It was indeed going to be a hot day in Puerto Vallarta; we could already see it when we approached the port. Wind still weather, not a cloud in the skies, and a gentle breeze but from the landside. So a warm breeze. The pilot was a very proud man today, as his boat was now equipped with a flashing light. Somebody had decided that it would be very official if the pilot boat had one of those flashing bars on the top, the same as you see on American police cars. And it did flash. You could see the boat approaching from miles away. The fact that the new flash bar (or whatever the official name for it is) completely obscured the required pilot lights was another matter and had most likely not figured very highly in the decision making process of the authorities. So when the boat came out, we first thought that Puerto Vallarta had been enriched with a security boat as the flashing light was the only thing we could see but when it came closer we could see, very faintly, the white above red lights in the mast indicating the fact that it was our pilot boat. But at least he was on time and without delay we sailed into the port.
I think that Puerto Vallarta has one of the shortest distances between pilot on board and the actual docking. About half a mile; 3000 ft. The entrance channel is about 2000 feet long and if you are then docked at pier 1, it is another 1000 feet before the ship is in position. Today we docked starboard side alongside as the Staff Captain wanted to paint the starboard stern area. That means that you make a 90o turn around the west knuckle of the dock and then just come sideways to position. This time it took only 20 minutes to accomplish the whole maneuver. The running of the mooring lines was the part that took the longest.
The plans of the Staff Captain for his painting did not go exactly accordingly to plan, as the two cherry pickers ordered were delivered without fuel. So as we do not carry that sort of fuel on board, we had to go to the petrol station first. Then it transpired that the booms could not extend more than 40 feet or so, although they were rated for 80 feet. Something wrong with the hydraulics. In the end we told the supplier to take a hike and he was not paid. I believe his excuse was that it was Sunday yesterday.
While the Staff Captain was having fun with his man lifts, I went shopping with the assistant bo’sun, confronting the scorching heat by walking to Wall Mart. Although the assistant bo’sun, who comes from Sulawesi where it is not cold either, was not very happy either with the warm and sunny weather. Luckily Wall mart is air conditioned but that was also only the only good thing there. In the area of shopping for tools and paint materials, we were greatly disappointed. We only found the duct tape that we needed, padlocks and hand wrenches. So next call, we will go to home Depot to get the rest. That is a 30 dollar cab ride, so I will have to make it worth our while with getting as much as we need and can carry.
Visiting Puerto Vallarta northbound is an additional call this season for the westbound transcanal cruises that we are making. As a result it has to be a short call; otherwise we arrive in Cabo San Lucas too late. There we cannot arrive any later as we have to leave from there at 1500 hrs. as well, so we can make San Diego on time.
Thus we pulled out of the port at 1500 hrs. and sailed full speed out of the bay. Our average speed to maintain on paper is 17.3 knots but there will be a knot of adverse current against us and some opposing wind, so the engines will have to deliver close to 19 knots to be on time.
We will be together with the Carnival Splendor, who is doing a 2 day call there with an overnight at sea in between. The wind is not changing in the coming 24 hours, so it will be a very warm as well in the bay of Cabo San Lucas.