Wednesday, December 7th Melaque, Bahia de Navidad, Jalisco, Mx.

Written by Jack van Ommen on December 7th, 2016

I left La Cruz Marina on Monday at 7.30 a.m. This time the wind was from a better direction. After I crossed the Banderas Bay into the Pacific the wind picked up. The water was still reasonably flat with an about 25 knot following wind. This was some of the fastest sails ever. I was steadily hitting sevens, and not dropping below five knots. I ended up reducing sail to a triple reefed main. I made a short video of it that I will post on the next blog. I just discovered it did not upload right and the file is on the boat. I am anchored out and lost one of my oars this morning. It slipped away from me and I was in no hurry to recover the floating oar, it filled with water and sunk. My dinghy problems need fixing.

I was very tired yesterday afternoon, lack of sleep on Monday night and the constant sail changes and course corrections. Friendships I had made  when I was in the Dominican Republic in March 2009 with a group of sailors, of which Richard and Karen Van Appelen are here. They came through here in 2013 on their way from the Caribbean to Vancouver. They are crewing with Steve on his Catamaran to French Polynesia this Spring. Steve was also part of the cruisers I met with them.

I heard a very familiar voice and boat name on the local cruiser net this morning. Jeff Hartjoy on “Sailors Run”. Jeff is from my area, near Gig Harbor. I met him and his wife Debbie on Western Samoa in 2005. His son Richard works in Gig Harbor for the computer shop where I took my problems in the last two years. Jeff has solo sailed the three Capes and we had a lot to talk about on the VHF radio. He is anchored across the bay from me in the lagoon.

Catching bait fish with throw net

Catching bait fish with throw net


The frigate birds circling for the undersized bait fish








I shall be on my way to Z-town or Ixtapa, this late afternoon.


Sunday evening. December 4th., 2016. Second Sunday of Advent.

Written by Jack van Ommen on December 4th, 2016

The wind turned out to be right on the nose for the next 20 miles. At about 20 knots. I don’t need this. I went back to the marina and will try again early in the morning.

In order to get an early start I went to the 8 pm Saturday evening service. Padre Roberto Moreno did not seem at all to be bothered by the small attendance, compared to the jammed 10.30 a.m. service on the first Advent Sunday. This picture of this evening’s sunset looks like a tree, a Christmas tree? And there is purple in the sky, the color of the second advent candle or the Bethlehem candle. And the sliver of the first quarter moon could be interpreted as the star over Bethlehem.



Sunday, December 4, 2016. On the road again

Written by Jack van Ommen on December 4th, 2016

I finally have a decent chart system. Richard on “Adios” helped me install the GE2kap software to use Google Earth pictures to overlay in the charts where more details of anchorages/harbors are needed. The majority of sailors use CM93 rough chart outlines under these pictures. And for some unexplained reason I now also have some very detailed charts for commercial deep sea ports in CM-93.

It rained again hard tonight and I collected a half gallon of good drinking water. It is slowly starting to clear now.

Next story from Bahia de Navidad. See what St. Nicholas has in store for me.




Friday December 2nd. Still stuck in Banderas Bay.

Written by Jack van Ommen on December 2nd, 2016

The windows of the (over) air-conditioned lounge in the marina are all steamed up. It started raining and lightning and thunder over the foot hills. The digital chart project has gotten out of hand, with me. I probably should have never chosen the ChartWorld source. The encrypted S-63  vector charts turn out to contain too little detail for entering harbors/anchorages. And it took for ever to obtain the permits from two different parts of the world. The attractive aspect is the fact that I can buy them at a reasonable price for a limited duration. I only need the charts for Mexico and Central America for the next three months. A 19 year old on one of the Vancouver boats here finally was able to make some sense out of the process. And now he will attempt to help me on Saturday morning with getting more details for the shore portions of my scheduled sail to the Panama Canal by using pictures from Google Earth overlaid on the charts. This means that I now am looking at Sunday departure, once the weather has cleared up.

Last Wednesday night was the first of the winter season Wednesday night beer can races. I needed to get some fresh air and I really enjoyed sailing in a small fleet of participants. The weather mark was nowhere to be found. I think that on the way back I did see just the tip of the pole above the surface. Most likely it had been set with too little scope at low tide. I was the second boat to get to the area of the weather mark and when the rest of the fleet heard of the missing mark and saw that we had become stuck in a windless hole they turned around. I was the only boat in my small start that sailed out of the hole and finished the course. Not many cruising boats can get into a semi racing mode like I can, with everything I own aboard and single hand. Here is a link to a short pro-go video I shot. You will see that at the end I encounter the “Cat” boat. “Kat”arina was taking a go-pro video of me while I took mine of their boat. You may eventually see her mirror video on this blog.

