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Calou's Blog
Cruising with the crew of CALOU on the Baja Ha-ha and Pacific Puddle Jump
Taking Refuge in Banderas Bay
John
03/11/2011

We are now about one mile out in the bay. We left in a huge hurry when we started to see the destruction that was happening in Santa Cruz and Southern California. We quickly threw everything loose on deck into the cabin and tossed off the dock lines and headed out. Most of the other sailboats did the same thing. We thought we were only going to get a small amount of action from the tsunami, but after seeing what happened in California we were not so sure, so it seems the best bet is to be out in the open water.

This is a great test of our satellite equipment as I am making this post via the satellite terminal. I was able to connect within a few minutes of getting it set up. Online at almost broadband speeds.

Bruce is making lunch right now. Good thing we provisioned yesterday. We moved most of the food items onto the boat last night, although much of our supplies are still in the trunk of the car. We were planning to unpack today.

Pacific Puddle Jump 2011
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Waiting for the Tsunami
John
03/11/2011

Waiting for the Tsunami
3/11/2011 8:07:58 AM (20.691867, -105.293009)

I was awoken this morning by an announcement on our VHF radio that a massive earthquake had struck Japan and that all west coast ports of Mexico have been closed due to a tsunami warning. Right now we are waiting to see if anything materializes. I am listening to streaming radio from Hawaii and it appears that not a whole lot happened there, so I am giving the odds of anything happening here as quite low. In Hawaii there was some extra surge, but nothing of catastrophic proportions.

If anything does happen here, I have a large hotel building picked out very close to our boat which would be an ideal place to sit it out, and perhaps get some good photos. I have my camera ready. This was my strategy in 2004 in Khao Lak, Thailand, which worked well for me then.

Pacific Puddle Jump 2011
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Anchoring Out at La Cruz
Bruce
03/11/2011, Banderas Bay

Having left the harbor for safer deep water during the tsunami, we now find it impossible to return to the marinas. The entrances to all three marinas in the Puerto Vallarta area are closed due to dangerous conditions even now, after 6 PM. We have heard that the channel leading to our marina is now a brownish river with breaking waves. The Mexican Navy has blocked entrances to all the marinas. So we are heading to the anchorage of Laz Cruz where we'll spend the night. It's no problem, we'll be safe at anchor and we have everything we need on board.

Francois is on another boat, Evergreen, for the duration of the Banderas Bay regatta (through Saturday). We saw Francois sailing on the bay today and waved at each other. Evergreen undoubtedly will be at anchor this evening as well since they are unable to enter their marina as well.

This unexpected day on the water is actually a good thing for us, as it gives us a chance to test our systems (engine, watermaker, solar and wind power, the new battery bank, anchor windlass, etc.) prior to setting sail for Polynesia.

Pacific Puddle Jump 2011
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03/11/2011 | Ron and Liz
Happy Anchoring! We hope you have a great trip!!!
Tsunami Warning in Puerto Vallarta
Bruce
03/11/2011, Puerto Vallarta

At first we thought the tsunami from Japan would not do much damage by the time it got to the West coast, but seeing the damage caused to boats in Santa Cruz made us realize there could be problems. Our location in Puerto Vallarta is at the end of the funnel like Banderas Bay, so it seemed too risky to stay in port.

At about noon we untied the docking lines and motored out into deeper water where any tsunami would have minimal effect. So right now we're enjoying an afternoon on the water in Banderas Bay.

The Banderas Bay Regatta, which was supposed to be held today, was cancelled.

Pacific Puddle Jump 2011
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03/11/2011 | jacob
Thank goodness you are all safe. We're following your story from YachtBlogs.com

Thank you for the update!

Jacob
Trip Prep and Provisioning
John
03/10/2011

This day was very busy. We started out with watching the Banderas Bay Regatta parade of boats which was going on right outside our boat slip. About 50 boats participated including Splish Splash, the boat Francois is crewing on for the race.

