November 13, 2011, La Cruz De Huanacaxle
We all woke up early on Veterans Day. It was a big day 11~11~11 and Gene and our friend Kevin from S/V Albatross were loading up in Kevin's car to drive it back to Texas. Gene was along for the ride and helping out with some of the driving. Kevin needed to return their car so they could continue south to Panama and then on to their home in Texas.
Once the "boys" were on their way, Kevin's wife Lisa (also my closest friend here in Mexico) and I prepped Andiamo for a short trip back to the La Cruz anchorage from Paradise Village Marina in Nuevo Vallarta. We had been in Paradise Village for a few days rebuilding the head on Andiamo and a few other small repairs.
Lisa and I finish getting ready to motor out of the marina and then a possible sail. The engine starts up nicely and as it warms up I brief Lisa on our jobs while leaving the slip saving any other item for once out on the water, after all we are just out for a short trip in our back yard, very simple, very routine.
We got out of slip "E-something" without a hitch - motoring slowly since the tide is low and we want to be careful to stay in the channel and in deep water. Then once out to the entrance and breakwater I goose the engine for some added speed to maneuver over the incoming surge. And that's when our engine dies...
Now I am going to take a moment to brag on Lisa. Lisa was one step ahead of me the whole time. However since I saved showing everything to here until later she was not in a position to do much but keep us off the rocks and in deep water, all of which she did a great job of.
So as the engine dies I call Lisa to the helm, and she keeps us heading straight while I try to prime and restart the engine, but engine continues to die at every attempt. After 4 tries, Lisa says she has lost steerage and needs a sail. So I attempt to get any canvas out I can and after what felt like both an hour and 2 seconds, I get the main up and we are turned around and headed back to marina. We had to turn around as the wind was in our face and short-tacking a 40,000 lb sailboat out a narrow channel entrance was out of the question. As I think of going below to make a call to the marina, Lisa has her son Teagan call the marina and tell them "we are sailing in, no engine and taking first available slip on dock B"
Lisa stays at the helm since I know how to manage the rest and she turns Andiamo into the first available slip and we drop the main as quick as possible. The topping lift and mainsheet weren't secure so the boom swings out and now we need to keep it from hitting the pilings on the dock. Now we are blind and going way to fast, (I estimate it somewhere between 2 and 42 knots). Lisa gets Andiamo in perfect position for me to get off and attempt to secure the stern line on a cleat, but Andiamo is going too fast for me to stop it and the line burns right through my hands. With now blistered hands, I give up on the stern line and run to the bow just to watch her hit hard and ride up on the dock. The bow hit perfectly between two bolts and broke through 2 pieces of wood and then just hung there on the bobstay chain plate. Thank God for the sacrificial wood on the dock and a strong Taiwanese built hull!
After the boat finally came to a rest, I burst into tears as I see what happened on my watch with Andiamo. Just then, the harbor master walks down the dock along with a few helpers and helps Lisa and the kids secure Andiamo to the pier. My hands are not burned nearly as bad as they feel like they were but there is no way for me to grab hold of any thing. The harbor Master says to leave Andiamo for the night and I walk away to call Gene.
Let it be known Gene took the news very well. He even was very helpful with some quick fixes for the engine. It turns out this particular engine we have runs better if the fuel tanks are turned ON! (yes I'm being sarcastic here). Remember when I mentioned earlier we did a "few other simple repairs", one of those was replace the racor fuel filter and that requires turning the tanks off and then back on when finished. Very simple to overlook that last one.
We then had a few people "check out" Andiamo to make sure we weren't putting a sinking boat in the water. Following the damage assessment, I open the fuel valves just like Gene suggested and the engine fired right up and ran like a champ. We then ran Andiamo in reverse and had to use some winches to crank her off the dock but we managed and we didn't even chip the new bottom paint☺
We then secured Andiamo to the dock and ate a lovely dinner at the Vallarta Yacht club with the crew from Albatross and Ohana, who were also a huge help in getting Andiamo back off the dock and doctored up my hands too.
We stayed in Paradise until Sunday morning. I had gotten over my bruised ego and burnt hands and was ready to go back to La Cruz and set the anchor for a few weeks.
So here is what I learned
1. Come up with a fool proof plan for fuel. Ie a ribbon that you can't miss that indicated you need to turn it back on or place engine ignition key around tank knob while fuel is off so you can't start engine without checking if they are open.
2. Wear gloves when handling the lines of a heavy, fast moving boat!
3. If you have to sail in, attempt to burn off as much speed as possible before docking, don't let the adrenaline rule you and rush it.
4. Consider putting an anchor out. I considered it but gave the idea up since the water was shallow, with potential surf breaks and rocks all around.
