Gerardin Travels        

Sunset at Metchanen Bay

Squid on the deck

B Dock Alumni News - Volume IIa

        Welcome! 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 France 2001 Net Result 1999-2000 Net Result Ventura to San Diego San Diego to Cabo San Lucas Cabo San Lucas to Puerto Vallarta Puerto Vallarta to Barra de Navidad Barra de Navidad to Acapulco Acapulco to Barillas, E.S. El Salvador E.S. to Playa Panama, C.R. Playa de Coco to Golfito Golfito, C.R. Misc. Items

Cabo San Lucas-Puerto Vallarta

January 10-14 2000

When last we heard from Lisa & Joe and Net Result they were waiting it out in Cabo for a "weather window" to make the

crossing from Cabo to the mainland of Mexico and Puerto Vallarta ...their first milestone in their adventure. Bad seas

had forced them to return to Cabo late at night and wait for 6 more days. Their continued saga follows:

After having returned to Cabo and the "high rent" of the marina late monday night because of 12 foot seas and nasty

crossing conditions we realized that we had to pay much more attention to the ever constant Santa Anas that were

occurring in So. California. Turns out when the Santa Anas blow in So. California, they will then be followed by roaring

Northers down the Sea of Cortez that make crossing to the mainland impossible, if not pretty miserable. I was the one

that was the most reluctant about sticking my nose out again for fear this time it would be hacked off! This year with

the El Nina conditions the Santa Anas have been almost non-stop. Little did we realize how long we'd have to wait for a

window. Joe was downloading weather faxes daily pouring over them and listening to the morning "nets" on HAM

looking for a possible opening in the weather. All indications were that Sunday would be the day for us to cross that

would be the opening of the window for only a few days. We checked out of Cabo marina. The only game in town, and

therefore the most expensive we've ever stayed in. We had decided that we'd pick up a mooring for Saturday night as

we wanted to head out of Cabo at first light. The moorings are out in the outer harbor. They're $10/night and rolley as

hell, but more comfortable than the general anchorage. This is all compounded by pangas roaring by at maximum

speed, jet skiers using your boat as markers on their raging course, power sport fishing boats roaring in and out of the

harbor to bring their big bucks customers out for a day of fishing and creating the most chaotic wake and swell you can

imagine. Glad we only did one night; but in retrospect we probably should have stayed two and waited another 24

hours. It's amazing what 24 hours can do in the sailing world.

We headed out at 7:00am and by all indications it would be a dead calm day and we would have to motor the whole

way across the sea. ....which, please let me say at this time, would have been fine with me after the conditions that

we'd had to this date. But this was not to be. By 1pm the winds had picked up to a steady 25kts and the seas were

reflecting the wind. People had told us that we had to get out about 30 miles before things would calm down because

the point did effect the conditions closer in. So we hung in there until we were at the point of no return. We had to press

on. Now it's 4pm and we're thinking to ourselves that things will calm down at night but it's blowing pretty constantly

30kts. I'm hanging on for dear life and feeling more than a little freaked. By 8pm the wind had piped up to 35kts and

Lisa's flipping out. We had a double reef in the main and the staysail out to drive us through the swells which were

forcing us to head up towards Mazatlan instead of down South to Puerto Vallarta. It was too rolley conditions with seas

so tight you couldn't fit a taquito between them, that we couldn't head down wind without getting our teeth knocked out.

By 10pm Joe saying "I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry. The boat will take care of us" and both of us are hanging on knowing

that this will not subside now until morning. By midnight we're both exhausted and had been pooped 3 times. We had

the companion way hatch closed but the water came roaring in with such a force that it covered the Nav station and got

on the PC. The PC now has lost the "T" and the "Y" keys due to salt getting into it. Tell you how much of an e-mail

junkie I am, I'm typing e-mail for our sailmail account on my Mac and copying it over onto the PC and sending it out

that way. Despicable, I know but hey, I'm an e-mail junkie. Don't take my e-mail away from me.

Thank heavens for our little cockpit with big scupper drains. The water drained quickly but boy, does it scare the willy

out of you when it happens. Glad we had the wind cloths around the cockpit as there were other times that the water

came up and pounded them and they kept more water out of the cockpit. We just hung on and waited until morning.

