Fuel in Turtle Bay

January 7th, 2016
Turtle Bay, Mexico Pier

Enrique’s fuel pier in Turtle Bay. Land dinghy at the ladder. Panga for fueling at anchor.

Various rumors about the fuel situation in Turtle Bay had been floating around the air waves for months including that there was no functioning fuel dock, so we were interested in seeing firsthand what was going on.

The good news is that the rickety old fuel dock is still in operational, as well as the panga-type fuel barge with a 1,000-liter capacity of diesel that can bring it alongside boats at anchor near the town. Taking from at anchor from the fuel barge is usually much more convenient than having to Med moor off the tall pier. But reports were that sometimes the power source for the fuel barge’s pump hasn’t been working. Some boaters have managed to supply their own power to run the fuel-barge pump – just to get the job done. If not, they’d have had to up anchor and med-moor off the tall fuel pier. Enrique runs both operations with a few attendants. They monitor VHF 16, and they accept cash only. We didn’t need fuel as we carried 3,000 gallons. Just updating.

The only place to tie up a dinghy and go ashore is off a rickety metal ladder hanging off on the SW end of the tall fuel pier. It’s still a dangerous situation: barnacles and sharp metal on the ladder can puncture an inflatable dinghy, and many boaters have come away wet and bleeding. Unlike at various times in the past, the fuel pier had no floating dock section tied loosely to the end. We’d seen that chunk of dock turn over in chop, because it had no pilings to keep it right-side up or to keep it safely in place for fueling or landing a dinghy. It wasn’t there this time. Landing a dinghy on the beach is the only other option.

The last time we were in Turtle Bay it was the eve of the Virgin of Guadalupe Day. We walked all over town looking for a any restaurant that was open. Everything was closed, because all the residents were at the church celebrating. Finally we found an open restaurant, El Morocco, which is near the little hotel of the same name. Turtle Bay is not known for its haute cuisine, but hey it was open.

We did see a new grocery store right on the main drag. It’s small, but has most of the basics.  We ran into a couple of cruisers who said they looked all over town for internet and couldn’t find a connection. We didn’t verify that, because we took off southbound early the next morning.

Uber is in Ensenada

January 2nd, 2016
Cruise port village marina web

Cruiseport Village Marina is an easy walk to downtown Ensenada, Mexico

We were on the street outside Cruiseport marina trying to flag down a taxi to go to dinner but they were all occupied. After  10 minutes, my shipmate whips out her iphone – “Let’s try this.” Five minutes later we were in an Uber cab and on our way. Turns out Uber was cheaper and more convenient than regular taxis. After dinner we used the Uber app to order up another one and he was at the door waiting for us in short order.

A few days later we tried this in Cabo, but Uber wasn’t there – yet.

 

Updated Chart on Belcher’s in Mag Bay

January 2nd, 2016

In December 2015 we anchored at Belcher’s and did some more soundings and corrected the shoreline. Belcher’s is 3 n.m. inside Mag Bay to the north. Although many boaters like to anchor in 30′ of water, here 30′ is quite away from shore and often you get a rolly wind chop. Anchoring in 12′ puts you closer to shore and gives more protection from the point, especially in a north wind which is common.

Belchers rev

Clear into Mexico in Ensenada: The best way to go

December 24th, 2015

2011 fubar cis

We made a boat trip from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas in December 2015. What follows is a series of blogs with updated information on the several places we stopped on the way.

First stop was Ensenada where we went to Cruise Port Village Marina. Jonathon the dockmaster helped us with port clearance. The CIS office on the waterfront contains all the agencies necessary to get the job done.  We made it in 45 minutes start to finish an all-time record. We have to compare that to the bad old days when it was at least a half day and in some other Mexican ports all day of running around from one end of town to the other to the various necessary offices and banks.

Mexico is trying to set the internet up for you to do some of these things in advance, but so far we’ve found this to be ponderous and really it’s much quicker just to do it all in Ensenada provided you have all the necessary documents:

Valid ship’s document

Passports for each crew member

Crew List

Engine serial numbers (for the temporary import permit TIP)

Insurance (to show the marina)

What you get with all this: Tourist Cards, TIP, Fishing Licenses. Stamped crew list from the port captain showing you have cleared in.

Fito the dockmaster at Marina Coral also helps you with paperwork. For more details read our Mexico Boating Guide.

Agent List Updated Panama Canal

September 27th, 2013

1.) Alessandro Risi (Alex)
Megayacht specialist
Associated Steamship
yachts@shipsagent.com
Cell (507) 6614-0485

2.) Roy Bravo
Emmanuel Agencies
(507) 441-5652
Cell (507) 6678-6820
emanuelagencies@emanuelagenciessa.com

Other licensed Canal agents we know of:

Enrique Plummer
Agencia Naviera Plummer
Cel (507) 6674-2086, Fax (507) 314-0895
Email eplummer@hotmail.com

Ms. Tina McBride (not under 40’)
Panama Canal Transits
Cel (507) 6637-2999, Fax (507) 314-0977
Email PanamaTransit@gmail.com
www.PanamaCanalTransits.com

David Manrique, Match Ship Management
Cel (507) 6615-8157, Tel (507) 314-0850
Fax (507) 314-0841, www.matchship.com

Stanley Scott, Naviera Stanley S.A.
Cell (507) 6680-7971
Email: Sscot@cwpanama.net

 

Travel Lift in Puerto Chipas

August 31st, 2013

August 2013: Marina Chiapas (Puerto Chiapas) is hauling yachts out of the water with the brand new  60-ton travel lift, both for repairs or dry storage (paved yard). This new boat yard capability is a huge advantage for cruisers wanting to summer over on the hard in southern Mexico, or needing repairs before or after crossing the Gulf of Tehuantepec.  FMI, contact Marina Chiapas, Enrique Laclette www.marinachiapas.com  tel 9626956144 mobile,  tel office (962) 6204038

Puerto Chiapas Travel Lift
Puerto Chiapas Travel Lift

February 5th, 2012

To get an email with the best marine weather for Pacific Mexico

Send a message to query@saildocs.com

Put the following in the message body:

Send Mexicocomposite

For more complete  information

http://www.weather.solmatesantiago.com/fcstemail.html

“Cruising Ports” praise from cruisers in Panama

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

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?

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.

INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE

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.