Pirate Haul Out + Christmas Trip

We didn’t technically haul the boat out of the water, but we did get the boat dried out on the mud with help from the local marine-man Santos and his crew to get some work done on our sail drive. He said he learned his technique from the pirates.  At 6am/slack tide we took Arcturus with the dinghys (the engine is in San Salvador) to the small island within the estuary where Santos has buried pilings into the mud. We tied her down from all sides of the boat to strong points on the pier, the land, the anchors buried into the mud and trees so she had about 8 lines coming off in all directions. Then we waited for the tide to drop while tightening the lines as it did.

Arcturus drying out

To properly assess the situation with our sail drive we needed access to it out-of-water. Our goals were to drain the oil and try and remove our prop as well as change the inner zinc on the drive and hopefully replace the seals inside the drive if we could remove the prop. We first noticed emulsified/milky oil while coming down Baja and built a header tank to increase pressure, not allowing water to enter. The oil appeared to remain clear, but the only way to really know what was up was to get the boat out of the water. Once the tide cleared out and all the barnacles were removed we had about a 2.5 hour window to get it apart, re-sealed, and back together. After a few solid mallet bangs on the prop, it came off and we ended up taking the whole drive apart and replacing all 5 seals at the shop on the island. Major success! We couldn’t have done it without Santos and his dad, who has a hydraulic press in his shop, and did the project in record time to get it put back together just as the tide was overtaking the drive. We also removed the header-tank and reverted back to synthetic gear oil in the drive. We were back on our mooring before sundown! It feels so good to have fresh, unadulterated oil in there and know that we aren’t rebuilding an engine to attach to a effed-up sail drive. Aaaahhhhhhh….

Sail Drive assembled and apart

Santos’ dad pressing the seals into the drive with his hydraulic press

Admiring the clean and resealed drive

The Santos Marina crew (and two stoked gringos)

Back afloat

A blazing sunset from the boat

Our box of Yanmar parts has arrived via Steve (our yanmar mechanic in California) who sent them to my bro in Salt Lake City, who hand delivered them to fellow cruiser Sherry, who carted them on her flight back to to El Salvador and handed them off for to us. When we found out getting something shipped here via Fedex or UPS was going to cost as much as  $500 (for a tiny box weighing less than 10lbs), plus 30% of the contents value in customs fees and all sorts of other bureaucratic paperwork and nonsense (plus a wait time of at least three weeks or maybe more) the fastest and cheapest option was to fly back to the states and bring them down ourselves. It would be cheaper to do that. Insane? Yes. We scored big time, thank you everybody!!

Yanmar Christmas – Big thanks to Steve Smith at Gold Coast Marine (Ventura, CA)

Over Christmas we went on a little surf trip around the country to various spots following the swell around. Christmas in El Salvador seemed to involve fireworks, soccer, the beach, drinking, eating, partying, presents, and explosives… as far as we could tell. I thought the blooming poinsettias were a nice touch too.


Las Flores Art 2.0

Confetti-ed newspaper next to soccer goal from home-made explosives

Andrew got peed on by an angry centipede who found it’s way into our bed. He rolled onto it, we suspect, and it released it’s acid pee onto him, making him jump out of bed in terror and pain. It later turned into a huge nasty blister. We didn’t see the insect when it happened and thought he had encountered a scorpion of some type. I was making dinner at our hostel and was persuaded into feeding some hungry German travelers who freaked-out when he showed them the blister and told him to get to a doctor immediately! A local told us that it was definitely centipede pee so we had nothing to worry about.

Centipede pee blister on Andrew’s back and his psychological state after dinner with the Germans

I made some artwork on Andrew’s board to help him feel better

Glowing sunset

Waves on Christmas Eve

Point break artwork

From the Jaltepeque estuary (where we are moored) we took the dinghy with Santos up to Rio Lempa. The series of waterways go through beautiful jungle and mangroves and by a small connecting passage it spits you out into the wide and muddy Rio Lempa. During the heavy October rains the villages along this river saw the most devastation.

Rio Lempa

Santos and Andrew

Fishermen along the route

Debris on the river from the flooding

Shrimp on

Crabs for sale and yummy crab soup

Fresh fish and shrimp dinner in the jungle

7 Responses to “Pirate Haul Out + Christmas Trip”
  1. James says:

    Wow! Talk about a race against time, i would have been crapping my pants as the tide got higher and higher, knowing me I would have screwed something up and needing to ducttape the wholething back together till the next day. Impressive! I was just on your site last night checking for updates, happy to see one this morning! Beautiful pictures and drawings as always. Miss you guys

    james and lauren

  2. Kristen says:

    Jules! glad to hear all is going ok! Beautiful Pics!! Happy New Year! Love Kristen & Jim & Hayden

  3. Chris P says:

    Wow insane pics and drawings!
    Ru man you are a lucky bloke to score off season southern hemis!

  4. kristian says:

    impressive effort on the “haul out”, what a nifty trick… and uncrowded waves on xmas eve?
    beautiful drawings, as always, and the surfboard artwork, epic.

  5. Lela Childers says:

    HI Jules,
    I was so glad to see your post & hear..once again of your great adventure. The pictures & drawings are spectacular. I loved your pics of the boat repairs. What a clever way of doing it.It seems like you have met some truly wonderful people.
    I’m sorry that you & Kelli weren’t able to meet while she was in Nicaragua or Costa Rica. She was home for 20 days..a really nice visit with her;
    We’ve just been through a week of reall nasty weather..A snow storm followed by an ice storm, followed by rain & flooding. Lots of power outages, but I think the worst is over.
    Once again I’m wishing you safe travels & caslm seas.. Love, LEla

    • followthearc says:

      Thank you for saying hello and for the update Lela 🙂 So nice to hear from you and I was bummed I missed Kelli while she was down here too. Crazy weather up there in WA… really bummed me out I’m going to miss another season of skiing! Love you and I’ll get another update goin’ soon!

  6. Joaquin Corssen says:

    Seems that you got the best christmast gift from madre naturaleza right there! those waves look Buenazas! So stoked to see this posts again and still dreaming of visiting for buenos momentos!
    Much love and good vibes from Lima amigos!, the best of luck for all missions to come 🙂

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