58 days ago we parked Milagro in a slip at Marina San Carlos in order to accomplish a number of things. First, the arthritis in Judy’s lower back was crying out for another treatment that would deaden the associated nerves -this is a recurring issue on roughly a 6 month cycle. She needed to travel to her doctor in the SF Bay Area for this. Second, we planned to haul Milagro in order to repaint the bottom of the hull. That part of the hull that lives under the water wears a special paint to keep barnacles and other marine growth from setting up their homes there. This needs repainting every 2 or 3 years and Milagro is due. Then, we also had a “vacation” planned that cause us to be away for a number of weeks and we wanted a secure place to leave Milagro while we were gone.
Judy rode the bus North to PHX then flew on to SF on the day after our arrival. I stayed on to complete some boat projects (there are ALWAYS boat projects) and to configure Milagro to fend for herself. As the time we would be gone is historically an active hurricane period this included removing all sails and outside canvas as well as making sure it would be hard for the sun (it’s PHX hot here) and bugs to get inside.
With the vacation behind us, family and friends visited and much shopping accomplished we finally made it back home to Milagro late on Tuesday, October 7. The “vacation” included visits to Barcelona, Tenerife, Antigua, St. Maarten, St. Kitts, a week in Puerto Rico, and then Orlando with Phoenix on both ends. Jeez, did we really need that much vacation? I guess. Maybe.
In any case, it is really good to be back on board. Even more exciting was finding that Milagro had managed our absence well. In spite of several hurricanes passing through this area while we were gone, including the very destructive “Odile”, Milagro was fine.
Many thanks are due Chip for volunteering to help us get home and to Amy for giving him a pass to do so. The Enterprise car rental folks were happy to let us take their car to San Carlos (about an 8 hour drive) but we had to bring it back to PHX. Nope, no one way rentals to San Carlos. We had planned to take the bus again but we had enough stuff with us that dragging all those bags off and back on every time someone wanted to inspect them (that happens several times on this international route) was not going to be fun. Between Chip and Enterprise though, we found this other option that was big on convenience and only a wee bit more pricey than the bus would have been. Plus we all got to enjoy a road trip together. Win, win.
After leaving her secured for weathering hurricanes there was much work to do to get Milagro ready to once again go to sea. In addition, I had sent her alternator in to a shop in the US for a rebuild while we were away and it had not been returned in time for us to bring back with us. Now it had to be shipped to San Carlos as we could not leave without it installed and working. In spite of the many horror stories often heard about shipping things into Mexico our experience (this time) is completely different. Via DHL the box made it from San Diego to Marina San Carlos in less than 48 hours – including more than 6 hours in the hands of Mexican Customs in Hermosillo! Incredible!
So now, all the work is done, groceries are bought and stowed and nothing stands in our way except a pause at the fuel dock on our way out. We plan a laid back morning today that will include checking out the Sunday buffet at the marina’s resort then we will get out of the marina sometime in the middle part of the day. After fueling we’ll anchor overnight in San Carlos Bay and then get underway for real first thing tomorrow morning, Monday Oct 13. Our first leg will be a run of roughly 24 hours to make Isla Coronados, on the Baja side of the Sea of Cortez, near Loreto. From there we will enjoy many of the countless lovely Baja anchorages as we work our way South towards La Paz.
What’s that? What about the haul out and bottom paint? Good question. When it came down to the details, the Boat Yard Manager and I could not reach an agreement regarding the cost of the project so we aborted. It still needs doing but now we’ll be shopping the project around to some of the other yards. Both Mazatlan and La Paz have excellent places to get this done and either could be convenient for us. We’ll have to see how it plays out.