Thursday, January 27, 2011


Manzanillo has hundreds of years of maritime history. The orginal Mesoamerican inhabitants used Bahia Santiago and Bahia Manznillo as a port of call for their trade routes, much of what is documented started with the Spanish conquistaor exploration of the Pacific Mexico shoreline.
Hernan Cortes came there in search of the rumored trade routes between China and the orginal inhabitants of Pacific Mexico. Manzanillo is still a major shipping port for Pacific Mexico. It also is a cruise ship destination. The large sailfish sclupture you see here in located in the jardin (garden) near the waterfront. From here we walked the narrow streets with various vendors serving both the tourists and locals alike. We were too late in the day to visit the Mercado 5 de Mayo reported to be filled with local fresh fruit, veggies fish, and eating booths.
The picture of the large white hotel is the Hotel Las Hadas. We are anchored in Las Hadas bay just in front. It is a beautiful place. There is a small marina there which allows us to tie up our dingy. From here we can catch a cab or a bus to town.
Suspecting that 'eight-fingered dentistry' might be OK in Mexico, Mel has been searching the towns for a suitable dental practice with ocean views. However not being successful and with time running short, he has now lowered his sights a bit and is currently waiting for the dentist pictured to roll up his door so that an offer to purchase can be made. Absent a deal, Mel assumes he will have to continue cruising to warmer waters for the foreseeable future.
We only have 2 days here on our trip south. There are several boats that will be leaving for Zihuatanejo at daybreak so we have decided to0 buddy boat with them as it is about a 36 hour sail/motor from here. We hope to spend more time here on our return trip north.
Our current plans are to stay in "Z-Town" for a few weeks. We will meet up with Mel's daughter Kristine and her family as they take a vacation there. It will be fun to see them and especially the granddaughters.
Remember you can click on the pictures for a larger size.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Tenacatita to Barra De Navidad

January 19, We raise anchor in Tenacatita at 9am heading for Barra De Navidad. We only have a short distance to go, about 15 miles. We motor the whole way as there is little wind. I set out our fishing lines with pinky squid and bluey squid with no luck. We see whales spouting and swimming close by. We also see another sea turtle. There are 55 species of sea turtles along this coast. The green sea turtle, hawksbill, leatherback, loggerhead and the olive ridley. These ancient creatures spend nearly their entire life in the water and can life up to 80 years. Adult leatherbacks are the largest ranging in size from 4 to 6 feet long and weighting from 400 to 1,100 lbs. I do not think this is what we saw. I think we saw a green.

We also pass through a small cove with the most brightly painted houses that cantaleaver (spelling??) out from the cliffs, they are beautiful.

The anchorage for Barra is in a lagoon. To enter the lagoon you first enter into a narrow channel. We have a good guide "Pacific Mexico a Cruiser's Guidebook" by Shawn Breeding and Heather Bansmer. In this book they lay out the waypoints to safely enter the lagoon. Once there there is good but shallow anchorage.

The best way to get to Barra Navidad from your boat is to call a water taxi. These pangas come and get you for 25 pesos each, round trip. We head into town to explore and eat. Barra Navidad is a small fishing and tourest town with both gringo and mexican vacationeers. We find a great bar, Pipers-Lover for music and drinks. Luckly the pangas run 24 hours, just flick the light switch on the dock to signal the driver.
We say goodby to Al and Barb here. Mel and I stay for 6 days.

We were lucky to be here during a fishing tournament. On the last day we sat at the head of the channel and watched the boats come in with their catches tied to the swim steps of their boats. There were Dorado's and Marlins (see pictures) Iguess the boat with the most fish over the 3 days wins.

One of the requirements when you are cruising in Mexico is to check your boat in with the Port Captain if there is one in your location. The thing is, they are never near the water. We located the Port Capt. here by asking; first a taxi driver (the directions were in Spainsh so we got little from that) then we asked a gringo who lived there. He had us go through two vacant lots, down a small cobble stone street, and another block. We found it at 3pm, they close at 2:30. At least we now know where it is, so we check in 2 days later.

In the lagoon we get some much needed cleaning projects done. In the evening we sit in the cockpit and watch the fishing boats fish with their nets. Usually this is with a small row boat and a man, he rows in a circle playing out his net. Then he stands and slowly pulls it back in. The fish are caught by their gills, he carefully removes the small fish and drops it into a bucket. He then rows to a new location and repeats the process. While we watched I only saw them get one or two small fish each time. Looks like a hard way to make a living.

Our next destination is Manzanillo. A large city and port. Here we will be able to provision, and hopefully find some boat parts that we need.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Bahia (Bay) Chamela to Tenacatita

We leave Bahia Chamela for a short sail (motor) to Paraiso. A little gem of an anchorage. This small ancorage only has room for a boat or two. We are lucky, as we are the only boat. We lower the dingy and explore the shore and take a swim. There is a small resort located here but it appears to be deserted, except for the caretaker and a friendly dog.

It is a beautiful eveining so we decide to bbq. I have a lovely pork-loin in the bbq, as I turn it the entire bbq turns over and I loose the porkloin and the innerparts of the bbq. Now how am I going to get replacement parts for that into Mexico? I should inject here, it is very difficult to get things shipped into Mexico. It seems that the customs people must look at every package to see if it is something they may need at home. If it is not, then, if you are lucky it will arrive at the intended destination in a few weeks. So most of the boaters must resort to alternative means. If you are on your way to Mexico, please let us know, we may need you to bring us something.

Our next stop is Tenacatita. For many boaters, this is the destination they have dreamed of. With white sandy beaches, local hospitality, good food, and a comfortable ancorage, this is what the dreams of Mexico cruising were made of

We anchor and snorkle for the afternoon at the "aquarium", a beach area with several reefs. There are many fish but the water is not as clear as the Sea of Cortez. Our final anchor here is near the Hotel Blue Bay. The next morning we dingy out to take the estuary tour. The dingy tour though the lush mangrove lined Estero Verde is one of the best highlights of our stay in Tenacatita. You meander along the estuary for 2.5 miles. It is teaming with wildlife, egrets, many birds, racoons, crabs, and lined with mangroves. I tried to get pictures of all the birds but they were camera shy.

We have one of our best meals here at a smal lpalpa, La Vena. I had Roll-del Mar Yum. Mel had the most tasty fish yet.

We have a nice walk on the beach. This beach has a protected area for sea turtle egg nests. It is a fenced off area where the eggs are taken to be buried. If you are lucky you can be there when they hatch. Volunteers they take them to the ocean to be released.
Things we saw along the way:
Whales breaching
dolphins playing at our bow

Sunday, January 16, 2011

La Paz to Chamela

We left La Paz in a "Northern". This is a weather term that they use here. It usually means that there will be very high winds coming from the North into the Sea of Cortez. This causes an uncomfortable seas. Most folks wait it out prior to making a crossing to the mainland. Most people are making a crossing to Mazatlan and then they may head south along the coast. We wanted to head further south so we looked at several weather predictions and decided that we would be fine as we were heading south east rather that a straight east.
We have invited Al and his wife Barb to come along to help crew. It is easier for watches etc. to have an extra hand or two.
It took us 72 hours to make it to Chamela.
The first day and most of the second we had favorable winds but high lumpy seas. This made it difficult to get meals prepared but the boat sailed fine. We were able to make good time during this.

We are currently anchored on the east side of Isla Pajerera in Bahia (Bay) Chamela. Last evening we hired a panga to take us to shore where we ate one of the small palapa's on the beach. The panga then took us back to the boat. Along the way he gave us fishing tips..

We will head to the next anchorage soon on our way to Manzanillo.