Puerto Vallarta & A Big OOPS!

As much as we loved our lovely little village of La Cruz, we had to move on and head over to Puerto Vallarta, just an hour away by boat.  We docked at the Paradise Village Marina, which is part of a larger resort.  The entire area is a bit like being back in the U.S. – there were gringos everywhere!  There was even a Starbucks just a short walk from the boat – y’all know that made me a happy girl!

Mike’s daughters, Sarah and Meredith visited us in Puerto Vallarta.  We had an amazing time, and it was so good to see the girls and catch up on what everyone’s been up to.  The first night they were there, I woke up to go to the bathroom about 3am.  I started to carefully shimmy down off our bunk, and as my foot neared the floor, I felt water.  Before I even had time to consciously think, I belted out a one-word expletive and Mike sprang up in bed like he had never even been asleep.  As I stood up, all I could say was “there’s water…there’s water everywhere.”  As we turned on the lights, we discovered that I was standing in ankle deep water, which ran the entire length of the port side of the boat.  The floorboards, which pull up so that you can access the bilge and storage areas underneath, were literally floating, and the entire boat had a very heavy list to port.  NOT a good feeling.  For those not familiar with boats, the entire bilge has to be full of water before it gets up into the cabin.  We tried to use the electric bilge pump, which was underwater and not working.  We quickly started using buckets and the manual bilge pump to try to get things under control.  Sarah had awoken by this point and she and I formed a bucket brigade, while Cap’n Mike looked for the source of the leak.  It took quite a while, but he finally found it.  A connector at the through-hull for the A/C seawater cooling system had broken off.  Once that was isolated, we were finally able to see some progress in getting the water out of the boat.  Removing the water was just the beginning.  It is crucial to get the seawater residue off of everything, as the remaining salt acts as a water magnet, and nothing will ever be dry again –  not to mention, it feels disgusting.  Everything in the lower cabinets on that side got drenched – tshirts, books, games, wine, etc…  It definitely could have been a lot worse, but we worked most of the day to get things up on deck, cleaned and starting to dry out.  The books took days to dry.  For the most part, there was no lasting damage, though we did have to replace some electrical items.  We’re still unsure about the house batteries on that side.  They are working, but don’t seem to hold a charge like they did before the great Puerto Vallarta flood.  Time will tell.  We are so thankful we were on the boat when this happened.  It could have easily happened when we were away (like on the ski trip we had planned for a few weeks after that – which actually never happened due to COVID). Had we not been onboard, the boat would almost assuredly have sunk.  Scary stuff.  We feel incredibly fortunate.  Now as any good Navy Sailor knows, the cleanup is not the end of the story.  You then have to do a critique – look at lessons learned and how this could have been prevented.  The main lesson learned – which we actually knew, but let slip – is NEVER, EVER turn off the automatic bilge pump.  There is a little pump down in the bilge, that if turned ON, would automatically start running and (1) start getting rid of the water and (2) alert you that something is wrong (you can hear it running and automatically know something’s up if it runs very long at all).  Why wasn’t it on, you ask?  Well, several weeks earlier we HAD heard it keep coming on more often than usual.  While trying to isolate the trouble, we turned the pump off to see just how much water was accumulating.  It turned out it wasn’t much, and we found and fixed the minor problem right off the bat.  But, and you know the rest of the story, we forgot to turn it back on.  So I guess the real lesson learned is always, always, double check that the automatic bilge pump is ON!!!!

But… all is well that ends well, so back to the girls’ visit.  We went on an amazing sail in Banderas Bay and were incredibly lucky to see mama whales and their babies frolicking all afternoon.  It was just magical.  Banderas Bay is full of humpback whales this time of year, and it is calving season as well, so there are lots of baby whales too (and now I have the Baby Shark song in my head)!  We had many good meals, but I have to say my favorite was a place called Fajita Republic.  The restaurant could be accessed from the street, but we arrived via dingy.  They had a small dinghy dock in back, and it just made the experience that much more fun.  The atmosphere was awesome – all open air, with tons of outdoor lights to make it festive.  The margaritas were tasty (and strong), and the fajitas were magnificent.  We enjoyed it so much that Mike and I went back a second time after the girls left.  

We also had a very unexpected treat while in Puerto Vallarta.  I got a Facebook message from a high school friend that she and her husband would be in the area the following day.  We made a quick plan and were able to get together for an awesome sail the next afternoon.  It was so great to catch up with Andrea and meet her wonderful husband.  Who would think you’d run into your high school mates in a foreign country?  What fun!

Finally, for those of you following the ongoing ladies of a certain age hair color saga, I found a wonderful colorist in Puerto Vallarta – Eddie of Eddie’s Salon.  He moved to the area from San Francisco a number of years ago, and previously did hair and makeup for the TV and film industry.  He managed to tame the peroxide blonde mess that happened in La Paz, and gave me a beautiful color that will hopefully last me until we can to the good old US of A.  Thank you Eddie – I’ll definitely be back to see you next year!

So friends, until next time…live the adventure!

Mike & Sarah
No idea why I’m smiling
Making progress – that water had been up and over the floorboards

Water heater – should not be under water
The offending broken part – so innocent looking
Mike’s daughter Sarah & her friend Sarah
Meredith & Sarah
Sarah & Mike
Fajita Republic from the dinghy dock
Sarah, Meredith & Sarah
High school friend Andrea, Henry & Colleen
Fast friends – Andrea & Henry
Henry, Colleen, Mike, Andrea & Gary
Cap’n Mike at the helm