That was truly the longest night in my entire life. The strains of the boat were incredible sounding; but it took care of

us. Light dawned and we were both exhausted. We were elated when the winds reduced to under 30kts for just a few

minutes to give us some relief. We were both discouraged, disillusioned and every other thing you are imagining by

now. Why us after so much hard work and practice for all these years? Light entitled us to regroup a bit. It was now

blowing a steady 25, but that was a cakewalk. The seas hadn't really subsided that much but light enables you to

regroup. We both talked about heading for the closest port, which was Mazatlan, and, with the way we were feeling,

we'd have even entertained putting the boat up for sale. After talking a while, and Joe doing some chart work that now

he could do without getting ill, we found we were terribly off course and actually pretty close to Mazatlan (don't get

excited -- we're talking another 24 hours here). We decided to head towards Mazatlan and by afternoon reassess the

conditions and our heading depending on how things improved....or worsened. :-((((( By afternoon it was still blowing in

the 20's, the seas had calmed to make it comfortable to turn and head down the coast towards our original destination

of Isla Isabella.

We opted for this rather than head into Mazatlan. By dark we were motoring and it was a calm beautiful night. My watch

included sunrise and I was greeted with a beautiful sight. To my surprise I also found the deck littered with squid that

had jumped aboard during the night. We were told it's a common occurrence. Sometimes people on watch have actually

had the squid land on their backs. We pulled into our original destination at about 3:30pm...only about 3 hours behind

schedule. We were rather proud of ourselves by then. Summary of this leg in a nut shell: The crossing's a crap shoot

and we rolled snake eyes.

Isla Isabella will be an interesting spot to return to with bird lover friends. Not really that scenic; but the island is quite

historic for it's wild life. Going ashore and wandering through bird poop filled paths was not high on our list at this

particular time. We wanted the white sand beaches, coconut trees and the tropical setting we were headed for, so we

pressed on to San Blas the next day. This was also well liked by all who've stopped there. We wanted to anchor in

Metanchen Bay as anchoring off San Blas was not as reportedly pleasant. You had to head up a very shallow estuary

and be subject to no-see-ems, whereas one could anchor at this bay around the point. As we rounded the point into the

anchorage we were struck by the beauty. We'd finally found our tropical paradise we'd been working so hard to reach

over the past month. Metanchen is a huge bay that's surrounded by beach and palm trees. There were lots of boats but

there was so much room and everyone gave plenty of room to all others. What a night! We woke the next morning just

as the fog was burning off, spectacular. The fog had rolled back from the bay and was just starting to allow the palm

trees to break into view. There's lots to do here and we have definitely put this one on our "places to return" list.

Our next spot was Chacala. Reported to be even more beautiful than Metanchen Bay. It was a nice spot but we liked

Metchanen Bay more. Chalk up a first for Net Result. We ran the cruising spinnaker for a couple of hours today! Wow,

was that great! Perhaps if we'd spent more time there...but we were just stopping along the way to our goal of Puerto

Vallarta marking spots that we wanted to return to. We'd return here; but not before Metchanen. Chacala is a smaller

bay and therefore not quite as spectacular. We awoke the next morning and went into to town to check in with the Port

Captain, only to find out "he was gone until-- maybe -- the end of the week." Back to the boat we went. The breeze was

picking up by now, but we thought it was a local phenomenon and once we'd cleared the point we'd find the wind to

settle down. No, not for Mr. and Mrs. Gale.... 45 minutes out the winds were in the high 20's and by the time we'd

cleared the point in the 30's. Joe changed course to head closer to land as the seas were starting to reflect the high

wind conditions. He felt if we got in closer to shore it would protect us ...somewhat from the seas. We hugged the

coastline so closely that Joe was counting coconuts on the trees--- so to speak. The seas improved by not the winds. We

were double reefed and running only the staysail (poor little guy's gotten his work out with us). When it reached a

steady 35kts Joe took the staysail down and we were running with double reefed main only. We topped our record. Net

Result sailed in 47 kt winds! Lisa was DEFINITELY not happy! But the boat did great, once again better than me. It's

amazing what this little boat'll do. After about 2 hours of these conditions, it calmed down, the wind swung around to

the south and we were in 12 kt headwinds, motoring to our destination of Punta Mita. Sheesh! What disparity in

conditions we've had. We pulled into Punta Mita and were anchored by 4pm. What a lovely spot. It's on the very top of

Banderas Bay and we felt quite proud of ourselves having sustained so many different conditions and almost having

reached our goal. Punta Mita was a calm lovely anchorage and it's on our list to return to also.

