Sunday, March 1, 2015

Punta Ipala to Chamela


Today was an interesting day, and for Mike, a particularly shitty day.  Literally.  

Before I tell the story, here's a little background.  Off and on over the last 6 years since we bought Pangaea we (I) have had some challenges with our head and/or holding tank.  We have replaced the head (toilet), changed the hoses a couple of times, put in new pumps, and even had the holding tank cleaned out. Yes, we had to cut an access panel and some poor guy actually got in and scrubbed the tank clean because no matter what we did, the holding tank wouldn't empty or pump out.  We are not sure what happened, but the previous owner may have separated the liquid from the solid and the solid dried and cemented into the holding tank.  It wouldn't smell until we used it.  Anyway, cleaning it out was the only solution and I am forever grateful to the man who drew the short straw for that job,

 I have a particularly good sense of smell (like a hound) which sometimes is a good thing and sometimes not.  I also am physically sensitive to strong smells/gases.  Mike generally isn't bothered by the smell and may not have as keen a nose. Hence, my comments in the past haven't always been taken seriously. That is, until I have a headache for days or I can't sleep because of the smell.  At that point, Mike has either taken pity on me or has gotten tired of me talking about it, and ultimately has checked it out.  Each time this has happened, there has been something wrong.  

This trip, I noticed some smell and some backup into the toilet but I kept relatively quiet about it, other than reporting objectively what I saw.  I also had a really bad headache,  Mike worked on clearing things and even pumped fresh water into the tank to see if that would help. He emptied the tank on our trip over to Ipala, according to regulations.  When he got up to get the boat ready to sail to Chamela, there was an overflow situation on deck that he quietly cleaned.  

As soon as we got underway, Mike began trouble shooting. First he looked into the tank from the deck and confirmed that it was full.  Then he removed the hose from the pump to the through-hull, which was clear.  Next, he attempted to remove the hose from the holding tank to the pump and it popped out of the holding tank and the contents rushed onto Mike.  For those of you who know Mike, he is a soft-spoken guy.  Well, I have never heard him yell so loud for help.  I heard him loud and clear over the noise of the engine!  I ran and got him a plug as requested and he stopped the flow. That also meant that the problem was in the pump.  He removed the pump took it apart and found that the impeller was busted and blocking the exit of the holding tank contents.  He rigged up a hose to the through-hull and the tank emptied.  Multiple showers later and bleach and vinegar scrubs of the head Mike enjoyed a couple of beers for a job well done!  He is my hero.

Just about then, the wind picked up and we were able to sail the rest of our trip to Chamela.  We had 12-14 knots out of the SE which is odd for this time of year, but we managed to keep a close-hauled point of sail and our heading to Chamela.  On the way we had a group of dolphins come by and swim at the bow.  We also had two whales off our starboard side come up for air. 

Chamela is a charming little Mexican beach town with a long sandy beach that curves all the way around to the mouth of the anchorage.   I look forward to walking it tomorrow and paddling around the anchorage.

No longer FOS,

First Mate Kate


We spent most of today exploring. We went into the beach on our SUPs, as it was a surf landing.  Mine was literally that...I landed in the surf!  Nothing like being soaking wet as one starts our exploration.  We were hungry and were lured into a nearby palapa.  I ordered ceviche and Mike ordered Dorado al diablo.  Mike ended up getting red snapper (fried) and I got a plate of tiny pieces of fish with tomatoes and carrots.  The fish was clearly not fresh and I couldn't eat it.  

After that I wanted to walk the long, sandy beach to get my 10,000 steps completed for the day.  We ended up logging 6.4 miles counting a little hike into the centro.  We were looking for the internet cafe but it was closed.  On the way back to the beach we saw a boxer-like Mexican beach dog nursing two very adorable puppies.  I wanted to take a picture but Mike wouldn't give me the camera.  I think he was afraid I would go back and get one of the puppies as a boat dog.  Hmmm.  Drats!

We made a stir-fry for dinner with a vegetable mix of kale, chard, carrots and broccoli.  It was quite yummy sautéed with a couple of chicken breasts.  After dinner the surf really picked up and we were rocking almost rail to rail for the rest of the night with a thunderstorm that had moved in.  

Feeling churned,

First Mate Kate

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