I have been coming to Cabo San Lucas since 1982 (First time was with the old Statendam IV) so I have seen it being transformed from a sleepy fishing village to a mega resort. From the occasional cruise ship calling to the row of ships now in port every day. And I have seen it in all the weather variations; the Good, the Bad and the Ugly days. When I came to the bridge this morning it was overcast and the sea was a flat as a mirror, although it was a wavy mirror as there is always some swell running, but no wind at all. And that is a good start for Cabo San Lucas. As it means that during the day the sun will burn some of the clouds away but some will be left; and there will be some wind later in the day, caused by the warming up of the Mexican mainland, but it has to start from wind force zero and thus the wind will not get to a big momentum.
Although Cabo is sheltered from the West, the North and the East, the South East and South are fully open and that can bring bad weather into the Bay. And if the wind & swell are from a south easterly angle (e.g. running along the coast) than that swell runs straight into the bay, onto the beach, bounces back and mixes with the incoming swell. Very nasty for a safe operation at the tender platform. I have cancelled Cabo in the past because of this and it is very hard to sell to the guests. They only see nice weather and cannot estimate the height of the swell and thus do not comprehend the challenge. I remember once coming into Cabo with the Maasdam, when this “bounce back” swell occurred, that I pumped out all four tender platforms and then called all the guests on deck, so they could see the swell running over the platforms. These platforms have open grills, to drain away the water but if the swell is caught under it, than it creates very impressive foam spouts when the water is pushed through the grating holes. A lot of guests took photos, no doubt to show at dinner parties about how rough Cabo can be.
But today was a nice day with only a slight wobble / wave moment at the gangway. So everybody should have been happy. The ship arrives around 10.30 hrs. and thus guests had to make up their minds, about going at once that is just after breakfast, or after lunch. For the ship this works out quite well as you get a steady stream of guests going ashore without too many people waiting for tender tickets. But we were stuck with anchorage nbr 3. The Harbor master of Cabo had decided that we should go to 3 and so we went. And that meant a very long tender distance of a mile. A mile does not seem very long but including stepping in the tender, sailing the distance, dodging lots of other traffic and getting out, it takes some time. The ship had arranged for 3 shore tenders as well so we had a continuous flow of tenders available but the distance remained the same.
At the shore side they built a few years ago, a completely dedicated series of tender docks, of which we had two, the Norwegian Star had two and the Seven Seas Mariner had one. For the latter that worked fine as they were operating with two tenders sailing opposite so they only used one dock. Our tender drivers had a difficult day today with all the water sports and other traffic coming in and out of the harbor. This resulted in a large number of what we call Kamikazes (a lot worse than six pack navigators) activities. Some of the boat operators give full power when they leave the dock, and do not change course anymore, not for anybody. I do not think that Mexico has any licensing regulations for small craft as I saw some hair-raising escapes. Our quartermasters are trained in taking evasive action, even when they have the right of way and the best evasive action is to slow down and stop (or change course to starboard when still a long distance away, but that is not always possible) and they slowed down a lot today. Safe and good but it added even more time to the journey.
Still I am very glad I was there in the 80’s when there were only the fishermen, the flea market (with real fleas complementary with each purchase) and the Play Boy Hotel on the seaside of the hill. The hotel did not belong to Playboy but the magazine had declared the beach to be one of the 10 best in the world. And I think they were right then and still would be as the beaches are still very nice. But instead of a romantic quiet walk along the beach, there is now Carlos and Charlie’s and that is certainly not quiet.
The ms Volendam hopes to sail at 17.00 hrs. and then our next port of call is: Puerto Chiapas near the southern border of Mexico, so we first have two days at sea to sail along the whole Mexican coast