Woke up the next morning and were going to head into La Cruz and anchor there as we still hadn't sorted out where we

were going to keep the boat in P.V. Headed out figuring we'd decide once underway. Turned out it was another perfect

day to run the spinnaker and by heading into P.V. without the stop in La Cruz we could run the spinnaker longer. We'd

also bumped into a family who was cruising from Ventura and they'd reported that there was a sewer spill in La Cruz

and it was pretty nasty. Ok, it had been 8 days since we'd seen land facilities and with all we'd been through we thought

"let's head to the barn". We radioed Paradise Village Marina and they had room for us, so we trucked in there on

Saturday. This place is posh-ville. It's a wonderful combination of beach side resort and marina. We, as marina guests

get full use of the facilities and the resort visitors get to look out onto a charming marina filled with boats. Spent pretty

much most of the rest of Saturday washing down the boat as it had once again become a salt-lick. We could hear it sigh

as we relieve it of pounds and pounds of salt that had accumulated on the boat. Saw some people that were also in

Cabo waiting for an opening in the weather. Fun to exchange stories on their crossings.

The people that we've met here have been wonderful. The mexicans have been nothing but welcoming. We're parked

next to some really nice people with a Halsey-Rasberg 36 from Washington and he told us the story of being in a bay

and having caught some tuna that day. He hailed a panga driver over to drop off a filet of tuna to some friends at the

anchorage as they'd already stowed their dinghy for the night. He gave the panga driver the tuna filet, a book that they

were done with and $2.00 for him as a tip to drop off the stuff at their friends boat. They VHFed him when they got the

stuff and said thank you but weren't sure what the $2. was for. The panga driver had given THEM the $2.00 not

understanding that the money was for him as a tip! Talk about honest people! This is typical of what we've experienced.

Nothing but warm wonderful people.

Sunday, was spent doing laundry, having a beach front sunday brunch buffet, cleaning the inside of the boat, and sitting

by the pool in the afternoon reading. Ahhh, I think we've found paradise. The next few days will be spent in P.V.

checking in, getting our 10 year import permit, deciding which marina we'll base ourselves out of and leave Net Result

safely while we return home for about two weeks sometime around the 20th-ish, scouting out spanish language schools,

and my doing a couple of sections of the boat varnish. Joe wants to go up the mast and inspect the rigging as it's taken

quite a beating and it would be good to check it all out. He needs to change the oil (again) and do a few other

maintenance items on his list. Monday was spent working on the boat, cleaning a month and a 1/2's dirt off the boat

from the inside out. Boy it's amazing the difference. I've finally started a section of varnish that was sorely in need.

Tuesday was spent processing the paper work for our 10 year import permit for Net Result. A customs agent came

down to boat and filled out all kinds of paperwork for the permit. Tip: bring your social security card. They want it! I

don't even think that Joe has one. Of course, mine's at home. I got creative and pulled out Joe's medical insurance card

and pointed out his ss# on it. Well done, Lisa...until he smiled, thanked me and asked me for something with mine on

it! Oops! :-) I just smiled and turned up my palms and he moved on to something else. Phew. We then took the bus

(AKA Mr. Toads Wild Ride) into "town". It's a howl! The roads are gravel roads with construction zone speed limit signs

(that are obviously ignored) that must be decades old. I think this is as far as they're going to get with their "highway

system" here.

Wednesday, today, we'll head into town again on Mr. Toad's Wild ride after I've done another coat of varnish and baked

a loaf of bread. We're in the process of looking up spanish language schools and hopefully will have that sorted out

before we leave for home. Our days have been spent working on the boat until about 3ish when it's the peak heat of the

day and then taking a book and heading over to one of the pools in the resort and reading for a couple hours before

returning to the boat by way of the wonderful showers for marina residents complete with soap, shampoo and unlimited

towels. Saves on the laundry bill. The weather here's been ideal. We wake to heavy dew and cool mornings, it warms to

the 80's and then in the evening it cools right down again. Unless you're really strenuously working you could stay

outside all day and be very comfortable. This is great!

We've both been making lists for when we return home and it will be nice to get home and visit for a few weeks. We

both agree that THIS is the "cruising life we signed up for". More later.


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