Next we spent a few hours debugging problems with our mast mounted video camera. It looks like there is some problem with the wiring as it is very sensitive to movement. Bruce bought an identical camera yesterday as he though the first camera was dead, but the new one also has the same problem. We have now bought one more camera, this one more like a security camera, which we will soon be testing.

Then our marathon shopping trip began. We started at Costco where we bought one cart full overflowing with goods. It was amazing to walk into Costco here and feel like I was back in Costco at home. The layout was identical, the smells the same. One major difference is most of the packaging is in Spanish. Also, no free food tasting stands. In fact, the only sample station was a lady demonstrating her brand of toilet paper. She had a roll set up and was giving out samples. Pretty funny actually. I stocked up on my personal stash of candy, nuts, and dried fruit.

Next we stopped at Walmart, arriving about 7pm and not getting out of there until well after 9pm. We ended up with two carts overflowing with dry goods. We bought everything from cheap tee shirts for covering our fuel cans to drawing paper for Antoine. Plus all the staples we can expect to need for about 6 weeks before our next major provisioning options (pasta, rice, beans, sauces, drinks, mixes, and much more). With this trip out of the way, we have finished purchasing about 95% of the dry goods we need and probably about two thirds finished with provisioning. Our next major shopping will be for fresh meat and fruit and vegetables, which will be right before our departure.

Pacific Puddle Jump 2011
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Tsunami Evacuation
John
03/09/2011, Puerto Vallarta

After seeing all the destruction in the various ports in California we quickly decided to leave the marina and head for open water. We have just finished a delicious lunch and are a lot less worried now that we are in open water. For my full post see my blog at http://travel.reservationkey.com .

Pacific Puddle Jump 2011
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Getting Ready for the Jump
Bruce
02/16/2011, Nuevo Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico

We've been so busy making preprations for the Pacific Puddle Jump (crossing the Pacific Ocean to the Marquesas and from there to Polynesia) that we haven't had much time to post to the blog. The last 2 weeks feel like the final weeks before our departure from San Francisco to Cabo San Lucas.

There are a ton of upgrades that we're doing to our boat to prepare it and us.

First on the list was obtaining a spinnaker for our trip. We'll be needing it a lot, since we'll be relying on the wind to get us there, and it's a reach or downwind all the way. We've got a rigger here in Puerto Vallarta (PV) working on that.

Second is replacing three of our 5 deep cycle house batteries, which were showing signs of age and not really holding a charge.

Third was getting our watermaker working after being mothballed the last year. It turns out watermakers don't like to be mothballed (pickled), so we had to change out some parts.

Fourth was getting a rigging inspection and following up on the rigger's recommendations. The gooseneck was showing some wear, so we're overhauling that critical part.

We're also having a new bimini made to replace the one that was falling apart at the seams.

We're carrying a complete, redundant autopilot. Ditto for a redundant, spare VHF radio and emergency antenna. Ditto for a spare chartplotter and spare navigation memory chip. And we already have two GPS systems on board. When our trip is over, we'll just sell whatever spares we didn't use on E-Bay.

Oh, and we got some toys too, including a very high quality hypalon inflatable kayak at a swap meet, which will be great when we get to the islands.

The list goes on and on.... it's a 24 hour/day job up until our planned departure point around the end of February, IF we're ready. We would reather postpone our departure than leave without being ready.

Psychologically, we're all psyched. Well, at least the adults are. Antoine is excited too. Francois would rather be skiing, but we thing he's looking forward to it as well. Both boys look forward to meeting up in the Marquesas with our buddy boat, Phambili.



Pacific Puddle Jump 2011
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Sail to Chamela
Bruce
02/05/2011, Chamela, Jalisco, Mexico

We left Tenacatita this morning about 10:30 and headed north about 50 miles up the coast (give or take) to the delightful anchorage of Chamela. Our trip was uneventful, except for the 6 foot waves and headwinds. We motorsailed most of the way, thus making more speed that would be possible with either sails or motor alone.

Tomorrow we'll head further north to either Ipala or La Cruz.

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