for two years and we are very loyal to her, probably even more so than our land-based home! Life was so relaxing down in Mexico, and in many ways, a lot simpler. We worked hard on the boat but we really didn’t expect too much of ourselves each day: a few hours working on the boat, an hour or two food shopping and doing errands by bus every other day or so, and maybe a swim in the condo pool in late afternoon. And relaxing or reading the rest of the time. It was just too darn hot and humid to try to do much else at this time of year, so you just get used to the slower pace. As we sat each night watching the sunset with our ritual cocktail, I kept wanting to capture the moment over and over again in my memory so I wouldn’t forget it when times got hectic back in the States.
Probably the easiest way to describe our last two months in Mexico is by pictures. Enjoy.
Crossing the Sea of Cortez back to Mazatlan from La Paz. This time we didn’t stop at Los Muertos; we just sailed straight through from La Paz to Mazatlan, about a 48 hour trip including two nights at sea, sailing all through the night. Both Rick and I really got into the rhythm of the watch shifts this time.
A comfortable King-size bed in our 2 1/2 bedroom, 3 bath condo with patio and pool for less than a studio apartment in California was a luxury we enjoyed
The condo kitchen
The condo dining area
The condo living area. We had cable tv and three tv’s! Not that we watched tv that much, but it still felt like an indulgence. We stayed in this condo for two months, almost the entire time we were in Mazatlan. It made packing up Cool Change infinitely easier. And while Cool Change was in the boatyard, all of her contents were stored in the condo with us as well, including all interior cushions, exterior fuel cans, etc., so there would be nothing in the way of accessing the boat for necessary maintenance
We needed a condo near the marina docks without stairs in the way so we could move 1,000 pounds of stuff on and off the boat, and we also needed a condo within walking distance of the boatyard. Had we not had these constraints, we could have found an ocean front condo for about the same price, or a very nice condo slightly inland or downtown for even cheaper. As it was, we had a view of the sunset every night and were about a mile from the sand beaches. And did I mention, we had a pool? 🙂
Sunset from our condo
Our margarita at sunset ritual
Hauling Cool Change out of the water is always a stressful time because the forward strap has to be placed just so to avoid damaging an expensive sensor unit under the hull
The chief boat lift operator at Fonatur, a government run boatyard, in Mazatlan is a woman
They stripped the bottom down to remove layers and layers of 27 years of bottom paint, and also prepped the hull gel coat for new paint
Cool Change primed for new bottom paint (ablative) and new hull paint
Cool Change complete, with her new bottom paint, hull paint, cutlass bearing, inspected steering system, newly refinished sole, serviced through hulls, and a bunch of other cool improvements, with part of the hard working and proud Active Marine employees
Our 15th wedding anniversary fell in May 26 so we started it at a lovely balcony restaurant above Plazuela Machada in the historic district of Mazatlan
Our friends Debbie and Chip from sailing vessel Elegant Sea stayed with us in the condo for a night or two before they left their boat behind to go to the States for the same reason we were – Chip needs a new hip
There really isn’t much happening in the cruising community during the summer off-season in Mazatlan; most everyone has left their boats here and gone back home to cooler climates. But there are some die-hards who have lived on their boats in the marina full time for years, and others who have moved onto dry land and made Mazatlan their permanent home. One of those such fellows is Chuck, who married a Mexican woman and lives in a home in Mazatlan. He still tries to organize karaoke every Tuesday night at a bar on the marina. Here he is with his wife, singing
For Father’s Day we went out to breakfast at La Bruja, a beachside restaurant popular amongst Mexican families, alongside a dangerous beach and large rock outcropping that is said to be haunted by witches guarding the riches of shipwrecked pirates
This is early morning, not night, and it is the full moon setting on the solstice, not the sun setting. It was a gorgeous morning.
Rick suggested we take a cooking class. We made each course one at a time and then ate it with paired wine, then ,over onto the next course. Fortunately we did a lot of prep for the whole meal before cooking the first course, because we weren’t in much shape to cook after all that wine!
Our Mexican family friends, Norma, Mario and their daughter Sofie and son Jean Pablo, along with Norma’s 18 year old sister Paola, came to visit us for a weekend. We gave them the condo and we stayed on the boat. We had a ball. Mario took us to all of his favorite Mexican food haunts, and rented open-aired taxis to give us a tour all around Mazatlan. We hope their family can come visit us in the US sometime.
Mario and Norma and family
Rick and Cindy on the beach during Mario’s tour
Riding one of the open-aired red trucks that serve as cabs for large groups. It was the first time that Sofie and Jean Pablo had ever ridden in one so they were having fun. Mario owns a car parts distributorship so they are never short of vehicles of their own
After we got Cool Change out of the boatyard, we put back everything we had taken off of her, and buttoned her up for the hurricane season. All of the sails are stored inside the cabin, along with anything else that could get sun damage or blow away on deck. The fuel tank,is full to reduce condensation, the water tanks are empty to minimize growth, the dock lines are all firmly secured, and a number of other precautions have been taken as well. We have a dehumidifier running inside to avoid mold. The black sun cover you see can be removed by our boat management company in preparation for big storms if necessary.
It was sad leaving Cool Change behind, but we needed to get back to California to start preparing for Cindy’s surgery. First order of business: a car. We bought a vintage year Lexus, our first luxury car ever, and we are loving it.
Next step is coming up next week, when we can move back into our home. We have never rented it out before, so we are anxiously awaiting our first chance to see how she faired. We will have less than 2 weeks to get everything ready before Cindy’s surgery
Well, that is about all for now for Cool Change. We hope she weathers hurricane season in Mazatlan without incident, as we hope that Cindy weathers her surgery equally well. If all goes as planned, we hope to be sailing again on Cool Change by December.