03/14/2008, Cabeza Negra Anchorage, Mexico
We were tempted to spend the day in Caleta de Campos instead of traveling, but last night we had some decent size swells. Large swells made the anchorage a little uncomfortable around dinner time. Knowing that the swells are supposed to build in the next few days, we decided to push on instead of checking out Caleta de Campos. I will say though, the locals sure did check us out! They don't get many visiting yachts here. We must have had 4 or 5 pangas come by and slowly cruise by right outside our boat. Also, we had 2 kids swim out to the boat and hang on our stern anchor rode. Even though we said "hello" to everyone, they didn't want to strike up conversation. It was more of a "just checking you out" visit, I guess.
So, we picked up our anchor at 4am this morning, and we were on our merry way. We're getting good at picking up 2 anchors in pitch black. I wouldn't say we prefer to leave that early, it just becomes a necessity to make the next anchorage before dark. So, we pulled into Cabeza Negra about 4:30pm this afternoon. We roll around quite a bit in this anchorage, but it is better than an overnight trip. We spent a night in this anchorage on our way down to Zihuatanejo, and it works perfectly fine for a semi-decent night sleep. I am looking forward to some peace and quiet tonight! Last night in Caleta, the Mexicans partied till 3:30am complete with loud music and a DJ announcer. So, as soon as the party stopped, we pulled out this morning. I didn't get much sleep, but Cory said he slept just fine.
We'll be leaving tomorrow for Manzanillo. It's a shorter trip than our last two days, so we won't have to leave before light!
03/13/2008, Caleta de Campos, Mexico aka Bufadero Bluff
We just arrived at Caleta de Campos about 70 miles up the coast from Ixtapa. It was a long day since we left before light, but we had some really great sailing this afternoon. It's always nice when we can get great boat speed sailing and have music playing in the cockpit!
Since we just arrived, we don't have much to report. The place looks really unique. There's a nice sandy beach with large rocks right to the water. The Pemex (gas) station even has an ocean view! Also along the beach there are 5 or 6 little palapa restaurants and some homes in the hills. There's a break wall here that we're anchored behind. The break wall says "Bienvenidos a Bahia Bufadero" or "Welcome to Bufadero Bay." In fact, as we were anchoring a welcoming committee was watching us. Actually, it was a few people just sitting out on the break wall, but a few more people came out to watch when they realized we were staying. This is a remote area of the state, and I can't imagine they get many visitors. Most sailors skip this anchorage because it's considered rolly. Those that don't skip it have told us it's very beautiful. So far, we're glad we're here to check things out.
03/12/2008, Isla Ixtapa, Mexico
Remember that old song? That's how I feel today. But before I get into why I feel like this, let me just say we had a really nice dinner with John & Lela on Yachtsman's Dream last night! It is always nice to get together with friends..both old and new. Lela made a fantastic chicken dish, and we had a fun time catching up and sharing stories. Spending time with others is one of the great things about cruising. And one thing very different from at home, you don't have to know people for months before inviting them to dinner! When you're cruising, you can meet someone and the same day invite them over. Friendships are forged quickly.
Well, back to the story. This morning we pulled up our anchor in Zihuatanejo Bay and started heading toward Isla Ixtapa. The island is only 10 km from Z-town, so it's a nice little sail to the island. It also reduces the amount of travel to our next anchorage North. As always, this morning the Zihuatanejo cruisers net started on VHF channel 22A at 8:45am. The net controller always puts out a call for any "emergency, medical, or priority traffic" at the beginning of the net. This morning someone responded to this call. There was a vessel anchored outside the entrance to Marina Ixtapa whose engine had literally "blown up" a few days earlier. He had managed to drift his way, due to little wind, to Zihuatanejo the past 3 days single handed. Since he had no engine, he was looking for a tow into the marina basin. Immediately a few vessels in the marina responded and were quickly trying to arrange for the panga in the marina or a Boston Whaler in the marina to come out and pull him in.
We knew we would pass the area where this sailing vessel needed assistance in about 1 hour. We called him on the radio and let him know we could be of assistance if one of his other options didn't work out. As we were getting closer to the marina entrance, a boat by the name of Miracle, inside the marina, hailed us to let us know that they weren't able to get the Boston Whaler to come out. He said there was some sort of "issue that he could fill us in on later." As we approached the sailboat in distress, he was tying his boat up to a dinghy with a 15hp engine who was willing to tow him in. We called the vessel in distress on the radio, and he asked us to standby and ensure that he was going to make it in ok. Well, right outside the 1st set of buoys and outside the break wall, the engine on the dinghy died. Not a real good situation. He immediately called us and asked us to tow him in the remainder of the way. So, he threw us a line, and I cleated it off to our boat. Cory started to drag him in. It was a bit of a stressful situation as we got in the channel. There were some breakers in the channel that were pushing his boat (a 30ft sail) closer to ours on the tow line. Personally, I don't like that much stress in one day. Good news is, we got him inside safely. There was another dinghy once inside that was there waiting for the vessel in distress which took the boat and helped shuttle him to an end tie.
On our way out of the channel, Cory told me he overheard the distressed vessel speaking with the marina office on the radio. The marina office was very angry with the captain of the sailboat. She told the captain of the distressed vessel that he was NOT to come into the marina without a functional engine when they had spoken a few days prior. She said that the marina cannot have vessels without engines in the marina because of their insurance. She eventually told him that he could stay just 3 nights and then needed to leave. She also said that she was going to report him and the vessels that assisted him to the port captain.
The sailing community is a good community that is very helpful when others need help. Today was no exception, there were a number of other sailors that were willing to help and who went above and beyond the call of duty. However, I can't help but feel taken advantage of to some degree. This guy knew he wasn't supposed to go into the marina yet asked for assistance to get into the marina. He had people working hard to help him do something he was not supposed to do and didn't give any indication that they might be helping him do something that was inappropriate. I guess I should stop thinking about it, but a part of me is really disappointed with what happened today.
On another note, we got anchored in Isla Ixtapa. We both jumped in the water with snorkel and mask and went to scrubbing the bottom of our boat. The bottom of the boat needs scrubbed to clean off the gross slime and barnacles. It took a lot of work (mostly Cory on the hard stuff), but the boat bottom is now clean. Also, as we suspected, we wrapped a line around our prop shaft. We believe we picked the line in the marina. So, we cut that line loose, and hopefully things will be back to normal.
I feel like we've had a long day even though it's only 4pm. I think I need a nap or some relaxation time. We need to save up some energy because we'll probably leave about 3am so we can make Caleta de Campos, our next anchorage North, before dark.