Posted by: vlbyers | November 18, 2010

11-14-10 La Paz to PV

Spending time in La Paz is never boring or especially when we get to spend some of the time with our good friends. The first night we were invited to a spaghetti feed and jam session on Scott Free, great spaghetti Monica! We had such a fun time singing and playing right up until our bedtime, 10 pm. Got some great reviews too from our neighbors, the contract signing will be very soon I can feel it
The next day we had chores to do, shopping for provisions and repair parts for the boat. Our friends on Whatcha Gonna Do had rented a car and willingly let us tag along with them. Of course we couldn’t start the day without going to coffee at Club Cruceros and then doing some yoga-great way to begin. Whatcha Gonna Do hauled their boat to do some bottom work and should be catching up to us in Puerto Vallarta to meet our kids and grandkids whom they have heard me gush about ad-infinitum. We ended the day enjoying dinner with them and Henry and JJ from Rapscullion.
Saturday we still had laundry which needed to be done, drinking water to get, things to stow and lag down to the deck and the radar reflector to be re-attached to the spreader. We thought that if we got everything done and could leave by early afternoon that we would, otherwise we would stay another night and leave early the next day.
At 1:30 we were ready to go, Scott and Monica and Mona came by to wish us a fair sail and to make plans to meet up in southern Mexico, too short the time spent with them. The weather was predicted to be moderate winds calming in the evening. Sunday was calm and then another norther was expected in sometime on Monday. What is a norther? Well a true norther is accompanied by fairly strong winds and swell coming from the north, this time we had heard the forecast and every day they kept downgrading it, from small craft to 10-15k winds and small chop. We were heading south, winds coming from the north, hummm sounds great to me. We decided to go for it, after all we would like to sail!
The first hour or so aboard is spent motoring out of the long channel that leads to La Paz, Larry was at the helm. I went around the boat, on deck, and tidy up. I pull off all the lines we use to tie up at the dock since we won’t be using them for 3 days, tie them up and hang them from our bimini-they are out of the way and we don’t have room in any of the lockers for them. I pull in all the fenders and tie them to the lifelines, I have just started to tie 2 to the port and 2 to the starboard, each of the pairs covers up our spare anchors on the deck, preventing stubbed toes, that’s the thought anyway. I make sure the dinghy is secure to the deck, I close the hooks on the lifelines where the ‘doors’ are. Since we are going far from shore I ready all of our safety equipment. We have tethers which hook to our PFD’s (lifejackets) and then to the jack lines, I get those out and make them handy to grab. I get the jack lines out and run them from bow to stern securing them on the cleats, these are lines of woven high strength flat strap which we hook our tethers to if we are going up on deck in bad weather or at night. I find the shovel for digging clams(we bought it in the NW but you never know when it will come in handy) is just lying in the cockpit so I get some zip ties and attach it to one of the poles of our bimini. As you can tell this bimini is a useful thing, it also has a canvas top providing shade from the sun. As I go below to get the scissors out of the drawer to trim the tail of the zip tie, the silverware drawer, which has been sticky, decides to fall apart. I pull it out, empty out the contents, clean it, find the glue and make a repair, then set the drawer between the door and a heavy bottle of water to keep it together until it dries. What was I doing? Oh yes the zip ties, grab the scissors and tidy up the ends.
As we get out onto the bay the waves begin to get a bit choppy and the wind is up about 15K, my work on deck finished, I go below to make sure the forward hatches are closed, nothing worse than hopping into a soggy bunk after long days of sailing. I hear a clanking at the bow and Larry goes forward to find the anchor is banging around, we turn on the windlass and tighten it up. I continue assuring all things that can be tossed around won’t. We have made an extra effort to have things stowed properly since ‘the incident’, which should be the norm since accidents are just that, unpredictable events. The aft bunk has been organized and is habitable, meaning in rough weather we could actually sleep there, it is the most comfortable when the boat is tossing about. I feel much more prepared for this journey than I was when we left Puerto Escondido, but that’s why they call it a ‘shakedown’ cruise. One final step is to put my wooden latches on the doors that could be forced open with sudden jerking. Everything is stowed and stashed on this trip, we both made sure that we will have a stress free crossing.
