Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tsunami and Spencer visit

March 11th. We awake early in the morning to complete some tests on our batteries. For this test we have turned off all of our systems overnight to measure the voltage. Our VHF and our computers are therefor turned off. We did not at first hear anything of the earthquake and tsumani in Japan. We soon though hear folks talking on the dock about the tsunami warning issued. We quickly finish our tests and listen to the VHF radio. Here we learn that the surge is due to hit our area at about 12pm.

From my past tsumani evacuation experience in Samoa in 2009, I am especially anxious to get out of the marina and into deep water. This is the course of action most experts say is the the best plan if you have sufficiant warning. There is much confusion on the radio at first. The Port Capt. it is said, has closed all ports. We later hear it amended that it is meant only for commercial boats, not pleasure crafts. We had already made our decision to leave no matter the closure. We have plenty of time so I take our trash off the boat and stop to buy a berry pie from a worker on the dock. I guess his wife makes them. Might as well have something good to eat out in the bay.

We head out into the deep Banderas Bay by 11am. We are out there with what we extimate to be about 100 other boats, (it is a very large bay). We listen for updates on the VHF radio. In the deep water it is a "non-event". We do not notice anything in the sea or current. The reports on the VHF are saying that all the marinas are closed for all boats due to the strong, continuing surges and currents entering and exiting the marinas. As evening approaches and the marinas are still closed we sail to the anchorage area and set our hook for the night. This is no problem for us as we are prepared for anchoring. But for some other boats this is a problem. There was a big race scheduled for the afternoon, the Banderas Bay Regatta. Many boats had taken off their anchor to lighten the boat for the race. They either had to raft to another boat or sail around through the night.

The next morning most of the marinas were still closed, but all opened by the end of the day. The marina in La Cruz suffered some damage to serveral docks. Fortunately no boats were damaged nor anyone hurt.

The surge contiued on a smaller scale for several days. Upon reflection, even though no boats were damaged we felt we made the correct decission. Out in deep water with plenty of room to move you are far safer than tied to a dock in shallow water with many boats around you.

And I say 2 tsunami experiences is ENOUGH for me!

Spencer flew into Puerto Vallarta on March 13th to visit us during his spring break from college. We have secured a slip in Paradise Village Marina in Puerto Vallarta for the first part of his stay. From here you can easily access tours, the city, and by having a slip here your have access to the resort facilities. We have a jam-paced week with him:

  • Monday, we go on a Jeep tour in the Sierra Madre

  • Tuesday, day sail to Playa Animas for fun and sun on the beach

  • Wednesday, tour old town and to to the bull fights, (yes the bull really dies)

  • Thursday, enjoy the resort and go to a Mexican Fiesta in the evening

  • Friday, sail to La Cruz, dinner and great music at Philo's bar

  • Saturday, enjoy walking around La Cruz

  • Sunday, farmers market. Great food, local crafts, and music

  • Monday, rest and take Spencer to the airport

It was sad to say good-by to him, and we are exhausted! It takes us several days to recover. We are going to stay here in the La Cruz marina. We find this area to me quieter. Much better that the fast paced (and more expensive) tourist area of Puerto Vallarta. As an example; there is a grocery store right next to the marina in PV. It caters to the gringo crowd that keep their boats there or live in the condos around the area. They carry plenty of name brands from home. One of the items I saw was Triscuit crackers. Now, I have not seen these in any of the stores in Mexico. I know that Spencer loves these so I pick up a box. We also see Fig Newton cookies, one of Mels favorites, so these go into the cart. When I reviewed the receipt later, I found that the Triscuits cost $8.00 for one box as did the Fig Newtons. Ouch!

So we have decided that the smaller, "Mexican" La Cruz fits our style.

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