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Our Slog (Ships Log) with a Satelite View

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Varnish Stinks and Secret Recipe Revealed

Posted on Monday Dec 12, 2011

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I think we have been stripping teak and varnishing for 8 weeks now and we probably have another 4 or 5 weeks to go not including holidays. We've gone through a gallon of varnish which is supposed to cover 500 square feet in one coat. To say we are tired of stripping teak oil, and varnishing and sanding is an understatement. Just smelling the urethane solvent from a distance brings me down.

Here's an example of the starboard side settee after we stripped it and before we varnished it.


Now here's what it looks like after varnishing.


We usually put on about 6 or 7 coats so it will be durable and hopefully last about 100 years. Since we have to do everything in sections, we have to move things around and try to plan what can be stripped while the other area gets varnished. This makes all the spaces in the boat either under construction or buried in stuff for storage.

We did perfect a secret recipe for stripping off the teak oil:

  • 1 - part "Roma" laundry soap powder. (Roma brand soap is an important ingredient!)
  • 1 - part Baking Soda.
  • 2 - parts White Vinegar.
We apply this as a liquid paste and don't let it dry but rather sit on the wood for 10-15 minutes. It pulls the teak oil and gunk out. We can usually strip off the old layers of oil in 2 passes. Sometimes some sanding is required, but the stripping part usually removes a large bulk of the old teak oil. Rinsing the soap out of the wood probably takes another hour or two of work, but at least the chemicals are fairly non-toxic and they work well.

Pitching the Guides

Posted on Sunday Dec 4, 2011

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Our friends Bill and Jean from Mita Kuulu run the Rally to El Salvador and we donate a few guide books for them to raffle off. They kindly let us join in their presentations, which is rare because we are often never in the same spot at the same time. It gives us a chance to talk about the things we like in Central America and talk about our books. We had a pretty big crowd turn up for this rally which was pretty exciting.

Me babbling about Central America!

Good sized crowd
About 35 boats signed up for heading south! Here's a link to the Rally if you're interested:
http://elsalvadorrally.blogspot.com/

Fun in Sayulita

Posted on Saturday Nov 26, 2011

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We spent our Thanksgiving week on the beach -- I know what a surprise. The fun part was getting together with friends from different parts of Mexico! Stan and MJ came all the way up from Manzanillo with a cat sitter to watch their crew. John and Linda came from the Puerto Vallarta area with a boat/cat sitter to watch their home and crew. We just drove our kitty along with us in our little RV. It is usually pretty hard to get these types of people together from such far away spots!

Our first night we drank Micheladas, and caught up on everyone's latest adventures. Then we spent lots of time on the beach, got caught in a revolution day parade, flushed a reptile down the toilet and did some hiking in the jungle.




Nice beaches:

Enjoying cold popsicles on the beach after a walk through the town's graveyard.

What comes up might go back down again

Posted on Friday Nov 25, 2011

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Ever wonder what kind of creatures lurk in the pipes at night? Well, I tried to catch one!?!?!

Cartel Street Battle in Sayulita Using Children

Posted on Friday Nov 25, 2011

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The town was under siege this past Sunday. We happened to be caught in the middle of the fighting and took some shocking video of this murderous rampage. In a desperate attempt to expand drug cartel's territory they have now trained and armed children -- armies of them.

Trouble started in this normally relaxed beach resort when two rival groups encountered each other on the bridge that links two sides of the town. Shots were exchanged and the mob grew rapidly. Bigger weapons like home made cannons and machetes were everywhere. Smoke, explosions and wounded children were everywhere.

See the shocking video that proves how dangerous it really is here in Mexico.



Viva la Revolucion!!!!
Viva Mexico!!!

(Disclaimer: if you didn't get it, this is a parade for revolution day, Nov. 20th)

The Longest Summer

Posted on Thursday Nov 10, 2011

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I feel like we've worked non-stop for the past 7 months. Four months we spent working in the Brokerage office (as volunteers) so we know Ray and Jeannette's business so well that we can step in any time. Jeannette is going to have to have another surgery next week and re-start her chemo in January because she's had several setbacks from her original operation back in April. And we've been so swamped with all the office/boat work that there hasn't been much to write about.

