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Old 14-02-2019, 13:59   #1
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Newbie water in Mexico ?

Hi all,

I'm so glad you are here. We are new residents in the Hotel Coral Marina, Ensenada, and I'm struggling with where to get our water - silly question, right?

The Spectra 400 water maker filters only last a few days with the dirty in-harbor water.

Will a West Marine inline water filter be enough to provide us with safe water to drink from the dock? Can I add a charcoal filter inline, after the West Marine filter, to improve the taste?

Respectfully reaching out to those with more experience,

// John
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Old 14-02-2019, 15:05   #2
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Re: Newbie water in Mexico ?

There is no way we can know - too many variables. The city water is probably fine, but is the dock distribution system adequate for potable water? Most in the US are not.
Most in-line water filters will remove microorganisms for a few hours but then become a net source of microbes. If a filter has grandiose claims but little concrete information, it is probably just a charcoal filter.

There was an interesting article in "Practical Sailor" magazine about constructing a "Baja Filter" type of device for drinking water, to use when filling tanks from external sources. Come to think of it, I ordered up several filters to make a multi-stage version of that, but they are still sitting in my project bin. https://www.practical-sailor.com/iss...r_11660-1.html

A charcoal filter may improve the taste of your water but it will also remove residual chlorine which is protecting it from microorganisms. This sort of filter should be located at your point of use - not before the storage tank.

FWIW, I run a water testing lab and a few people have sent me samples from Mexico that they were concerned about. Mostly from rural systems, I think. Most of them seemed to have higher residual chlorine than US cities.
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Old 14-02-2019, 15:11   #3
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Re: Newbie water in Mexico ?

Thank you, the chlorine is an issue as well - my water maker uses water from the onboard storage for freshwater flushes and as I understand chlorine is really bad for the watermaker. My gut is telling me to keep choline out of my storage tank.
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Old 14-02-2019, 15:11   #4
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Re: Newbie water in Mexico ?

Go for a daysail, make water and come back to your dock?
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Old 14-02-2019, 15:26   #5
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Re: Newbie water in Mexico ?

Yup - I'm thinking that option is moving higher up on the list of viable solutions.
I think it will be good for the family as well. As we prepare for blue water having a deeper understanding of our water usage will be beneficial.
Of course, while the point of a watermaker is to, well, make water so we don't have to worry, I believe being conscious of our consumption won't hurt.
Thanks again,
// John
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Old 14-02-2019, 21:00   #6
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Re: Newbie water in Mexico ?

Hi, John, Oh, yes, do learn first. Our first passage to the Marquesas, we had two 25 gallon tanks for the two of us for all water--except showering needs--and carried a 5 gallon water tank lashed in the cockpit in case of having to abandon ship. We did it with a consumption rate of roughly 1/2 gal/day, per person (2). You just have to pay attention. One 5 gal sun shower did the cleanliness needs. We didn't need the emergency water.

I'm sure your present usage that has an inbuilt reason to not know can be revealed to you, and you're right about not introducing chlorine. Without a watermaker, we took any street water, and chlorinated it, let it set overnight, and syphoned it into the existing water bladders, filtered the chlorine out before the galley spigot. What our friend with an aluminum boat does, is to charcoal filter all water from shore through a series of two charcoal filters, to keep chlorinated water from ruining his alloy tanks. You won't get adequately chlorinated water in Ensenada as far as I know. So, your easiest option all round is to get out of Dodge, and use that nice, clear sea water, and only enough to fill the tanks. Then, on your way south, see how much you use altogether, divide it by the days, and make your calculations, so as to determine how long you have before you run out again. (May require building a dip stick so you can measure it by pumping out into two 5 gal jugs, and recording it as your pour in in 10 gal lots. We have done this with raw small dowels, and permanent marker, created dipsticks for the water tanks, which on this boat are accessed from the cabin...lots cheaper than having sight glasses made for s/s tanks, not suitable on this boat either.) Donate one of the jugs to a local family in the Marquesas, you'll only need the one, thereafter.