This Booby on a stick was balancing on the vane of the windspeed indicator of my neighbor’s boat. This appears to be a red footed booby but the beak on the ones I see here is mostly a light blue. 003


Weekend November 26. Delayed with my computer problems.

Written by Jack van Ommen on November 28th, 2016

I picked up the older Toshiba laptop with the newer recovered Dell Inspiron solid hard drive in it and the Toshiba hard drive put into a USB frame, as an exterior drive. It improved the speed on the older Toshiba, traditional drive, by a 100%. But it did not last. On Sunday morning it froze up, blue screens and unable to reboot. I spent a good part of Sunday trying to revive it. This morning, Monday, I switched the two hard drives. And all is well, but slow.  Now I need to get the charts to come up. But at least I have not lost any of my data in the surf at Cabo San Lucas. My good Dutch-American friend Evert Slijper introduced me to another Dutch-American friend of his, Robert, who stranded here with his wife 19 years ago, on their way from Newport Beach to the South Pacific. Fascinating life this couple has lived and still is. On his office wall is a picture of him with Bill Gates in the eighties presenting the first CD-Rom drive, from his employer the Dutch Phillips company.  Their home is high up above the old town of Puerto Vallarta overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Right next door is what used to be the home of Liz Taylor who with Richard Burton and “The Night of the Iguana” put the sleepy fishing village of P.V. on the world scene in 1964.DCIM100GOPRO

“El Jefe” ha muerto

The first of the four advent candles were lit at the small church on the village square here in La Cruz. The service was  directed towards the children who had come to have their advent wreaths blessed. The priest has a very close rapport with them. Wonderful to see so many youngsters actively participating in the service, choir and sacraments.




The Sunday market on the bay at La Cruz


“Fleetwood” is being swallowed up. And high above a friggin frigate bird.








Friday November 25. Some good news.

Written by Jack van Ommen on November 25th, 2016

The laptop prognosis is in. The new Dell Inspiron is toast but the solid hard drive is still unharmed and can be put into my older Toshiba lap top. Also the exterior hard drive with the October 31st back-up is still working. I shall go to the repair shop tomorrow. And plan to depart Sunday for Malaque, near Barra de Navidad.

I had gone to the computer shop on Monday, told the come back on Tuesday, told that I would get an e-mail before 5 p.m., nothing, called and sent mails on Wednesday. Gave up. Sailed to La Cruz about 10 miles on the North side of Banderas Bay. A delightful sail. It is much quieter here than the Vallarta Marina Village. La Cruz is just a small town. The marina is very nice. Tuesday afternoon John and Jan Alskog my Gig Harbor friends and dock live-aboard summer neighbors came to see me at the Vallarta Marina. They picked me up on Thursday and took me to their apartment in Sayulita. The Alskogs have been coming here to spend the winters for the last 7 years. I had a very special Thanksgiving with my Gig Harbor friends. The dinner was at this gorgeous home of their Coloradans, Chuck and Teke, overlooking the bay of Sayulita. Much to be thankful for this year.


John and Jan on right.

John and Jan on right.


Playa de Muertos and Punta Monterrey at Saylita

Playa de Muertos and Punta Monterrey at Sayulita




Sunday, November 20th. “Christ the King”

Written by Jack van Ommen on November 20th, 2016

I just pray that P.V. will not become my “Marguerite Ville”. I have that February 28th deadline. I could just put the anchor down here and look after that jigger of salt. I love this place. If I remember right, we first vacationed here in 1979. My second wife, Laura, was an Alaskan Airline attendant and Alaska had just started a service to P.V. and we came here regularly in the following years. After the 1986 divorce, Lisa, my #1 daughter, worked for Alaska Air and the privilege continued. She quit and as threatened I broke her legs and P.V. became history. I am pleased to find that the older part of town is still very much like I remember it.

I am still experimenting with the Go-Pro video camera. I tried it today with the camera on the top of my head. I learned that I need to focus it lower. Eventually I’ll get it right. I also find that just like the Flip Pro that it does not have much of a distance zoom capability.

Today’s video:

There was one open spot at a table of a family of five in a restaurant across from the church. They graciously allowed me to join their table. They were vacationing here from, I believe, the state of Zacatecas, just a wonderful family, the oldest daughter was 24 and I got into real trouble when I guessed her age much lower, her sister was seven and her brother Fernando 18, I did not retain the names except the father and the son are Fernando and the mother Marie. I talked too much and Fernando paid my breakfast. Just a delight to share their table.They also attended the same 12 o’clock mass. I expect to post a picture they took on the next blog. This is what I find to be the most rewarding part of my journey to meet people like this lovely family and brothers and sisters in the same Faith. SoloMan but never alone.