In the end there were no major injuries a lot of soreness and hurt egos but not too bad. Of course the armchair quarterbacks whose boats haven't left the dock in years all had great suggestions on what we SHOULD have done and some of the suggestions were valid. But in the end, we handled the emergency as best we could and saved our home from being dashed against the rocks of the jetty or a potentially worse fate. All said and done, we have a slightly bent bobstay and a $200 bill from Paradise village Marina for the dock damage. I still second guess everything from that day but all in all it turned out not being as bad as it could have been. Lisa was so amazing and if I had anyone else with me I don't know how it would have turned out.
With wounds licked and hands healed, we are now safely anchored in the La Cruz anchorage enjoying life on the hook once again.
November 8, 2011, La Cruz Anchorage
We just set the anchor in the La Cruz anchorage, (yes still in Banderas Bay). The long journey of about 2 miles took us all day because in true "cruiser fashion" we HAD to do everything before we "left". Since we have been "Marina Rats" for almost a full year we figured it would be nice to join the cruising world again by living like a cruiser. Also the marina rates went up considerably so we really couldn't afford the marina anymore anyway.
All of us had gotten way too comfortable in the marina. We would watch TV, get online, update FaceBook and do a whole bunch of nothing. So we are back to the simple life.
So here we are anchor set, cold drinks in hands, smiles on faces and nothing to do except enjoy each others company. We have already seen the difference in our family and our family's interaction.
So for now, we are "happy on the hook". Hopefully this will be the first of many blogs now that we are back in the "swing of things".
July 4, 2011, Marina La Cruz, Mexico
Even though summer is here and most of the cruising crowd has left La Cruz, an impressive number of kids are still present. For this gang of young hoodlums and rebel-rousers, the transportation device of choice is the ever-popular scooter. They are lightweight, compact, and easy to ride.
Pictured here is one of the popular hangouts for this band of troublemakers. It just happens to be our boat, Andiamo III. At this particular watering hole, social misfits can get a variety of refreshments, watch their favorite movies or play a little Wii. These little people will ride their highly customized choppers to one of their favorite hangouts and park them outside. When I saw it, it reminded me of a biker bar from back home. Perhaps we could get Orange County Choppers to build a custom bike with a 'scooter' theme and dedicate it to the kids?
July 4, 2011, La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, Mexico
Yeah, yeah, yeah, we know we know. Once again, we have neglected our blog and gotten way behind. Among being parked at the marina in La Cruz for the past 7 months, my going back to work in the states, and most of our good friends leaving for other exotic destinations, we feel like we have fallen out of the 'cruising' lifestyle. It is kinda sad really when we think about it - almost like we have gotten into a rut with nothing worthy of blogging.
Although we could probably a few things to complain about, life has been pretty good over the past few months. Andiamo and crew have decided to remain in Banderas Bay and Marina La Cruz for the summer (hurricane season) and resume active cruising this fall. With my job requiring frequent travel to and from the US, we find it convenient to be near the Puerto Vallarta airport. The weather is getting hot and wet with temperatures approaching 100 degrees in the daytime and frequent rain showers and thunderstorms. The boat cover and window unit air conditioner are pulling double duty as they try to keep the boat and family cool (cooler) and dry for the most part. The marina has quieted down and a majority of the cruising crowd has either crossed the Pacific, pressed south to El Salvador or headed north into the Sea of Cortez for the summer. We sure do miss a good many of our friends, but we look forward to seeing them again this fall.
We have not done much sailing the past 4 months as my work schedule has kinda put a damper on things. We did spend a long weekend anchored off of Punta de Mita where we had a wonderful time. We had a special dinner at the Four Seasons Resort that weekend too celebrating Mother's Day, our anniversary, and a few other overlooked holidays.
We have already survived two hurricanes this season as well. Hurricane Adrian reared its ugly head far offshore in early June and then more recently, Hurrican Beatriz (category 1) made a short run up the coast from Z-town to Banderas Bay where it fizzled down and headed back out to sea. Hopefully, these are not harbingers of worse weather yet to come. Nevertheless, we are staying vigilant and prepared in the event we have a more powerful storm hit La Cruz.
We had a trip to Tequila planned a couple weeks ago, but Hurrican Beatriz forced us to cancel and remain with the boat as they were forecasting 75 knot winds and heavy swell and rain. So, we did the responsible thing and cancelled our hotel reservations and readied the boat for heavy weather. The weather never got bad, but it was the responsible thing to do. To make up for our lost excursion, we spent the following weekend at the Paradise Village Resort enjoying the awesome pool, air-conditioned room, and time with our good friends on Albatross. It was a much needed getaway for Tami and the kids and we had a wonderful time.
So, the summer routine is upon us. I am working 2 weeks on and 2 weeks off with travel to the states in between. Tami is keeping a solid daily routine of homeschooling, coordinating marina social activities, and running the La Cruz Kid's Club (detailed blog to follow soon!). We are planning for a haul out of Andiamo in the near future as she needs a bottom job, new cutlass bearing, and a few other minor items. We are thoroughly enjoying our extended stay in La Cruz and have made some wonderful friendships over the past 7 months here. We are counting down the days until fall when the cruising season gets back into full swing and when we begin to make plans for heading further south.
