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Calou's Blog
Cruising with the crew of CALOU on the Baja Ha-ha and Pacific Puddle Jump
Climbing the Cliffs at Tepoztlan
01/18/2010

We spent the night at a posada in the town of Tepoztlan, which means "place of abundant copper" in the Nuahtl language. This is a literally magical city, as it seems to have spiritual significance to many. The town is bordered by enormous cliffs, a thousand feet high. We climbed a trail straight up one of these cliffs, to visit an ancient Mayan temple (circled in the photo). It was quite a hike but the view at the top made it worth it.

The town is a bustle of activity, with hundreds of good restaurants, bars, a farmer's market, craftsmen, etc. Throughout the day and into the evening the streets are so filled with pedestrians that it is barely possible to drive a car.

The photo here is from our room looking toward the cliffs. The Mayan temple Tepozteco is just catching the morning light at the very top.

Mexico Sailing Trip 2008-2011
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Xochicalco
01/15/2010

We visited the 8th century Mayan temple at Xochicalco, near Cuernavaca. Behind us is the magnificent Temple of the Feathered Serpent. The carvings on the side depict the different cultures that the Mayans knew about in the 4th century, including Asians. The Asians are depicted with beards, and a symbol indicating that they crossed the ocean to get there (a foot on the ground, separated by water & waves, and another foot on the other side of the water).

The name Xochicalco may be translated from Nahuatl as "in the (place of the) house of Flowers". The apogee of Xochicalco came after the fall of Teotihuacan and it has been speculated that Xochicalco may have played a part in the fall of the Teotihuacan empire.

The architecture and iconography of Xochicalco show affinities with Teotihuacan, the Maya area, and the Matlatzinca culture of the Toluca Valley. Today some residents of the nearby village of Cuentepec speak Nahuatl.

The main ceremonial center is atop an artificially leveled hill, with remains of residential structures, mostly unexcavated, on long terraces covering the slopes. The site was first occupied by 200 BC, but did not develop into an urban center until the Epiclassic period (A.D. 700 - 900). Nearly all the standing architecture at the site was built at this time. At its peak, the city may have had a population of up to 20,000 people.

Mexico Sailing Trip 2008-2011
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01/18/2010 | Lou Freeman
Fascinating narrative. You might be interested in a book by a retired UK naval officer titled 1410 - the Year China Discovered the World. They were here 80 years before Columbus. Wow the boys are growing. Best to all.
Lou
01/18/2010 | Bruce
in fact, the Mayans recorded the presence of the bearded Asians (possibly Chinese) on this monument in AD 700.
Road Trip to Patzcuaro
01/12/2010, Patzcuaro, Mexico



We took a road trip from Ixtapa to Patzcuaro, a colonial city in Mexico which was the first colonial capital of Michoacan. The altitude is 2100 m (7000 ft) so the temperatures were chilly, and freezing at night.

Patzcuaro is a picturesque 16th century colonial city. The town has retained its colonial architecture with adobe and wood buildings with tiled roofs and cobblestone streets. It is on the shore of a large lake, Lago Patzcuaro.

We took a ferry out to Janitzio, an island in Patzcuaro lake. The village on the island has no streets or motor vehicles, but lots of incredibly steep pedestrian paths which are basically stairs leading to the summit of the island. The island is populated by indigenous fishermen and craftsmen.

At the top there's a monument to a Mexican revolutionary war hero, Morelos. You can climb up inside the monument to dizzying heights, and exit at the end of the statue's upraised arm.

Mexico Sailing Trip 2008-2011
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How to remove a 500 Lb engine from a boat
01/03/2010, Ixtapa, Mexico

We removed the engine from the boat today. Without any special tools, I was wondering how this could be done. It is a 75 HP diesel engine, after all, which weighs, my guess, 500 Lb (220 kg).

The first step was to reduce the engine weight by removing as much hardware as possible (head, oil cooler, air cooler, alternator, starter). Every kilogram we could get off the engine would be a kilogram less we would have to lift.