Friday November 18. Puerto Vallarta

Written by Jack van Ommen on November 18th, 2016

The following was written under way:


Sunrise over the Puerto Vallarta foothills.

Wednesday, November 16. Halfway from Cabo San Lucas to Puerto Vallarta.

This should show up on Friday or Saturday. I have not had an internet connection since Sunday afternoon. After I posted on Sunday I had a very unpleasant experience. Sunday the thirteenth of November became a nightmare. I wrote that my boat had been arbitrarily moved further from shore. I missed the full moon sunrise by 15 minutes and when I attempted for the second time to launch my inflatable dinghy I was dumped by the incoming surf. Underneath the dinghy, trying to hold on to it to prevent it to be carried away. When I got out back on the beach there was a quart of saltwater in my backpack, sand in my ears and nose. I quickly removed the laptop, Nikon camera, etc. The Samsung tablet, the flip camera, headlamp, are toast, the brand new Solid drive laptop (about $1,000 with the MS Office) is probably toast. But possibly the hard drive might be recoverable. My exterior hard drive, with the October 31st last back up appears to have survived. I did not have the Go-Pro camera with me. The Nikon D-50 is working.

So, now I was soaking wet on the beach without a way to get to the boat. I had my portable VHF radio with me (survived) and managed to hail Tim on “Northwest Passage” from Gabriola Island. His boat was anchored next to mine. He came in his outboard dinghy to the Cabo San Lucas marina and brought me back to “Fleetwood”. Monday the swell and surf were exceptionally high and rough, due to the higher tides with the full moon. It was a very uncomfortable day in the anchorage. Yesterday morning the sea had calmed down. I swam to the beach, totally out of my former swim condition. The inflatable still has leaks and the hose to the pump had disappeared. I bundled the dinghy together and swam it back to the boat. A Texas couple was out for an early morning swim. They helped me the last part of the way and into the boat. I discovered that the sugar scoop this boat has, still needs some kind of boarding ladder to get from a swimming position back on board. From Sunday onward I had asked the marina in Cabo San Lucas for a mooring slip and figured that with the Baja Ha-Ha fleet leaving for the Sea of Cortez and other destination I’d be able to get a spot and not have to deal with the dinghy to the beach. But yesterday I realized that the marina was giving larger boats a slip instead of sacrificing the revenue for a smaller boat. I wished they would have told me that on my earlier requests. I asked if I could moor the boat at the fuel dock while I made my entry formalities. Negative. So, I got fuel and water and left yesterday at mid-afternoon. And, now, 24 hours later, I have covered about 120 nautical miles, as the Crow flies. The wind has dropped now and my speed has gone under four knots. Last night I was doing 6 plus knots in a very nice hard reach, hitting sevens at times. The fuel bill was for 7 gallons of Diesel. I wager that no one in the Baja Ha-Ha fleet used this little fuel to get to Cabo San Lucas.

For some strange reason my old Toshiba laptop can’t get onto the internet. I tried it at the Marina/fuel dock and earlier from my anchorage where I had been able to use my three day hot spot purchase on the (now toasted) Dell laptop.

I hope that I can get this fixed in P.V. and search for someone to check to see if the new Dell Inspiron laptop can be survived. Otherwise I will need to buy another main navigation laptop, with this Toshiba as the back-up. ( Fixed, turned out to be an incorrect IP address)

At dusk a Blue Footed Booby was circling the boat, obviously looking for the “Vacancy” sign. He kept me company all night, on the bow pulpit. Just wished he’d used the head. Just another poopy Booby.

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I cleaned up the smelly mess after he took off at sun-up.


Here are a few pictures of the moon taken on Monay and Tuesday evening.


Friday evening, P033uerto Vallarta

I am dying for a cold beer after all the hoops I have sprung through today and dragged my tired ass in the 100 degree heat back to the boat from the deadline at the Capitania. Now I am waiting for the immigration officer to clear me in on the boat. I have already had the customs, agriculture (who deprived me of my special elephant garlic that my son in law’s father specially raised for me in his garden on Bowen Island and the health/quarantine doctor here on board.

I had some more fine sailing on Thursday and Friday and some motoring when the wind went south.

No luck on the trap line. The details I have on the old Toshiba laptop of the charts for Mexico leaves a lot to be desired. I must have had a newer version on the wasted (?) new Dell Inspiron. And the $100 chart book I bought is also a disappointment. So, my mission is to try and get the Chart World charts to work on the Toshiba and another back up. There is a super Wall Mart store here and I have heard that their State side stores sell an inexpensive tablet that might work for me.

