While using the kayak is easy everywhere else, getting from the mooring area to the dinghy dock in Puerto Escondido is just too far a trek for Big Red. So we blew up the dinghy. Intending to add gas to the outboard engine, Brian removed the gas cap. Just as he was contemplating how tenuous that little gas cap retainer cord looked, hoping it wouldn’t break…ploop…the chintzy, plastic yoke broke and our poor gas cap went tumbling into 50ft of water, gone forever. Shi#$%!! Shi#$%!! Shi#$%!! …is all I heard coming from the dinghy.
If Brian had room for a spare engine, we’d have one. This “always be prepared”-mottoed man has darn near every spare part imaginable.. spare belts and ropes and hose connections and filters and hundreds of pieces of hardware and plastic thingys, normal boat stuff right? But we even have spare rigging, a spare windlass motor, an alternator, chain and cables in case the wheel assembly breaks and dozens more important items...just in case. Who brings a spare gas cap? Not even this guy. Why would anyone?
No gas cap, no dinghy.
You can’t run the engine without the gas cap or pretty soon you’ll end up with no gas (and with gas spewed all over you). More importantly, you can’t store the engine on the back of the boat (where it gets wet when you are sailing) without a gas cap. And just putting a plastic baggie with a rubber band over it probably isn’t the best idea. Plus, the incentive for NOT having to kayak the half mile to shore is pretty high. Brian went to the haulout facility in Puerto Escondido, but no joy. We didn’t want to pay for an $80 taxi ride to Loreto just to NOT find our obscure part, so Brian put on his MacGyver hat. What's the phrase...necessity is the mother of invention?
The Gas-o-Lipiec Cap
Thus was born the now trademarked Gas-o-Lipiec Cap: a fine custom piece of workmanship if I do say so. Brian cut some Plexiglas in a semi-roundish shape (he was sooo irritated he couldn’t make it perfectly round), covered it with a piece of rubber gasket material, drilled a hole through both, added a bolt and wingnut, then cut a small, rectangular piece of metal with a hole to act as a grabber/sealer on the bottom. He did all this in the cockpit with a hacksaw and a drill. Not bad for an hours work. All the while, every 2 minutes: “God, this would be so much easier if only I had my (insert tool) router/bandsaw/sander/drill press…” So glad we DON’T have room for THOSE spares.
Our ad-hoc cap worked as advertised. When we got to San Carlos, we inquired about spare gas caps. Ordering one would take a week. Well, we know what THAT means…a week is probably a month. Forget it. We’ll leave it “as is” for the summer and bring a new one back down with us next season.
Chores and Chillin’
We rested in Puerto Escondido for 5 days. Our weather there was great, though windy most afternoons. We did laundry (so I didn’t have to hand-wash on the boat); got fuel; bought a few staples at the tiny marina store (bread, chips, more cereal-we eat a lot of cereal, milk, onion, cucumber, tomatoes, potatoes); ate several restaurant meals; partook in the COK (Circle of Knowledge) where you hopefully leave the circle more informed (rather than more confused); met more cruisers; I made brownies; got some decent internet where I finally wrote and uploaded several blogs; and most importantly, took real (hot and long) showers.
Sleeping Like Babies
We spent a couple more days in PE than necessary… but one of those days, well, we just didn’t feel like doing anything…so we didn’t. Plus, the unspoken truth is…we sleep 10-times better in Puerto Escondido than when we’re at anchor. I know you never should trust a mooring ball - it’s a false sense of security because they do fail. These balls are newly installed, only a couple years old now. But the distinct advantage to these particular moorings is their judicious spacing.
a) We never worry about anyone parking right on top of us and swinging into our boat, as we always do at anchor. Even our stalker friend from the last blog can't be a space-invader here!
b) We don’t worry about neighboring boats’ rode/chain combo or anchor not being strong enough and dragging in high winds (although we would worry in really high winds - during hurricane Odile, most disasters here occurred not due to breaking moorings, but due to the boat’s connector lines chafing right through).
c) Extended spacing breeds good social etiquette: when I can hear your entire conversation like I am IN on the discussion…you anchored too close. This doesn’t happen in PE.
So, mooring in Puerto Escondido is the next best thing to being in a marina. Except it’s better because it’s QUIETER! No dock creaking, restaurant music blaring, squawking pterodactyl condo pets, tourist boat departures or daily bingo announcers. Just the music of the midnight stars. (Too cheesy? OK, maybe a little). In other words, we slept like babies.