Mar 27, 2011


Sea Story Med-Moored at the Las Hadas Marina with part of the resort complex in the background.  This is a docking style common to the Mediterranean, but rarely used in the US or Mexico.  It requires a good anchor set and a competent crew.  Luckily we had both.

Friends Jan and Doug were interested in the coast south of Puerta Vallarta, so we sailed down to Manzanillo, a trip of about 140 miles along mainland Mexico's "gold coast."  Originally, we had only planned to sail down to Bahia Tenacatita, which is about 30 miles north of Manzanillo.  But our plans to do some snorkling there were frustrated when we found the renowned "aquarium" part of the bay was off-limits because of a property dispute - one of those things that still occasionally happen down here.

So, with our snorkling plans torpedoed, we headed down to Manzanillo, the farthest south we have been in Mexico so far.

Manzanillo is reportedly Mexico's busiest international port and its blessed with wide, beautiful beaches spread out along two exceptional bays, Manzanillo and Santiago.  The luxury resort of Las Hadas sits on a spectacular point between the two bays and is a favorite cruiser hang-out in Manzanillo. Its facilities include an elegant hotel, a wide, clean beach, a huge pool and a marina.  If  you anchor outside the mariana,  you can dinghy in and use the resort facilities for a nominal fee.  We elected to tie-up in the marina, which costs more but also makes all the facilities more easily accessible, especially when four people are aboard.  

Our two day stay in Manzanillo was short, but enjoyable.  The overnight trip back up to Puerta Vallarta included some rough hours around Cabo Corrientes, and that reminded us that seldom does something good come without a cost.  The final reward was the blissful six hours once we rounded the cape and found the smooth water of Bandaras Bay.  Sunny and calm never felt so good....

Good friends and adventurers extraordinaire, Alicia and Alfredo,  are off on another trip around the world on their sailboat On Verra.  This is Alicia's third circumnavigation.  At last word, they were in Gambier, French Polynesia after stopping off at Pitcairn Island and riding out the tsunami at sea.  Someday, someone is going to write a book about this pair....


Mar 23, 2011


The view of Marina Vallarta from Dana and Gale's condo, with Sea Story snugged in toward the end of the dock at center, left.  This is where we rode out the Tsunami with little noticable disturbance because of the protected configuration of the marina.
Sea Story is docked in Marina Vallarta again.  This time we're sharing her with our power-boat friends, Jan and Doug, while their boat, Snow Hawke, is sitting out the winter in Olympia, Washington.  We're also having a great visit with old friends, Dana and Gale, who's hospitality includes the spare room in their condo overlooking the marina.  Good conversation, good wine and some superb day sailing on Bandaras Bay, one of my very favorite places for dependable wind, whale sightings and the company of friendly dolphins.
On the way down from Mazatlan, I had a downright eerie experience.  Well after sunset, on very dark, moonless night, we rather suddenly encountered a large (40-45 feet across) patch  of  glowing phosphorescence that Sea Story sailed right through!  For the next 10 -15 minutes we passed near or through several more of these glowing patches, and I could actually see fish swimming in them as we crossed them.  One of the wierdest conditions I have come across, although I've seen lots of smaller, dinner plate size phosphoresence patches in the boat's wake before - never anything nearly the size of these.  Almost expected to see a space ship lurking there under the ocean surface...
The Japanese tsunami was the other big excitement once we got down here to PV.  We had about six hours warning before it hit, and the forecast height was less than a meter so it wasn't too frightening.  Here in the marina, we experienced several up and down cycles that just felt like a reved up tidal cycle with the floating docks rising and falling within a range of about 32 inches every 15 minutes.  Nothing very dramatic, but it did roil up the harbor bottom mud, and we had very brown water for several days afterward.
At the moment, we're looking for a weather window for the transit back up to La paz, via Mazatlan.  Before we leave, I'll try to do another post about out trip down to Manzanillo last week,and the latest report from
Alicia and Alfredo who are off on her THIRD  circumnavigation!

We have inflatable life-vests on Sea Story, and Gale wanted to know how they work, so here is her trial inflation in the pool at their condo.