However the past 3 months we were overjoyed to have Ray and Jeannette hire Julie to fill in at the office which allowed us to focus on the disaster that is our boat.

On the boat we slaved over:

  • Tore out 1 bulkhead, 1 wall, 3 counter tops, removed the stove and sink.
  • Rebuilt the wall and bulkhead
  • Re-plumbed all the tanks and sink
  • Rebuilt new counter tops
  • Added 2 new storage areas and 3 new access panels
  • Installed new formica (GONE is the 70's YELLOW!!!)
  • Rewired the electronics so they pass through the counter top neatly.
  • Made a complete set of new molding so we now have proper sea-rails around the counters
  • Stripped the 35 years of teak oil off the walls (ugh)
  • Varnished everything and it looks great now.
  • We have moved 3 times too (house sitting, to condo and this week to the RV) while doing all of this.
Here's a few photos of the job in progress with new Formica and varnish. (There is more to work on, but you can get the idea from the finished bits).




About the only fun things we have done are visit with Kate and Michael, celebrate Sherrell's Birthday with a surprise party and marched in the Day of the Dead parade where people chase donkey carts dispensing free beer (probably the best parade on the planet).

We are continuing to strip the teak. I just finished 7 coats on the bow section which allowed us to reload the boat with all our stuff so we can move on to the RV. The boat will probably continue to be UNLIVABLE for another several months as we work our way through the reconstruction of everything. But it's gonna look f****ing good. It's definitely the biggest single project we've ever done on the boat.

Hopefully this winter Jeannette will do well on chemo and we'll also find some time to get away from the work projects to see some more of Mexico using our little RV.

We have to use blankets already (nighttime temps are in the low 70's!!!). I think we might be running the heaters again this winter if it gets much colder. It's hard to believe I'm serious, but right now Sherrell is wrapped in a blanket and I'm jealous.

Bikes and Beer

Posted on Saturday Jun 18, 2011

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Oh yeah. New bikes.



To go with our bikes we bought the BEST BEER IN MEXICO. Special ordered from the brewery in Gaudalajara, winner of the Gold Metal in the World Beer Cup: Minerva Pale Ale -- on par with Deschutes Mirror Pond, which seems impossibly good. In the house we are watching for the summer they have a "drink" fridge:

Quiksilver International Surf Contest

Posted on Thursday Jun 2, 2011

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Free music and amazing surfers...what could be better? Here's some shots from today's events (we sneaked away from work for 1/2 day!)

See anyone familiar?


Trying to pull off a floater


Across the top




Rail grab!


These guys even made the small waves work for them.

Lots of famous surfers are competing here. I was jealous to see such flawless surfing, wave after wave after wave. The swell is gradually decreasing too but these guys still pull off some amazing moves.

Lots of changes

Posted on Thursday Jun 2, 2011

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We haven't written because we've been dealing with some bad news. Almost immediately after splashing our boat back in the water, Jeannette, Ray's wife was diagnosed with colon cancer. (Ray is Sherrell's dad). So we jumped in to learn her job here in Mazatlan and we've been working for almost 8 weeks now 5.5 days a week to cover for her. We put everything on hold and are volunteering in the office until Jeannette can com back. Since we've been though a similar experience with Sherrell about 5 years ago, we know how tough this is for both of them.

On the plus side, we've been helping them research options and talk with doctors and Jeannette has recovered well from the surgery about 8 weeks ago. She's now ready to start the chemo stage of her treatment.

Anyway, that's the reason we haven't written much, done much boat work or traveled anywhere...we're office slaves again. Now I remember why I quit! Haha!

Jezebel the Boat Kitty 1991 - 2011

Posted on Monday Apr 18, 2011

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Jezebel's 20 year old kidneys finally gave out, and she passed from us today. She was a superb ship's cat, even though she never set "paw" on a boat until she was 12 years old. Honestly, we didn't think she would adapt to the cruising lifestyle at that late age, but she proved us wrong. In fact, she flourished and blossomed on the boat as she never did in a house, where she was often timid and hiding.

We will miss her terribly, but are glad we were able to share in her 20 years of life. Bien Viaje Jez.