2015 OCT – I’M BACK !


Tuesday 10/20/2015
It has been a wonderful summer break in California with my son and his delightful family.

While I was there Kevin and I worked on his smartphone app that is unique. There is no other app on the market like it. He had secured $250,000 funding for it and we did the Technical Requirements, Scoping, and Design with a software house in Newport Beach. At this point his investor found that her farms had severely suffered during this drought and she would not be able to fund the project any longer. So any further development is on hold until we secure new funding. Meanwhile I will design the Database and write up all the Technical Specs for the Design so that when new funding is found, we can just move right along with Coding.

With Summer over I am returning to my boat in Mexico. As I look back over the Summer I realize that we do not remember days, we remember moments.

I remember baby David holding his bottle for the first time. I remember him sitting up straight as a die and reaching for everything shiny or colorful. My grandsons have always been taught to “use your words” and I remember them arguing furiously in beautiful precise English! I remember what a marvelous motivator it for the kids if you say “do it or lose your electronics”. Sam lost his iPhone for a day and was devastated. I remember the youngest saying as I put him in the bath yet again, “let me tell you how it works around here grandma, I only bath when I want to”. To which I replied, “and from now on you will want to every night”. I have some lovely, funny, sad, delightful memories of the summer.

I arrived back at my boat and the first thing I noticed was that a dock line had snapped, and had been retied. My dock lines are sufficient for my boat so for one to snap implies an extreme wind storm swept through. Fortunately I had tied the boat with about 8 lines, so while she must have bucked and swayed like a maddened bull, no damage was done. And the marina staff re-tied her after the storm passed.

I excitedly climbed on board, unlocked the cabin door and entered. It was 105degrees outside and inside the boat was an oven. I opened all the portholes wide to flush the heat and tried to turn on a fan. Nothing. I checked my electric board and all my batteries are dead. My brand new batteries are flat!

The entire boat operates off its batteries. The lights. Fans. Engine. Electronic charts. Refrigerator. Water pressure…. I couldn’t even turn on a tap.

I had left my solar panels on for the summer to power the batteries, so I checked the panels. They are still powering away merrily – but the batteries aren’t being charged. I checked the main fuse switches and they were still in the ON position. I am at a loss. I don’t know enough about the electrics of a boat to mess around.

I decided to plug the boat into shore power and charge the batteries that way. But over the summer the marina changed the power in my berth from 50V to 100V which is too rich for my boat. I visited the marina office and they said I could move my boat to another open slip which had 50V.

Small problem… without battery power I couldn’t start my engines.

No problem, the office said they would find someone to tow me over to the new slip. Unfortunately Steve couldn’t make it on Wednesday so I spent most of my time reading in the air conditioned coolness of the yacht club. I also sneaked in and slept on a couch in their VIP lounge. I suspect they knew I was there, but just left me alone.

I do so wish that right now FastAlley was in some quiet safe anchorage, like the pic above, instead of in a filthy state tied to a dock.  Boats should not be tied to docks!

unless it’s hurricane season….!

Satellite image - note the wind speed.

Satellite image – note the wind speed.

Thursday 10/22/2015
Steve duly arrived with his wife and son – I swear his son is a film star. I am sure I recognize him. Steve is a very no nonsense type; he tied his dinghy to the stern of my boat, told us what he intended to do, positioned us on deck to suit his needs, took over the steering wheel, and off we went. My heart was in my mouth because FastAlley is a fat boat and a heavy boat so pushing and pulling her around with a dinghy is nerve wracking. However, the wind was a breeze at maybe 3 knots and we moved out of my old slip and across the channel to my new slip with no issues at all.

We plugged into shore power, turned on the mains in the boat, and began charging the batteries! Pretty soon I had Water pressure. Lights. Fans. Refrigerator.  Yay! She’s alive!
I spent the next few hours wiping down the inside of the boat. It got so dusty while I was away so after some hours I hadn’t gotten much further than the Navigation station, the stove, the kitchen shelves, and the galley in general.

It’s 102 degrees with 75% humidity and I am just a puddle of perspiration.

Puerto Vallarta is that bite out the land (bight) under the middle white stripe.

Puerto Vallarta is that bite out the land (bight) under the middle white stripe.

After wiping and dusting for ages, a marina worker came by and told me that a hurricane had formed around Acapulco and was moving with some speed up the coast. In fact it was already at Manzanillo and headed this way. Hurricane Patricia was hugging the coastline and was expected to hit between Manzanillo and us in Puerto Vallarta.  Winds are expected in the range of 110-135 mph.

The marina worker recommended I double tie down my mainsail, remove all my cockpit enclosures (a mammoth task), clear the decks of anything that could fly around as a missile, and tie more lines to the dock in case one snaps under the pressure of Patricia.  I was also told to drop my dinghy in the water so that it doesn’t present a huge area to catch wind and swing whilst tied to the back of the boat.

Seems everyone else is prepping for Hurricane Patricia so I have stopped cleaning in order to focus on securing the boat for her arrival tomorrow.   I have never experienced a hurricane and am happy to give the excitement a miss, but it doesn’t seem likely.  I’m afraid I won’t be riding it out on the boat – I will be hiding in the yacht club!!


The pink sky the night before the hurricane.  No touch up. No photo editing. This is an exact rendition.

The pink sky the night before the hurricane.
No touch up. No photo editing. This is an exact rendition.m




Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: