high & low

local knowledge

high & low

I’m forwarding pictures we just took of MEXORC boats being humbled by surge in the wake of yesterday’s 8.8 earthquake in Chile. We’re in Marina Riviera Nayarit in La Cruz de Huanacaxle, Mexico, where the boats for the MEXORC / Mexican Cup Regatta are based. We’re one of the lowly sluggish cruising boats, but former racers and had have fun watching the fancy guys arriving this week.

The tsunami warning brought a whole new twist. The Mexican riviera coast seems to be largely spared of any serious affects from the earthquake, but there has been a significant surge for several hours now. While there was nothing resembling a tsunami wave, the water level in the marina has gone through several meter-plus cycles of draining and filling. They’re happening quickly, which has created dramatic surge around the entrance. Additionally complicating things, the action peaked during a full moon low tide! I can only speculate, but the current between the marina jetties must have been at least 5 knots and likely more.

I’m really not sure what possessed boats to continue heading out in the conditions, when the dredged depth was just meeting standards and between tsunami surge and low tide, was at least 6′ lower. Ruahatu, pictured here, was the second to go aground. They’re trying hard with the guys out on the boom, who had several good saltwater dunks. I’m not sure why they want the panga to pull them back *in* to the marina, as shown in the photo, when the water was still pouring out of the marina… might have been easier to work with mother nature in this case. The line between the panga and the boat snapped later- it’s amazing the guy on the bow wasn’t hurt (again: what *were* they thinking? Although perhaps we’ve already established that they were not…). A cabin cruiser also came to help, but only got snarled in the lines, fouled his prop, and lost power temporarily as a result. Cap it off with an MOB when the boat heeled over and I think you’ve got a trifecta to drive any boat owner to track down her tequila. Practice day video here.

Gracias, Behan & Jamie
s/v Totem