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Old 12-08-2023, 12:33 PM   #1
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Weebles - Day in Cruising Life

Bit of a 'dear diary' of currently cruising stuff. In Mazatlan MX (Wx: mid 60's at night, low/mid 80's during the day).

Tomorrow will be Day 14 since we arrived. About a week of that though was recovering from a cold and an ear infection. A couple days ago I went to an Otolaryngologist (ear/nose/throat specialist) for an office call. Fast, efficient, and around $45 USD cash. Wish it were that easy at home. I'm on the mend, though hearing still hasn't full recovered.

There are two main marinas in Mazatlan - El Cid which is part of a resort complex; and Marina Mazatlan, which is where we are. Facilities are a bit tired, but there is a strong cruiser's community here. "Dock 6 Yacht Club" hosts a safety meeting each afternoon, a euphamism for a quick drink and gab fest. Interestingly, no excess noted yet. Just a beer or two.

There are plenty of ways to avoid doing maintenance. Every day seems to have someone inviting us to do something interesting.

Yesterday we took a local bus to Cerritos Beach, about 20-mins up the road from the Marina (14-pesos, or around $0.70 USD). This is a locals beach with several restaurants nearby. Food was pretty good and it was pleasant to watch families enjoying their beautiful coastline. Lunch of fresh ceviche and a nicely roasted fish with a couple drinks was around $30 USD including tax/tip.

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The day before yesterday, one of the cruisers organized a "Red Truck Tour." A common conveyance is a small pick-up truck with bench seats in the back and a canopy overhead. A cooler of beer and water is provided. I must say, I didn't imagine I'd be riding in the back of a pickup truck drinking beer, but that's what part of the day looked like. Mazatlan is an incredibly beautful city and it was great to hang-out with some new friends.

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Day before yesterday was haircut day. One of the long time cruisers has someone come once a month to cut hair. Not the best haircut I've had, but was certainly unique (seated is a retired doctor from Tampa).

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Two nights ago was someone's birthday which meant a 'catered' dinner in the parking lot. One of the workers at the Marina's mom owns a small restaurant and brought tacos for everyone. No charge, just tips. Tacos were pretty good. Also good to meet other cruisers.

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Today, we're headed into the City of Mazatlan to get fresh shrimp. Another cruiser has organized a dozen of us to get fresh shrimp by the kilo which will be cooked for us. I have no idea what to expect so will be an update for tomorrow.

Finally, one of our neighbors here in the Marina - some sort of iquana. Most are less colorful and much smaller, so my guess this is the 'silverback' of the tribe. I'm sure he's the sire of many local lizards.

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Staying busy here in Mazatlan. Starting to plan for Puerta Vallarta and points south. Would like to be in Costa Rica by end of May before start of hurricane season.

Pedro.
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Old 12-08-2023, 12:50 PM   #2
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We loved Mazatlan! So easy to grab the green bus from the marinas to old town. Lots of good food and, as I recall, the old central square was nicely decorated for Christmas.

If you find yourself in Centro looking for a coffee and treat, try Totem. You can sit on the rooftop terrace.

You might notice the locals wearing Guayabera shirts... typically light linen and comfortable in the heat. Check out Guayabera Merida Mazatlan for a nice selection of authentic shirts. Just down the street from Totem.
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Old 12-08-2023, 03:12 PM   #3
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Phoenix is about 4 1/2 hour drive to Rocky Point MX.
Much of the above experiences are similar.
Shrimp boats come in very early in the morning to sell their catch at the market.
Life style can be very laid back and rather inexpensive if you find the right places.

I love that about non-US cultures.
So glad you are having that experience.
Hopefully your illness has gone away.
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Old 12-08-2023, 05:20 PM   #4
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Love the updates, Pedro. Thank you!
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Old 12-08-2023, 07:47 PM   #5
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There are plenty of ways to avoid doing maintenance. Every day seems to have someone inviting us to do something interesting.
you barely started and already found a perfect cruiser world
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Old 12-09-2023, 07:09 AM   #6
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Camarones and Decisions

Yesterday's big event was heading into Centro (downtown Mazatlan) with about 15 others for camarones (shrimp). Apparently, Mazatalan boasts the largest shrimping fleet in Mexico so the shrimp are plentiful.