Please consider the possibility of watermaker failure, and plan to keep the tanks filled as much as possible, and possibly use those water jugs as your "'Mergency Water". You might also consider under way rainwater catchment. There are many ways to do that.

Cats have large mainsails (catchment area), possibly, two through hull fittings set far down the bottom panel, two tygon hoses, long enough to reach your deck fills to engage after the sail and hulls have washed down for a few minutes would do for refilling tanks....

Good luck with it, always nice to have a puzzle to solve.

Ann
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Old 15-02-2019, 04:14   #7
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Re: Newbie water in Mexico ?

For pre-filtering dirty/oily harbour water (prior to R/O unit) you might want to use an Oil-Block absorption cartridge, and for chlorinated municipal water, an Activated Carbon filter, or a special Multi-Stage reverse osmosis filter (multi-stage reverse osmosis filters have both carbon block and granular activated pre- and post-filters).

CF Members: Tellie (Spectra Watermakers) < Cruisers & Sailing Forums - View Profile: Tellie > and/or Rich Boren (Cruise RO Water Makers) < Cruisers & Sailing Forums - View Profile: SV THIRD DAY >
should have the definitive answers.
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Old 15-02-2019, 04:44   #8
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Re: Newbie water in Mexico ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sausalitosailor View Post
Thank you, the chlorine is an issue as well - my water maker uses water from the onboard storage for freshwater flushes and as I understand chlorine is really bad for the watermaker. My gut is telling me to keep choline out of my storage tank.


I am going to bet money that if itís installed according to the instructions that there is a carbon block filter inline with the fresh water flush circuit for the Watermaker. It should be changed at a 6 month or so interval anyway.

Of course confirm that and get a couple of spares.
Filtering the water going into your tanks with a carbon block filter isnít a bad idea, it wonít trap any organisms, that takes chlorine to kill and a carbon block filter to remove the chlorine.
If I use dock water, I filter through a carbon block filter, but I donít chlorinate my tank as itís aluminum and chlorine will eat an aluminum tank.
All the water we drink, make tea with etc goes through a General Ecology Seagull water filter, itís expensive, but an extremely effective filter for organisms etc
This is a link to their test data
http://generalecology.com/info/techmemocert

I am sure that a similar filter can be put together, but I donít know which parts, especially the filter cartridge to use.
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Old 15-02-2019, 07:28   #9
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Re: Newbie water in Mexico ?

there are filter stores in mexico. check out the one in ensenada and see if they have a solution for you. as for drinking water, marina office is your information center. they are good at this. use em wisely. drinking water is delivered to boats and marinas... the office will know what the deal is on water. they also will let you know where the filter store is located.
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Old 15-02-2019, 10:30   #10
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Re: Newbie water in Mexico ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by zeehag View Post
there are filter stores in mexico. check out the one in ensenada and see if they have a solution for you. as for drinking water, marina office is your information center. they are good at this. use em wisely. drinking water is delivered to boats and marinas... the office will know what the deal is on water. they also will let you know where the filter store is located.
Yes, we are on Isla Mujeres just off of Cancun. 5 gal filtered plastic jug available just about everywhere for 350 pesos, about 2 bucks. We also are drinking island water to no ill effects. My philosophy in Mexico is eat and drink what the locals do. Have never had to deal with Mr. Montezuma.
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Old 15-02-2019, 11:39   #11
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Re: Newbie water in Mexico ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sausalitosailor View Post
Hi all,

I'm so glad you are here. We are new residents in the Hotel Coral Marina, Ensenada, and I'm struggling with where to get our water - silly question, right?

The Spectra 400 water maker filters only last a few days with the dirty in-harbor water.

Will a West Marine inline water filter be enough to provide us with safe water to drink from the dock? Can I add a charcoal filter inline, after the West Marine filter, to improve the taste?

