The Mexican coast 1
08 October 2001
ALONG THE MEXICAN COAST
Hola !! After spending a long four months traveling around the western United States, I found myself in San Diego waiting to catch a ride with friends back to La Paz. For three tense days, we watched the hourly updates of satellite photos as Hurricane Julliette moved north and made landfall at Cabo San Lucas, the tip of the Baja Peninsula, then moved further north one hundred miles and parked for forty-eight hours almost directly on top of La Paz, before losing strength and slowly sauntering northeast.
I returned to La Paz 4 days after the hurricane smashed into the Baja, leaving a wake of destruction from Cabo north to Santa Rosalia. SECRET O' LIFE, out on the hard at Berkvovich Boatyard, three miles north of the city, along with about 35 other American boats faired well, thanks to the hard work of all the people there. Unfortunately, at the other boatyard near Marina Palmyra, over 25 boats were toppled and seriously damaged. Winds of 80 to 100 knots were experienced, but apparently it was the 48 hours of torrential rain and flooding that caused most of the damage.
On the 3 day drive from San Diego we saw (and passed through) numerous road and bridge washouts, with the most serious damage in the stretch from Mulege to Loreto, where the steep mountains lie close to the Sea of Cortez. 5 or 6 days after the storm, semi-trucks were still not able to pass through - and there is only one hiway on the Baja ! About 40 miles north of La Paz, in an area of little apparent damage we came upon a long bridge with both approaches gone and had to ford the river, finally being pulled through by a large rubber-tired loader.
I have no factual information about the Cabo area - only rumor here that it is "really bad". The Mexican Navy is using their ships to shuttle food and water from La Paz to Cabo daily. La Paz is cleaning up quickly and other than a shortage of potable water, life is fairly normal here. I'm beginning to work on some boat projects and will fill you in later with more detail.
Terry, still aboard s/v Secret O' Life
Hola - This boatyard life is not the greatest, but I am getting some things accomplished: replaced the two SM55 solar panels with larger SP75's to help keep that refer cold; pulled the prop shaft and spec'd it, then reinstalled with a new cutlass bearing; installed the new Simrad tiller pilot in the aft steering space so it will actuate the Cape Horn wind vane and steer the boat while motoring; and finally, tried to supervise the prep and painting of the bottom and raising of the waterline three inches. The boat is pretty much shaped up and I'm planning to leave to cross the Sea of Cortez in the next few days. Should arrive Mazatlan by the 29th and will be there a week or so before heading south to Puerto Vallarta. I should be able to get a note off when I arrive in Mazatlan to let you know how the crossing was this time.
Just a short note - Had a great crossing from La Paz to Mazatlan. Total of 48 hours - about 38 of those sailing in nice conditions. While motoring, the new autopilot did a great job in concert with the Cape Horn vane to keep the boat on course. It's hot and humid here - with a lot of green in the hills from the rains, but there should be no more of that so humidity will drop quickly. I hope it's going well where you are - more later, Terry