Downtown Mazatlan is about 7-miles from the marina. While Uber's are easy and cheap, the preferred transport is the Green Bus that runs along the Malecon ("Malecon" is a general Spanish term for the street along the water's edge, usually with a wide pedestrian walkway). It's a stunning drive that blends views of Mazatlan's gorgeous bay with two sides of a large Mexican city: the bustle of inexpensive public transport in a lessor developed country with the modernity of the upscale parts of a city, including joggers along the seaside walkway.

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The old section of Centro fans out from the Mercado which was built in the late 1800s, though expanded many times over the years. For those who's travels to Mexico have been solely to manicured all-inclusive resorts, you've missed the heart and soul of any developing country: The Mercado. Inside there are dozens and dozens of stalls selling vegetables, meat, clothing, spices, food, and anything you might need.

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Note the pigs head on left side of meat case. This was all freshly butchered this morning. Of all the mercados in Mexico I've visited, this is the first I've seen that had refrigerated cases.

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Near the Mercado is a street with nothing but vendors selling mariscos (seafood), primarily shrimp. We paid around $5.25/lb for jumbo shrimp.

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Across the street is a restaurant that does nothing but cook fish you buy at the Mercado. For about $2/lb, they will cook to order (Garlic, Diablo, Fried, etc.) along with utensils and salsas. Ice cold Pacifico Beer is $1.75/ea.

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There were about 18 of us at a long table. Was a lot of fun to meet fellow cruisers, a handful of whom had been on the Baja Ha Ha with us. Cheryll and I have a fairly small group of friends so the large herd is new for us. We've enjoyed it a lot. What's interesting is boat related topics are an ice-breaker, but conversation quickly evolves, though I put my foot down when topic of politics arises.....

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There are some very nice older buildings in Mazatlan that are ripe for restoration. A few years ago, we traveled to Merida, a large city in the interior of the Yucatan Penninsula that was one of the world's hemp centers in the early 1900s. It too had old buildings, though they were being quickly snapped up by gringos for restoration.

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Decisions on headed home for a wee bit. We had planned on heading home to Florida for a week or two in January when we were in Puerto Vallarta, 170 nms south of Mazatlan. However, finding a slip these days in Mexico is as difficult as the ICW. Plus holiday airfares are high. So we decided to leave Weebles in Mazatlan and head home next Saturday, a week from today. We'll return to Mazatlan and resume or trek 2-weeks later, on December 30th.
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Old 12-09-2023, 07:55 AM   #7
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Thank you Pepe, for taking the time to share your trip with everyone. The photographs really help convey the flavor of the area. Liz and I will more than likely end up somewhere in Mexico at some point in the future. She speaks fluent Spanish and lived in Cuernavaca, Morelos. She can do all of the talking. I'll be content as long as it's a warm climate and I can pronounce cerveza. That and el servicio.
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Old 12-09-2023, 08:45 AM   #8
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Thank you Pepe, for taking the time to share your trip with everyone. The photographs really help convey the flavor of the area. Liz and I will more than likely end up somewhere in Mexico at some point in the future. She speaks fluent Spanish and lived in Cuernavaca, Morelos. She can do all of the talking. I'll be content as long as it's a warm climate and I can pronounce cerveza. That and el servicio.
We own a condo in Playa del Carmen, about 45-minutes south of Cancun on the Caribbean side of Mexico. At the time, we knew we preferred the climate of the Pacific side of Mexico to the Caribbean, but flying in/out of Cancun is so dang easy, especially since I spent much of the last 7-years working in Houston where United Airlines has a dozen flights each day to Cancun.

Neither of us have been to Puerto Vallarta, but we thought PV might be the preferable location for our Mexico home. Having spent just a short time in Mazatlan (and not having been to PV......yet), I'd move it way up the list of places to live in Mexico. Although there are a ton of gringos here, the city feels like it has it's own soul and presence that are distinctly Mexico (Playa del Carmen does too). Weather in winter is simply gorgeous - dry, cool in evenings (mid 60s) and warm in the day (low/mid 80s). Food is better in Mazatlan, though not as good as Ensenada (which is a study in contrast).