Respectfully reaching out to those with more experience,

// John
John,
I used to charter fish with Sammy Sausarrey aboard Amigo. His boat runs out of the Marina behind hotel Coral. We often took our catch (okay, a small part of it) to the hotel to be cooked for dinner. It was very reasonable and included all the fixing. You might want to check it out if you fish from your boat.
If not, look for Sammy and the Amigo and tell him Bruce from church sent you. He will definitely be able and willing to help you. If that doesnít appeal to you, check with the restaurant at the hotel. We always got purified water at the hotel and ice from them. As we were ďguestsĒ at the restaurant, there was no charge but Iíd imagine they could source you to ďagua purificoĒ and the cost. If you speak a little Spanish, even the folks at the harbor masterís office or the front gate can help.
If none of that interests you, you might invest in a filtration system from Seyshelle. They carry everything from bottles that hold a 99/99/99 filter (thatís 99% of all chemicals, minerals and microbials). I carried mine all over Europe and had a drinking supply from fountains, streams, hotel rooms and anywhere else I chose to drink. Unfortunately, it does not desalinate but I still carry it aboard my vessel for ďjust in caseĒ. Mine is a quart sized container but it will filter over 600 gallons before the filter requires changing. Because it has an inbuilt drinking straw, it does not blend to galley use. I do know they have a vast variety of systems including industrial so I am certain they could meet your needs. Look them up online or go to their location in, nearby to you, San Clemente, California. Best of luck to you. Hope this helps and, oh, if you see Sammy, say hello for me. Bruce
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Old 15-02-2019, 12:50   #12
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Re: Newbie water in Mexico ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sausalitosailor View Post
I'm so glad you are here. We are new residents in the Hotel Coral Marina, Ensenada, and I'm struggling with where to get our water - silly question, right?

The Spectra 400 water maker filters only last a few days with the dirty in-harbor water.

Will a West Marine inline water filter be enough to provide us with safe water to drink from the dock? Can I add a charcoal filter inline, after the West Marine filter, to improve the taste?
Hi John,
We've been cruising Mexico for the past three years.

NEVER use your watermaker anywhere but in the open ocean or in a pristine bay. (This is calendar dependent, as you will see.) Depending on where your watermaker's intake is, you may ruin your membrane if you suck up anything other than clean seawater.

All dock water (and city water, for that matter) in Mexico is NOT potable. You would think a country that is 500 years old would have a safe water distribution system figured out, but no. In all of the cities and marinas we have visited in Baja and on the mainland, people (citizens and tourists alike) purchase 20 liter (5 gallon) jugs of water for drinking and cooking. There are some companies that will deliver the jugs and fill your tanks on the dock. This is the expensive way to go. They charge around 30 pesos per jug. They sell them in town for 11 pesos per jug, but then you have to haul them back to the boat.




You can use dock water to fill your tanks and use that for showering and boiling food. Just never drink it or get it in your mouth.

For the first year, we used our watermaker and then had water delivered to our boat. It got expensive real fast.

So, we opted to build our own filtration system, whereby we can use the dock water to fill our tanks when we aren't at sea and the water is safe to drink.

The filter system includes a 20 micron filter, a .5 micron carbon filter, and a UV chamber to kill every living thing that makes it past the .5 micron carbon. You will need electricity to run the UV light, obviously. Be careful you don't jar or bump the light too hard, as you could break the bulb that's inside the shiny steel chamber.

Water filters are cheap in the US, and in Home Depot in Mexico. They are ridiculously expensive in the marine stores. One place in La Paz wanted to charge us $95 USD! for a pre-filter for our watermaker. Since it was just a spare, we opted to wait until we were back in the states and order one from Amazon for $5.

We bought the filter housings at Home Depot La Paz and UV light in La Paz at La Paz Cruisers Supply. The plywood was scrounded from a local guy. White paint and a strap handle makes it pretty and easy to move around.

Good luck!
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Old 20-02-2019, 08:25   #13
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Re: Newbie water in Mexico ?

My guess is that there is a good chance that the Hotel Coral makes its own water. In any case, putting water with chlorine in your tank, and then using it to flush your membranes will kill them. If you do put shore water in make sure to pump it all out then refill the tank with watermaker water when you head out.


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