Time to Escape
04 April 2020 | Nuevo Vallarta
The last several weeks have been interesting to say the least. Along with the rest of the world, we have been socially isolating and following a very disciplined hygiene regimen. Unfortunately, we have not seen the same discipline among everyone in the cruising community or the locals in Nuevo Vallarta. We always knew it was about getting the timing right to get back to San Diego once we had confidence that the proverbial curve was flattening. We also wanted to depart Mexico before either the virus took hold here or the bureaucracy would get in the way. Sure enough, port captains in Mexico signaled that they would be closing ports to "leisure vessels"... the question was whether that applied to cruising vessels as well. After a week of rumors, we confirmed that "vessels in transit" could still move between Mexican ports with proper paperwork.
The next rumor was that Mexican port captains were not processing exit Zarpes for ports outside Mexico. Some destinations, like French Polynesia are not allowing boats to clear in, instead sending them to Papeete in Tahiti to put their boats on a mooring and a mandatory flight home. Ugh! While Hawaii requires a Mexico Zarpe, daughter Megan went down to the CBP office on Shelter Island in San Diego and confirmed first-hand that they did *not* require a Zarpe. Yay Megan!
Long story short, we got exit papers from Nuevo Vallarta to Ensenada, and set sail for San Jose Del Cabo, where we arrived Wednesday to refuel and look for a weather window around Cabo Falso, just west of Cabo San Lucas. Right now it is looking like a departure Sunday for our 8-10 day bash up the Baja coast to San Diego. We will stop in Bahia Santa Maria, just north of Bahia Magdalena and then in Bahia Tortuga before the final passage to San Diego. It's all upwind, which sucks... the dogs hate it, Rina hates it... For me, it's a puzzle... How can we minimize fuel consumption and bashing while maximizing the ride comfort. We have 200 gallons of diesel aboard and based on our trip from PV, we averaged .9 gallons an hour at an avg speed of 4.7 knots. At that rate, we will motor sail 147 hours at avg 5 knots and burn 132 gallons, leaving a comfortable margin of safety. Of course if we bash at 2 knots, the calcs change dramatically, so we'll have to be careful. We can also get fuel in either Bahia Tortuga or Ensenada if we need to.
It aint gonna be pretty, but we're gonna get home one way or another. Wish us luck!