Thursday, December 17, 2009

La Cruz de Huacaxtle 12.17.09

We were up and at ‘em early this morning, leaving Mantanchen Bay and heading to the anchorage in La Cruz in Banderas Bay. Luckily, we are one of the faster boats and our early this morning was 6:30…not like a couple of the slower boats that left hours before. We had a line of boats, again, heading South – Pacific Jade, Grey Max, & Slacker. I would love to say the trip was uneventful…but, alas, it wasn’t quite as smooth as we would have liked. The 65 mile trip is known for being not only a beautiful coastline, but one riddled with long lines. Long lines are fishing lines that can be over a mile long, are typically a nylon line that floats on the surface of the water and at evenly spaced intervals the fishermen have tied fishing line with hooks that dangle down about 20’ or so. The big issue is that the long lines are typically not marked adequately, or even uniformly! The ‘typical’ long line has a black flag float at the end of the line, several floats that are usually plastic coke bottles that are tied onto the lines occasionally and finally another flag that indicates the end of the line. When this system is followed, it’s fairly easy to maneuver around these lines and keep out of the middle of them. You see, the danger is the fact that the lines float on the surface and there is the possibility of the line getting caught up in the propeller or anywhere else on the boat. And they did!

The typical convention was not followed at all and we ended up getting caught on not one, two, three, but FOUR long lines! The first time was the worst as we were caught on three at one time. Sometimes the fishermen put out what’s called a ‘spiderweb’ of lines and that’s what we got wrapped up on the first time. I was on the bow of the boat looking for the tell tale line at the surface and as soon as I saw it and motioned Michael away, we turned the boat in a circle to attempt to go parallel with the line. Next thing we knew, we had run over another one, which was caught on the bottom of the boat, and yet another that was caught on the bow. We immediately shut down the propeller and bobbed around while Michael used the boat hook to bring the lines aboard the boat and cut them to free us. Out of nowhere, a panga raced towards us with two fishermen on board. The helped free the boat from two of the lines but one was stuck around, we thought at the time, the propeller. The fisherman shocked us all by stripping down to his shorts (he had foulies on) and jumped in the water to free the line. Apparently it was hooked on the rudder boot and we had made it worse by trying to free it because the fish hook was caught!

Our rescue fishermen cutting us loose of longlines

The fishermen instructed us to follow their line and they would lead us out of the lines. They proceeded to race ahead of us, where it looked like they were laying out another line, but as we got closer we realized that there was yet another long line of theirs that they had cut, opening up a path for us to go through, and as soon as we were through they re-tied it together. Whew! What a crazy ordeal!! Slacker was behind us and we were trying to report all of the lines that we encountered but even with the help we were offering up, they too got hooked on at least one line.

I joked with Michael that he had just complained that he was bored on these long passages! I don’t think he’ll do that again. Of course, we saw our share of whales - one only about 20' off of our starboard side that we had to make a sudden course change to miss hitting it! This one wasn't half as close but I managed to get a picture of it!

Whales off our starboard side!

We continued along, motorsailing, until we came around the corner into Banderas Bay. Suddenly, the wind came up, it was out of the right direction, and we were SAILING!! And not just slowly sailing, we were scooting along at 7 to 7.5 knots! We had a great couple hours of really great sailing, even getting closer and closer to both Pacific Jade & Grey Max who were just ahead of us. It was amazing, what a great end to a crazy day!

Pacific Jade under full sail cruising into Banderas Bay

We finally dropped the hook around 4:30 in the anchorage of La Cruz, had a celebratory cerveza, and a relaxing evening. Our plan is to stay in La Cruz until Christmas and leave just around the 27th or so, weather permitting. We have some friends, Bob & Marlene, who live in Puerta Vallarta who we hope to have Christmas dinner with and we’ll do our darndest to have a good time between now and then!  I hope you have a wonderful Christmas season! I miss all of the parties that always happened around this time. I miss the smells, the lights, and catching up with long lost friends!

More to follow…


Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home