Looking back over the last 5-7 years, I've spent well over half my time in Mexico. I no longer recommend it to folks not because I don't enjoy it, but because my pleasure is not transferable. For many people, idea of living in a developing country (especially Mexico, a country the US loves to hate), is just not a comfortable fit. And by 'living,' I mean living where you shop locally, eat locally, dodge potholes, and endure power outages with a wave of the hand. There are staunchly protected enclaves of gringo-ism (where, except for domestic help, Mexicans are not welcomed) where you can insulate yourself from the challenges of Mexico, but why someone would do that when America has so many nice communities already is beyond me.

Not to say Mexico is Shangri-La. Compared to the US, it has vastly fewer resources for public works. Cheryll and I were just discussing the amount of trash and litter (Mazatlan seems worse than other parts of Mexico we've been). We are both in our 60s and I recalled that, as a kid, tossing trash along the highway was fairly common. Wasnt until there were public service announcements to educate people not to do that (remember the commercial with the Native American in traditional dress with a large tear from his eye?). I always say Mexico is 2-3 generations behind the US. From a world perspective, their economy is doing very well - I suspect that in another 20+ years, they will easily have the money to better invest in not just building public works' projects, but in maintaining them.

Bottom line, I like it in Mexico. We both feel safe here with taking normal traveller precautions we take wherever we go, including home in Florida. But clearly, there are a lot of Americans who, for whatever reason, are not comfortable in Mexico. So I have stopped recommending Mexico except to say we like it here and it works for us. For anyone considering Mexico, I give a hearty thumbs-up to Mazatlan.

Peter

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Old 12-09-2023, 11:37 AM   #9
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Still on the West Side!

Peter,

We are still on the West side of the SOC. We're currently sitting at anchor in Ensenada De La Partida. It's absolutely stunning here. Clear water, nice beaches, fish everywhere. Except for the two cats that came late yesterday afternoon and anchored 100' off our port and starboard bows, in 23' of water with 60' of chain out that is . . . . They came pretty close to us last night, but left this morning after judicious application of the "Bitch Wings"!
One left the harbor entirely, one moved up harbor to a new anchorage. . . . Wx is calling for gusts of up to 32 kts out of the West over the next two days, but we're tucked into a hidey hole here that I don't see a problem with. In a few days we'll do some harbor hopping around a couple of bays here on Espirito Santos. A night here, a night there. Might come back here as well.

I need get the scuba gear out and do the prop/touch up the bottom as well. Thankfully no croc's here like Peter was warned about in Mazatlan!
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Old 12-09-2023, 11:43 AM   #10
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Thanks for sharing Peter!!!

I'd like to further your thoughts on living in Mexico.

In just a couple of weeks I have my two year anniversary of my "go cruising in Mexico" adventure.

I have seen Americans come here and stay, and I have seen others that chose to either return home or go elsewhere. As you posted Mexico is not a fit for everyones personality, and you really do not know until you come here.

Living both on my boat in the marina (which is a isolated enviroment), and also having a house in an area that Ex Pats do not prefer/frequent I am keenly aware of several cultural differences between Mexicans in general and Americans. These differences favor people being happy in Mexico, so I suppose they are really adaption techniqies.

The first trait is tolerance. Mexicans are a tolerant people, and frankly Americans are not.

What is tolerance you ask??? Tolerance is not getting bent out of shape when others actions affect your life.

For example... Mexicans love their music, and they love a party. It is not at all uncommon to hear your neighbors, sometimes even blocks away music at night. Also here in Mexico verey few people control their dogs barking. It is not un common to hear the neighbors dog bark at night. Tolerance is not letting these things bother you, and these are just a couple examples.

Another trait that Mexicans enjoy over Americans is Patience. But... You say you are patient...No you do not understand patience.

