Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Bye Bye Banderas Bay......for now.

Punta Mita Sunset
We left Bahia Chamela at midnight and lucked out with a easy ride (wind gusts to 3 knots) around Cabo Corrientes as the sun was rising. It wasn't all luck, we constantly monitored the weather using 3 different sources on the internet and listened daily to local sailing nets for first hand reports of the sea state before sticking our nose out into the channel. A few sailing buddies of ours had left the anchorage a couple three days before us and got hammered with big big green waves leaping over their dodger and into their cockpit. Our friends on Destiny had to cut lose their kayak in the dark while pitching to and fro. I was willing to do just about anything to avoid bouncing along in wet and dark and windy conditions. Our weather monitoring diligence paid off and after rounding Cabo Corrientes we were treated to a lovely broadreach sail across Banderas Bay to Marina La Cruz. After a month of playing and overseeing boat projects, including a new striped bimini, we were ready to get out of the marina and head north to the "Sea". The Sea of Cortez, that is.

Punta Mita Condos

El Tib anchored on the right
Before departing we wanted to stop and anchor off Punta Mita and visit sailing friends, Gilly and John from sv/Destiny originally from Gate 8 in Marina Village Yacht Harbor, now proud owners of a lovely-to-die-for condo on the beach at Punta Mita. Tempting, very tempting to follow them into their bliss. At a local restraurant we ate the best chili rellenos I've had anywhere served with about the best margarita to date.

Muy Delicioso!

 Happily Retired, John & Gilly
Such a great day with great company made it even harder to leave Banderas Bay with its most excellent sailing conditions, fantastic restaurants, terrific yacht club, and colorful assortment of gracious locals and adventurous cruisers. Banderas Bay in the spring is a crossroads for cruisers, some do the Puddle Jump to the Marquesas, many turn north to the Sea, a few Bash home to California, and more than a couple swallow the anchor.

Great Sports: Duncan and Robin
Robin and Ducan are an example of folks who "jumped" from Banderas Bay way back in 2001. While in Marina La Cruz we thought it would be fun to invite them for a visit. Last time they were here Marina La Cruz was just a concept and we wanted to show them the reality. They had left Gate 11 at Marina Village Yacht Harbor (yep, there's a bunch of us down here!) aboard sv/ Whisper bound for Mexico, then did "The Jump", hung out in New Zealand for a while, and now live in San Francisco. Look how happy and relaxed they look! Who wouldn't, they had just escaped some of the worst rains San Francisco has experienced in decades! Unfortunately, Banderas Bay was about to experience some of its own trouble.
We awoke March 11th, the first morning of their visit, to a Tsumani warning with the threat of great tidal surges in the Bay wreaking a potentially dangerous situation to all Banderas Bay marinas. Along with a flotilla of other boats we headed far out into the Bay hoping to get out of harms way.

The end of our dock - literally
The effects of a tsunami are reduced when at sea, so, to the sea we all scurried. The Bay was relatively calm and beautiful, but since raising tidal surges and strong 12-15 knot currents posed problematic to the marinas the port authorities closed all marinas until the next day.  Consequently, at least 100 boats were forced to anchor off La Cruz for the night. Not a hardship for us, it meant a lovely spot for a BBQ while watching the sunset. Unfortunately, not everyone was pleased, it also meant cancelling the first day of the Banderas Bay Race. In the end it was a good decision because the end dock near our slip broke lose during the repetitive 6 foot surges. Marina La Cruz had it repaired in less than 36 hours!
While the tsumani was of little consequence to us, marinas in California were not so fortunate. Santa Cruz, one of our favorite spots, sustained a great deal damage to many boats in the marina.

 Needless, to say our hearts and prayers continue to go out to the people of Japan who have suffered tremendously and bravely.

Japan Tsunami March 11, 2011


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