Archive for the ‘Tip of the Week’ Category

Turtle Bay Fuel Pier Has Pick Up Mooring

Monday, December 4th, 2017

The fuel pier at Turtle Bay has a mooring you can pick up off the bow and then back your stern up to the pier. Now you don’t have to use your own anchor. Enrique, the owner, is show here passing the fuel hose.

“Cruising Ports” praise from cruisers in Panama

Sunday, October 16th, 2011

“Joy of joys, I found Pat Rains’ ‘Cruising Ports; the Central American Route’ in the Chart Shop in Panama! It’s a wonderful guide book, so clear with understandable illustrations and feels so good to handle. Now I feel confident about our proposed move [from Shelter Bay Marina in Panama] up the Western Caribbean coast. …. We will have this brilliant book to guide us. Thank you, Pat!”

More praise form veteran cruisers:

“I haven’t seen the [6.5 edition] of Pat’s book, but we found the last version [6th edition] to be out “go to” book. Couldn’t have made the trip without it.” Joan of Panchita.

Cruising Pacific Mexico – SSCA

Saturday, September 24th, 2011
Cruising Pacific Mexico –Join Pat Rains for two Seven Seas Cruising Association webinars (online seminars) on Cruising Pacific Mexico

SSCA burgee

Tue . Sept 27  1900 Pacific Time  “Cruising the Sea of Cortez: Upper and Lower

Wed. Sept 28   1900 Pacific Time “Cruising Pacific Mexico – Ensenada to Puerto Chiapas

Capt. Pat Rains, author of “Mexico Boating Guide,” will be live –  covering WX and Routing, seasonal itineraries, port clearance, plus a speedy cruise into the anchorages, marinas, fuel docks, haul-out yards. Tuesday focus is on the upper and lower halves of the Sea of  Cortez. Wednesday is similar but the  geo- focus  is all the rest of Pacific Mexico.  Lots of new info, photos and GPS charts, plus 15 min for your live chat Q and A  each night.

$30 for SSCA members. Non-members can use Pat’s discount code (below) to receive $10 off her webinars at registration, regularly $40.  Price includes recording to keep. Yes, you can  pass Pat’s discount to your friends. For details on how Seven Seas U webinars work, or to register, click here: Contact Seven Seas U for more info and to register

Discount Code:  PatRains
(no space, capital P and capital R)

Is it safe to travel by boat in Mexico?

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

Darren Carey, manager of IGY Marina in Cabo San Lucas, gets asked this question frequently. IGY Marina is the largest boating facility in Cabo San Lucas, and that resort port at the tip of Baja has long been the center of the universe – at least the nautical tourist universe in Mexico.

“In light of drug-gang violence elsewhere in Mexico these days, are yacht tourists (yatistas) safe in Cabo San Lucas?” I asked Carey recently.

“The short answer is yes,” he said. “We have had no incidents of tourists being attacked,” he said, “no boat thefts, no yachts getting damaged by bad weather. The worst complaints we’ve had recently are that a panga driver charged a tourist too much to take him out to Lovers’ Beach and back, and a taxi driver in town didn’t make the correct change.”

The Mexican Secretariat of Tourism recorded 5.9 million Americans traveling to Mexico last year, an increase of almost 10% over the previous year. With that many gringos visiting Mexico, what do they need to do to stay safe?

“Tourists are not being targeted by drug gangs in Mexico,” he said.

“It’s no different than tourists visiting any country in Europe or the Americas. Tourists should avoid the few areas where problems are known to exist. They should not get mixed up in buying drugs or other criminal activities. Tourists in any country should pay attention to where they are, to protect themselves from pick pockets or random criminal acts.

“In Cabo San Lucas, if visitors are going to hire the smaller unlicensed pangas tour boats, then they should make an effort to learn the price in pesos. If you’re hiring a taxi, you should ask the price in advance, because taxi drivers often don’t have a lot of change.” This avoids being shocked by a high taxi fare at the end of your drive as well.


Carey, who took over as manager of IGY Marina Cabo San Lucas earlier this year, comes from the United Kingdom, where he was a member of Britain’s elite Royal Navy Lifeboat Institute (similar to the US Coast Guard). He specialized in both port security and rough-weather boat handling. His non military career includes working as the dockmaster and manager of several marinas in England and Europe.

He said the IGY Marina works closely with the Mexican Naval Command that is based in Cabo San Lucas. The navy’s mission includes protecting visitors, residents and businesses from crime in the ports and high seas.

As a marina operator, Corey was an invited guest of the admiral to go out with the Mexican Navy while they exercised some of their new patrol craft, including 47 medium light boats and RIBs, and several new long-range helicopters.

Corey said the Mexican Navy units that are based at Cabo San Lucas regularly patrol in a radius of at least 250 miles in all directions. That covers almost half way up Baja and in the other direction up to La Paz. Other Navy bases at Ensenada, Cedros Island, Turtle Bay, Mag Bay and La Paz, for example, patrol overlapping areas.

