Sunday, November 20, 2005

Mexican mainland

I’m now in Nuevo Vallarta at the Paradise Village Marina which is about 4 miles north of Puerto Vallarta on the mainland of Mexico. The trip from Cabo was a bit uncomfortable the first day and night out due to having the wind and swell right on the beam but overall it was a fast passage averaging 140+ miles a day and arriving in PV in 48 hours. Both nights of the passage we had a full moon that rose just at sunset and was still up at sunrise making for enjoyable night watches. Highlights of the trip were only wearing a shirt for a few hours on the entire trip, flying fish and squid on deck, a giant manta ray (10’ wide) jumping clear of the water 6 times in a row and first sea turtle sighting.

The passage was planned so that we would not approach the main land shore in darkness. The plan worked out well and I’m happy I took this precaution as the navigation charts for the mainland are terribly out of date with the original surveys in the late 1800’s and last updated in the early 1960’s (all pre GPS accuracy). When passing by some islands about 25 miles out of Nuevo Vallarta I noted their position to be 1.7 miles different than shown on both my electronic and paper charts. After talking to some old salts at the Yacht club here in Nuevo Vallarta they validated my observations and suggest that some islands are charted up to 5 miles off their actual positions At the moment, the electronic chart plotter shows us several miles inland, doing a position plot on paper yields the same result. I should also mention that the marina does not exist on either medium so we had to find it using the binoculars and then go slow and cross our fingers that we weren’t going to hit some underwater obstruction.

The marina here in Nuevo Vallarta is attached to a really nice hotel and marina guests are welcome to enjoy the hotel amenities including two pools with water slides and water falls, pool volley ball, etc. Casey and I have been hanging out with the sailing instructors from J-World as well as others we’ve meet through the Baja Ha Ha.

PV harbor

Not much detail on the charts and obviously they are not too accurate. Waypoint 05 should be where harbor enterence begins. Posted by Picasa

Friday, November 18, 2005

Charts not so accurate

Radar image shows discrepency between actual location and charted location. I inserted scull and crossbone symbols at the actual island locations. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Future plans

All of my crew from the Baja Ha Ha are now safely at home the boat is cleaned up, provisioned and ready to head out. Cabo was fun for a few days but it’s hardly Mexico as it’s so overrun with tourists. I've recruited a new crew member whom also sailed in the Baja ha ha rally as crew but wasn’t comfortable with his Skippers skill set. Casey, a professional Canoe guide from Minnesota, is taking some time off to sail around Mexico and I feel lucky to have him on board as he was heavily recruited by many other boats. I signed him on for the next month and possibly longer depending on how things go.

Tomorrow we will either be heading north up to La Paz to explore the desert islands and do some hiking or sailing south to Puerto Vallarta depending on tomorrows 7AM weather forecast. Strange as it may seem we will be going literally where the wind blows us. I'm really hoping to head north but the two day sailing trip up to the Sea of Cortez this time of year is usually an uncomfortable trip due to strong head winds. If we head South East to Puerto Vallarta it will be 280 NM as a crow flies and since we rarely travel a direct route due to shifting winds. Puerto Vallarta will take around 52 hours non stop. Casey is a good sailor and I’m confident that which ever we choose it will be a safe but exciting adventure.

The air and water here in Cabo are so warm that we run fans in the cabin all day and all night and during the day we only wear shirts when absolutely necessary and swim frequently. The other day we were shopping for provisions and Christmas music was playing as we plodded around in flip flops, shorts and tee shirts… it just didn’t seem right. Provisioning consumed an entire day between finding the items we were looking for in various stores and then making several trips back and forth with the dingy. Today we spent about 5 hours straightening out Casey’s paperwork to get him transferred off his old boat and on to my boat. I call the Bureaucracy the paper work Cha Cha Cha. Every day is a new adventure.