Then we wrapped the engine with ropes and lifted off the mounts using a line and blocks leading to our primary winch, so that we could remove the transmission.

Then we put the engine on a piece of plywood and slid the assembly towards the companionway.

From there we rigged a rope via a block on the boom to lift the engine about 8 feet from the cabin sole to the deck.

Then we swung the boom over the side to the dock and lowered the engine onto a dock cart. I'm sure that was the heaviest load that dock cart ever carried.

When we pulled the engine across the aluminum gang plank to shore, there was noticeable bend in the gang plank. The marina crew suggested that I not cross with the motor, so that I would not add my own 100 Kg to the load on the gang plank.

Tomorrow we'll take the motor by truck to a machine shop in Acapulco, to have the motor overhauled.


Mexico Sailing Trip 2008-2011
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01/04/2010 | Carrie Bershee
Wow- your description of removing your engine sounds practically identical to ours! We removed our 40hp Westerbeke from our 36' Pearson ketch in Oct 2008 and it was quite a task. Totally worth it, though, as it runs like new now. Best of luck to you all!

Carrie
www.saltydogadventures.com
www.bajabash.info
Happy New Year!
01/01/2010, Ixtapa, Mexico

We spent New Year's Eve with our friend Alejandro at his girlfriend's mother's house in Zihuatanejo, eating delicious carne asada tacos washed down with Margaritas, Johnny Walker Scotch, and cerveza, and dancing in the steamy night until 4 o'clock in the morning. At midnight there was the nonstop sound of guns being fired into the air, including a couple of revolvers that Alejandro brought along. The popping sound of gunfire was accompanied by the popping of champagne corks as midnight arrived.

Mexico Sailing Trip 2008-2011
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Engine Overhaul
12/31/2009, Ixtapa, Mexico

Right now we are overhauling the engine. I spent most of yesterday taking the engine apart, stripping it down to the block, so that it can be removed. The whole engine is way too heavy, but in pieces we think we can man-handle it out of the boat. That will probably happen tomorrow. Once out of the boat, it will be 2 to 3 weeks in the shop, then we bring the engine back onto the boat again, piece by piece.

Mexico Sailing Trip 2008-2011
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Christmas Mexican style
12/27/2009, Zihuatanejo



Alejandro, the mechanic that has been working on our boat, invited us to come to his house for Christmas dinner. "We'll pick you up at 10 PM". Dinner would be at Midnight. We arrived at his brother's house where there was a sumptuous feast...camarones en mole, pollo asada, pesca puttanesca, everything was delicious. Bruce played some Mexican music on his accordeon and the boys played in the street with the Mexican kids, lighting firecrackers. Right around Midnight the real fireworks started-- every house in the neighborhood brought out their guns and started firing into the air, some of it on full automatic. The kids were called into the house so they wouldn't be hit by falling bullets.

After dinner we went to the house of another of Alejandro's brothers, where there was another party going on, with music and dancing. After that we went to another house, with more music and dancing. Alejandro said that we would be visiting seven houses that evening. We were on house number 2 and it was already after 3 a.m.!

We were at house number three at 4 a.m., and the boys were very tired, so we went back home to get some shut-eye.

It was a memorable experience.

Mexico Sailing Trip 2008-2011
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12/29/2009 | Lou Freeman
That was a very neat Christmas. Thanks for sharing. Wish we could catch up with you. Happy New Year to all four of you!
01/01/2010 | Jolea
great video!!! merry christmas yall!
Sail to Isla Ixtapa
12/22/2009


We sailed to Isla Ixtapa, an island north of Ixtapa, where we anchored, enjoyed lunch and scuba dived to a nearby reef. Francois and I swam along the bottom from the boat to shore in order to stay clear of the many jet skis. The water temperature was the same as the air temperature, 82F (27C).

Mexico Sailing Trip 2008-2011
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