Patience taking it in stride that the city water only is on 3 days a week for four hours each day. Patience is dealing with that like a Mexican. That means having a big water tank at your house, just like your boat. Patience is calmly calling the water truck service if you run out, and paying them their 800 pesos with a smile on your face.

Patience is slowing down enough to stop and let the pedestrian cross the street. Patience is realizing that just because your electric is out does not mean it's an emergency for anyone but you.

I love my life in Mexico, but like you I realize it's not for everyone.
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Old 12-10-2023, 10:13 AM   #11
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Wait, Kevin, are you trying to tell me that "It's NOT all about ME?"
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Old 12-10-2023, 10:39 AM   #12
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Wow, great updates. Peter, thanks for sharing about Mazatlan. You have really hit on some amazing places and people. I am driving down to La Paz tomorrow to deliver some stuff to my boat down there. Unfortunately, I removed all of my personal items in order to prep Ansedonia for sale, leaving me no way to still use her. Well, 10 months later I am bringing some stuff back down so that we might use her again. I'm excited, as I miss La Paz and Mexico greatly.

Keep the adventure reports coming.

Cheers, Bill
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Old 12-10-2023, 10:49 AM   #13
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wait, kevin, are you trying to tell me that "it's not all about me?"

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Old 12-10-2023, 12:20 PM   #14
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Thanks for giving us some insight into Mazatlan. We should be there at some point. And for reminding me I need to give Scot a haircut. Sometimes he gets interesting cuts too. But I'm working on it. Currently we are enjoying the islands.
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Old 12-11-2023, 07:39 AM   #15
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Sewing Window Awnings

Wm Garden's W36 design has wonderful windows. Originally, the two forward side windows were sliding, the aft ones were fixed panes. All were mounted in rubber welting that had hardened over the years and was no longer available. So I replaced all four with sliding windows from Mark Plastics in Corona CA. This decision was somewhat opportunistic - Mark (of Mark Plastics) bought the company 40-years ago, the predecessor having made windows for Willard since the early 1970s. He's getting ready to retire so I worried getting replacement windows down the line could be difficult, expensive, or both.

Midday temperatures in Mazatlan are in the mid 80's. The relatively low angle of the sun makes the side windows a real heat-sink even with the heavy Pfifertex covers. Given there's a handrail over the windows and a handrail on the caprail, seemed a natural for a shallow awning.

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I originally hoped to have someone make these for me. Here in Mazatlan, each dock has something resembling a vendor/business manager. For Dock 6, Hector is the go-to guy for any repair or service a cruiser could want. For examlple, when we arrived 2-weeks ago, Weebles was salt-encrusted. I struck a deal with Hector to have her washed and polished for $800 pesos, around $45 USD. A worker spent about 6-hours washing her including many of the nooks and crannies. Now, even though this seemed fairly reasonable to me, it's highway robbery by local standards - all of the sport fishing boats have someone employed full-time to wash and polish their boat ---- even smaller boats in the 35-foot range. Guessing they get paid around $300-pesos per day ($17 USD), maybe $400-pesos.

The good deal making didn't last long. First to fall apart was having the stainless steel on Weebles polished - $3500 pesos ($205 USD) was a quick "thanks, I'll think about it" which is my way of politely saying 'no.' So I wasn't hugely surprised when the quote for four 3'x8' was quoted at $1700 USD!!! The 'cruiser's tax' was just too high so I found an upholstery shop that carries acryllic fabric ($300 USD in Silvana fabric, similar to Sunbrella) and broke-out my Kenmore Sewing Machine that I bought from Sears in 1999 for $125. Why not a Sailrite, especially since I own not one but two???? In short, they are big and heavy - very heavy. Not that Weebles cannot deal with another 50-lbs, but I'd need to stow it under the vee-berth and lifting it in/out was just too much to bear. So I opted for the lightweight home machine.

The marina here has a 'cruisers lounge' which is rarely used. So rather than setup sewing on the back deck, I hauled my sewing gear the 1/8th mile to the cruiser's lounge ---- did I ever appreciate the lightweight Kenmore!!!

