Trials and Tribulations

Thursday, February 21, 2013
Sea of Cortez, Sonora, Mexico

024-10.983 N
110-18.208 W
Marine forecast for this location

Ahoy from the crew of the BlueJacket!

BlueJacketFor those of you who don't follow us on FaceBook, you're probably wondering what's been going on. Well, it's been a very interesting and busy period for us. On February 4th we flew flew to Cabo San Jose and then took a 3 hour long shuttle bus ride to get to La Paz. After 17 hours of travel, it was finally good to get here.

The next day we headed to the boat yard and found BlueJacket in great condition. The people that we had hired to look after her had done a great job and we were really happy with her condition. The first thing that I tackled was re-installing the MaxProp propeller which we had refurbished. One of the next things that needed to be done was a boat survey, which is basically a boat inspection which gets done every 5+ years for insurance purposes. During the inspection it was suggested that the cutlass bearing, which supports the prop shaft near the propeller, should be replaced. It was probably good for another 1-2 years, but based upon where we were headed and the fact that the boat was the hard, it would be a good idea to do it now.

So, I pulled off the MaxProp and asked the boat yard's mechanic to remove a piece that I didn't have the tool to remove. I was working on getting the prop shaft loose so that we could remove it, and as a result I didn't see what he did with that part. It took 4+ hours to get the prop shaft out and by the time that we were done, it was dark. We decided that we could just leave the prop parts on the wing keel (which forms a very nice table) for the night.

MaxPropThe next morning we replaced the cutlass bearing, installed the prop shaft, but when I went to install the MaxProp, I couldn't find the part that the mechanic had removed. To make a very long story short, we spent the next 3 days combing through the yard looking for the part. It was never to be found. Dark days indeed. I even put out a $100 bounty on the part to no avail. We suspect that someone probably just picked it up for the scrap value.

Unfortunately the manufacturer wanted the entire propeller back at their facility to custom fit this missing part. On Sunday night I checked the UPS web site and saw that they could ship the package from La Paz to Washington State in 2 days if we got it there by 12:30 PM. So first thing Monday morning we headed to a govt office way outside of town to get a piece of paper that would allow us to ship the part back into Mexico without paying duty. The we headed to customs, where they would seal the package before we could take it to UPS. They seemed to think that we were shipping gold and it took a lot to convince them that it was really just shiny brass. Then we headed to UPS only to be told that it was really a 3-5 day shipping process and that the return process was much longer due to Customs! Arghhhh!!!

We called the people who were doing the survey and asked their opinion. They suggested flying to Tijuana with the part, walking over the boarder and shipping it from San Diego. At 11:30 AM we were figuring out flights, lodging, etc. Sue was going to stay in Mexico due to the cost, but I didn't feel safe leaving her alone here, so I was finally able to convince her to come. Three hours later we boarded a ????? flight to Tijuana and we landed at around 3:30, took a taxi to the boarder and then waited almost 2 hours to walk to the US.

Sue, Sherry and OrinThankfully we had some wonderful friends, Orin & Sherry Riddell, who we had met while cruising down here last year. They picked us up at the boarder and whisked us to FedEx by the airport which had the last available drop-off location for overnight shipping. We made it by 10 minutes! The part made it to MaxProp the next day, they fitted a new part and shipped it back next-day-air, which allowed us to fly back to La Paz on Thursday. Orin and Sherry let us stay with them and even provided us with a car. It was great catching up with them and I can't thank them enough for their generous hospitality!

On Friday I re-installed the prop and on Saturday we launched. YEAH!!!! Now we're at Marina Palmira getting the boat put back together and provisioned. Due to final issues and then the weather, we expect to be here through Friday and then begin the first leg of the trip which takes us across the Sea of Cortez to the mainland. But more on that later.

-- Geoff & Sue

Log ID: 1838

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