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Pacifico's Return Voyage to Mexico
Club Social
Dave, clear, sunny, warm
05/08/2014, Manzanillo

After the photo op at the giant sail fish sculpture we made haste to get to our destination, "Club Social" or The Social Club, here in Centro Manzanillo. This is a great old bar, founded by the present owner's father in about 1952 and continuously operating ever since. They have kept the place up with fresh paint and fixtures, but it essentially remains the same. The photo is a tad out of focus, or since it's a point and shoot camera perhaps I was a bit unsteady. Sorry, it's the only close up shot of Tom and BJ that I got! There is an older fellow playing his guitar off scene to the right. They come and take your drink order, Pacificos all around please, and then they bring the food. They have about seven food items and they just keep it coming for as long as you want as long as your ordering beverages. They line up the empty bottles and when your done, just count the bottles and that's your "la cuenta". Needless to say this was lunch!

cruising
Manzanillo
Dave, clear, sunny, warm
05/08/2014, Las Hadas

OK, I'm saying "clear, sunny, warm, but it's getting frigging hot! Tom, BJ and I went off the boats and caught the local #8 bus from the peninsula where the resorts are located into the main shopping district, which includes Walmart, Home Depot, a Mega and Commercial super stores. From there you catch the local bus that takes you to "Centro" or downtown which was our destination. The old harbor at Centro Manzanillo is quite small, but the new mega container harbor just a little further in is the largest container port in Mexico. Despite that Manzanillo is really a small city, but with a big city flavor to it. They built this gigantic metal plate sculpture here at Centro just off the old small commercial harbor and Mexican Navy yard. It is quite a site to see and with Tom & BJ front and center you get an idea of just how large this thing really is.

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Manzanillo
Dave, clear, sunny, warm
05/08/2014, Las Hadas

After a week of a steady routine of walking and swimming daily I took off to join Tom & BJ on Caribbean Soul about 20 nm south of Barra at the anchorage at Las Hadas. Nice spot, no red tied so clear water and the south swell has not set in yet. This anchorage is on the northern side of Manzanillo Bay and as you look out across the bay the appearance of the company you're keeping is quite diverse! The big guys are outside though, so you don't have to worry about their swing radius!

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Barra, a view from the hill
Dave, clear, sunny, warm
05/08/2014, Barra de Navidad

Back in Barra with Tim on March 20, 2014 for his flight out on the 21st, then I was solo again. Marisa is scheduled to join me over her Spring Break, or Santa Semana as it is called here. I'm back to dealing with my health issues and first on the agenda is to get back to a cardio exercise routine after a month of cruising.

Up at 7-730 AM and off the boat for a morning walk up into the hills following the road into the hotel from the Pacific side of the hill behind the marina. It's quite a grade to reach the high point of the road and still only about half or less of the way to the summit, but I'm sticking to the road and a quick pace. It's either up or down, almost no level terrain at all and it really worked me.

This is the view from the high point, looking westerly out over the marina to Barra and beyond towards Melaque. I walked this route about six days a week, 25 minutes each way unless someone wanted to go with me over to the "secret beach" on the Pacific side, that is about 2 hours round trip with some sight seeing involved. With this routine plus swimming laps in the pool in the afternoon after working on the boat all day I lost the five pounds I put back on, I was down 15 in January, and another 5 pounds to boot. It is cool enough in the morning but the heat is coming and humidity with it and by 10 AM, it's hot!

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Back to Barra
Dave, clear, sunny, warm
04/25/2014, Barra de Navidad

You'll notice when I report the weather that it is almost always, "clear, sunny, warm", which is why so many people are here. This is a sunrise photo of the hotel building taken from the dock. Why wouldn't you want to visit this place. You should see the pools!

So, Tim had to leave on March 21 so we only had a couple of days to get back to Barra to catch his flight out of Manzanillo (ZLO). We both got great $100 peso haircuts in Melaque, saw the sights and pulled anchor on the 20th. That gave us one last night in Barra so of course we went to the "wheel taco" place. You'll have to look back in the blogs for a report on that place.

I accompanied Tim to the airport the next day and said good-by, it had been a great month of boating, anchoring out and new sights. Next year?

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Zihuatanejo to Cuastecomate
Dave, clear, sunny, warm
04/25/2014, Cuastecomate

Tim was scheduled to fly home in just a few days, it was time to keep moving. The passage from Ixtapa was uneventful, but beautiful night sky and we got into Cuastecomate on March 18 in the afternoon where we anchored with three other cruising boats. This place, previously known only to a few as "the secret anchorage" was exposed in Breeding and Bansmer's "Pacific Mexico" A Cruiser's Guide Book. If you're coming down here, get it. Enough said on that. We rowed the dinghy to the beach and toured town, which takes about 5 minutes, then back to the beach to one of several beach style restaurants for a cold beer and guacamole with chips. Not exactly on my diet now, but I splurge a little. We stayed one night here then hopped over to Melaque, the slightly larger town than Barra just over the hill from Cuastecomate which is only three miles from Barra.

