I have created this blog with the hopes that you, my friend, will follow me as I sail around the world (figuratively or literally, not sure yet) with my parents on their Contest 48. Whereas I hope to keep you updated with exciting adventures of exotic ports and epic waves, keep in mind that cruising - that is, traveling by boat in a leisurely fashion - tends to be filled with days of intense boredom, punctuated by moments of sheer terror. Please keep this in mind as you read these entries, for this platform will be just as much an attempt for me to maintain my sanity (and connection to the California-based world), as entertainment and reassurance for you. And so, follow me as I sail the world.

P.S. All material on this blog, words and photos alike, are copyrighted by me. Copyright 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018. If you decide that this material is worth re-publishing, please give me credit and lots and lots of money.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tsunamis and Scorpions

I think waking up to the word "Tsunami" is probably the worst way to wake up- at least the worst that I have experienced- particularly when living on a boat. When we heard of the massive earthquake in Japan we knew that there could be trouble around here, although the fact that damage in Hawaii was minor (for the magnitude of the quake), kept most of us relatively calm.

Perhaps calm isn't the best word. Maybe, calm panic, if such a thing exists. The events speak for themselves: Mom, Dad and I heard the news from my uncle Mark about 7:30 a.m. and were told that the first tidal waves would hit Cabo san Lucas around noon, and here about 2 p.m.. So Dad decided to take the car that we had rented for provisioning back to the rental place (about an hour trip) because he didn't get the insurance that covers natural disasters. Ha.

Mom and I watched boats leaving the marina in a mass exodus, wondering when Dad would be back, and wondering if we should go get Ian and Sean, who arrived the night before, down to the boat. Finally, around 11 Dad, Ian and Sean showed up at the boat and we got the hell out of there-- I mean took advantage of a beautiful day to go for a sail. Unfortunately, right at the entrance to the marina, which is about 50 feet wide, a 70 foot sail boat had run aground and was stuck on the sand bar and we had to maneuver around it. Talk about nerve racking (particularly for the guy stuck... waiting for a tsunami to un-stuck him).

The bay was full of sailboats because if you are on a boat and a tsunami hits you want to be in deep water, although many boats stayed at dock and were fine. Although we were concerned about the state of Japan, it was a beautiful day and we spent the it zig-zagging across Banderas bay, with 15 knots of wind and clear blue skies. When we got back to land and I was able to see footage of the destruction of Japan, I was shocked. My thoughts go out to anyone harmed by the series of disasters, and this is obviously a disaster that will affect the world. But especially to all you California people, please go get supplies for an earthquake kit!!! That is one nice thing about living on the water: no earthquakes.

Anyway, the damage in Marina La Cruz was minimal, although part of the dock closest to the entrance was torn off. A 66 inch tide rise and fall was reported, but all boats were okay. Some people were pretty frantic all day, especially when they had to anchor out all night because the marina was too surgey to enter safely (gasp!). Ian and Sean were able to get back to their bungalow, but what a first day of vacation for them.

The next day: happy birthday to me!! We were all still a bit...unnerved... from the day before, but I had a very nice day. This included a breakfast of chilaquiles and pan dulce, a surf trip out to Punta de Mita with la familia, and a dinner at a great restaurant in La Cruz where not only was I sung "happy birthday" by a mariachi band, but the entire wait staff who came out banging pots and pans. Gotta love being thoroughly embarrassed on your birthday.

A note on the surf: the tide was rising and lowering a few feet about every 8 minutes as there were still effects from the tsunami waves. The ocean would be totally flat, then then tide would start to drain and almost create a standing wave, then would begin to push again, creating waves. As these were legitimately tidal waves, I can say that I have surfed tidal waves, even if they were knee high. And on my birthday no less.

Let's see.... other interesting news in the past few days. Poor Sean was stung by a scorpion which had decided to live in his sock (he got stung on his hand as he picked it up). The guy is in Mexico for 5 days and experiences a tsunami and a scorpion sting. Ouch. Regardless, we had a nice time. Or at least I did. It was sad to see them leave today. Ian brought us lots of last minute must-haves before we jump off: more drugs (not too many of the fun kind), a book on French, a few ice packs, and tons of other fun stuff. It was like Christmas.

So now we leave. Right? Something like that? We were aiming to head out the 19th or the 20th, but it looks like we will postpone our departure a few days because there are going to be some big seas out there (which also means there will be waves here!). However the Pacific high is establishing itself out above Hawaii, which means that winter is almost over (yay!!) and the trade winds are becoming more regular (yay for people going to the Marquesas!!).

Its funny, people keep saying, wow, you are going to have such a great adventure. But seriously, between tsunamis, sight seeing, dealing with problems that arise every day, exotic insect stings and the occasional tamarind margarita, I would say the adventure is well under way. And we hope to be soon.


  1. I really want a tamarind margarita now

  2. But I wanted a tarantula story. Have any of those?