Considering a sailing adventure to Mexico? Just look at how engrossed that guy is in the book! Grab a copy of the Unauthorized Guide to Sailing in Mexico, and you too can find yourself sitting on a Mexican dock with an oversized (but very attractive) hat.

Unauthorized Guide to Sailing in Mexico


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Entries in water (2)


magic: saltwater into freshwater

Water into wine? Pfft, who cares? Try turning seawater into freshwater: you know, something that people actually need. And now with the mystery of reverse osmosis desalination technology Rebel Heart is able to crank out magical freshwater that tastes so good you actually say "Damn, that's a nice glass of water."

Of course the Katadyn 40e costs roughly $4,000, took me three full days to install, needs daily maintenance, and requires yearly rebuilds. 

We opted for a watermaker because we have four people onboard now and in the Sea of Cortez it gets really frigging hot. On average we consume about five gallons of water a day and the Katadyn 40e can create that in about 4-5 hours. Water isn't available in many places we're headed to in the Sea of Cortez and even where it is, finding water suited for drinking and hauling it around in jugs gets lame really fast.

The watermaker world is divided into two major categories: low amp and small yield or big power and big yield. We opted for the smaller option for a few reasons.

First off, we don't run the engine that often and certainly not when just sitting at anchor having a nice day. It's loud, it heats up the boat, and diesels like to run under load not just sitting there with a wimpy watermaker attached.

Secondly, and this is primarily regarding the CruiseRO systems, although we have a Honda 2000 generator we also don't like running that all that often and certainly not underway when it's strapped down in a bag. Carrying gasoline is also annoying.

What we've noticed about our electrical profile here in the tropics is that we're routinely in absorption charge mode from our solar panels, meaning that roughly 5-10 amps is being kept back (lost) from the batteries. So flipping on the watermaker during that phase isn't going to cause any material net loss of amp hours.

But arguablly the biggest selling point to me regarding the Katadyn PowerSurvivor 40E was nothing the Katadyn company itself did. Enter Gary, the 40E owner's best friend. Gary did the following:


Any sailor knows that buying a piece of equipment is relatively simple. Installing, using, and maintaining it is a whole different ball of wax. Have such a broad knowledge base to work from on the latter issues was what convinced me. 

We ran it for a couple of days and marveled at the technology but after looking at the near constant oil slick and seeing particulates in the water I ran the membrane preservative through it. 



getting ready to get underway again

We took on a bunch of fresh water today, which actually got hand carried down the dock in five gallon cans. We hold 80 gallons in the tank and another 15 on deck; the whopping price was about $20. I felt so bad for making them haul all that weight that I slipped a couple Ballast Point Sculpin IPA's their way. 

The tap water in Ensenada (either via hose at the marina or faucet in a business) is brackish, and the idea of loading up a hundred gallons of the stuff and tasting it all the way down the Baja peninsula just wasn't that appealing. It's not quite salt water, but it's also not quite something you'd want to make your tea out of.

Getting ready to go, and having a brief moment of silence after Charlotte and Cora have gone to sleep, I'm reflecting on leaving tomorrow. 

Basically every time we get underway, I get a little jittery. I talk myself through the undocking procedures. Which way will the stern kick out? Can I spring off something? Will the bowsprit rails nail a pylon? What happens if everything goes sideways and I'm totally screwed? 

I look at the boat. I think of every repair and installation that I've done and wonder: will it hold? What about the things that I haven't addressed yet. Some I know about, some I don't. 

Brian Toss said that there are three types of sailors: dead, novices, and pessimists. Indeed one can argue that a core aspect of seamanship is scrutinizing everything in sight, believing everything will fail in ways you can hardly imagine, then drafting up solutions. These solutions usually highlight a missing tool or skill, which you quickly add to your arsenal. 

The balancing force, I suppose, is that you can always come up with reasons not to do something. And with a boat, with the hundreds or thousands of fittings and doo-dads, there is always something that needs attention. 

If paralyzing over-analysis is on one side of the coin, a deep husky voice telling you to shit-or-get-off-the-pot is on the other. 

If I was smoking hash on a mountain top somewhere (which would be great, by the way) I think I would arrive at the notion that you need to use your pessimism and doubt as helpful voices that point out problems. What they can't be, and what they always want to be, are the final decision makers.

Goethe said, "Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back. Concerning all acts of initiative, there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too."

So, we leave tomorrow.