The last of the voyage to Cabo Fun- The tow in
21 March 2012 | Cabo San Lucas
So we don't have an engine, and no wind but we are still about two miles outside the harbor entrance. When Monica called the marina to arrange a slip, she also arranged a couple of pangas to greet us with a tow. We told the marina that this would be a night arrival. The marina arranged everything and provided us with contact names and vhf channels to use when we arrived within a mile of the harbor entry.
As we approached to within two miles, the wind was blocked by the point and we drifted with the current back to the west. Knowing we could get no closer without wind, we started to try and convince the panga drivers to come out a little further. They refused, stating they did not carry enough fuel to reach us (turned out to be complete BS). I told them I could give them total refills upon reaching us if needed, that is when the radio seemed to mysteriously break up and transmission to us just stopped.
This wasn't an issue for us, because we were beat, no wind meant no work, so we prepared to drift with the current for the night and enjoy our first solid rest. Our plan was to sail close to the harbor, with the morning air. Monica went below to sleep and I got out the sleeping bag in the cockpit, to wake every 15 minutes, to my egg timer for a quick scan of the horizon. Since we were drifting and this is a major cruise ship destination, I wanted to make any ships aware of us if they were coming in and didn't notice our lights in an unexpected area.
After settling into my bag and tuning the vhf to 16 (the primary channel that all vessels monitor); the radio rings to life by the captain of a 70 foot catamaran, asking us about our location and situation. We reported that all is well and we that we were in no danger, but the caller says he has someone on the way and asks us to light up the boat so we can be seen. So up comes Monica, who had already gone to sleep, and out come the binoculars to find the approaching pangas. We were looking into the city lights on shore so picking out some navigation lights were going to be tough. HA!! Turns out the panga had no lights and was trying to get us to see him by him opening and closing his cell phone at two miles away, with city lights behind him!!! Monica at this point laughed, put down the binoculars and told me to wake her in the morning, since she knew how this would go. As it turns out, the pangas didn't even leave the harbor. The captain of the catarman worked for over an hour, from his home and harbor, trying to get the pangas to us and was really worried we were in trouble.
Round two; after climbing back into bed, the radio comes on again, this time the Mexican Marines call and ask if all is well, and are we ok till morning? We tell them yes and there is no danger to us or hazard to others so they say adios. The Marines will come out if there is an issue or if asked, similar to the Coast Guard in the states. Also similar, they care very little for your boat, only for safety of the crew.
Then another hour later, the radio comes alive again, this time by Steve of El Diablo, a deep sea fishing charter boat owner/captain. He is an American who also felt we were in danger, even after repeated assurances of no worries on board, he still felt obligated to help. We worked out our location with him and he said he was going to find someone to tow us in, and if he couldn't, he would bring out his powerboat. After a few minutes he comes on and has found the two panga drivers that were supposedly helping before (they were sitting on the beach watching us this whole time!!); and after some hostel discussion he convinced them to get us. The security guard at the marina gave them his flashlight and handheld radio so they could communicate/translate. After a lot of confusion from the pangas (still trying to get out of towing us,) Steve's persistence paid off and we were able to get towed in.
After we were tied off to the panga, it was uneventful from there; however Ethel and I have had an interpersonal discussion about the embarrassment and hassle of being towed and she has assured me that it won't happen again.