After 5 months in Pittsburgh and another month in New Zealand we are back on the water. Pura Vida and crew are currently chilling in La Paz, B.C.S.
We are waiting for an El Norte wind event to calm down and will then cross the sea over to Matzatlan with planned stops at Puerto Balandra and Muertos to break up the trip. Our plan is to spend the next 4 months or so cruising the Mexican mainland possibly as far South as Z-town.
La Paz is a great little beach town and has sucked us in longer than planned once again. We have managed to accomplish 2 major tasks: 1) dinghy chaps and 2) cleaning the diesel fuel tank. Dinghy chaps are crucial as you head South into the tropics as the intense sun will quickly destroy even hypalon tubes. The chaps set us back $300 US but that is a good price from what I am told and they look pretty good to me.
Cleaning the diesel fuel tank was a very nasty and crucial job. On our passage from San Carlos to La Paz, we experienced an engine issue where the RPMs dropped rapidly from 2800 to 1000. We immediately shut down the engine, hove to, and opened up the engine compartment. The issue was quickly narrowed down to a fuel problem. We had literal “monsters” in the Racor filter.
Kudos to the Racor for doing its job and catching the sludge before it reached the secondary filter and possibly injectors which would have resulted in a complete engine failure. To this day, installing the Racor 500FG has been hands down one of our best upgrades.
We did do a shake down cruise before leaving San Carlos and the fuel in the Racor looked fine. Several marine professionals have advised us that if the fuel in the Racor looks good, then the fuel tank is fine. WRONG!!!! This was a real learning moment for us. Before leaving on an extended cruise you MUST, MUST, MUST get eyes inside your fuel tank. The Racor absolutely does NOT tell you what the bottom of your fuel tank looks like, and, given enough time rocking and rolling out on the sea you will eventually suck up some fuel from the bottom of the tank.
We ended up draining and cleaning the entire tank and ultimately disposed of around 15 gallons of fuel that were beyond polishing. We are very happy to be done with that job!
One other event of note while in La Paz, I celebrated my 36th birthday 🙂