Category Archives: daily life

Puerto Peñasco and Puerto Refugio

The past few months have been a blur of travel and boat work. We hauled out at the end of July in Puerto Peñasco at Astilleros Cabrales SA boatyard. Waponi Woo stayed on the hard for the next two months while we traveled to the States for work, family, friends and to avoid the worst of the summer heat.

India the night before the haul out.

Ryan sitting on the bimini watching the sunset from the Fonatur Marina in Puerto Peñasco.

We returned to Puerto Peñasco mid-September. We rented a small house through VRBO.com for a week while we had new bottom paint applied and we put in a new thru-hull so we could move the watermaker inlet closer to the high-pressure pump. During this week we also made several trips between Puerto Peñasco and Pheonix, AZ to make some last minute large purchases. Overall, I would recommend Puerto Peñasco as a place for summer storage, and restocking spares, etc… from the states before heading further south for the season.

Waponi Woo after being lifted out of the water. We didn’t get to be on board during the lift out but were on board when we splashed back in.

Pros of Hauling Out/Boat Work in Puerto Peñasco

  1. The Price. The cost for the haul-out, storage and labor here was almost 50% less than other places in the Sea we contacted.
  2. Out of the hurricane zone. Puerto Peñasco placed Waponi Woo out of the hurricane zone for most of the summer.
  3. Proximity to the US. It is 60 miles to the Arizona border from Puerto Peñasco. Ryan was able to take a bus to Yuma, AZ, rent a car and drive back to Puerto Peñasco in the same day. We drove this vehicle to Idaho and returned it there. We drove our truck south from Seattle so we could use it to haul parts and luggage. It is currently stored in Phoenix where vehicle storage is cheap and readily available.
  4. The facility is very secure. It is staffed 24/7 with a person and a dog staying in the yard each night.

Cons of Hauling Out/Boat Work in Puerto Peñasco

  1. Border Town. This is a border town. We felt like we were being seen as walking dollar signs. Panhandling was prevalent and there were a lot of strung out people wandering around.
  2. The boat yard has been around for a very long time. It is the oldest boat yard in the Sea of Cortez. They have a lot of experience… with shrimp and tuna boats. They are just starting to cater to cruising boats. Last year, they had less than ten. This year, they had more than twenty. When we arrived in September ready to have the bottom work done, we had to press (and drive up to Phoenix to purchase paint) in order to be in the water on our originally planned date. They are learning to scale, so the right balance of patience and persistence is needed if you have a schedule you are trying to keep.
  3. Everything you own will get covered in dust and dirt. You won’t be able to clean your boat until you are back in the water.
  4. Wet Storage is almost non-existent. You pretty much have to time your arrival departure with a minimum amount of time in the water before and after your haul out. There are a three marinas but very few available slips and the facilities are sketchy at best.

Waponi Woo from the street before we prepped her for two months in dry dock.

We are happy with our new red bottom paint. India and Ryan picked out the color. There was some discussion about red hiding any potential roadkill. I wanted green. No, I am not bitter.

After splashing back in the water towards the end of September we spent one day at the dock to wash off most of the dust and get enough things put away to head south.

Our first stop was Puerto Refugio. This was an overnight trip and Keely’s first night sail. The sky was clear and we had wind for a large portion of the trip. We stayed for a few nights at Refugio with S/V Shawnigan. The girls had a good time skurfing and having a sleepover with Nina from Shawnigan. It was intention to head to San Carlos next and take two weeks to make our way back to La Paz but, our first day at Refugio Ryan was called north for work.

This is what the stovepipe cacti look like up close. The colors are really amazing.

Refugio is at the northern tip of Isla Angel de la Guarda. This was taken from Isla Mejía. There is no natural water source here.

Waponi Woo and S/V Shawnigan.

We went from Refugio to Santa Rosalia for a night and then straight from Santa Rosalia to La Paz. We arrived back in our old slip in La Paz at 1:30AM.

