We left Bahia Magdalena (aka Mag Bay) at first light in overcast, cool, but extremely calm conditions. As we pulled out of the bay, we saw the cruise ship Oosterdam about two miles behind us, heading our way. (One of the new technologies that we installed on Rutea is called AIS and it identifies all ships in a wide radius with their name, position, direction, etc.). I hailed them on the VHF radio and they replied, which is unusual, with the information that they were heading into Mag Bay.
By late morning, the skies had cleared, the seas remained almost flat calm and the wind remained very light. We'd have long periods (well, 10 to 12 seconds) where you couldn't feel any movement whatsoever. The afternoon became evening and we settled in for our third overnight passage of the trip. We were making great time.
At 0800, we entered the breakwater at San Jose del Cabo and proceeded to the fuel dock, where we filled our fuel tanks and got our slip assignment at Marina Puerto Los Cabos. As we were pulling into the slip, I selected reverse to slow the boat down. Not only did the transmission make the worst sound imaginable but the boat didn't slow down at all. It was a rough docking. What made it ironic was that almost two years ago, our prop shaft coupling broke at the exact same marina. I was immediately overcome with the dreaded feeling of being stuck in Mexico once again, trying to repair a complex component. My mind raced to think about the process of removing the transmission, disassembling it, ordering parts, getting them into Mexico and then putting it all back together. It was almost too much to think about on limited sleep. We decided to stop for a minute, have breakfast and consider our situation.
On top of that, we had gotten email from Caity saying that the record rains in Southern California had left a couple of our tenants with water damage from leaking roofs. We whipped out our trusty Movistar cell phone only to find that the SIM card had failed. Caity was looking for some quick advice and email was just too cumbersome. We checked in with the marina, paid for four nights but told them that if our mechanical problems are severe, we might be here a long time. "No problem, senor," the clerk said, "Our monthly rates are a much better deal." It didn't make me feel any better. Once back on board, I knew that I had to eliminate the possibility that there was something wrong with the propeller before tearing out the transmission. I grabbed my face mask and jumped in the very murky water - so murky that I had about one foot of visibility. I found my way to the prop and found it completely tangled in very heavy plastic and on the same breath, I was able to free it. One problem solved easily!
But we still needed to talk with Caity so we decided to walk to town as we remembered a Movistar kiosk in one of the huge grocery stores. We probably should have taken a cab as it was almost 5 kilometers and once we got there we found the kiosk was no longer there. Deciding that we needed to rent a car, we stopped at every car rental agency we could find. However, it being the week between Christmas and New Years, everything was sold out and what was available was priced stratospherically. After walking still more, we finally found a Thrifty Rent a Car that had a compact for an offensive price. We took it and drove to the Moviestar store where they told us they couldn't help us - we'd have to go to Cabo San Lucas, almost 25 miles away. Which we did but they couldn't help us either. They said that the problem should resolve itself in the next 24 hours. By now it was early evening, we hadn't had lunch or much sleep so we stopped for a nice dinner. It was good to get back to the boat.
We'll spend New Year's Eve here and then plan for a departure to mainland Mexico. For all our family and friends, we hope that you have a peaceful, healthy and successful 2011 that's filled with fun adventures. Know that we think of you constantly and we consider ourselves lucky for having you as such important parts of our lives.