Hunt Press

Routine Maintenance in Exotic Locations

Before we’d reached PV, we’d had a slight disagreement with the spinnaker (read, we’d doused it, it came undoused precipitiously, and got three holes ripped in it before we got it redoused), and the upcoming weather forecasts (read, a whole lotta not much wind) demanded that we repair it. Jason asked around, and found Oscar, who showed up with tape, a brilliant smile, and a little know-how. A few hours later, our spinnaker looks like it’s good to go.

But that’s not why Oscar rocks.

The following day, when we were ready to depart, Jason was semi-desperately looking for a place to stow the coconuts. Chip and Angela, our new crewmember, had gone palm-tree climbing, and came back with a whole lot of bruises and scrapes, a new local friend, Luis, who had a ladder, and a sackful of fresh young coconuts. But coconuts are big, and even on a catamaran, you run out of places to put them. Twisting sideways to jam one into the garbage bin, Jason saw that our portside davit was cracking.


He sat back on his heels, and did not scream. I was so proud of that not-scream. I tilted my head in query, and he pointed, one quick jab, at the davit, and then stood up and growled.

It wasn’t a huge crack, but a crack it definitely was, in a davit we’d had inspected and repaired in Chula Vista before we’d left. It’s one thing when stuff on your boat breaks, you expect that, but when stuff you’ve just fixed breaks, well, it’s seriously crankymaking. We stormed up to the internet cafe (since here in Mexico we don’t have phone access, just on wireless) to make some calls.

It took us a while in San Diego to find a welder. I was envisioning days, maybe weeks, while we tried to make this work. I was imagining, as is my job, all the worst-case scenarios.

Oscar saved the day. One number, the guy not available, a second number, the guy was at our boat, ready to work, as fast as Jason could make it back from the internet cafe. Jason and Chip worked like stevedores to get the davit off, hand it over, the guy took it away, and by just after sunset, we had a fully-repaired davit.

Am I delirious with joy? Yes, yes I am. And totally stunned too. For all that everyone tells cruisers to head to La Cruz instead, to avoid the downtown crazy busy over-the-top breaking-down dock powerboat madness of Marina Vallarta, we found that just below the glitzed-out surface, there was a thriving, generous, talented pool of decent, friendly boat workers. I am more charmed by that than I would have been by clean water.