Wednesday, February 19, 2014

It's Getting Hot In Here

We are definitely in the tropics now! Since leaving California on what must have been the coldest, rainiest day in the history of San Diego summers, the weather has steadily gotten warmer.  I still have the odd feeling that Christmas and my birthday were a hoax because we spent our time lounging in our bathing suits and zipping around the bay fishing for 20+ lb sport fish from our dinghy.  However then I look at the calendar and realize that I am indeed one year older and our trip is almost half way completed!
Some of the hundreds of dolphins we saw on our way into Ixtapa
We are currently anchored in Zihuatanejo (zee-wa-ta-NAY-ho) and I think it is shaping up to be our favorite spot so far.  Not only are we in a beautiful protected bay but this is a town that has definitely maintained its local culture despite an increase in tourism.  Here, there are no mega resorts, those are reserved for Ixtapa down the road.  Instead there are many local guesthouses and some boutique hotels that seem to be frequented primarily by vacationing Mexicans.  There is a local market where you can buy everything from a whole cow to a bottle of soy sauce and a morning seafood market right on the beach where we land our dinghy.  Prices are not cheap but finally reasonable and on Sunday night we joined what must have been the whole town for their weekly gathering at the basketball court. That night the entertainment was Zumba and other forms of exercise to get the townspeople moving.  This was probably appropriate as I believe Mexico has now passed the US as the fattest nation in the world! I am certain it is also the most picturesque basketball court I have ever seen with a view of the sun setting over the bay and mountains as a backdrop for the dancers.

Back to the weather...Although we passed the Tropic of Taurus (formerly the Tropic of Cancer) on our way down the Baja, the nights have still been pleasantly cool and we often need our fleece jackets when we are night sailing.   Around San Blas we broke out the "harbor awning" a large tarp that we spread over the boom and tie out to the sides of the boat to keep the UV rays off the deck.  It is amazing how much this little bit of shade cools down the cabin.  We do not have air conditioning but have been more than comfortable most the time.  However, here in Zihuatanejo, it is hot.  Hatches open, awning out, and I am still practically dripping sweat into our food when I try to cook anything inside the galley.  So, yesterday I got crafty.

A large sewing machine was not in the budget for this trip and frankly I don't know where we would have put one.  Luckily, until now we have been fortunate enough to find other sailors with Sailrite machines when we needed to do sail repairs. We do however have a hobby machine, a gift from my Dad and Jane, that has been very useful for some small projects.  Yesterday I was determined to increase the ventilation on Moments.  Failure was not an option.
Our new wind scoop in action.  For the front corners I made some homemade grommets by sewing a washer between two layers of fabric and stitching around it like a button hole

I could write a whole blog post about the wonder that is a Mexican fabric store but this time I did not even need to visit one.  Adam had a ripped camping hammock (thanks to Kraemer, I believe) that he has kept from college due to some premonition that the thin green fabric would at some time become useful.  Yesterday I made half of it into a beautiful new wind-scoop for our middle hatch and we are currently experiencing gale force winds in the cabin.  Well, it may not actually be that effective, but Adam put it through the test with a handheld anemometer (wind speed gauge) and he would like everyone to know that, "the wind-scoop transfers the free stream wind velocity with 100% efficiency, thus defying the Betz Limit of power transfer."  For those of us without a degree in engineering, this means that we catch most of the wind coming towards the scoop and redirect it into the cabin.  We are pretty happy with the outcome and our cabin is once again a place of comfort and moderate temperatures.