Pushing On For Puerto Vallarta
27 November 2007 | 15 miles Northwest of Manzanillo, Mexico
We continue to push our way north and set course for the lively town of Puerto Vallarta. Our navigation equipment tells me we should arrive in 20 hours and 52 minutes, so that leaves just one more night at sea for us. I was lucky enough to visit Puerto Vallarta on a short vacation a few years ago and enjoyed the area, so I am looking forward to returning. We had some great times and ate at some fun restaurants, a few of which I hope to return to.
Our trip has been fairly straight forward thus far except for our run-in with the fisherman today. Mexico's waters are abundant with fish (I know because I catch and eat them regularly!) and local fisherman can be seen trolling the coasts, and sometimes netting further offshore. Today, we ran over a poor fisherman's net. Fortunately there was no damage to the boat and the fisherman could easily repair the line, although it was a bit of an annoyance. Fisherman mark their nets for other boaters, which is courteous and prevents incidents like today from occurring. However, you must understand that most fisherman down here are quite poor, have limited equipment (often times no lights), and live off their daily catch. The net we hit today was marked by small plastic beach bottles, tied to the top of the net, and spaced approximately every 100 yards or so. The long lines sometimes stretch for miles, and are extremely difficult to see, even when watching closely. Unfortunately there is more floating plastic that you can imagine, and the floating bleach bottles often look like a simple piece of floating trash. Today we actually spotted the net, slowed down, and began motoring parallel with it when the fisherman approached us in their small 70 horsepower Panga. Funny enough, they "waved us through" the net and clearly told us to pass at a certain spot. So we did, and of course, got caught in the damned thing. I instantly thought this was a set up or some ploy to get money from us for damaging their net, but it turned out it was simply poor judgment by both of us. The fisherman obviously didn't think our boat's keel sat 9 feet under water, and we should have been more patient and gone around the long way. Fortunately the fisherman weren't after us, picked up their broken net, and quickly began repairing it. No harm, no foul, but a bit of excitement for the afternoon.
We plan on landing at Punta Mita, which is to the northern part of Banderas Bay, where Puerto Vallarta is located. The Murietas Islands are located in this area (which I visited for a half day a few years ago on a large snorkel charter), so I am looking forward to having them to myself for a few days. We have a few fishing lines out at the present moment, so hopefully we can enjoy a fresh fish meal when we get there.