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I'll reiterate: a home sewing machine works fine for many simple canvas projects. Where it falls a bit short is the stitch length is short and seams can pucker a bit. And their lightweight moves around a bit on the table when muscling around large panels of fabric.

While I'm sure Hector's guy would have done a much better job sewing the panels, the sunshine doesnt know the difference. These work very well and have the side benefit that we can fold the Pfifertext window covers in half so only the bottom half is covered. This improves airflow.

I'll wait to do the flybridge panels until I return from Florida at the end of the month. I'll bring back some awning track to attach to the hard top vs using Footman loops.

Peter
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Old 12-12-2023, 08:58 AM   #16
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Yesterday was WWD (work on watermaker day). Shortly before leaving Ensenada, I replaced my ancient 7gph watermaker that had some problems with a 30gph dual membrane one from CruiseRO in the San Diego area.

CruiseRO has a vocal fan base, especially in the sail-oriented forums such as CruisersForum. I give them high marks for using quality components and incredibly responsive customer service. However, unless they refine their assembly to include pre-wired harness and their instructions to be specific to each variation (120VAC vs 12VDC; with/without Auto-flush; etc.), I would not buy their again. In my opinion - and this runs counter to the strong customer following they have - installation was unnecessarily difficult due to having create every wire, and there is a lot of them when you add the auto-flush feature and the TDS meter feature. One of those things that looks easy on paper and done on a wide-open bench but is a PITA when installed on a smaller boat. That said, Charlie, the Tech Guru at CruiseRO, is an amazing individual. His efforts to help solve problems knows no ends and makes zero excuses along the way. I love the guy.

Back to yesterday. When I purchased the system, they were out of the timer that drives the auto-flush system. For those unfamiliar with watermakers, between uses, they can either be pickled which involves running a solution through the membranes; or back-flushed. Pickling is for long term storage. Back-flushing is done using the clean, fresh water from the boat's tanks to back-flush the membranes. Must be done every week or so indefinitely thus the timer function.

Charlie finally managed to get the timer to me last week here in Mazatlan (DHL). The autoflush option for CruiseRO is, again in my opinion, unnecessarily complicated. The system involves a fairly large enclosure box with the timer, relay to actuate the solenoid, and on/off switch, and several other connections, all of which are mounted on a DIN Rail. The actual valve is a solenoid controlled inline valve with a manual bypass valve.

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So I get the timer installed - and the indicator lights are not lit which tells me it's not working. Given the challenges in wiring I described above, I assume I messed up one of the many connections. Nope, all good. So I spent some quality time with Charlie - turns out the Relay and Solenoid are 12VDC whereas the boost pump is 120VAC (most folks order 12VDC). He'll send me proper replacements, but I spent a few hours yesterday futzing with this. Frankly, if the kit included a decent pre-wired harness, my troubleshooting would have reduced to near zero instead of tracing wires to switches (and converting the white/black of 120VAC to black/red of 12VDC on the diagram). This was a common problem I had with the initial install which included wiring the pressure pump which had 5-6 yellow wires with very faint grey identifiers on them. All easy to do on a well-lit bench. Not so much in the laz of my boat (and most boats I suspect). Ergo my plea for a wiring harness.

But here's the rub. The reason the autoflush system is so complicated is a design feature that is useless to most: the backflush system relies on the boat's fresh water tank having water and the pressure pump to be on. For those who are reluctant to leave their freshwater pump on, this system has a feature that will turn-on the pump to backflush, then turn it off. Absent that requirement, a simple garden-hose time would work fine, which is exactly what SeawaterPro uses. I think I will just toss the CruiseRO auto-flush system ($400 option!!) and just go with the garden hose timer. Easier to program and very reliable. I've used one at my home in Florida for years - batteries last a long time.

Compare this $34 garden hose timer with the two pictures above of the CruiseRO $400 system that does the same thing.

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So the watermaker is still not optimal and won't be until I return from Florida with parts. While I'm a bit 'meh' with CruiseRO, I will say their style of watermaker system makes a lot more sense to me than the very expensive electronically controlled systems common on newer hi-dollar yachts. A friend recently replaced the control board on his which was over $6000 alone. Personally, I'd look at the SeawaterPro watermaker system. Similar setup, significantly less expensive.

