Barra de Navidad to Acapulco
April 15 - May 5, 2000
Thought I'd split these updates at this point, as we returned home, yikes when was it, the end of March (?) for 10 days.
We're getting better (almost 1/2 the time as the first). While there, we did a lot of research on Costa Rica and our
points south as there really aren't any decent cruising guides for the areas where we're headed. We've been spoiled in
Mexico with all the cruising guides that are available.
It was great returning to "Net Result" sitting peacefully at Barra. ...except that the fuse on our shore power went out
while we were gone and our solar panels were the only thing keeping the freezer going until they too couldn't keep up.
Thank heavens for my vacuum sealer! Met friends on "Coastbuster" (Lagoon 41 Russ & Sandy) we hadn't seen since P.V.
and played for about a week with them. Barra de Navidad is a WONDERFUL little village filled with cheap restaurants
and the marina there is innnnnncredible! There's a lagoon where lots and lots of boats anchor and it's just plain great. If
we'd stayed longer, Joe would have had to take a stick of dynamite to me to get me outta there.
Sailed around to Bahia Santiago in Manzanillo and stayed there for a night. Then tootled over to the old harbor in
Manzanillo to see if we wanted to anchor there. It was too crowded with fishing boats and people had said the smoke
dust from the power plant just behind coats the boats that are anchored there.
We anchored outside of the famous resort Las Hadas where the movie "10" was filmed. It was the beginning of Semana
Santa and the jet skis were driving us nuts. The wakes were so bad one day it shook our trawler lamp free from it's
mount and crashed to the floor shattering the chimney and pouring lamp oil all over our cabin sole. Thank heavens
there wasn't a spark! as we were in town grocery shopping. The hotel, sadly, is showing signs of aging ungracefully as
the daily maintenance has been neglected. The marina is small and also ungracefully aging. Only Med mooring is
available.They were very accommodating there and it was well worth the stop. Without Semana Santa it would be much
more peaceful. For about $10/day you can use the hotel's facilities, the dinghy dock, water from their docks, and
Eduardo, the dock master, checks you in and out! What a deal!
The hotel even has an internet phone line for cruisers to use in the lobby. Once we sorted it all out and paid our deposit
on our credit card, we accessed the internet for 45 minutes and caught up on my work. All for the big price of 14 pesos
(@$1.50)! It's a 4 peso bus ride to the Commercial shopping center where you can pretty much find anything you want/
need. The bag boys take your carts out and secure a taxi (usually a small station wagon) for a small tip (propina). The
cab ride back is about 35 pesos and if you ask the driver they'll take you right down to the marina dinghy dock. What a
treat! How much easier can it be? The taxi fares are all structured and posted rates are outside the hotel to get an idea
of how much you should pay. We took the bus to "old town" and wandered around.
We stumbled on the "Bar Social". It's on the corner of the park across from the train station. From the outside it looks,
ah, rough. Once you pass through the swinging aluminum framed doors and step inside, you're sure you've gone back
30 years in time. It's all pale green art deco with a circular bar in the middle. Locals definitely frequent this place! We
wanted to get something to eat and we asked the waiter if they served lunch. He said the food is free, you just pay for
your drinks. One look around at the tables covered with yummy looking plates full of food told us we should give it a
go. As we finished each beer bottle the waiter took it and lined it up behind us on the window sill. This was our
"cuenta". We were treated with guacamole, frijoles, incredible ceviche, chips, salsa and more. Definitely a treat! We
said good gye to Russ & Sandy on "Coastbuster" as they were headed north to the Sea for the Summer. Once again
saying goodbye to nice people you've met along the way and never knowing when your paths will cross again, if ever.
Met some super nice people on a Norhaven 50 "La Vagabunda del Mar" who were also headed south to Panama, who
happened to be anchored right next to us at Las Hadas. They're from S.F. and are 70 yrs old. They took their Grand
Banks 42 down to Mexico a couple of years ago and are now "cruising" in luxury on their new Nordhaven. He, Chuck, is
semi-retired engineer that headed up the construction of the tunnel across the S.F. bay for B.A.R.T as well as the cross
harbor tunnel in Hong Kong. Jeanette, is a retired teacher that was passionate about children getting their basics in
education. She has written interactive CDs for phonetics (sp) and is marketing them to many California Schools.
