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 The plan worked out well and I’m happy I took this precaution as the navigation charts for the mainland are terribly out of date with the original surveys in the late 1800’s and last updated in the early 1960’s (all pre GPS accuracy).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.