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Sometimes a Cigar is Just a Cigar

May 20, 2011 – Puerto Escondido, Baja California Sur

(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

Sometimes a noose is just a noose. © 2018 Lifeline

In the May 11 and May 13 'Lectronics, we ran pieces on the recent troubles between various cruiser factions, businesses, and Fonatur staff in Puerto Escondido. While all this was going on, a noose appeared on the scene.

While things are still in a state of flux in what appears to us to be a 'death match' between certain groups in Puerto Escondido, and where the backstory is as messy and convoluted as in any soap opera, we do have clarity on the noose. It didn't have anything to do with anything.

Craig Ashby of Puerto Escondido explains: "Some Mexican friends and I got involved in some banter on the subject of preferred methods of execution in our respective countries. They thought the firing squad was better, while I said I preferred hanging. They said anyone could pull a trigger, but I probably couldn't even tie a noose. Well, I tied one. And someone later threw it over the bicycle rack. That's it. If anybody wanted to make anything more of it than that, they brought the idea with them."

By the way, we've received a lot of email on the situation in Puerto Escondido. If you have an opinion on it one way or another, we'd still like to hear about it. We'll be in Mexico soon, and expect to meet with Baja Tourism officials in anticipation of another Ha-Ha and another cruising season in Mexico. As tourism is so critical to the Mexican economy, the Department of Tourism is always interested in getting feedback. So if you'd like to share your opinion on the situation or your experiences in Puerto Escondido — or anywhere else in Baja or Mexico — we'd be happy to serve as a conduit.

Lastly, we want to remind everyone that, despite the troubles between some factions in Puerto Escondido, cruisers continue to absolutely love the area. For example, we received a phone call from old friend Wayne Hendryx of the Brisbane-based Hughes 45 Capricorn Cat. Wayne is always a bit of an excitable boy, but he absolutely could not stop raving about what an absolutely fantastic time he and his lady Carol had at Loreto Fest. Although northerly winds made the weather conditions less than ideal, he went on and on about how great the vibe was among the hundreds of cruisers, how fabulous the Fonatur staff was, how terrific the official and unofficial seminars were, how crowded the dance floor was . . . ad infinitum. Others have assured us that just about anyone can avoid the 'minefields' of P.E., so it should absolutely be a 'don't miss' on everyone's cruising plans.

Alas, Wayne didn't send us the promised photos from Loreto Fest, so if anybody has some they want to share for the June Latitude, please send them. But please do it ASAP. Gracias.

- latitude / rs

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Poor Man's Sandblasting Solution

May 20, 2011 – Bundaberg, Australia

Seems like every time we receive a note from longtime cruiser Kirk McGeorge of the USVI-based Tayana 42 Gallivanter it brings a chuckle. His latest offering was no different. 

When chain gets this rusty, most sailors would simply replace it. But budget-minded cruisers, such as Kirk, often find creative solutions. Photo Latitude / Andy
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

"I've just learned a new trick and thought I'd share it with my fellow sailors," he wrote last week. It seems that after seven years of hard use in both the Caribbean and Pacific, Gallivanter's primary anchor chain — 200 feet of high quality, American-made BBB grade links — had lost much of its galvanized coating, and was staining her decks. Rather than buying all new chain, Kirk was determined to have his old chain regalvanized. He found three places in Bundaberg that could do the job for a reasonable price, but there was one problem: "They said I'd have to remove all paint markings and loose rust before they'd accept it, and suggested I have it sand blasted prior to delivery." But the fee for doing that was a deal-breaker, as it would make the total cost of the whole exercise higher than simply buying new chain.

Luckily, Kirk's friend Sam came up with a brilliant plan. "Yesterday, we loaded nearly 400 lbs of rusty steel chain into the back of our pickup truck. We turned off the highway toward the old coastal road and drove until the pavement ended, where we got out and unloaded the two crates of chain. I tied a short piece of tuna cord to the last link of the chain, looped the string over our bumper hitch, locked the hubs and we took-off on a 10-km detour along a hard-packed beach. We dragged the chain for about a half hour at speeds reaching 40 mph while swerving and doing figure eights. We reversed the chain and drove some more and by the time we were done all traces of paint and rust were gone, and the entire length of chain was shiny metal when we arrived at the galvanizing plant. A poor man's sandblaster, but very effective!"

It's a wonderful story. We only wish Kirk had thought to snap some pictures of his crazy antics. By the way, for those of you heading to Australia, Kirk notes, "You can get hot-dip galvanizing done in Brisbane, Bundaberg and Townsville, all of which are official ports of entry. But Bundy is the best deal, in my opinion."

- latitude / at

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Ad: Safe Passage Sailing

May 20, 2011 – St. Thomas

© 2018 Safe Passage Sailing /

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The Cost of Cruising

May 20, 2011 – The Caribbean

Allen and Kate
Although they are anything but wealthy, Allen and Kate have managed, thanks to periodically working along the way, to cruise since '93. They are now "retired" and economically cruising the Caribbean. Photo Courtesy Mendocino Queen
© 2018 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

With a new class of cruisers preparing to head south this fall, a lot of hopeful members of that group are interested in getting a handle on what it really costs to cruise. We put the question to Allen and Kate Barry of the San Francisco-based DownEast 38 Mendocino Queen, who are currently cruising the Caribbean. Wait a minute, let us amend that previous statement. It's getting hard to say the Barrys are San Francisco-based, because they left in '93 and haven't been back since. It took them 11 years to get around the world to the East Coast, where they were able to sort of cruise and work in Florida and the Northeast for the next six years. Last year they "retired again," and are now cruising the Caribbean.

"To give you an idea of our 'cost of cruising', we've spent about $1,500/month for the last six months cruising in the Caribbean," they write. "However, it's important to understand that we never stay in marinas, and only eat out occasionally — usually inexpensive lunches. But we are having lots of fun and think it's a great way to retire."

Never stay in marinas and only eat out occasionally? Gee, where have budget-minded cruisers heard that before?

If you're out cruising and keep track of where your money goes, and wouldn't mind sharing that information with other cruisers, we and our readers would love to hear from you. It would be helpful is you noted whether your 'costs' include prorated boat expenses, health insurance, and other major expenses such as airfare back home.

- latitude / rs

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