03/11/2011, Bandaras Bay
We woke up this morning to the news of the big earthquake in Japan and the potential tsunami coming our way. We were at the marina at Nuevo Vallarta (Ian is racing with our friends on Tapatai and it was just more convenient to be at the dock than at anchor). Anyhow, the docks were alive with everyone out talking about the best course of action. Some said stay it would be fine, others thought the best course would be to head out to the bay. Ian at first decided to add extra lines to the boat which we did, but about an hour later, he changed his mind and decided that we should head out to deep water, so at about 11:30 am we headed out.
Channel 22 the cruisers channel, on the VHF radio was full of chatter, information and misinformation. One minute the ports were closed to all traffic and then they were only closed to commercial traffic. We decided that since our boat is our home we couldn't afford to take the chance on being caught at the dock in a big surge that could not only break the docks, but do lots of damage to our boat. So closed or not we left the marina.
It was a pleasant day with a light wind and very calm seas out there and we had a great day of sailing back and fourth across the bay. We made lots of fresh water and ran the engine a few hours to charge up the batteries.
Although the regatta was cancelled for the day, you would not have known it with all the boats out sailing.
We were hearing reports on the radio of surges of 2, 3 and 4 feet. A couple of docks broke in one marina and the outflow waters out of the estuaries (where most of the marinas are) was up to 14 knots. Around 5 pm we were tired of sailing and wishing we could go back to the dock but the ports at this point were really closed with the Mexican Navy guarding the entrance to our entry. So the only choice was to sail around all night or to anchor out. So despite the fact that we splurged on a marina for a few days, here we are back at anchor!
That being said, we are safe and sound and things could have been so much worse. Our hearts go out to the people who have been affected the most by todays disaster. We hope that things go back to normal for them as soon as possible.
It's been a while since I blogged but I seem to have a good internet connection today so I'll take advantage of it.
As you can see from the above picture, Ian got up close and personal with the dolphins in Tenacatita bay. That day he was cleaning the bottom of the boat and was taking a break just floating around and the dolphins decided to check him out. There are about 7 dolphins that seem to come into the bay almost daily and spend the whole day there swimming around and rubbing on anchor chains. One of the dolphins is widely known as Chippy because he has a chuck missing out of his dorsal fin probably due to a mishap with a propeller. It is so wonderful to get up in the morning and have your coffee while observing the dolphins so close up. We feel really privileged to have had the chance to see them so often and so close up for the 5 weeks or so we have spent in this bay.
On Saturday the 26th, the 1st Annual La Manzanilla Regatta took place. It was organized late and therefore there was not a lot of advertising for it so the number of sailboats that entered was small about 10 altogether. Ian decided he wanted to enter and since I wasn't interested in racing my house, our friend Al, a friend of his and a local Mexican that Ian had befriended were to be the crew. It was a great day both on the water for the racers and on the beach for the watchers. It was sponsored by Corona, a tequila factory, Puerto Vallarta Yacht Club and various other sponsors. There was a big tent up with tables and chairs with flowers on all the tables and table cloths - really it looked like a wedding was about to take place. There was free beer, free tequila, free food and 2 local bands playing music all day. Tons of fun! As for the race, in the class Kasasa was in, there were 6 boats altogether. Ian crossed the finish line 3rd, but due to handicapping we came in 4th place. We both had lots of fun that day.
That evening, since it was my birthday the next day, we went out for dinner with the rest of the crew and their wives. I got to choose the restaurant and I picked on that I remembered from 2004 when we were in La Manzanilla. It wasn't the cheapest place to eat but it sure was good. 3 of the dishes our table ordered were cooked right in front of us by the chef/owner. We had ceaser salad made at the table just like they used to do in the 70's, Ian and I had this amazing curry prawn dish that was cooked right at the table and someone had Crepe Suzette for dessert and that was made at the table as well as the special coffees. It was not only delicious but quite entertaining as well. Then the owner brought me a piece of cake and everyone sang Happy Birthday. So it was a great evening after a great day.
So our next blog will be from further up the coast as we are going to start heading north. Actually as I write this we are sitting in Chamela which is 30 miles north of Tenacatita. We are going to stay here until we get a weather forcast we like to go around Cabo Corrientes which is notoriously rough. We actually were on route for there yesterday and got about 8 miles north of Chamela when we got hit with 18 knots of wind on the nose and building seas. A boat that was 10 miles north of us was really into the chop so we decided to turn around and go back into Chamela for the night rather that bash into waves which slow us down too much. There is more wind expected today and tomorrow is looking like it might be the better option. That's okay since we didn't get a chance to stop here when we headed south we can explore it today.
I've put pictures of the dolphins in the Gallery and hope to upload some of the Regatta pics today too.
Excuse me a BURP! Actually it stands for Bluewater Unofficial Rendezvous Party and we had one here in Tenacatita. Bluewater Cruising Association is a club we belong to in Vancouver that promotes offshore cruising. We have over 500 members and lots of them have been offshore or are planning on going. Anyhow we had 6 boats from the club in the anchorage so of course we had to have a get together. We were nice and invited the rest of the anchorage along too.
From Bluewater we had Bill and Janet from Optical Illusions, Ann and Dyck from Full & By, Wayne and Elly from Zeppelin, Jordan and Judy from Sea Turtle, Tom and Pam from Kewao and Ellen and Ian from Kasasa. Lots of fun!
02/11/2011, Barra, Tenacatita & Puerto Vallarta
Well Dad and Kathy have come and gone. It passed by that quickly. It seems like we were just picking them up at the airport yesterday and today we dropped them off to go home.
We picked them up in Puerto Vallarta on the 3rd of February and drove down to Barra de Navidad the next day. We spent 4 days in Barra where they stayed at the Delphin Hotel and we did various things during the days. One day we spent at the Grand Bay Hotel just hanging out at the pool ordering fancy drinks and playing crib (thanks to my friends Penny & Fred from Tapatai who gave us a pass to use the pool for the day). Another day we drove up to Colima hoping to catch a glimpse of the volcano's in the area. We did see it sort of. It was a big hill covered from 3/4 of the way up by a very large cloud. We did drive to the town of Comala where we enjoyed a sampling of appetizers that are continually brought out to you in the restaurants at the town square. You order a few drinks and the appys are free.
And we also spent some time just hanging out in Barra enjoying the small quaint town and the markets there. I think that both dad and Kathy really enjoyed this town. They also got a tour of the village Ian and I love called La Manzanilla, including the big crocodiles at the end of the village.
Then for 3 days we went out in the boat to the bay of Tenacatita and anchored out. We enjoyed the company of friends Beth and Norm from Sara Jean one evening. We were graced by dolphins in the bay swimming around the boat and finishing off their show by jumping 7 or 8 times just at sunset! One day Kathy and Ian took off in the dingy full speed hoping to catch up to the Humpback whales that were in the bay. Kathy was given a personal close up view and she also go spashed by the big waves in the bay but she loved every minute. She also had another first in that she swam in salt water for the first time in her life. Dad and Ellen spent some time playing crib together with dad winning most of the games. Oh Yes! We also had the pleasure of celebrating dad's 82nd birthday on the 8th! We had a nice dinner of barbequed fish at the palapa restaurant on the beach and then had chocolate cake on the boat later on. Happy 82nd dad and here's to many many more!
All in all it was a great 10 days and we are so happy that they came and spent them with us. We are hoping that they come again soon.
Check in the gallery for photos from their visit.
This artwork is stunning. The colours are amazing and it is all done with thread pushed into wax! The Huichol indians are from central Mexico. They also do 3d artwork pushing beads into wax figurines.
02/11/2011, Puerto Vallarta