Yet another early arrival and, with the constant clock changes, the mornings are darker. It is years since I last visited this port, although I came here regularly on the “Ryndam” and “Oosterdam” during my Mexican Cruise itineraries.
Initially, during the approach in darkness, nothing much seemed to have changed, however, as the light improved I noticed immediately that there were vastly more high-rise flats, (condos) surrounding the harbour and along the seafront. As we reduced speed to board our compulsory harbour pilot, I wondered if Captain Gonzales, an old friend from my many visits to the port, would be here or retired; I was presently surprised to find it was he, still working, who came to the Bridge. Whilst we concentrated on our arrival, our conversations were purely professional, however once docked we spent much time on ‘catching up’ on what we had both been doing.
The pilotage is a relatively short one and it was Thomas, our Staff Captain, who took her in. Into the harbour until the stern was clear of #2 buoy (and the concrete of the dock), a swing through 90° before going astern to the dock. As is the norm we used the ‘joystick’, our computerised instrument which gives you the benefit of maneuvering with one hand, the alternative being using both and constantly changing azipod rpm and direction, not to mention the bow thrusts.
Alongside and cleared, bang on schedule, our guests poured ashore for various tours, or just plain wandering.
I stayed on board as we had drills this morning, while K1 and Hazel went off on a whale-watch tour and a highly successful one too. The harbour was bustling with tour boats. We were the only ship in today, however Puerto Vallarta is a popular destination for tourists, Mexican and foreigners both.
Captain Gonzales tells me that a new highway/motorway has been built to Guadalajara and consequently the influx has been multiplied several-fold, so much so that there are insufficient accommodations for them and many sleep on the beach……
Our drill is a ‘full emergency’, involving a mock fire which then becomes out of control and consequently we all abandon ship.
The starboard boats are launched and go for a ‘pottle’ around the harbour before being retrieved; our life-raft crews are involved too and they have instruction while the boats are away.
K1 and Hazel return and both have had a ‘whale’ of a time. They went out to whale-waters on a ‘Zodiac’, an open, semi-rigid boat which was fast and comfortable. I had a hard time choosing K1’s best photos for you, however these were my choice.