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October 5, 2009

Tsunami Update

The Cross Family on the Ontario-based Irwin 52 Biscayne Bay survived the tsunami, though their boat was banged around a bit.

© Chris Deller

In the aftermath of the devastating tsunami which killed hundreds of Samoans and Tongans last week, cruisers are doing what they can to aid locals and fellow boaters. Leslie Linkkila of the Kingston, WA-based Mason 33 Carina reports that, "Cruisers are descending upon Niuatoputapu (Tonga) with supplies — nails, hammers, food, clothing, bandages — from Neiafu in Tonga, and Apia in Western Samoa."

Kirk McGeorge of the USVI-based Hylas 47 Gallivanter, whose riveting report here last week conveyed the true horror of the sudden disaster, reports today from Pago Pago that, "A U.S. Navy ship, Red Cross, FEMA and a host of other aid is arriving and things are slowly rising above the rubble. I personally repaired the PVC water supply to the dock and I’m working the graveyard shift driving a picket boat for the Navy frigate as long as they’re here. As you probably know, this sort of event tends to bring out the best in some and the worst in others. It’s been four days now and some people are getting ugly."

In Kirk’s initial report, he spoke of sighting "a young lady we knew, who was deperately hugging a power pole, and up to her chin in swirling water." We’re happy to report that the girl, from the Long Beach-based Mason 43 Banyan, lived to tell about her terrifying experience.

As reported earlier, longtime cruiser Dan Olszewski of the Florida-based Freedom 39 Mainly, was not so lucky. His sons have now arrived and are helping their mother prepare for a proper burial at sea. 

Are Pot, Coke and LSD Legal in Mexico?

"I’m thinking about sailing to Mexico this winter," writes one reader who wishes to remain anonymous, "and have heard that Mexico legalized a lot of popular drugs. Is that true?"

On August 21, Mexico "decriminalized" the act of individuals being in possession of small amounts of certain drugs. The limits are five grams of pot, half a gram of coke, 50 milligrams of heroin, 40 milligrams of meth, and .015 milligrams of LSD.

Before anybody heads off to Mexico with dreams of getting stoned all the time, we think they should remember that there would be risks involved, not only from taking the drugs, but from buying them. Historically, the world of cruising has been very safe in Mexico, but historically, the world of buying drugs in Mexico has been anything but. We don’t know about the rest of you, but the last thing we want to do in Mexico is try to score some pot from a guy — or group of guys — high on meth and needing money to buy more.

Just because small amounts of certain drugs have been legalized, that doesn’t mean the policia don’t have a right to search every inch of your body – inside and out – looking for larger quantities.

© 2009 John Arderne

How would Mexican authorities know if you are in possession of drugs and how much? All Mexican law enforcement officers, without any excuse or reasonable cause, may perform a revision precautiva or precautionary inspection of you and your stuff. This means that, anytime they want, they can inspect your wallet, purse, bag, clothes — and your body — looking for more than the allowed amounts of drugs. And when we say they can inspect your body, that means all your orifices, too.

Bruce Schwab Sells OceanPlanet

Bruce Schwab, the formerly Alameda-based rigger who went on to become the first American to complete the Vendée Globe, announced last week that OceanPlanet — the Tom Wylie-designed Imoca 60 that carried him around the world — had sold.

Bruce Schwab and his Tom Wylie-designed Open 60 OceanPlanet have parted ways.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

"If you haven’t already heard, OceanPlanet has passed into the hands of a new
owner," Schwab writes. "My last trip on OP was taking her from
Robinhood Marine Center to Portland Yacht Services with the owner’s rep
on a beautiful sunny Maine day. The bottom needed cleaning, the sails were tired, yet somehow OP literally flew along as though she knew it was a special trip for me. Hopefully she’ll be well taken care of, although I am not sure of the owner’s plans or capabilities. Good luck old girl, you’ve been good to me!

"Stay tuned for upcoming changes to to
reflect my new projects . . . including helping others to sail fast, advanced
training, preparation, and rigging. Most importantly, I am now providing
custom LiFePO4 (Lithium Iron Phosphate, or LFP) battery solutions for marine

"The OceanPlanet News Archives will remain for those — such as myself — who like to look back now and then on a great adventure!"

While still picking up the pieces from Hurricane Jimena, which hit Baja and San Carlos/Guaymas, folks on the Pacific Coast of Baja between Turtle Bay and Bahia Santa Maria now have to keep a watch out for Tropical Storm Olaf.
Nothing to do this weekend? We’ve got the answer: The October edition of Latitude 38 is hot off the press, chock full of sailing news from around the Bay and around the world.