Go with the flow



Wow, a blog post from Steve!

It was Friday May 6. We had been anchored in the unbelievably beautiful little bay of Calida Partida for 6 days. You have seen pictures of this place in the blog, and believe me, it’s even more spectacular than pictures can show.

Our “plan” (we always laugh at that word now) was to up anchor in the morning, overnight at Bonanza Bay (another nice anchorage) and then back to La Paz . In La Paz we would be in a marina and preparing for our leaving the boat. Both very short trips.

There were about 8 or 10 boats in Calida Partida when we got up that morning, but by the time we finished breakfast, everyone else had left for other places. No one but us and the fishermen and their families who lived part time in the little fishing camp on the shore.

I will now describe the four things that made us realize that this would NOT be the day that we should leave Calida Partida.

1) Sherri noticed that one of our 2 back stays (part of the rigging) was a little loose. Okay, a 20 minute job. Just as I finished……….

2) Sherri said “Steve, there’s a panga coming over to our boat.” Sure enough one of the fishermen (Pescador) from the camp was approaching us. He came over to Pablo and tied on. We have had fair success communicating with our little bit of Spanish with people who had a little bit of English, but Arnulfo spoke ZERO English. And he needed help.

It was our job to figure out what he needed. After many false starts and a lot of pantomime (thank you theater) we discovered he needed two 17mm wrenches to tighten a long bolt on his 80 HP outboard motor.

He was a very nice man and quite grateful, and offered to come back and bring us some fish in an hour, but we told him thanks but we were leaving now. At least that’s what I think we told him.

Okay, NOW it’s time to weigh anchor………

3) As usual, Sherri is in the cockpit controlling Pablo and I am on the bow dealing with the anchor and the electric windlass. We use wireless headsets to communicate which eliminate the need to shout back and forth. As I retrieved the chain, Sherri maneuvered Pablo over the anchor. All was uneventful until the anchor broke the water.

Two things happened simultaneously. An octopus, which apparently was riding the anchor to the surface jumped off of the anchor, squirted a blob of ink into the water and jetted away. At the same time Sherri, in a calm voice said “We have a problem here.” She explained that she had no engine control. Pablo would not go forward or back.

She put the engine into neutral, and I immediately dropped the anchor again. Hmm, interesting problem, we could shift into forward or reverse, but the engine would not go above idle speed.


I went below and opened the engine room, hoping to see the throttle control cable dangling because it had come off of the fuel lever. No such luck, it was firmly attached. I asked Sherri to move the throttle control. She did, nothing moved below. Damn! It was broken above. Sure enough the throttle cable had parted up near the handle. No repairing that.


What would Redford do? NO forget that! What would MacGyver do? I tied a piece of thin cord (Okay, string) around the fuel lever, using a small piece of fire hose so it wouldn’t chafe.


I installed a turning block (a pulley) in the back of the engine compartment (see picture). I removed one of the bolts that holds the cockpit floor/engine room cover and ran the string up into the cockpit.


Done! I had throttle control! One hand on the tiller, one hand on the string , we could drive the boat. Maybe it was time to go except………….

4) Arnulfo returns. Sure enough, by the time we had the jury rigged throttle control ready, he had returned with some Pargo (Snapper) filets. We had some fun trying to talk with him about the fish, and then we invited him aboard. We pulled out our book of Sea of Cortez fish and sea life to show him. He pointed out all the local fish, and which ones were good to eat and which ones were not. It was a great visit and we developed a nice rapport even with our very limited Spanish.

When he left it was already mid-afternoon. We could have weighed anchor right then but we looked around at the blue waters and the walls off the ancient volcano we were nestled in, and decided to stay one more night.

Dinner was fish, and it was wonderful.

This entry was posted in Anchoring in Mexico, Sailing Mexico and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Go with the flow

  1. Drew Bielawski says:

    Great post Steve! Like they say…”You can’t make this shit up”.

  2. Steve Goodman says:

    Good post. Great jury rigging. Onward!

  3. Jeff says:

    Nice to hear about your adventure from you instead of Sherri this time.

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