Today was our 2nd day at sea. Tropical storm Norman has moved into the Baja California and is supposed to make a land fall onto the Mexican mainland today. That means that we had no wind to contend with, as the Californian Peninsula sheltered us but we had a lot of rain. I always see a tropical storm that has the potential to turn into a Hurricane as a sort of rotating vacuum cleaner which sucks all the moisture away from the area. We sailed through its path today and came a across a number of rainclouds. Good news for the Staff Captain as it helped to wash the salt off the ship. Not too much bother for the guests as by 11 am it was all dry again and the sun came out. We could see that it had been raining a lot in the area, as the hills of the Californian Peninsula are lush and green. In a few months it will be all brown and dry again. Last winter Mexico had a drought period but hopefully this winter things will be better for them.
We observed wind still weather all day long with some confused seas; there was the old swell generated by ex hurricane Miriam, some newer swell from Tropical Storm Norman, and then the regular waves caused by the wind during the night. None of them very high and so the ship was nice and stable. Coming closer to Cabo San Lucas, it was very quiet with sport fishing boats, something that amazed me as it was a Saturday and then you get a lot of weekend people coming to Cabo. Maybe it is still the recession as we saw no work going at all on the hills. The abandoned projects still looked abandoned and that makes the Pacific Side of Cabo look like a ghost town. I am just waiting for Hollywood to descend upon the area to shoot a disaster movie.
Hurricane Miriam did affect the currents greatly. Yesterday we had it all against us, but an hour before Cabo San Lucas we suddenly got a push of over 1.4 knots in the back. And that is not what it should have been. But any gift, great or small, is gratefully accepted and as the current stayed with us until late evening we got 12 miles of free distance out if it. That meant that we could drop an engine earlier than expected and still maintain our schedule for a timely arrival in Puerto Vallarta and that pleased the chief engineer as it means less fuel consumption. He is saving for his dream, a BMW sports car, but thus far he has not gotten much further than the spare wheel as our fuel budget is very tight. With two children in University he has to be careful with his money and so for his dream to come true he has to hope for a decent bonus at the end of the year.
As all the ships are leaving Alaska we have more cruise traffic in the area than normal. On our regular run, which starts next cruise we are normally alone in Puerto Vallarta but tomorrow we have the Star Princess in and I have just been told, the Norwegian Jewel is there with us as well. As a matter of fact she is now also scheduled for Hualtalco and Puerto Chiapas and Puerto Quetzal, so she will be with us all the way. How that will work out at the various pilot stations for arrivals remains to be seen. The Jewel is much faster than the Statendam and has therefore much more leeway in arriving earlier and leaving later.
During the night we will sail south of the Tres Maria’s which is a group of islands off the Mexican mainland. We are staying quite a bit to the south but we are also warned to do so, as there is a prison on the biggest island and the chart indicates that we might be shot at by the authorities. Cruise ships cannot shoot back and so we stay away. Then during the night we will enter the Bahia de Banderas and by 07.00 we should be at the pilot station of Puerto Vallarta.
For the weather it depends on what tropical storm Norman is going to do during the night. If it runs ashore quickly then we might get some rain in the morning, as the rain band will lie over the port. If it moves a bit further into the Sea of Cortez, the rain will be gone by 07.00 hrs. and it will be a dry day. Most likely a hot and humid day with all that moisture in the air. Sun block 50 and a bottle of water will be of the essence.
Note: Mrs Marney Wilde (email@example.com) I received your Corinto cheque this morning in the company mail coming to Puerto Vallarta. Thank you very much for your gift.