Monday, March 14, 2011

Tsunamis and Space stations; we have them all.

Note strut, shaft and missing prop

Note rudder damage and bent strut, missing prop

J-G and a brace of Tecate (Beer company)Girls at the carnival last week

Time: 1705

Time: 1725

Finally, the first fish of the season.

1130, Thursday, 10 march 2011, Anchored in Tenecatita Bay
We are just back from a shopping excursion by dinghy to La Manzanilla, about 5 miles down the coast from the anchorage. We left at 0830 to take advantage of the calm conditions that prevail in the morning, hoping to return before the onshore wind developed. On our way we were treated with a spectacular show of a large whale and its calf frolicking a few hundred yards away. It appeared that mom was teaching junior how to flipper slap the water. We suspect it might be the same pair we observed in Manzanillo bay last month. We made it back by 1030, just as the wind started to blow. It was a wet ride back but we now have fresh groceries and the supplies that we were short of. Now we should be able to stay here another few days but we will have to watch our water consumption carefully.
We are in company with about 15 other boats. The bay has seen a lot of traffic over the past few days with boats entering and leaving on a regular basis. A few of us have taken advantage to the fabulous beach and palapa restaurants almost every day. Rosie has benefitted with long walks and lots of exercise while we have participated in beach games. Narjana has a set of bocce balls and we have a couple of pitching wedges and golf balls. We just invent a game and go from there. After an hour or so we repair to the palapas for beer and guacamole. Fran and other cruisers have brought table games (cards, dominoes, etc) to keep the more sedate amongst us busy.
We have met some wonderful cruisers; Doug and Lanita (Ka’Sala, Comox), Tom and Louise (Narjana), Damien and Erin (Rose of Erin), Ann and Hugh (Serendipity, Port Ludlow), Groovy, and others. We were surprised to see Sweetie (Tony Morelli) arrive yesterday afternoon. Tony owned Moresails and made our sail covers last spring. Tanque De Tiburon also arrived yesterday. It was nice to see them after such a long break and we are looking forward to some quality time with them. They brought with them a number of items we had ordered, a special transformer for the TV, fins for the outboard, a dinghy seat, fuse holders for the solar panel system, a water pump repair kit and a cord for our pactor modem which should fix the problem we have been having with it since we left Guaymas.
The divers were not able to recover Full Quiver’s anchor so Steve and Pam decided to bypass Tenecatita and head directly for La Cruz. Luffin It, the vessel that was struck by a whale has also made it into La Cruz but had to be towed in for the last 30 miles after losing their prop. As soon as they arrived they hauled out for repairs. The photo was taken by Bill and Linda (T de T). Besides the damage visible in the photos above there was a 2 inch shift in one of the aft bulkheads. Sounds like major surgery...The weather and sea conditions continue to be odd. Days are warm but nights are still cool and very humid. We wake up to puddles of dew on deck. The winds have again played havoc on the boats in Barra. There were reports of 30 knot winds and more vessels needing to be rescued. One boat dragged into Windward Bound causing some paint damage. It also fouled their anchor cable and was quite a mess to untangle. Here we have not seen those winds but they have been up to 15 in the afternoons. The swells have been more of a concern here. Although we are tucked in behind a headland and are protected from the direct onslaught of the swell it does get rolly at times. Beach landings and departures are a challenge. Several boats have been swamped and those sitting at the palapas have seen some spectacular dumpings. Although our landings have been text-book we have had a few very wet departures. Rosie has had that wet dog look on a few occasions now. There is also the presence of red tide every few days which ruins any yearning for swimming off the boat.
2300, Saturday, 12 mar 2011, Tenacatita Bay
What a difference a few days make!! Yesterday on the morning net we learned about the earthquake in Japan and another in Chile. We had ears glued to the radio for the next few hours to gather as much info on possible tsunami conditions for our location. We soon found out that the initial wave-front would arrive here by 1325. As we did last year for the Chilean earthquake we headed out of the bay for deep water. Winds were light and from the south so it was not a hardship to sail away from the coast for a few hours listening to the reports of conditions further north. The ham nets were very active and we learned about the wave in Tofino, Crescent City and other locations along the California coast.
After the time for the wave-front came and passed we headed back to the anchorage fully conscious of the 7-10 hour advisory period where subsequent waves could arrive. It was reported that the second wave caused more concern and damage on the California coast.
We arrived back by 1530 and anchored in our spot in about 14 ft of water. By 1700 we noticed a significant surge in the water along the shore. Our depth sounder began to indicate a rapid decrease of depth below our keel ending up at 1.2 ft. Needless to say we immediately weighed anchor and moved to a deeper anchorage location. Between 1730 and 1930 we observed surges of 10 feet that uncovered normally submerged rocks along the shore only to wash back in and completely submerge parts of the beach well above the high water line. (see the photos above. Note the times). The boats also heaved that their anchor cables but, thankfully, the anchors held fast. This morning there was much debris that had been washed down the river from the mangrove swamp floating around us. We didn’t see any critters but in Ixtapa , our friend Kirk (Freedom Kirkland) reported that there was lots of reptiles in the tide line outside that river.
Other nearby locations reported more hazardous occurrences. In Banderas Bay the water rushing in and out of the marinas was so great that the port captain closed the port and threatened to fine any violators $5000. This was the second day of Banderas Bay Race Week. Racing was cancelled for the day but many of the boats that left port as we did were participating in the races and had removed their anchor gear to reduce weight. They were caught with their pants down when the port was closed and had to beg other boats for spare anchors and rodes for the night. The marina at La Cruz was also closed after a dock broke loose.
In Barra de Navidad the channel entrance marker buoys were pulled under by the strong currents. Here too the port was closed. The main water line which spans the channel and is normally anchored to the bottom was dislodged and floated to the surface cutting all access to the lagoon, thus forcing another 20-30 boats to find alternative anchorages and those that chose to remain in the lagoon to be locked in until it the pipe was re-anchored. One boat that had remained in the lagoon broke her anchor cable and was washed ashore. It was refloated, undamaged today. The pipe is expected to be re-anchored by tomorrow. At dusk we saw some strange animals along the shore. Some think they were monkeys while others think they were a lemur type of animal with long brown bushy tails.
Over the past year Mexico has erected some high tech tsunami warning towers in each of the coastal towns and we expected to hear the warning sirens. We have since learned that the system is not yet activated. What a great opportunity to prove the system had they been ready! Nevertheless it was reported by some land based cruisers that the public information system went was quite efficient and many inhabitants of low-lying areas evacuated to higher ground.
Today was quite the quiet aftermath. We spent the morning on boat projects. We spent part of the afternoon under the beach palapas with Bill and Linda (T de T) and a few other boaters watching the 3-4 ft tidal surges from shore. Later on we had the weekly dinghy raft-up, postponed from yesterday. It was very well attended with 12 boats participating. Food choices are always a surprise at these events but no-one goes away hungry. Fran made sushi from some fish we bought from a fisherman passing by this morning.
Tonight we were treated with a spectacular sighting of the space station flying by directly overhead. Tomorrow we expect to head over to Cuastecomate. We have changed our schedule yet again. Cruising plans are normally written on the sand at low water. We are now going back to Barra for fuel (the fuel dock repairs are almost completed) for a few days and over the 17th to see the St Patrick’s Day festivities. We have been told that it is an event that is not to be missed and this may be our last chance to see it. Weather conditions permitting we should then be on our way north to La Cruz by next weekend.

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