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How to Add Google Maps to Blogger.com

Posted on Tuesday Mar 13, 2012

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I've updated some of our Web Tips so they support the new blogger.com templates. So if you're using a free blog from goggle and you want to put a map on your blog and be able to post way points on the map via your posts, then check out http://www.svsarana.com/web_tips.php#blogger_map

You'll have to edit your template, so if HTML scares you off then don't try it. There are two basic steps you need do to insert the HTML code into your template. And you need to get a key from google maps for your blog, but it isn't too hard. Take a look at http://svnakia.blogspot.com to see it in action.

Wild mama caught

Posted on Saturday Mar 3, 2012

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Like 6 years ago when we here last, the cat population has exploded. One cruiser, Bill, had most of them fixed, except one particularly wild mama kitty. She managed to pop out 3 litters and we found homes for them, but we were never able to catch her.

In fact, like crazy people with nothing better to do than talk to cats, we sat for hours trying to coax her into the trap with fresh dorado, canned tuna and cat food. Four weeks and no luck. So we decided to wait until she got pregnant again and really hungry.

When she appeared to have swallowed a football, we set up camp again. Since we are leaving soon, this is our last chance to sterilize all the cats, because if we don't do it, no one else will and her offspring will breed fast. When that happens we usually see cats getting poisoned. So it was do or die for this mama.

After several days with her still being too smart to get in the trap, we decided to mix it up. We got a giant net, put the trap out, loaded with food while I walked around trying to get the cats accustomed to me moving with the net. After about an hour of careful manipulation, I manged to get into a good position to try springing the net.

BOOM! She exploded into the net in a wild furry fury. Teeth, claws were everywhere with both Sherrell and I standing on the edge of the net to keep her from escaping. She writhed and twisted violently, but we had no choice but to find a way to trap her. We secured the net with some rope and then carried her in it all the way to the vet. She was thrashing in protest and the vet was really impressed we actually caught this one.

Here she is during transport. It's the only photo I have. She's trying to wiggle under the car seat while being entangled in the net.



She didn't seem to worse for the experience when we released her -- all things considered. But we haven't seen her since and she's probably happily avoiding humans for a while.

Sarana--Extreme Makeover

Posted on Tuesday Feb 7, 2012

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Sometimes I hate having a boat and sometimes I love it. This is one of the hate times. We have spent months working on some long neglected cosmetic work. But things are looking up as we get closer to the end. After finishing a grueling project like this the love comes back quickly.

I don't have any photos from the galley reconstruction because I lost my camera with all the photos. The only shot is the one my sister tried to take. If you look inside you can see the galley sink and counter tops are missing.

However after about 3 months of rebuilding the galley was ready to varnish.

As I mentioned in our previous post, we developed a secret recipe for removing old teak oil. In the area above the galley you can see the markings of our various experiments with letters to represent the mixtures. These were all applied with one application and then wiped off. You can see the dramatic difference.

Naturally the Navigation Station needed to be varnished too:

As well as the full interior which looks like a construction zone!

But as you can see the galley turned out nice. (In this photo you can see we haven't done the upper walls yet. They still need to be cleaned, prepped and varnished).

And so did the Nav Station

And we had to do the rest of the boat in sections. Here's some various BEFORE shots:





(the spots you see in the above photo was from dust on the lens not in the varnish!)

And the nice AFTER shots:







We still have a long list of things to finish: refinish the floors, paint the upper walls with a brighter paint over the varnish, refinish the outside teak (in progress now), and paint the cap rails. Oh, then we have to switch back to the non-cosmetic work that needs to be done! It never ends until you just decided to quit.

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: