It’s been said for a long time the Puerto Vallarta is a natural ‘hurricane hole,’ a harbor offering mariners protection from the severe storms that are generated in summer months over the warm Pacific waters. The old town PV is nestled in the south-eastern corner of Banderas Bay, just at the base of tail end of the Sierra Madres mountain range. That range extends some 20 miles seaward along the southern shore of the Bay, so when tropical storms generate down south and work their way northward, that range presents a natural barrier.
I have to say that when the strongest hurricane ever recorded was spinning our way a couple days ago, all my knowledge of the unique characteristics of PV were of little comfort. Just look at the size of the thing in the photo above. So the town braced, as a storm packing 200 mph winds zeroed in on the coastline. CFE, the power company, was staging trucks and crews waiting for the chaos. The federal and local police had convoys on standby. Shopping centers and stores were all closed and boarded. The resorts were evacuated, the airports closed. And in the marinas, docklines were doubled, and then tripled.
But if anyone had any question as to the security of Puerto Vallarta as a top notch haven, well, let’s just get rid of those. By 10 pm, well after the storm center had made landfall some 50 miles south of us, the most we had seen was maybe – maybe – 15 knots. And I’m probably exaggerating. Most of the evening was calm, really calm. True, we had a steady diet of moderate rain, but that was about it. Seriously. The strongest hurricane ever recorded was 50 miles away, and we didn’t have enough breeze to go windsurfing?
Our sympathies go out to our friends to the south in Barra de Navidad and other areas that had some property damages reported… but amazingly no casualties have been reported as of the time of this writing. So yea to that.
The one good thing is that Patricia seems to have broken the summer heat. Temperatures in PV are moderating, and as hurricane season comes to a (roaring) close, the sailing season is ready to kick in! Our J/80s are in the water (I know, I know, bad timing!) and ready to roll…. let’s go sailing!
Wayne Zittel and the J/World Team