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Sea adventures with D & D
We arrive!
D & D
03/06/2011, La Cruz Marina

Picture is of us setting up the tow; notice the fog we ran into at 7 AM that morning.
We arrived in La Cruz around 7 and our dear friends dropped the tow line and a panga with 3 men picked it up and pulled us safely to a dock near the haul out station. We are thrilled to have made it without any further events - for example, the winds today are 20+ knots and that could have spelled trouble for us, given our boat's condition. We are frantically cleaning up the boat, pulling personal items off and getting it ready for inspections. Interesting, I clearly saw the whale's back as he left and he was covered with barnacles. What we see on the edges and bow of our boat are deep scratches, where we went over his top. We had just had the boat pulled out, scrubbed and repainted on the bottom, before the trip.
We will not be racing in the regatta with our friends. . . too much at this time, though we will attend some of the parties. We have a cute hotel in Buserias and will stay there, flying home to Spokane on Saturday the 12th. Once we get settled, I plan to write more of the adventure and Darryl and I will certainly answer any questions, anyone might have. We have some fabulous pictures of our rescue and towing but not of the whale. . .darn, we just didn't have the camera ready. . . I'll post next time we have a minute.

Whale Encounter
D & D
03/05/2011, Arrived in La Cruz Marina seconds ago

The picture is of the dinghies who responded to our "May Day" call.
March 2 The day really looked promising, pleasant temperature, not too hot, and, after taking the water taxi into Barra Navidad to pick up our clean laundry, we pull up anchor and sail out toward one of our favorite anchorages, Tennacatita. The day began uneventfully, and we only saw a few dolphins, a few manta rays. We turn off the motor and are sailing at 3-4 knots. It's approximately 3:30 PM as we turn into Tennacatita Bay, about 1 ½ miles from the anchorage.
We suddenly experience a violent heaving of the boat, the stern actually being lifted out of the water and we swing back and forth; next, we see the flukes of a large humpback whale off our stern, trying to disentangle himself (our thoughts) from our boat's rudder. He began beating on the hull, over and over. Adjectives that come to mind: violent, intense, loud and seemingly never ending, as we were thrust back and forth. And then he swam away. We quickly looked under the floor boards and discovered that we had water rushing in. The electric bilge pump was running, and Donna grabbed the manual bilge pump and started pumping, we grabbed our life jackets, Darryl called a "May day, May day" over our VHF. We started the motor (severe vibration in forward), and started preparing items to take if we had to abandon the boat. 4 cruisers, each with dinghies came zipping out within 5-10 minutes. They hooked up to us, came aboard with portable bilge pumps, and helped Darryl assess the damage while Donna steered the boat. Our Friends on 40-love brought their sailboat out in case we needed to abandon the boat, as the dinghies might not be big enough for any items we could remove.
We appeared to stabilize. The water inflow slowed to a few drops a second and we managed to motor slowly into Tennacatita and drop anchor. The fellow cruisers continued to support us; Bill suited up into his wet suit (red tide today) and checked for damage under the boat; he found a bent prop shaft, bent strut, broken lower rear section of the rudder, along with a bent exhaust pipe.
Our friends from 40 love anchored near us and brought over dinner, a welcome relief. They have changed their plans and will accompany us to PV in our "slow boat to china" scenario, as we can't put a lot of pressure on the drive shaft/ etc. nor can we use reverse.
When we looked around inside, we had a mess, fractures appearing in the interior wood, the head totally dysfunctional, and a few other broken areas. We began an inspection of the cabin and found all glass in portholes lose, many sections of wood mold broken, cracked, the bulkhead to V-birth cracked and displaced, frame around V-birth door displaced with a crack of approximately 1 ½ inches, head compartment moved 1 ½ inches, head door jammed shut (had to use a crowbar) and the head non-working. The floor beams on the starboard of mast was cracked and the starboard chain plate attachment was cracked; later that night, the list continued to grow. We slept (what little sleep we got) in the salon, so that we could listen for bilge pump and make sure no other leaks. We woke up several times and had long conversations about our recollections, as they started coming back to us. Darryl had yelled, we've run aground; Donna yelled, no, no, look - it's a whale under us. We remembered the sound, seeming to never end, of the whipping of his tail in trying to get away. We both were rattled and finally got up and made coffee at 5 am and started checking other parts of the boat. Many cruisers called on the "net" offering equipment, support, assistance.
We can tell you that this was a most frightening experience. On the morning of the 4th of March, we took off under sail with the motor running low to reduce the banging and thumping coming from it. We plan to be in Chamela tonight and drop anchor, then sometime tomorrow we'll sail for Puerto Vallarta hoping to arrive sometime Saturday. Our friends on 40-Love are right beside us, thankfully. We've made some preparation of packing up important documents and items in case of further emergency, but we do seem stable at this time.
The important thing - we are safe and also very overwhelmed by the amount of support we received from total strangers as well as some friends. To mention a few: 40 - Love, Joel and Chris, our buddy boaters; Bill from Faisin who dove under our boat and assessed the damage; Dave and Marilee on Tamara who offered to sail with us; Ron on Whirlwind; Tom on Navino; Ken on Las Scala, and Mark. I am sure I've spelled names wrong but please know we are grateful for the outpouring of help!
By the way, we don't blame the whale - neither of us saw each other. . . The are magnificent mamals. . . and we have enjoyed them immensly.

