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Melissa & Dave - Adventures at Sea

Apsaras gets her flipper repaired

Since the new rudder installation in April, the rudder has been making a clunking noise.  Dave first noticed it on the way down on the Baja Haha because that was the first time he had slept in the aft cabin bunk underway and heard the noise.  The rudder manufacturer was "pretty sure" it wasn't a structural issue - just the bearing clunking against the hull.  Hmmm.  Since labor is so cheap down here, we decided to haul out and have it looked at.  Puerto Vallarta is the last big boat yard till you get to Panama.  So any problems we would have with it - we will soon be a long long way from any hope of a fix.  And that whacking against the hull just can't possibly be good for it.

We talked to the boatyard in La Cruz - but they wanted over $1000 just to haul the boat out - before any work was done.  The yard in Puerto Vallarta Marina was half the cost - a special end of year deal.  But we needed the guy from the yard to come take a look and give us a quote on the work.  He's been promising us he would come over to La Cruz every day for several days now and we were getting panicky about running out of time.  He finally made it out last night at 6pm.  He said that they could start the work tomorrow at 10am, and *might* have the boat back in the water the same day.  But that meant we had to scramble last night to get the boat ready to leave La Cruz to sail to Puerto Vallarta bright and early this morning.

Dave told Melissa there was a 90% chance that we wouldn't get the boat back the same day.  This is Mexico and down here they typically work on mañana time.  So Melissa called around last night and found a hotel that said they had availability for tomorrow night - New Year's Eve.  Not trivial as most of the hotels are booked.  But they hotel said that the reservation desk was closed.  Not to worry though - even with the holiday they have "lots of rooms available" just call back in the morning to complete the reservation.

So Dave casts off this morning headed for the boat yard.  Melissa dashes around La Cruz doing the last of some errands it was too late to do last night.  And at 9am promptly calls the hotel - only to find out that they had sold out of rooms long before she called last night.  Now without a computer (they were all on the boat) she's got no way to research which hotels have space.  ARRRGGG!!  But wait, what about her cell phone?  She went to the marina, connected the cell phone to their WiFi and used TripAdvisor to find that Paradise Village (the third marina in the area) had hotel rooms available.  This is cool because we've got friends over in Paradise and we can spend New Years Eve with them.

By the time Melissa gets to Paradise only three hours later - she gets a text message from Dave.  He is at the boat yard, the boat is out of the water, and they've dropped the rudder out already - and verified that indeed the problem is precisely what he figured.  Nothing structural, just the bearing sleeve banging on the hull in a rather annoying way.  Dave is impressed by the expertise in the yard.  They are going to machine an O-Ring to put around the bearing so that it fits snuggly in the hole through the hull where the rudder comes through.  (For those of you boaters / mechanical types - the rudder on Apsaras comes up through a hole in the hull that is above the waterline at the top - so the rudder doesn't have to be sealed off to prevent water leakage - hence the yard that installed the new one didn't have to fully secure the rudder in the hole.)  So Dave leaves the boat in good hands and heads to Paradise to meet Melissa.  We hang out for a few hours and the yard calls at 4pm.  Boat is done and ready to go back in the water.  They've finished machining the new part, installed it, and the boat is ready to swim again with a repaired flipper.  A 6 hour haul out?  In Mexico?  Unheard of.  Oh well, since we've already made reservations here for New Year's Eve we figure we might as well go splash the boat tomorrow morning.  Here are some pictures of the rudder being pulled out:


We also got our first look at the damage to the keel done when we hit bottom on Queen Charlotte Sound 6 months ago.  As believed, the scratches were so small they are hard to see unless you are up close:

Meanwhile we figured we would join friends Carol and Jerry from Angelina at Los Arroyos Verdes for their big New Year's Eve party. We had been at Los Arroyos Verdes for Christmas and loved it.  The tables were lovely, and the live band was really good.  The beet salad and the chocolate brownie dessert were tasty.  Unfortunately the kitchen was totally overwhelmed and the main entrees weren't so good.  Dave had a steak and lobster.  The lobster was a charcoal briquette and the steak was way overcooked.  Melissa had the red snapper with the lobster.  Her red snapper was charred on the outside but edible, but the lobster was burnt (though not yet qualified to be charcoal) but it was squishy almost as though it was undercooked - but of course that was clearly not the case.  Something was definitely amiss in the kitchen.  The servers were also overwhelmed.  When someone at the table ordered a drink - frequently they wouldn't ever show up.  We had to order a bottle of wine three times before we got it.  When Dave went to pay the bill, there were drinks we had never ordered on it.  They had been keeping track by first names and "David" was no doubt a duplicate within the 100 person crowd so the system broke down.

The rain was coming down so hard that the roof over the patio where we were seated started to sag (though no one was sitting directly under the area that was sagging).  The roof finally cracked and water came pouring through like a fire hose and workers scrambled to put up some temporary steel pipes to reinforce the roof so it wouldn't collapse completely.  Was probably a good thing that the roof sprang a leak because it stopped sagging so badly.

The upside to the evening was that Dave walked around with sparkles on his head (see picture below).  Melissa figures this was a once in a lifetime opportunity as typically this isn't Dave's normal gig.  Normally he will avoid such antics like the plague.  Must have been the fun company and the party atmosphere.

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