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Thinking Outside Of The Box

While cruising México during the last seven years, I have learned a few tricks that may save the new World Cruiser a few steps, bus or taxi ride. México like most third world countries is developing around us. It has many conveniences, but the handy Starbucks on every corner or a marine supply store in every city. West Marine, Fisheries Supply and others are an Internet click away, but getting our precious purchases into México and onto our vessels has many drawbacks. There is a time for those consumer marine stores products and that is usually when we travel back home or we know someone who can Mule or Burro items into México for us.

During my years of cruising México, I have learned that applying the conventional 18600876_10206827277199088_1816111679_nthought process for finding a stainless steel fastener, special fitting or other marine specialty item is lost. Yes, there are a few Ferreterías scattered throughout México and yes most of the old salts know where they are located. One in particular looks so much like a West Maine inside it is scary. Sometimes putting a patch on something to get by is an option until you can get to one of these stores. Sometimes a patch isn’t going to work.

Consider your options. If you have a hydraulic issue you won’t easily find a B & G hydraulic ram for sale much less the parts you need to effect a repair yourself. But, hydraulics are used all over México and there is usually a hydraulic shop that you could have a pump rebuilt or purchase parts necessary to do the repair yourself. The same thing goes for bearings and shaft seals. Just because there isn’t a ProFurl outlet near by, doesn’t mean that a tienda that sells seals and bearings isn’t available. I have seen hydraulic hoses and hose fittings at a welding shop that also work on farm equipment.

While on an outing looking for a fastener or other specialized part, it is not unreasonable to visit four, five or even more tiendas until you find what you are looking for. While in those tiendas along the way, take your time and look through them. You never know what you might find.

If you are like me, I have a list of projects that is constantly growing and ever present. This is the list of things that I like to call, “Good to do when I get a ‘Round Tuit!’” So when looking through the tiendas along the way with this floating list in my brain, something on a shelf, peg boar or bin will silently shout out making me stop and contemplate the possibilities of completing one of those less critical items on the list. I was looking for some carbon brushes for a DC water pump in Santa Rosalía. I found them in a hardware store that sold lighting and plumbing fixtures. Go figure! What you seek is not always where you think it should be and thus thinking outside the box results in a victory if only for one item on your list.

Costco Shopping Mentality. Most folks know what IMG_3966shopping in a large warehouse store is like. You know the large quantities of items stores with the 40 pound package of raisins, the 55 gallon drum of laundry detergent, etc…? Well, I can tell you that I have more than once, while shopping there, seen one of those shiny items on the self and thought I would like to have it, but I wasn’t prepared to by it at the moment. You know that item guys, the thing on the shelf that is illuminated with a blinding light from the heavens above with six arrows pointing to the item? I usually convince myself that I’ll be back to Costco next week to get it after I measure and figure where it will get install or stored. Almost every time I’ve gone back to get that item it has been sold out. I tell myself that I was stupid and that I know better. Folks, if you see an item in México that you remotely think is something you need, BUY IT! Because when you return the Costco Penalty of “Not Available” will grace you with its presence. There won’t be anymore lights from heaven on that shelf until maybe your next visit.

I thoroughly enjoy the adventure part of looking for an item as it gets you off the boat, interacting with the people in the community and adventure is part of the cruising culture.

So, here is how you find what you need. There is a wealth of information rattling around the heads of those that have been cruising México for multiple years. Most are willing to share the knowledge they have obtained from their adventures. If you can tap into this dusty well of information your adventures will take less time for actually finding what you are looking for. Browsing through tiendas along the way can broaden your knowledge base of what is available along the way and perhaps make your next adventure easier.

Just a few tips from off the decks of Dazzler.


Captain Dan
SV Dazzler

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Thanksgiving…Chacala Style

Well, we had a very nice Thanksgiving here in Chacala. It was much different than the hustle and bustle I’m used to but it was truly lovely. After a full day of doing literally nothing we managed to get our coconuts cut, rum added and enjoyed our giant sized cocktails on deck overlooking the nearly empty beach. There’s something special about drinking rum and fresh coconut milk out of a massive coconut that your man just cut open with a machete. It’s a pretty manly thing to watch!

