Sunday, October 11, 2015

Cleared for takeoff

The Baja Bash just isn't fun.  You know it will be a long boring and at times loud trip, so all you can do is do it and get it over with.  This year, it was over in 102 hours, 7 hours faster than last year, and with less wreckage than before.  The experience quickly fades as you enjoy the time to reunite with family and friends....

...which is what Deb did.

Deb loves her girls!

But for John, a few days after getting Moonshadow situated in a slip in a San Diego marina, he was on his way back to Oregon to help brothers Steve and Bill with our Dad's 93 year accumulation of really good stuff.  

The first clue of what we were about to encounter was the discovery that our Dad had ordered the smallest trash you can get... and arranged pickups every other week

See, Dad just never threw anything away.  This is easy to do when you own a 6,000 square foot home with a 2400 square foot garage/shop building

After three weeks in Oregon, John came home for the Fourth of July weekend aboard Moonshadow anchored in La Playa.

A Fourth of July tradition at San Diego Yacht Club is the annual bocci ball tournament.  Those old farts on the right went on so long through the brackets, they almost missed the Cocktail Bingo game. Those young studs on the left? Ahem, not so much....  but they did the right thing and saved us seats for Bingo.

We both got time to enjoy our grandchildren at the club.

Team-levitating over the water.
 Natalie being adorable in a sabot.
John teaching Brandon about paddle boarding... or is the other way 'round?
 Brandon, trying to be taller than Gramma.

Natalie being adorable.

They are growing up so fast!
Then it was back to Oregon where the three brothers all worked long days, perfected our Margarita recipe, and ate very well.  For us, in a situation where the opportunity for conflict lurks around every decision, we all managed to accomplish a huge job with never an angry word or anything short of total cooperation.  We all had fun reconnecting, rediscovering what amazing brothers we have, and in a month of miracles, had the house empty and SOLD! 

And that changed everything!  It meant Moonshadow could return to Mexico with the Baja Ha-Ha fleet in the fall, then proceed with our cruise in 2016.  But first, we had to enjoy just a bit of San Diego's fabulous weather.

And time with family!

Then it was time to get to all the jobs waiting for us aboard Moonshadow.  Having repaired just about everything that had worn out or broken during the last 3.5 years of continuous cruising, it was time to get ahead of the curve by dealing with things that had not broken.  Yet.  And we went after it full bore.  A significant milestone was the realization that suddenly the fine folks at San Diego Marine Exchange on Shelter Island started greeting John at the door saying "HI JOHN!!" and later presented him  with San Diego Marine Exchange crew shirt.  

We have accomplished an impressive amount of tasks which we feel will significantly reduce the "oh shit" moments that can interfere with the fun we're after.  A short list of things we've done includes:
  • New alternators
  • New engine mounts
  • Rebuilt injector pump
  • Rebuilt injectors
  • Rebuilt heat exchanger
  • Overhauled exhaust manifold
  • Overhauled oil cooler
  • New Raw water pump
  • New coolant pump
  • New engine fan belts
  • New engine hoses
  • New raw water supply hoses
  • New refrigerator compressor
  • Overhauled air conditioners
  • New forward throttle control in mid cockpit
  • New water maker membranes
  • New water maker lift pump
  • New water maker pressure pump
  • New aluminum AB 10 dinghy
  • New Iridium Sat Phone
  • Rebuilt hydraulic ram for auto pilot
  • Rebuilt electric motors for hydraulic auto pilot pumps (2)
  • Rebuilt hydraulic backstay adjuster
  • Rebuilt hydraulic staysail stay adjuster
  • Rebuilt Reckmann genoa furler
  • Complete rigging survey
  • New spinnaker halyard
  • New outhaul
  • New blocks and line for spinnaker pole lift
  • Mainsail repairs and strengthening
  • New Garmin VHF radio
  • New Garmin 12" chart plotter
  • New stereo
  • New stereo amplifier
  • New stereo speakers (4)
  • New hoses for toilets and sink drains
  • New depth sounder transducer
  • New Aqua Drive shaft coupling
  • New Garmin charts to Thailand
  • New paper charts to New Zealand

    We've learned the hard way that extensive refitting requires a shake-down cruise.  Well that was our excuse to take Moonshadow up to beautiful Howlands Landing in Catalina for a week of relaxing, reading, napping, and ukulele playing.  It was the most beautiful weather we can remember in 20 or more years of going there, with seawater temperatures never below 75 degrees.

    (click picture for full size)
    Oops, left out the best part:  Buffalo Milk!!! 

    Another milestone was the moment we found ourselves renting a Rug Doctor machine to touch up the area carpets.  That must mean we're nearly finished!  Well, we better be!  As of this writing there are exactly two weeks until we cast off for Mexico!

    Which gives us a bit of time to reflect once again on just exactly why we're doing what we are doing:  In the last five months, we have lost five important people in our lives...

    John's Dad
    Bill Rogers

    San Diego Yacht Club, friend, and fellow Mexico cruiser 
    Rob Britton
    Rob Britton's last dinner ashore in San Evaristo with wife Lynn 

    Deb's cousin 
    Jan Pluim

    A new friend we met just last year, but whose contagious energy while battling cancer made an unforgettable impression 
    Mark Sciarretta

    Mark Sciarretta receiving his initiation swats for a lifetime membership into the Punta Mita Yacht and Surf Club, administered by Commadorable Deb Rogers

    And a legend among cruisers, musicians, and Mexicans
    Philo Hayward

    Philo Hayward on right jamming with Oscar Fuentes at Philo's Bar, La Cruz Mexico

    All these people gone from our lives in such short order reminds us of one of Philo's lines:
    Dream as if you'll live forever
    But live as if you'll die today

    So as we close this blog, here's the next segment of our dream:  
    Winter in Mexico.  
    Summer in the South Pacific.  
    Winter in New Zealand (where it will be Summer!).  


     Well, that's a few moons off.  Stay tuned!