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This IS retirement
Gabriellas grandpa
01/29/2008, Zihuatanejo Bay

It has been over a week siince my last post, so I better put something in here or I will lose my audience. The famous(among cruisers) ZihuaFest started today and will run until the 3rd of February. The whole thing came about when some cruisers wanted to raise money for a school for underprivileged and orphaned children of the Zihuatanejo area. This is the sixth season it has been run and it gets better each year. Last year they finished the constuction of the new schoolhouse and they now give to 4 or 5 other needy schools. The money the cruisers raise from boat races(fun), raffles, auctions. and jam sessions and the sales of CDs created from local and cruiser artists are matched by 2 or 3 philanthropic(sic) organizations. So each year they do quite a bit of fund raising. The local merchants really help out also, because they don't want the gringos to show them up and they do like the results. I will volunteer the use of my new dinghy and of course myself as driver to take passengers back and forth to cruisers boats so they can go on a parade/cruise of the Zihua/Ixtapa area. They pay for the privilege and the proceeds go to the children. As soon as I get my Anchor windlass back together with the new part I will be ready to go south to Acapulco. I should have some exciting new pics from the area. Susan..that police station you referred to is actually a naval base. It's probably all the guns you see them tote that left the impression of a police station. There's tons of fresh produce all over this town and there is a few coffee bean stores.

01/30/2008 | Susan
Do boats come into Zihua for the festival? How many are there today? How does the whole thing get organized every year with all new cruisers?
01/30/2008 | Phil
There are about 60 boats here and yes, some come for just the event. There are cruisers who spend 3, 4, or more seasons cruising here in Mexico, so there are repeat participants. Rick's Bar is the staging point each year.
01/30/2008 | phil jr.
hey dad good to here your voice last night. your lovely gabriella misses you very much, as she keeps asking when is summer gonna be here, because she knows you'll be here then.send her another post card. love ya dad stay warm
Settling in
Gabriellas grandpa
01/21/2008, Zihuatanejo

Been here for almost a week and starting to get settled in. I've decided to try and fix my anchor windlass here, so I will probably have the parts flown in. I did this in '98 when I was here and my good friend Susan did all the stateside footwork and it worked like a charm. I'm going to post some pictures of the town. They are of shops, markets, and general shots. I've added another (cool) feature to my blog. It's called an XPLOT(map) feature that lets me put a location on the map of where I have been and am currently. Also, if you click on Google Earth icon, you get a real photo from a satellite to give you a better feel for where I'm at. If you don't have Google Earth...DOWNLOAD IT, you won't be sorry and it's free. The first time you click on the Google earth icon at the lower left side of the Position 'save' then click 'save' again. Then you can open it after the initial download connection to my blog has been made. Then you can click on different locations and get the blog from that location....I know this is confusing, I think I lost myself a way back. A large Carnival Cruise Line ship pulled in today and the town was flooded with gringos. If anyone has any questions, don't hesitate to email me or post a comment. Well, back to my struggle in Paradise.

01/22/2008 | William
Do you drink the local water or do you make your own?
01/22/2008 | Phil
I purchase local water for drinking. I use their tap water for showers, etc.
01/22/2008 | Susan
Nice pictures. Is there still a police station by the beach where you land your dinghy?After looking at the meat, you can understand why their beef is sliced thin and grilled:)
The kindergarteners should get a kick out of the chicken picture.
01/23/2008 | Judy
Hey, P.W. Nice shots. I still very much remember the outdoor market at Zihuatanejo -- the meat as you show it now, and also the very skinny dogs running around. So, I guess some things haven't changed. It was 15 or 18 degrees here this morning -- sure looks inviting where you are!
01/24/2008 | Pastor Standley
Hi Phil, Lois and I spent a few days in Tucson this past week, her brother who had been dealing with Lymphoma was in the VA hospital there. I was looking forward to some warm weather and good mexican food, got the food but not the heat, I had forgotten how cold it can get in the evenings there. Ash Wednesday is February 6th so not much of a break between seasons for me. I do hope you have a fishing rod with you. Too much water not have a line or two in it. Blessings, Pastor
02/01/2008 | The Little Princess Gabriella
Dear Grandpa -- I love you and you are missing a lot of fun, like having ice cream cones at night and the breeze in the trees. How is your back, Grandpa? I love you. And for my classmates -- I hope you bring home a surprise for us. You can make it seashells, rocks, sand or anything you want. I'll ask what my classmates like from beaches. All of my friends like all of your adventures. Love you, Grandpa! Bye, bye. -Gabriella
Getting warm
Gabriellas grandpa
01/17/2008, Zihuatanejo

