January 16, 1998-Life On The Hard
Wings gets a new bottom in Puerto Vallarta.
At 9:00 am on a beautiful sunny morning I was standing on Wings' afterdeck, 20 ft above the hard pavement of the Opequimar boatyard, watching boat traffic in the Marina Vallarta channel 50 yards off our stern. Robbie Swan, at the helm of Saga, waved at me and yelled, "See you in the South Pacific Fred" as he and Michelle headed out to sea.
Saga was leaving ahead of us by at least a month or two but we figured we'd see them again somewhere out there. I waved my arm over my head and wished them good luck as I remembered years of racing and cruising on Saga with our good friends Joann and Pat. Now Saga has new owners and I enjoyed thinking of the adventures ahead of them as I watched them move slowly along the channel.
The narrow waterway going into Marina Vallarta is a busy place, and also one where you might meet almost anyone, if you are willing to wait a little while.
During our stay in the boatyard we have seen dozens of boats and yachts enter or depart from here past our stern, and each day we watch the multitude of Pangas, Sports fishermen, tour boats, and charters which all work the tourist business, come and go.
Of our own friends, in addition to Saga, we have seen
Far Niente ,
and High Roler just this week.
We have seen dingy's of all sorts and mega yachts so huge they hardly fit in the channel.
One of the best times of the day for watching the activity is at 4:00 PM when the working fleet all comes in. The tourists are all sunburned, Pina Colada' d out and exhausted after their day on Banderas Bay, and they trudge happily off to thier hotels while the crews sing their ballads, stack chairs, and wash up the boats.
Today three guys from the boatyard paddled over to a charter fishing boat in a dingy with no oars and came back with a 7' Sailfish and two big Billfish which they cleaned on the float just behind us. There were a couple dozen Pelicans waiting nearby for scraps.
I’ve hired a fellow to sand our boat and he and his sons, who are also working on the the two boats next to me, are hardworking and freindly. His name is Heliodoro, but he goes by Lolo and I know two of his sons, Richard and Orturo. They always greet me with huge cries of "Fredereeeko" and I reply with "Heliodurrrro, Reeecardo, Orturrrro" each day. We share barrels, hoses and electrical cords as we work on the boats. Richard and Orturo live in Pittillal, a town near here with cheap apartments, and they call it "Pity City". I used to say "Que Pasa" to them but they are cool young dudes and they use the more modern "Que Onda".
We are staying in a cheap hotel in old town and last night we stopped at the Roxy night club on the way home and stayed until 1:30 AM. There is a band of young Mexicans playing there that we really enjoy. We met the singer last year and he was talking of the difficulty of getting the club owners to allow them to do their own compositions. I guess it is still rather difficult since they played only covers last night, mostly rock standards by Santana, Beck, Robin Trower and the Stones, but the young Indian playing lead guitar is so good we didn't care what songs they played.
The owner of the club plays with the band too, a pretty good guitar himself, but he looks sort of out of place with his Maynard G Crebes goatee and his Greek fisherman's cap. The other musicians all are young Mexicans with long dark hair and sort of grunge clothing.
We listened to them and danced a lot too and went back to the Hotel pretty tired. This morning we arrived at the boat to work at 10:30 AM. but so what, we don't have a schedule, do we?
We've taken all the old off, the first time we've ever done that since we had Wings, fixed the rudder, smoothed the whole bottom, repaired some old leaky IOR bumps, and now we are getting ready to paint. Plus we are working on the propshaft a little.
At the end of this haul-out Wings' bottom will never before have been so smooth, her keel never so fair, or her paint never so perfect as they will be this time. Plus we'll have a epoxy barrier coat for the first time, new rudder bearings, new stern tube packing and fittings, and of course new zincs. We should be back in the water by the 30th and then we need to spend a few days cleaning the yard dirt off of everything. If anyone has ever wondered what people who are cruising do with all their free time, this should satisfy their curiosity. By the second week of Feb. we'll be sailing south and we will write to you from Acapulco.
Fred & Judy, SV Wings, Puerto Vallarta