Im sure I have missed some important details that I know Tami will correct me on later, but we will try to get caught up on those in future posts.
More to follow...
February 20, 2011, Yelapa, Jalisco, Mexico
So, after a month or so of being cryogenically frozen in order to be transported into the future, the Reynolds family has finally thawed out and are back to the cruising and blogging lifestyle. What a great nap the past month has been!
Anyway, we are all very alive and well and still living on the boat in La Cruz, Mexico. After being chastised by more than one friend and blog reader, we realized we needed to get things going again. Gene's has recently returned from about 3+ weeks of training for his new job in the states and we are all getting reunited and enjoying our time together.
As fortune would have it, Tami had to fly back to Seattle on the very day that Gene flew back into Puerto Vallarta. After 3 weeks of being apart, we were able to see each other at the airport for a few minutes at least before being separated once again. We have a close family friend who is terminally ill in the hospital at Fort Lewis and Tami needed to get home to see her one last time. She was fortunate enough to spend some quality time with her before returning home just a couple days ago. It was hard to say goodbye.
Yesterday, we re-entered the cruising lifestyle and slipped away from the relative safety of our marina for an overnight cruise to Yelapa. One of the benefits of Gene's new job is the schedule. He works 2 weeks and then has 2 weeks off. So, during his time off, we can pretty much do whatever we want. It's like a mini vacation every month! Anyway, Yelapa is located on the south side of Banderas Bay - a short 15 mile day-sail from La Cruz. Yelapa is a very unique little town. The land in Yelapa is owned collectively by the indigenous people, and the families there have extensive backgrounds dating back centuries. It is also home to numerous expatriates. Yelapa sits inside a small cove and is surrounded by towering lush green mountains. There is no road access to this small town; therefore, transportation is provided by water taxi, 4-wheeler, horse, or donkey. Only recently have telephone and electrical services been brought to Yelapa. The Rio El Tuito meets the bay in Yelapa and one can hike up through the town to a beautiful waterfall set against a tropical backdrop. In the warmer months, a dip in the water at the base of the cascada is well worth the walk. We didn't get in the water, but we did take plenty of pictures.
For 200 pesos (about $20 US), we spent the night on a mooring in the bay. The water is too deep to anchor so entrepreneurial pangueros will hurry out to meet incoming cruising boats and help them with a mooring, for a fee of course. We were able to say hello to some cruising friends of ours on sv Savannah who were moored next to us as well. The anchorage was a bit bumpy, but the visit to the town was worth it. We only stayed one night, but next time, we will be sure to enjoy the popular restaurants, the Yelapa yacht club, and the delicious pies sold by the local ladies on the beach.
The overnight trip was a nice getaway. We sailed most of the way across the bay and enjoyed being back on the water. Andiamo was able to stretch her legs and fly full sail in the warm afternoon breeze. The weather was beautiful and the sun was hot. We are counting the days until Gene's next time off so we can explore further and further away from our home base here in La Cruz.
January 11, 2011, La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, Nayarit Mexico
After over a month of neglecting the blog, we felt it was past time to update our readers. We are truly sorry to those of you who faithfully check our site.
We left off sailing towards Bahia de Los Muertos on the Baja Peninsula. Since then, we have covered a lot of ground, seen a lot of sights, and done some cool stuff.
We crossed the Sea of Cortez without incident and spent a little over a week anchored in Mazatlan's old harbor. The mainland side of Mexico is definitely different than the Baja.
From there we sailed down to Isla Isabela. This island is classified as the Galapagos of the North. It is inhabited by millions of frigate birds, blue footed boobies, and iguanas. We enjoyed a coupled days in the anchorage there and explored just about all there was to explore. We even got in a scuba dive with our friends from Serendipity, Zeppelin, and Lunautica.
From there, we sailed onto San Blas, where we spent a night in the anchorage at Ensanada de Matanchen. We took the jungle river panga tour and the kids loved it.
Our next stop was Chacala. This little town was great. We spent almost the entire day on the beach.
After Chacala, we continued south and rounded Punta de Mita into Banderas Bay. We arrived at the new marina in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle and stayed a full 2 weeks. Here we celebrated Christmas and New Years with about 60 other cruisers and close friends. We are now anchored out trying to save a few pennies. Later this week, we'll head over to Nuevo Vallarta and visit the marina at Paradise Village.
La Cruz is awesome. One of our most favorite stops so far.
The big news of the year is that Gene has a new job. Our goal was to sail to Mexico and spend Christmas and New Years there then we would consider employment again. Well, that's exactly what we did. Gene took a job flying for a company called Era Helicopters in the Gulf of Mexico. The work schedule is what we like best as it will allow us to continue living and sailing in Mexico and Gene can commute to and from work. More details to follow as he starts his training in a couple weeks.
So now, here we are, still in the Puerto Vallarta area with plans to be here for the near future. We were so busy in December and spotty internet service kept us from keeping a good blog. We hope to get back in the habit of updating it on a more regular basis.
More to follow...