I thoroughly enjoyed Santiago. It is such a peaceful anchorage, even with the occasional jet ski and banana boat rides buzzing around the boat. I had one jet ski with 2 young ladies on it come to within 5 feet of the boat doing about 25mph. These ski rental people just don't know the danger of some of their actions. The jet skiers buzz all the sailboats at anchor as if we were the attraction in a side show...I don't know what the interest is in us gringos sitting at anchor in their watery playground. After watching my Chargers win an exciting playoff game on Sunday, I thought it was time to move south. Monday morning I manually pulled up my anchor and headed south for Zihua. I wanted to day hop to anchorages along the way but without an electric anchor windlass I decided to skip the dayhopping and do an overnighter to Zihua. It was a motorsail down the coast because the wind never got over 6 or 7 knots and my boat speed against a north moving current was a low 4 to 5 knots. Getting close to Zihua I realized it would be late at night when I would make landfall, so I diverted to Lazaro Cardenas, which is a commercial port with silos, wharehouses. and large smoke billowing stacks everywhere. I pulled into a nice little cove right off the main channel and anchored for the night. I called the port captain on the vhf radio and told him my dinghy was deflated and there were no docks for me to tie up to, so could I please check in over the radio. He asked my location and told to me stay put. A few minutes later an official looking rescue boat with the port captain aboard came alongside and asked for my papers. He wanted to knkow how long I was going to stay and what time I was leaving. I told him I wanted to pull out at 8am in the morning. So he took off with my paperwork and passport to do some copying and their official stamping. I wanted to jump in the shower and freshen up after an overnighter but did'nt want to be interrupted by the port captain coming back with the paperwork. He was a no-show and I was thinking he would keep my paperwork and I would have to motor towards town and try to retrieve it in the morning. Exactly at 8am as I was finishing my delicious strawberry flavored miniwheats the official looking rescue boat with blue and red lights flashing came alongside with my papers right on time....what service! So off I went to Zihuatanejo, a mere 25 miles across a long bay. Boy has this place grown in size and PRICES. I almost had a heart attack as I strolled down the malecon and look at the menus that were displayed with there astronomical prices. I have some serious exploring to do today. I will be settled in here for a week or two and then possibly move on down to Acapulco. I just want to say again how thrilled I was to get all those questions from Gabriellas kindergarten class. Just their comment post alone has made this blog worth it. Still having fun...........

01/17/2008 | Susan
Phil: would it be possible for you to add the current position map, like the one that Adventure has, to your blog?
I, for one, am interested to hear about provisioning in Zihua:) That was one place where we could find good, fresh coffee beans and good produce.
01/17/2008 | Phil
Susan, your wish is my command...even though I had to dip into the cruising kitty.
01/18/2008 | Susan
Oh, dear, I didn't mean for the map to be a problem; but I do appreciate it. And nice shot of the dolphins on the bow.
01/19/2008 | Gabriella's Mommy
Glad to hear you're still having fun, G-pa. And I'm also pleased you're back to eating Mini Wheats for breakfast instead of your previously steady diet of almond croissants. I'll have to tell Mrs. Balantac that you posted an awesome shot of dolphins. I'm sure that will spark a whole new set of questions from those little curious minds!

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