Don’t forget your towel.

When I was in college I had the opportunity to hear Douglas Adams, the author of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, give a lecture on, of all things, environmentalism. At the end of the lecture there was a Q and A period with the audience.

“Why a towel?” was asked by a burly gentleman with thick glasses and a fluffy towel tossed casually over his shoulder.

Mr. Adams answered, his wife believed there were two types of people in this world, those who always know where their towel is and those who don’t. He is in the latter group. I am firmly in the first group.

Waponi Woo had a towel problem. My extensive collection of luxurious, terry cloth towels followed me from our house on land to our home on the water. In Washington, attached to a dock with cheap power and dehumidifier, they served us well. In Mexico, where we make our own power and water, they proved to be a little unwieldy.

It was with heavy heart I admitted a change was needed. Ryan’s college roommate, Ben, visited us in February and brought with him a microfiber thing he called a towel. Ryan thought this was the way to go. I told him I no, I don’t want to dry myself off with plastic; it is a textural thing, microfiber I am sure works great, I just don’t want to use it for a towel. So, I started looking for alternatives and found a plethora of people using Turkish towels on boats. I decided this was the way to go and ordered some from a variety of vendors.

I received my towels at the end of April.

  1. I love my Turkish towels.
  2. They dry very quickly. (either on the line or on the low setting in the dryer)
  3. They take up a lot less space.
  4. They are handy as a swim suit cover-up as well as a towel.
  5. I would recommend going the Turkish towel route for travel, camping, RVing, and boating.

Here are the towels I tried and what I recommend:

  1. Bersuse Ionia Turkish Towel: 100% Recommend… This is my towel. It is the thickest of the towels I tried. There are a variety of designs and colors to choose from. This was also the most expensive of the three.
  2. The Riveria Towel Company, Santa Barbara Collection: 100% Recommend… We have two of these; one in yellow/blue and one in red/mint. The red/mint one is India’s towel of choice. These are a little thinner and will need a wash before use. They were a little crunchy when they arrived but softened right up after a wash.
  3. The Riveria Towel Company, Essential Turkish Towel: 100% Recommend… These are a good basic towel. They come in a variety of colors and cost a little less than the previous two.
  4. The Riveria Towel Company, Cotton Diamond Print Turkish Towel: 50% Recommend… It is okay. This one has a really loose weave and long, stringy fringe which tends to catch on everything. It is the least expensive option and it seemed like this was a case of getting what I paid for.

My new towels on laundry day in Puerto Escondido.

A size comparison of my terry cloth towels next to the Turkish towels.

…if you haven’t read, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, you should. Now. I mean it.

I wasn’t planning on doing that today…

“India, is your holding tank full?”

“No, it is just stinky when I flush.”

Two days later…

“Mom, I think my tank is full. The overboard discharge pipe is oozing.”

This morning I requested a pump out. The crew arrives and goes to the port side first. A few moments later I see the pump out crew trying to get my attention.

I go outside and the kind gentleman directs me to the port side sewer deck fitting where an oozing river of sludge is making its way down the port hull. The tank wasn’t full; the tank was testing the limits of molded plastic, bulging at the seams waiting for someone to release the pressure. When the cap was removed from the deck fitting, a brown geyser of epic proportions was released.

The following conversation took place:

Pumpout guy: It is full.

Me: I know.

Pumpout guy: It is full.

Me: I will clean it up. Can you still pump it out?

Pumpout guy: It is full. Tienes que limpiarlo antes de que podamos bombearlo.

Me: Hablo poco español.

Pumpout guy: No entiendes

… fast forward about ten minutes and he figured out I was offering to clean it up, which is what he was asking me to do.

So, I got to clean half of Waponi Woo this morning. At least we know the new electric flush toilet is sealed tight. No poo will escape back up through the bowl if the tank is full. A pad and pen was placed in the port head to write the number of flushes so this doesn’t happen again.