The fun started when I tried to find a moorage spot here in P.V. I sent a DeLorme e-mail to the Paradise Village Marina, never heard back. The only other one I was aware of is the Marina Vallarta. They did not respond to my VHF hails. But then I was able to get a spot via the VHF at the Paradise Village Marina. I got the o.k. from the Harbormaster’s office to bring my paperwork to their office in town. But then it turns out that once I was checking ion at the Paradise Village Marina that it has its own harbormaster,Hector, and he would not allow me to deal with the “uptown” harbormaster’s people. So, a couple more phone/VHF calls and I decided to try get back to the down town harbor. Fortunately the young lady at the downtown harbormaster office had finally been able to get through with the Marina Vallarta for me to obtain a slip.

I then jumped into a taxi and made it to the harbor master office just before they closed for the weekend. Otherwise I’d have to sit on the boat waiting for my cold beer until Tuesday, Monday is Mexico’s Independence day.

But then when back at the Marina office to register, I found out that I should have never left the boat until Customs, Health, Immigration, and agriculture had checked me in. Anyway I got away with a warning.

Now hurry up, I want my cold Pacifico. The moorage is reasonable 65 cents per foot per day. It is much closer to the old town of P.V. I can vaguely recollect having stayed here at a condo in the Vallarta Marina Village when it just opened in the eighties. Paradise Village out did it and parts of this project seemed to have fallen on lack of revenue/care.

I will try have a Mexican prepaid cell phone number by tomorrow. I plan to move to anchor at La Cruz Bay and then be with John and Jan Alskog at Sayulita for Thanksgiving. I am very much enjoying being back in this once favorite vacation spot of me and my family.

I am reading a book that I heartily recommend, particularly at those who spent time in Tacoma. A short novel “Streets of Tacoma” by Billy. William M. Hanson stopped by “Fleetwood” in San Diego. He lives on his sailboat “Carthaginian” in San Diego. The story plays in downtown Tacoma in the Second WW and in the fifties. You’ll recognize the characters and the places. Stores and bars and flophouses, a bit raunchy in places. I know who is going to read my copy next, John Alskog. From the stories he has told me about his early days in Tacoma, I think he’ll recognize the main character, the Kid. A “Swede” with a mean left punch.




Sunday, November 13 San Juan del Cabo

Written by Jack van Ommen on November 13th, 2016

In the previous blog I had the wrong link for the Video I had put into Dropbox. I have corrected the link, it is now a youtube video.

I took the local busses to San Juan del Cabo I missed the 10 o’clock service. The noon service was partially in English. This church originated as one of the most southern outpost of the Jesuits, in the 18th century. It was destroyed by the local Indians and rebuilt in 1940. The town is much older and historical architecture than Cabo San Lucas.

A statute of the Lebanese Maronite monk Saint Charbel Makhlouf

A statute of the Lebanese Maronite monk Saint Charbel Makhlouf 


Back in the rickety old local city bus in San Juan del Cabo

Back in the rickety old local city bus in San Juan del Cabo

It is a very challenging dinghy landing here. The sandy beach drops fast and I have yet to make a dry landing.

I missed the full

sunrise from "Fleetwood"

sunrise from “Fleetwood”

oon rise out of the ocean.


Saturday, November 12. Cabo San Lucas

Written by Jack van Ommen on November 12th, 2016

Well, I never made it to mass last weekend in Turtle Bay. It turned out that there was no Saturday 6 pm mass after all. I had doubled up on my reservation for a 6.30 a.m. pickup by water taxi for the 7 a.m. Sunday mass. None ever showed up. So much has happened this week that, frankly, I am a little vague on the sail from Bahia Tortugas to Bahia de Santa Maria. I arrived there in time for the beach party. I sold a “SoloMan” to Johan of the “De Vrijheid” and while I went to get it from my backpack Andy also wanted the one color copy I had with me. We talked too long and by the time I got back to where I left Johan, he was gone. Then I went searching for Andy. He was gone. Heck of a salesman I am. Yesterday I could not find them here in Cabo. How am I going to pay for my Pacificos? I do remember the sail from Sta. Maria bay to Cabo very well. It was absolutely perfect. I let the fleet go ahead on Wednesday morning. From 10 o’clock until the next day, I sailed under spinaker for 24 hours. I managed to sleep short one hour naps with the spinaker up. I dropped the anchor between the majority of the fleet anchored out in front of the beach here at 2 a.m. Friday morning. Yesterday we had another great beach party and the high light was the, customary, kissing contest. A re-enactment of the scene in “From here to Eternity” with Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr.


overlooking Bahia de Santa Maria

If the wind direction and strength, can be strong northerlies, allow it I will make a diversion into La Paz, otherwise I leave Tuesday/Wednesday for Puerto Vallarta.