Tropical Storm Narda

Adjusting from BC in the autumn weather (cool, rainy, cloudy) to end of summer mainland Mexico (sunny, humid, 30c+) was kind of a shock. My first day I was too hot and sweaty to really do anything, except sit around in front of a fan complaining (so pretty much the perfect Brit Abroad stereotype). In the afternoon it began to rain, and that night the sky was lit up by lightning. Not that this dampened the spirits of the nightclub that was literally 100 feet away from my boat (who on earth puts a nightclub in a marina???) and which kept me up most of the night.

All this was because of Tropical Storm Narda, which had decided to come up the coast. It had weakened into a tropical depression over Bandaras Bay so everyone was fairly relieved, unfortunately it strengthened again just as it hit Mazatlan. The winds started at around 10am, and peaked at around gusts of 50 knots or so where I was (wind speed taken from the airport, my wind instruments weren’t up and running yet. For reference, hurricane force winds are 65 knots and above)


Adding to the rain and the wind was a danger I hadn’t before – coconuts! They go flying through the air with enough force to kill, and it’s not uncommon for people to die in this way. As I felt ‘death by coconut’ would be an ignominious end to my trip (and life) I hid in the relative safety of my boat.

By 1 o clock, the storm had moved past

and just rain was left. I went for a quick walk and saw some damage to the nightclub

It was mostly cosmetic damage and was quickly fixed.

The next day it was drizzling on and off but I really needed to get started work, so I reran the halyards and started putting stuff away. I didn’t get as much done as I wanted because I started feeling like I was getting sick – and I was! I’ve been struggling with a Death Cold since then which I probably picked up on the plane, and it’s awful. Can’t stop sneezing, nose like a leaky tap the works, so I’ve been a ‘gros bebe lala’ as my french friend Emilie would say.

Despite my whining, I managed to get both sails on, clean out one suitcase and get the V Berth cleared and clothes put away. My stupid hatch above the V berth leaked, so all the cushions were fairly wet. Luckily they dried in the sun very fast, and I left them out there a while to kill the musty smell.

The sails went on fairly well though the mainsail took ages – I forgot I also needed to put the battens back in and rerun all the reef lines. Waaah. Having them both back on felt great though, and I changed out the mainsheet blocks for the bigger ones I got from Phil

Yesterday evening, feeling full of confidence and neo-citron I decided to move slips. I’d got permission to move to the neighbouring dock, being further away from the nightclub it was out of bottle throwing range and quieter. I started the engine and ran it for a while and it seemed ok, though had some problems in forward where it wouldn’t go above half RPM and if I forced it, black smoke came out. No worries, probably a prop problem (I’d switched out my prop for my spare and took it home to get adjusted and hadn’t put it back on yet). Now I hadn’t steered a boat for over 5 months but it should still be fine right? I shoved the boat backwards (I had a boat next to me in the double slip), hoped on and applied reverse throttle….

… only to not go anywhere. I’d left a line on, first time since literally 5 years ago. Oops, that’s embarrassing but at least I’m still attached to the dock. I pull the boat back in with the line, untie it, hop on again and reverse out…

… only to bounce back AGAIN. WHAT. And then to my horror, I noticed that I hadn’t unplugged the power cord! Oh no! Luckily I’d been going slowly enough that it hadn’t ripped the power terminal off the dock, but I was now gently drifting sideways into the boat next to me and was too far from the dock to get back. Thinking way quicker than I thought I was able to, I grabbed one of the oars on deck and pushed off from the boat next to me before I bumped into it. I was able to then just about reach the dock, get a line on the boat and then unplug and dump the power cord on the dock. What a circus (I blame foggy head from being sick)

After that I managed to do a pretty perfect turn in a very narrow space and make it to my new slip ok, and even nailed the landing. Thank goodness there was no wind.

Plan for the next few days is to continue tidying up, cleaning and finding places for the new stuff, while trying to shake this crappy cold – it’s getting pretty old! I had the mechanic look at my engine and he removed the injectors to get lab tested and the dodger guy came and gave me a quote.

One last note is to remind people they can get email updates when I post something by entering your email on the right hand side here, or by following me on WordPress or social media (I had a few people when I was back in victoria ask about that)

Lastly, a big thanks to Sarah G and James S for becoming patreons!



  1. 50 knots winds are healthy, no thanks, you can have them. Thanks for being candid about your mistakes, we all do them but it is funnier when it happens to someone else.

    But… when are you going fishing?

    • Not till I leave Mazatlan – it’s not an easy place to pop out for a day sail, two miles down a channel and then over a very shallow bar…

      I’ve been working on a couple of things for fishing though, including a fish cleaning table, so I’m getting ready!

  2. I hate making stupid mistakes, I do that stuff a lot when I’ve not been sailing in a while. Also, that is scary about coconuts flying around! I knew they fall off trees and can be deadly but a projectile Coconut? Oh my.

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