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Calou's Blog
Cruising with the crew of CALOU on the Baja Ha-ha and Pacific Puddle Jump
Checking Off Projects
John
03/13/2011

John's Blog Updated. Originally posted here: http://travel.reservationkey.com Latitude: 20.691867 Longitude: -105.293009

Today was a very busy day, full of lots of projects. I started with doing four quick projects - finished installing bolts for side rails to hold extra fuel cans, installed chafe protection on our dock lines, ground off an old bracket we no longer use on the stern railing, and trimmed a wood covering for one of our storage areas.

Next, Bruce and I worked on finishing installing the mast camera. We thought it would be a fairly quick project, but it ended up taking just about all afternoon. One major hold up was that the cable kept getting stuck inside the mast as we tried to pull it through. But now the installation is finished and we have a nice forward looking camera to help us avoid hitting coral heads. On the way back down the mast I swung from side to side and washed down the rigging with soap and water.

While at the top of the mast I had a chance to take a few more photos of the marina. One of our new neighbors even brought a helicopter with them. We are thinking of seeing if we can clear some space on our front deck and maybe we will get one too. It would be much easier to be able to move between the anchorage and shore by helicopter instead of having to inflate the dingy and make our way through the waves.

While we were working on the camera Pascale was busy unpacking all the things we had bought from Costco a few days ago. The vacuum sealer turned out to be a great purchase. We are able to quickly seal up our provisions such as flour, rice, nuts, dried fruit, oatmeal, sugar, paper towels and paper napkins. Besides reducing the amount of storage space all these things take and preserving freshness, everything is now also water proof.

To celebrate our progress, we went out to dinner at a nice Italian restaurant here at the marina.

Pacific Puddle Jump 2011
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Things Getting Back To Normal
John
03/12/2011

John's Blog Updated. Originally posted here: travel.reservationkey.com

We are settled back in our slip at Paradise Village. Although we were only gone a little more than 24 hours, for some reason it seems like we were out much longer. Maybe it is because of all the stress and uncertainty of what we were dealing with yesterday. About two hours before sunset we were just off old town PV when we decided we needed to be in La Cruz anchorage for the night, which is about 11 miles all the way across the bay.

We cranked up the motor and got the anchor down just as the sun was setting. In our rush to put out as much anchor chain as possible we accidentally put out all of our chain so that only the rope was left on the windlass. Luckily, in our haste to get out of the marina earlier, I had thrown the kayak up on the bow of the boat instead of leaving it on the dock. So we launched the kayak and I was able to reach down and attach a carabiner and rope to the end of the chain which was just under the surface of the water. We then used a winch to get some of the chain back up to the windlass. Finally we were able to relax and have some dinner and get to bed.

This morning the surge had calmed down enough that we were able to enter the La Cruz marina where we docked for just enough time so that Peter of Seatek Rigging could inspect our boat. The only damage to the marina was a few slips near the harbor were destroyed by the surge. The rig inspection showed that everything on Calou is in great shape. The only piece Peter highly recommends replacing is the bronze fixture at the bow of the boat to which the forestay is attached. So we will replace that with a stainless steel piece next week. Peter promises to being work on that and our other projects by mid week. We are hoping.

We left the La Cruz marina around 2pm and motored back to Paradise Village. On our way back we were able to get some nice photos of the boats racing in the Banderas Bay Regatta. The race resumed today, after cancelling racing yesterday due to the tsunami.

Tomorrow we hope to install the new mast camera (which Bruce got working yesterday while we were motoring around the bay), and finish unpacking the car, which is still full of our provisions from our Costco run of two days ago.

Pacific Puddle Jump 2011
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Surviving another tsunami
John
03/11/2011

Its hard to believe, but we are still motoring around the bay waiting for the surge to settle down. All three harbors remain closed to boats trying to enter and there is even a navy ship patrolling outside of our harbor preventing boats from attempting to enter. The problem is, there is a strong surge that keeps going in and out of the harbor entrance every few minutes. We have heard reports of the water levels fluctuating as much as 6 feet and currents up to 14 knots.

So now we are motoring at 7 knots across the bay towards La Cruz where we hope to anchor for the night. I think we will have plenty of company there as most of the boats left the harbors this morning and very few have returned. We also heard of a warning for another tsunami to possibly arrive in our area around midnight. So we will be watching for that.

At sea we felt nothing and saw nothing, but I supposed this still counts as surviving my second tsunami in six years.

Pacific Puddle Jump 2011
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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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