When my gig at Telepacket ended I went straight down to the airport and met up with my friend Alex Diaz for a flight down to his villa near the village of Chamela in the state of Jalisco, Mexico where we would spend the next week. Chamela is on the coast about 40 miles south of Puerto Vallarta. His place is called Villa Vista Hermosa which means "Beautiful View Villa". Check out the pics on his website or in my photo gallery and you will see why. It sits up on a hill with a nearly 360 degree view and an excellent view of Island Bay.
We departed from Montgomery Field in San Diego in a Cessna 210 and flew south along the eastern edge of the Sea of Cortez to the mexican town of Guaymas in Sonora Mexico where we picked up fuel and had lunch in the little airport cafeteria which was serving machaca de pescado y agua de jamaica. With corn tortillas, of course. It was quite tasty. We cleared customs and immigration and then flew on down to the airstrip at Chamela. In total it was 7 hours of flying to get all the way down there. Fortunately we arrived with plenty of daylight because the runway is a bit interesting.
The airstrip at Chamela is a clearing in the jungle one kilometer long. When we arrived nobody else had landed there in months and it was somewhat overgrown with weeds. There are hills on the eastern end you have to be careful of. Some swamp and then the ocean is on the western end. The field is mostly covered in grass and weeds with hard packed clay underneath. Alex's place is just up a hill from the airstrip and you can see the whole strip from there. We did a fly-by of the house to let them know we were there and to send a car down for us. This is standard procedure for arriving at Chamela. Unfortunately it was mosquito season. Once on the ground I had to unload the plane and get into the car quick because the mosquitos are very hungry. I was bitten many times before I could even get the repellant on. Next time I will put it on at altitude before landing!
During our stay we hiked, swam in the pool, played games, ate lots of great food, and chatted. In total there were around 15 of Alex's friends there for the week so there was always something going on. I made one photo taking flight and two flights to Puerto Vallarta. Once to stay at Guillermo's (Memo's) place and visit for a day and once to ferry people back and forth from the main international airport in Puerto Vallarta to the villa.
When it was finally time to depart Alex and I loaded up and headed north with the intention of making it to Los Mochis but once we had made it as far as Culiacan we were confronted with thunderstorms. We landed in Culiacan to get better weather info, come up with a plan, have lunch, and pick up fuel. We also cleared customs out of the country. Looking at the weather radar on the ground there were thunderstorms to the north and south now but nothing to the west out over the Sea of Cortez. So I decided that we would fly west over the open water to Loreto in the Baja peninsula. This was a distance of 163 statue miles or an hours flight. It worked out quite well but added significantly to our return flight. In total it was 9 flight hours to get back home. We landed at Brown Field to clear customs back into the US and then flew on to Montgomery to put the plane to bed.
During that week I logged 22 hours of flying time and around 3500 statute miles, the longest and farthest I have ever flown!
Lots of photos from the trip can be found here.