When we got into the marina (Opequimar) we fueled and cleaned the boat from deck to bilge, ready for our new guests arriving. I found Frank (A retired lawyer from Texas) had been there close to a week already and so had bought a time share as he was obviously bored with the wait?! Soon after that came Rob (a teacher from New York) who joined us several days later, and finally an old friend of mine Catherine (a sailor from Scotland) came out as crew. We were back up to strength again with 7 of us onboard and the boat was clean although not quite ready to go as she needed maintenance.
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The new marina however was twice as nice and half the price. If we hadn’t needed the electricity hook up due to power issues at the time we would have anchored which would have been even cheaper (in most places anyway – we were charged to anchor anywhere back in Cabo San Lucas!). It was good to be somewhere which felt a little more ‘real’ after Cabo too, and we found some good bars and cheap restaurants in the old town. The romantic (gay) sector was very good for places to eat, and the bar we started off in was unique. Playing a selection of old seventies and eighties music, and with a row of seats for older women with short skirts to sit just above our heads on the balcony above the bar, we got lost in the old pirate world feel of the place. Frank ‘arranged’ for the shot lady to shoot me and I did indeed come out of there smiling. Sadly though, due to democracy (luckily a rarity on a sailing boat) we finished in a modern night club which was plastered in the mottled black and white of a cow. Everywhere. Being older than the crew, I was of course mortified by the price of drinks here until I realised they were served in an oil drum. That's more like it. I have to say it is also the first time I ever spent the night with my friends on our own private scaffolding platform too.
We took a day out to anchor off the beach and swim, then got back to working on the boat for a few days where Chris and Kris scraped the decks (thanks guys). Throughout the work in Puerto Vallerta however the pilots were proved right and much of what we needed was just not available or priced way over the top. In the end it was a hard decision, but the refit work we required was going to need better and cheaper suppliers for the materials and equipment, so we planned to return to somewhere back up north.
I should at this stage define the term 'required maintenance' a little more. Determined to continue sailing but without the funds to support a serious refit we now existed without a working engine, and most worrying we had to strop the Genoa sheet winches together on a port tack to keep the starboard side of the cockpit from taking leave of the boat. Nervous? Back to Cabo San Lucas. It took twice as long on the return trip and I began to believe the books this time advising against the journey into the prevailing wind and current. When we got to Cabo, Chris and Kris left us as they could not go on with the thought of sailing against it all for the next few weeks. I understood – they were never sailors when they joined us and they had come so far down this road but enough was enough. I mentioned earlier that the way we sail (without engine) is not for everybody and it takes a certain attitude and philosophy to be able to do it long term. I didn't mind them leaving, so much as I minded that Frank took it upon his head to pay them off with their flights home before mentioning this to me!
Rob finished his time too as he was only along for a short trip and returned to his teaching job in New York. When the 4 of us (Blair, Catherine, Frank and I) left Cabo (all of us ill with some sort of flu) to sail back up the coast, the wind and current only got worse and we made next to nothing in the right direction. In fact we were heading further west into the Pacific Ocean. With Catherine’s flight already booked to return to Scotland, I decided we had to push forward with getting ashore and we set a new course for La Paz, stopping at… yes indeed; Cabo once more. Not for long however and we were soon sailing north into the Sea of Cortez. Blair actually skippered this part of the trip as he needed to work towards his qualifications, and I would like to mention he did a very good job of it. It was very nice to relax and to laugh at somebody else sweating over the charts too. I knew we were walking a fine line though with the reduced crew, the dangerous issues with the boat, and the issue of Frank...
Go as a pilgrim and seek out danger, Far from the comfort and well lit avenues of life.