Most of the first day we had 10-15k winds but they were on our nose, we headed off wind a bit when we could but we had to navigate through 2 narrow channels before heading out to the sea. One of the channels we thought we were far enough out when we started to see 15, then 10, then 7 feet! Yikes!! I had just taken over at the helm, slowed the boat, and had a gut reaction similar to our hitting the rocks event as Larry went below to get a bite to eat. I turned the boat further away from the mainland and toward the island, good 50, 60ft. Whew, then 18, 10, 7ft again, I slowed the boat feeling very unsettled and not having enough information from the GPS. I yelled for Larry to help with the navigation until we were in deeper water. He took the helm while I looked at the charts and GPS. We figured we were on a shelf and once we motored to deeper water I continued at the helm. We didn’t have any other difficulties navigating the channel, even after darkness settled in the lights that were supposed to be there were there and we easily left the channel for open water.
Today, Sunday, has been calm, 4-10k winds, Larry caught a dorado and we had the most amazing fish tacos, it has been cloudy most of the day and we even got a few sprinkles. We saw some dolphin and had a little bird visit us for a while, I tried to give him some fresh water, not sure if he ever found it. We’ve been spending the time reading, napping, talking and motor sailing. Unfortunately we haven’t had the motor off the entire time, but the good news is we should arrive in La Cruz Tuesday morning, plenty of time to find out about hauling the boat.
Monday: We spent the day motor-sailing in variable winds, as we approached the Banderas Bay we began to see turtles everywhere, all in all we counted 22-this kept us busy for several hours. Larry made a music mix and we listened to some great music while taking our turns at watch. Sleeping has been quite easy with the calm seas, lulling each of us into restful slumber. Since it has been an easy passage we have not kept strictly to our watch schedule, letting each other catch an extra hour or so of sleep. We have seen some pretty nasty clouds, dark and heavy, raining in the distance. We are mindful that there might be accompanying high winds as we get closer, so we keep a reef in the main. The system dissipates before we catch up to it so we didn’t get any high winds or rain.
As we approach Punta Mita we will have to navigate another channel where there are obstructions and shallow areas, are you catching a theme here-does someone seem obsessed with the depth sounder??? Well yes, actually both of us, and we begin to make a plan for our trip through this area in the dark. After our discussion we are confident in the waypoints that Larry created last time we were through here and agree to follow them through the channel. The difficulty for me is that GPS maps(not the actual GPS points but the maps), charts, paper or computer, can be up to 1 ½ miles off-unsettling at the least. Try as Larry might he is not able to convince me that our track right through an obstruction really isn’t…OK that is where faith has to come in. Andrew remember when we navigated this channel without the waypoints?? Larry did
0030-We make it to the La Cruz anchorage, we see about 12 other boats, 2 of which are big fishing vessels which are illuminated like a stadium, great for ballgames, not so great for seeing other smaller, dimly lit vessels in a dark anchorage. We drop the hook in about 17 feet of sandy bottom, which we know well, close to the entrance to the marina, which we also know well. Make sure the anchor is set, set the snubber, lag down the boom so it is silent during our rolling, turn our anchor light on, secure the other noisy things in the cabin, check our anchor several times and then hit the sack for a really restful sleep.
Tuesday: We are here in La Cruz after arriving late last night. Although we slept longer last night than we have in the past 3 nights, I could still use a nap. Larry turned on the radio just in time to hear the morning net and many familiar voices, we now have a good idea about hauling and repair on the boat thanks to the information from Tea Lady. It feels good to be at anchor at a familiar spot, anticipate going to shore and walking through a familiar town to the bus stop, taking the bus into Puerto Vallarta to find out about the boat repair and a room to stay while the repair is being made.
The kids will be here tomorrow and I am excited to take them to all the cool places and meet many of the great people we have enjoyed during our previous stay here. Sayulita-great funky town and surfing hangout, La Cruz-Philos, Anna Bananas and Britannia to see our friends/owners and maybe sit in during open mic, Bucerias, Yelapa for shopping and hiking, PV Zoo, zip lines and of course the beaches for swimming and snorkeling and just enjoying the pools, sunshine and beautiful clean air.
Whoohooo, this completes Larry and Vicki’s longest crossing and offshore passage together. Thanks to all of you for your well wishes, we’ll take plenty of pics while the kids are here so look for updates to the blog.


Responses

  1. Vicki & Larry,
    Thanks for sharing that harrowing story on the vagaries of the the most protected waters. I hope that you brought along the Patrick Obryan library. If you are familiar yet with his work, you know that Vicki is a professional nautical writer in the making. Keep up the news, happy holidays, and fair sailing. Mitch


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