Georgia J

Maintenance In Puerto Vallarta

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We are in Marina Vallarta hard at work fixing all the stuff which we broke on Georgia J during our cruise.  We continue to be amazed by the entrepreneurial, hard working Mexicans who we meet.  Each day workers approach us on the dock with greetings and offers to wash the boat, clean the stainless steel, varnish or clean the bottom.


We let Pablo clean our bottom and change the zincs underneath.  We were particularly impressed at how long he worked underwater diving with only a mask and snorkel.  He had been after me a couple of days to let him varnish Georgia J’s extensive teak.  Today Sharon and I had just finished pumping about 10 gallons of filthy water mixed with oil and diesel fuel from the bilge.  As I took this to the dump, Pablo met me.  He insisted on helping me and wanted to show me two other boats he had varnished.  Frankly, I was not overly impressed with Pablo’s varnish work.  As we walked back, I had an idea.  Perhaps Pablo would be willing to clean the bilge, a task that I dearly hate.


I took Pablo on board and explained in charades what we wanted him to do.  He said “no problema. Cambio ropa.”  He was off in flash, but returned in 15 minutes in his old clothes, eager to start.  The space below the engine is too cramped for a cat to crawl.  So I gave Pablo a long handle brush and went to the front of the engine to shine a light so he could reach underneath.  When I walked around the engine again, I was shocked to see only Pablo’s feet.  He had gotten in the bilge and crawled under the engine.  I exclaimed “Pablo, oh my God!”    Pablo exclaimed “no electricidad” and I rushed to cut of all the electricity on the boat before he was fried in the bilge water.


As Pablo scrubbed away occasionally coughing the noxious diesel and oil fumes, he would call up for espongas (sponges), cepillo (brush), or bolsa para basura (garbage bag).  The fact that I knew none of these Spanish words only prolonged poor Pablo’s misery.  Finally, Pablo said, “muy limpio” (very clean) and began to wiggle.


Within moments I realized that Pablo was stuck.  My first thought was evil.  Each morning at 8:30 am, the local cruisers hold a radio net to announce the weather, tides and offer local assistance.  It occurred to me that I could announce that a Mexican was stuck under my engine and ask if anyone knew what might be done.  However, it simply did not seem fair to leave Pablo there for another 18 hours. 


Instead, I grabbed Pablo by his ankles and pulled like hell.  He is a big guy, but I moved him a good two feet before he yelled “no mas, no mas.”  I then skillfully maneuvered his oily toes away from Sharon’s new salon cushions as he climbed from the coffin.


Although Pablo refused to tell me how much money he wanted for the work, I am confident he was the best paid worker in the marina today.  He starts the Georgia J varnish job tomorrow.