Our next leg was a long one to Isla Grande or Zihuatenejo. Two full days and one night. No wind so we motored most of
the way. At noon of the first day we shut the engine off as our secondary fuel filter indicated it needed changing and
rather risk continuing and having the engine fail in the black of night, we tried to change it in the daytime. Because the
engine was so hot, Joe couldn't unscrew the filter, so we had to button it back up and keep going. As we were arriving
into Isla Grande Joe also noted that the alternator was not putting that much of a charge into our batteries. Indicating
impending failure. Not to worry, we had a spare. It was 6:10p when we arrived in Isla Grande. After a pass of the
anchorage and realizing that it was packed with massive power boats we decided to scoot on down to Z-town and get in
just at sunset. As we headed out, I was at the helm and Joe was below doing a quick route to z-town, when suddenly
the tiller was vibrated from my hand and the boat started to shutter. Rapid plans flashed through my head, what's the
depth incase we had to throw the anchor down, how close are we to the point of Isla Grande, did we really loose
steerage, what this a thrown prop? Joe came barreling up at the sound and shuttering! I throttled forward again and
slowly the boat moved, we thought the prop was OK; but then what was it? Our only hunch was that we'd hit a turtle, as
we'd passed many floating on the surface during the day and I'd gone through some thick foam. Perhaps one was
feeding in the foam. We just don't know. When Joe dove the prop and rudder later in z-town he found everything in
order. Guess you could say we were in "turtle soup". Z-town proved to be a very nice stop for us. Chuck & Jeanette on
"La Vagabunda" had arrived earlier than us as they had the advantage of "speed", being a power boat. They have
enough tankage (fuel) to go from San Francisco to Acapulco -- 1,400 gallons! As it was friday, we were invited to the
"cruisers get-together" at Rick's Bar right behind the Pemex station for the weekly gathering. There we met the last of
the hangers on-ers in z-town. About 1/2 were heading North and the rest, amazingly enough, were headed south. Finally
more people that were headed our way. We spent about 5 days there catching up on projects in the anchorage and
reading and gathering information about our trip south. Z-town really caters to cruisers, loads of great restaurants,
laundry, discount liquor store (yipee!), pangas that will shuttle fuel and water to you, lots of internet cafes and a huge
open Mercado Central for fresh everything. What more can you ask? It was here that we learned of two spots along the
coast of El Salvador that are putting out their welcome mat to cruisers. It was beginning to look like the only long leg of
the journey from Huatulco to Costa Rica that we originally thought would take 7 - 10 days non-stop was going to be
more pleasant and restful.
It was a long 24 hour sail into Acapulco. The wind was flukey, (as it's been most of the time in Mexico for us) blowing
straight on our stern and then clocking around right on our nose. It was a dark night as the moon, small as it was, was
obstructed by overcast and periodic heat lightning filled the air. We were hot and it was muggy. Acapulco was a real
shock for us. Everyone in Mexico seemed to have gathered on the beaches there or was in their jet skis. Chuck &
Jeanette (having arrived before us once again), managed to secure a tricky, tight little spot in a corner at the full yacht
club for us. We actually had to pull ourselves in past a catamaran into the corner. Acapulco was a provisioning spot for
us and that was our only purpose to stop. John Neal and his wife Amanda Swan on Mahina Tiare III (sp) were berthed
right next to us. They were taking an expedition to the cocos Islands. They praised our, no, my, brightwork and came
aboard to see our boat. Amanda has just completed a cook book and is doing some seminars on provisioning. I shared
some tips of being on a small boat. Super nice people. Now, if my head will only fit through the companionway, I'll be
all set. :-) They gave us the name of a cab driver who you could hire by the hour and who had an.......air conditioned
(ahhhh) chrysler. What a treat. We made arrangements and Chuck, Jeanette, Joe & I headed out to Wal-Mart and Sams
Club. We we parked at the massive structure of Wal-Mart that was open 24 hours a day, I thought Enrique (the cab
driver) would just sit and wait for us in the car. No, he came in with us, pushed our carts, found stuff that was on our
list that would have taken us ages (as this is where his family shops), and spoke spanish. 4 hours later, with the
bumper of his car barely clearing the cement, we were returned to the marina dock. The next day was spent, stowing,
vacuum sealing and updating the inventory on board. Where does time go? An entire day was spent doing the
paperwork chacha. It's the worst we've ever had and hope to never have to do again. If anyone's headed here, pay the
fee (at this time a whopping $50) and have the marina do your check in, it's worth it. Although we met a very
interesting man from Chile who was bringing his Formosa 51 from San Diego where he'd purchased it, to the southern
part of Chile. We've met such fascinating people along the way! Another trip to the Commercial (grocery store) and we
were ready to go. believe me, more than ready! Acapulco has NO redeeming values at all. It's busy, it's hot, it's dirty,
it's packed with cruise ships. No thank you.