Peter
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Old 12-12-2023, 11:01 AM   #17
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Peter so sorry you are still having woes with your watermaker. I'll second the SeaWater Pro, I've had nothing but good things to say about ours it's be fantastic so far and I love that we can get parts off the shelf if we need too, though they are great with customer support.
The shade looks great. We are going to have to do the same thing for chaps, just break out the machine and do it ourselves, because ouch! The prices!! Maybe we will take advantage of the club space when we get there too. Looks like it would be area to do it in. Maybe we should do the back shade at the same time.
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Old 12-12-2023, 11:23 AM   #18
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City: Saint Petersburg
Vessel Name: Weebles
Vessel Model: 1970 Willard 36 Trawler
Join Date: Mar 2019
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Muirgen Afloat View Post
Peter so sorry you are still having woes with your watermaker. I'll second the SeaWater Pro, I've had nothing but good things to say about ours it's be fantastic so far and I love that we can get parts off the shelf if we need too, though they are great with customer support.
The shade looks great. We are going to have to do the same thing for chaps, just break out the machine and do it ourselves, because ouch! The prices!! Maybe we will take advantage of the club space when we get there too. Looks like it would be area to do it in. Maybe we should do the back shade at the same time.
Scot - for shades on my back deck and flybridge, I plan to install awning track so I can temporarily slide-in shades, perhaps move them around as needed with the sun. Also makes it easier to roll-up and tie in place instead of removing them for storage.I forget if your overhead above the aft deck is flat enough for awning track or if you'll have to use small padeyes. On your boat, if you plan to do the side windows, would definitely consider awning track.

Here is the Sailrite listing for the track - https://www.sailrite.com/Flex-A-Rail-White-45

And the sew-in bolt rope to slide-in.
https://www.sailrite.com/Awning-Rope-Vinyl-3-8

Maybe you can get something similar locally there? I tried to find it here but gave up pretty quickly due to language barrier, though I know it's available somewhere. You may have better luck in La Paz.

Peter
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Old 12-12-2023, 11:51 AM   #19
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City: MX, thru Canal to Bahamas
Vessel Name: Muirgen
Vessel Model: 50' Beebe Passagemaker
Join Date: May 2019
Posts: 3,337
Peter, sorry for your continuing troubles.

Our Seawaterpro uses the Raindrip backflush timer. Two AA batteries, which in 18 months of full time cruising I have replaced once. Can't get much simpler than that. Oh, and a replacement timer is < $35.00!

Have you gotten your TDS down to manageable levels yet? Ours runs between 77 and 84 ppm here in the SOC.
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Old 12-12-2023, 11:52 AM   #20
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City: Newport, R.I.
Vessel Name: Hippocampus
Vessel Model: Nordic Tug 42
Join Date: Jul 2020
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Some thoughts.
After retirement and going cruisng.
Gave up on hair cuts. Single ponytail. One single cut once a year with the kitchen scissors is all the maintenance needed.
Northern Lights for a small genset on small boats. Bulletproof and easy to work on.
Cape Horn extreme as a DC watermaker. Bulletproof, easy to pickle when needed, no electronics to break, very efficient, ran it on just wind or solar. Like the z-ion feature so it was rare it needed a pickle. Great water and with a pre filter and carbon filter could run it in sketchy places. Filters for DC are smaller and more easily stored and available. Have an AC now and don’t like it as much. Think the pump on the Spectras are excellent.
There are charterers, tourists, resort, and cruise ship people. Cruisers are viewed differently from these by the locals. Treated and viewed much closer to locals. They tell you where are the good places to eat, the great places to visit that the tourists, charterers and cruiser ship people aren’t told about. It’s a much different experience. Also for less money in some meaningful way more fun. Some of the best interactions were in laundromats, food shopping and hardware stores. Wife insisted we use public transportation whenever available. Those rickety buses going scary fast are a trip but a source of learning and entertainment by themselves.
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