Their purpose is search and rescue, said Carey, but they handle all situations. He said he was impressed with how knowledgeable and well trained the marines are.

“We cruised around East Cape,” said Carey of his Mexican Navy excursion. “That cruise was very informative, very reassuring and, well, lovely!”

Do boaters need to be protected by the military or security guards at all times?

“It’s funny, because during the daylight hours, when the navy guys are wearing their dress white uniforms, all starched and pressed, the tourists are really happy to see them in the marinas and around town,” Carey related. “They like to try to get their pictures taken with them.”

“But at night, when the same navy patrols switch into their black uniforms, or wear camouflaged fatigues, then it’s a different story. We’ve had some tourists get upset. They get freaked out by those uniforms.”

“At the marina, we are focused on security 24 hours a day, seven days a week, of course,” Corey said. “Customer service includes customer security. … All our staffers – anybody who is out on the docks – they all are trained in security. So you won’t see separate security guards.”

Carey said the IGY Cabo San Lucas marina also has multiple CCTV (closed circuit television) cameras covering every square meter of the marina at all times, with five people monitoring the cameras day and night.

New Marina in Puerto Chiapas

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

Marina Chiapas to Handle Yatista Paperwork
When Marina Chiapas is inaugurated in November, it will focus on providing easy international arrivals and exits.
Puerto Chiapas, formerly called Puerto Madero, is 14 miles north of the Mexico-Guatemala border, so this new full-service marina will be the southernmost recreational boating facility on Mexico’s Pacific coast and a nautical gateway between Mexico and the small countries of Central America.

Marina Chiapas, slated to open this fall, has roads and a concrete storage yard that don’t show in this March 2011 aerial photo. As the new recreational boating gateway between Mexico and Central America, this marina will provide streamlined paperwork for international arrivals and exits, plus a floating fuel dock and dry storage.

“We already have the dry storage yard and interior roads,” said Enrique Laclette, the project manager at Marina Chiapas. He said the new marina basin has been dredged to 15 feet at low tides, and the three large docks hold 63 full-service slips. Most of the slips are in the 40 and 60 foot ranges, but the marina has built eight slips to 70 feet, one for 90-footers and one 140-foot end tie.
Laclette formerly was the dockmaster at Marina Chahue in Huatulco, and he is well respected in the cruising community for his accurate weather forecasts that were broadcast specifically for yatistas awaiting a safe window to cross the blustery Gulf of Tehuantepec.
Puerto Chiapas lies at the southeast or opposite end of the Gulf of Tehuantepec, where Laclette was hired away from Huatulco to help build this new private Marina Chiapas.
“All the paperwork will be done on site,” said Laclette. “Boaters will tie up to the cleats in the marina and wait for the authorities to come to them” to handle the international arrival or exit.
Until this improvement is inaugurated this fall, yacht owners and their crew seeking Mexico entrance or exit will still have to begin the port clearance process in Puerto Chiapas, then travel 30 miles round trip by taxi or bus to the city of Tapachula, track down immigration authorities in an office at the Tapachula airport, then complete the process back in Puerto Chiapas.
Laclette said the new Marina Chiapas port clearance will be “the easiest paperwork ever.”
A new floating fuel dock for yachts is being built within the marina basin, and when it opens this fall, up to 2,000 gallons of diesel will be available by tank truck. This will eliminate the need for yachts to come alongside the port’s high commercial fuel dock, which is a rough concrete non-floating pier.
The marina’s concrete dry-storage yard should be handy for yachts summering over on the hard just south of the hurricane formation zones.
Laclette is planning a big inauguration party for Marina Chiapas this fall. The marina’s new website should be up and running this summer. Stay tuned to The Log for more details.

Online Cruising Webinars

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

Pat Rains is a member of Seven Seas Cruising Association (SSCA). She leads live online interactive seminars (webinars) on many topics about cruising Mexico and Central America, through Seven Seas University. Go to for info about Pat Rains’ next classes. Use her discount code “PatRains” to get $10 off.  See you there.

Isla Mujeres

Friday, April 8th, 2011

Fabled landfall for yachts, Isla Mujeres (Women Island) welcomes you to the Yucatan Channel.

Isla Mujeres lies 104 n.m. WSW of Cabo San Antonio, Cuba; about 330 n.m. SW of Key West, Florida; 490 n.m. SE of the Mississippi River mouth; or 650 n.m. ESE of the Rio Grande at the US border. This low island runs 4.2 n.m. long (NW to SE) and lies about 3 n.m off the mainland state of Quintana Roo, 6 n.m. NE of Cancun. Bahia Mujeres is the 5-mile wide somewhat sheltered pass W of Isla Mujeres.

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Central American Resource Directory

Saturday, March 12th, 2011

View our resource directory for the east coast of Mexico and the Pacific and Caribbean costs of Central America: marinas,  fuel docks, boatyards, ship’s agents, useful contacts.