03/05/2011 | jerry
WOW! Im so glad your safe. Your in my prayers. Just reading this post shook me up.
03/06/2011 | Bob Davidson
WOW!! Sorry to hear about your encounter with the whale. Doesn't sound good for the boat. Hope you make it safely to PV and that you'll be sailing again soon.
As an aside, I just happen to be reading Moby Dick right now. Sort of on a classic kick.

Bob
03/06/2011 | Mary
So glad to hear you are safe. And fortunate to be in the care of such boaters! Best wishes as you travel to PV and begin the repair process.
03/06/2011 | Jerry and Stela
please let us know your progress...
03/07/2011 | Petra Chase
Donna, we are reading with fascination your blog. The whale encounter is amazing! So very glad that you are safe. Hope the boat repairs are manageable. I love your entry: "we don't blame the whale - neither of us saw each other..." So well said. All the best and keep us all posted. Love, Petra
03/08/2011 | Jill Goodell
Ronnie shared this with me. Wow, what an event. Never knew whales could be so violet. Glad you are both safe. JJ
03/08/2011 | Jerie
Hey Rev,

I suspect that when you had the boat hauled the last time the bottom painter embedded a message. Probably something like " Whales Suck" or "Plankton have rights too"

What ever.
We're glad your safe.

Jerie and Nancy
Parade/party goers
D & D
03/02/2011, Barra Navidad

More parade pix

Parade/party goers
D & D
03/02/2011, Barra Navidad

Pictures of the crowd on the roadside for the parade.

Visit with the Pentlands
Donna
03/02/2011, Melaque

3/1 We hooked up with old highschool friends of Donna's who are vacationing here - George and Margory Pentland . Delightful time over dinner getting reaquainted and catching up with each other's lives, while reminiscing of our interesting highschool years. To get there, we took a water taxi from our boat to Barra Navidad (we're in the lagoon) and then a taxi to Melaque, about 6 miles away. Our ride back was quite fun! we became a part of a parade that was on the roads, our taxi slowed to a snail's pace and we just waving and laughing with the people that drove by - I'll add some pictures to show the spirit. Our taxi driver was great, just took in stride, but finally, asked if we minded walking the rest (8 blocks or so)and we happily agreed, so we could walk with the meandering crowd of party goers. It was interesting, colorful, very different from our parades - and a slice of Mexican culture.

Wind and waves
Donna
03/01/2011, Barra Navidad

1/28 This day started out so pleasantly. We left Santiago Bay with very light winds, dolphins swimming along side and headed a very short distance - 28 miles northwest to Barra Navidad. I would like to end the story there; however, there's a bit more to write about! Winds built to 10 knots, we turned off the motor and were thrilled to sail, though the winds were turning toward our bow. The winds continued to build to 27 knots, the waves were short (think staccato) and high as in 6-8'. Our forward progress slowed to nil and we tacked back and forth, with waves coming over our bow, drenching us every so often. It became so wild, that we reluctantly tethered up with our life jackets, just to err on the side of safety. We put in reef #1 on the main, furled the genoa and plowed through the waves, at times only making 1 ½ miles an hour. 9 hours later, and we finally rounded the tip into the Barra Navidad area. We were two whipped pups, had showers and a very very simple dinner at 8 PM and went to bed with achy muscles. The boat held tight overnight and at least we had something a bit more interesting to write about in the blog (I assured Darryl). And, as Shakespeare says, "All's well that ends well!"

03/02/2011 | jerry
Wow.. I'm glad your both ok. Glad that is all over...now for more fun!

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First time cruisers
Who: Darryl & Donna
Port: Mazatlan
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