Around three o’clock two other boats entered the anchorage thus ending our sovereign reign over it. One was a large power boat. The other, SV Jo, an Island Packet sailboat. We finally got up and dressed and readied ourselves to hit the beach around 4:30 p.m. Dinner reservations weren’t till 6:30 but we thought a couple of beers on the beach were in order and we needed to stop by a tienda to replenish our supply of beer and vodka.

On our way to shore we stopped by the sailboat that just arrived to let them know they could get a “gringo style” Thanksgiving dinner at  Las Brisas. Yep, my guy is always taking care of the other cruisers whether he knows them or not. The couple on board, Kelly and Jay, seemed very nice and were thankful we stopped by.

After a few minutes of chatting about where everyone was from and going we were off to the beach. Dinghy beached and secured we headed to the tienda for supplies. It’s was a nice little walk along the bay and with the sun getting long in the tooth there was a beautiful golden hue reflecting off the beach and the colorful palapas. I never tire of this beautiful site here. It is quintessential Mexican!

img_0200After restocking our beverage supply we stopped at Acela, a palapa we love to visit. They have the best zerandeado fish but on this night we were there just for a few beers. Luis, our normal server, brought us the chilly nectar of the Gods known as Pacifico! With ice cold beer in hand we watched as the huge, orange sun slowly slipped into the Pacific Ocean. Ahhh….paradise!

After a couple of beers we walked next door to Las Brisas.090352A1-3CE4-4ABE-8244-6FB5C4810963 Normally they have bare plastic and wood tables but tonight they had about six or eight tables lined up next to the beach. Each was covered with a white tablecloth and had a small blue vase with a single yellow Allamanda flower. Next to the vase was a white candle. It was simple yet lovely. The setting was rather romantic.

One of my favorite things at Las Brisas is their cucumber, jalapeño margarita. It’s THE BOMB! It’s refreshing yet has a slight bite to it. I’ve never had a better one anywhere. 962FF8F6-FFF1-4311-AAE9-0D0BFE3326FBWe sat and chatted for a bit over our spicy cocktails and before long we saw the lights of a dinghy leaving SV Jo heading toward the jetty where everyone beaches their tenders for time on shore. Realizing they are coming our way, Dan immediately gets up and checks with the staff to be sure they have enough of the turkey dinners to include a couple who had not made reservations. The staff informs him they have four extra dinners so we should be okay. That’s my man…Captain Save-A-Hoe to the rescue!

After a few minutes we see Jay and Kelly enter the restaurant. Kelly speaks rather good Spanish and as she is conversing with the staff, Dan goes over to be sure they know this is the couple he was talking about. The server directs them to our table as he thought we were planning to dine together. While it was not the original plan, we do decide that dinner together would be nice. We moved to a larger table and our night with new friends began. It turns out they are from Texas and are builders. They spend several months a year on their sailboat and are possibly planning to live aboard one day but for now they are just trying to carve out the time to spend here. They’ve been coming here since 2011. The two of them are really great people and there isn’t a single lull in the conversation throughout dinner and dessert. This is one of the reasons I love this life so much. You get to meet amazing people from all walks of life. Everyone has a story and they are all interesting. So tonight we made two new friends!

Our dinner was wonderful and for once I left a 25990311-2C25-4022-8AF9-E4384FC99F43Thanksgiving dinner without feeling like my gut would explode! They served turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, stuffing and a roll. For dessert we were given mini pecan pies with ice cream and apples drizzled with caramel. It was wonderful. They even offered us seconds of anything we wanted. All of this for $250 pesos per person! That’s about $13.50 USD at today’s exchange rate! You can’t beat that!

Certainly I missed my family and friends back home but this Thanksgiving was one that I will always remember. Even though we’ve been dating a couple of years, it’s the first that Dan and I have actually been together for and it was spent in paradise with new friends. I’m thankful for so many things in my life. My family and friends, the new friends I’ve made, the new life I have here with Dan and most importantly the love we share together. I just don’t think it can get any better than this!

Hope you all enjoyed your holiday as much as we enjoyed ours!

Until next time,