Friday, February 5, 2010

Berkeley (home)

It was nice to be home – especially to see our kids and our grandson again. And to sleep in a real bed again! We had planned to be home for about 4 weeks and then go back down for 2-3 months in the Sea of Cortez. However – it turns out we had lost our health insurance, and were denied for the private insurance that we applied for. Rather than trying to find a different private insurance, or going onto COBRA, we decided that Cathy would go back to work. And Doug would plan to go back down to Mexico in March to bring the boat up to Mazatlan to put it away for the summer.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Nuevo Vallarta

[GPS: N 20° 41’ 27” W 105° 17’ 36”]
Friday we moved the few miles into the Paradise Village Marina at Nuevo Vallarta, where we would spend 4-5 days getting the boat ready to leave for our February trip home. We were assigned a slip on A dock – the first dock as you come into the marina, facing out towards the breakwater and the bay. We were told by our live-aboard neighbors, Ron & Valerie, that the surge could be severe there – and they suggested we double all of our dock lines.

We spent Saturday just relaxing around the 5-star resort hotel associated with the marina. Marina patrons can use the pools and beach at the resort. And they have a small zoo with 3 tigers and several exotic birds:

On Sunday, it started raining – putting a damper on our cleaning/stowing plans – and kept raining until Thursday morning. Our flight home was Thursday afternoon. It was mostly just light showers.

But Tuesday evening… It was about 11pm and we were just getting in bed. Cathy commented about how the pitter-patter of the rain on the cabin top reminded her of sleeping on our boat in our slip back home. All of sudden, the pitter-patter turned into a hammering, the wind generator started a very fast, high-pitched whine, the boat heeled about 10-15 degrees… tied up at the dock! And it sounded like a truck was running through the marina. We got up and looked out the companionway. The wind was bending the trees at a severe angle, and the rain was coming horizontal. We turned on our VHF. Other boats in the marina were reporting wind gusts as high as 75 knots (85 mph)… in the marina. It blew over 50 knots (60mph) for about 20-30 minutes. We were glad we had tied up so well! Even so, it felt like we could break loose at any moment and go into the million dollar fishing boats berthed on the dock behind us. We realized that our dinghy and kayak which we had left on the dock (without tying them down because we were still working on cleaning them) were no longer on the dock. It was blowing and raining too hard to venture out of the boat to investigate. Finally when the wind abated, we jumped down on the dock. The lid of our dock box was nowhere to be seen, the kayak and blown off and fortunately just nestled between Galatea and the dock. The dinghy we saw almost to the dock behind us – swamped, but still floating with about 2 inches of the gunnels above the water. We went around to the next dock and were able to retrieve it, empty the water, bring it back around, and tie it up. There was no significant damage to our boat or any others in the marina. The boats at anchor a few miles away in La Cruz did not fare as well. We heard reports of one boat dragging anchor and running into another, another dragging onto shore – but was fortunately able to power off on the crest of a wave that came in, unfurled/torn sails, and other damage. The next morning a couple on a Nordhavn 46 (power boat) came into the temporary dock right across from us. They said they had been 100 miles offshore when this storm came through and that they had seen 88 knots (100mph) gust out there! People who had been in the cruising community there for years said they had NEVER seen anything like this – particularly in the winter!

With a few breaks in the rain on Wednesday, and a sunny Thursday morning, we were able to make our flight home on Thursday afternoon – including taking our chartplotter and wind instruments out and packing them to take home with us – to send off to Raymarine for repairs.