Heading West

It’s Monday morning here in Puerto Vallarta. We’r wrapping up the at-sea boat prep tasks that have to wait until the last few hours: Stripping down the V-berth and topping it with oilcloth (stuff gets stowed up there during passages), stowing away all loose items in the cabin, making up our sea berths, etc. We expect representatives from the offices of the port captain, emigration, and customs to arrive within the next couple of hours to inspect us and – we expect – issue our zarpe, or exit paper. There is as much formal paperwork to do when leaving Mexico by boat as there was to do when we first arrived. Once we have the zarpe in hand, we’ll cast off our dock lines and head west.

The passage from Puerto Vallarta to Hiva Oa is approximately 2300 nautical miles. At an average of 5 to 6 knots, we expect it will take us three weeks to make landfall. This estimate is assuming the Intratropical Convergence Zone or ITCZ (“the doldrums”) isn’t too wide and we can get across it within a day or so, and that we have steady trade winds on both sides of the equator.

We don’t know how soon after we make landfall we will be able to access an internet connection. So this the last post we will put up for a while. We’re both looking forward to our first equatorial crossing under sail, ever. And to seeing the islands of French Polynesia. Until our next blog post …


Puerto Vallarta

We made the overnight coastal passage south from Mazatlan to Puerto Vallarta timing our arrival for Sunday, Feb. 21. Long-time friends and fellow sailors Bill and Nina were flying down from Portland, scheduled to arrive later in that same day. We’d been looking forward to their visit for weeks; not only because they were bringing with them some kit we’d requested, but also because they’re two of the most enjoyable people to spend time with that we know. They had booked a room in one of the hotels overlooking Marina Vallarta, so that’s where we put Velic for the duration of our stay here in P.V. Marina Vallarta is also a convenient location from which to begin our voyage to the Marquesas. Continue reading


The north wind eventually began to ease up. We waited an additional day for the sea to settle, then headed out from Caleta Partida, around and down past the Espiritu Santo group, through the Cerralvo Canal and across the Sea of Cortez to Mazatlan. Variable winds were the hallmark of this crossing, and cross seas for the first day and night. But we will leave all that behind us, and focus on our days in Mazatlan. Continue reading