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Back to Zihua and Isla Grande
Dave, clear, sunny, warm
04/25/2014, Zihuatanejo

We made the run up from Acapulco March 12 & 13. The weather has remained warm and sunny overall, which is what makes this such a great cruising grounds, that and the warmth of the people. We anchored out for several nights locally then went into the Ixtapa Marina for one night to clean up and provision. Ixtapa is not at all like Zihuatanejo. It is a built for tourists beach resort place. No one really lives there, it just exists for tourists and the locals from Zihua and other communities service the place. Kind of on the line of Cancun, but smaller. Great beaches though.

Tim kept asking everyone that spoke English who had the best roof top bar/restaurant on the Ixtapa strip. The answer universally was "El Farro at Pacifica". So, on March 16, we went there for dinner. It was fabulous, all I can say is Google search that resort. Quite a place. We had a great meal and not excessively priced. It was dark so no pictures.

This photo is of a great sunset taken from La Ropa Beach on the Zihuatanejo side.


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Acapulco Yacht Club
Dave, clear, sunny, warm
04/25/2014, Acapulco Bay

After what was to be our last day in Acapulco we headed to AYC for fuel and just to see the place. We got inside and wow! What a nice facility. We bought fuel and in the processe checked in for a day. It was expensive, but like the La Clavadista show, we're only here once. And, it was nice to enjoy long luxurious showers.

They have a nice open air restaurant and bar area next to a very large pool. This is a full service club, people even live here in adjoining residences, homes and condos within the grounds. So, we parked Pacifico in a pretty pricy slip and got the boat cleaned, bottom and topside and he helped us land and leave for $600 pesos. That's a deal. The docks here are concrete and fixed, not floating, and after a night I could see why and also why this bay was so clean. There is surge here that you won't believe. It made Oceanside's J dock on a bad day seem calm. But, we were in a beautiful spot in the heart of the old part of the bay and enjoying it. We took a dinghy ride and found a great fisherman's palapa restaurant for dinner, what a contrast to AYC.

The next day we were off, heading west and a little north back towards Zihuatanejo, about 125 nm, which we did without any stops this time. It was pretty rough the first day out, reminded me of doing the "Bash" north from Cabo, but that night and the second day were fine. If you have not consulted a chart, Acapulco is situated east of Denver, someplace under Kansas, so the coast down here runs more east to west than north to south.

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La Clavadistas
Dave, clear, sunny, warm
04/25/2014, Acapulco

On Monday, March 10 after anchoring off the beach at Centro in front of the Captian del Puerto's Office we caught a cab up to the old Hotel Mirador for the 1230 Cliff Diver's show. We arrived and were immediately contacted by an attendant for the hotel who ushered us inside and pushed the "lunch and show" package which included the show, lunch and a beer. What a deal! As it turns our the information that we had was wrong, it wasn't 12:30 but 1 PM, so we had another beer!

I'm not going to rewrite this when Tim did such a find job with his note to family and friends, so here is his version of "La Clavadistas".

"The divers dive into a ravine about 200 yards long. On the opposite side of the ravine is the viewing area. At the head of the ravine is the Hotel Miradoor that has a restaurant with open balconys that overlook the ravine. The 12:30 show was actually at 1pm so we were way early. A paid tout directed us into the restaurant were we got lunch, a beer and admission to the show for 205 pesos.each and we sat at the very best table with a stunning view. Six young Mexican men walk thru the viewing area that is about half the height of the dive area. They jump into the water, one by one, and swim across the ravine to the cliff. They then free climb the cliff all the way up to the top of the diving point, about 87 feet from the surface of the water (about 8 story's high). There are little stone alcoves at the top that the divers pray at and invoke blessings for a successful dive. And they need it. They have to jump out far enough from the diving point to clear the base of the cliff and jump cleanly enough to enter the water properly. If they screw up, it's fatal. Each, in turn, does their dive. Some are backflips, others are forward flips, all accompanied by much cheering and applause. The last young man, the star, did a spectacular forward starting double back flip with a head down entry. It made my palms sweat!. After the show, the divers line up outside for tips."

It was well worth the effort to get there. One of those things we grew up with, hearing about and seeing on television. How could you go to Acapulco and not see it? That would be like going to Disney Land and not buying a ticket book, but then I'm dating myself.

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Anchored off Centro, Acapulco Bay
Dave, clear, sunny, warm
04/25/2014, Acapulco Bay

On Sunday, March 9, 2014 we did our own cruise of Acapulco Bay aboard Pacifico and ended our day anchored in the northern bite of Bahia Marques. An interesting place with expensive homes and condos all around beautiful beaches busy with tourists. That night everyone went home and again we had a quiet anchorage almost to ourselves.

The next day we moved over to an unmarked anchorage just off the end of the cruise ship pier, right in front of the "Capitan del Puerto's Office" and under the ramparts of the Fuerte de San Diego, the old Spanish fort that would have guarded this innermost anchorage of the old town and Centro. This was a great spot, sheltered from the prevailing westerlies, fairly shallow over sand bottom with good holding. There were a number of mooring cans around us, but almost all were un-occupied as you can see in the accompanying photo, taken from the Port Captains Office after check in. We had been told about this place by Henry and Pam on s/v Rapscallion, great advise. Also, that you can leave your dinghy with Alfonso at the Pemex service dock at the other end of the ship's wharf. For $50 pesos he'll also keep track of it for you.

This was a great place to get into Centro, to check in and to re-provision. We walked the Malicon just to get a flavor of the place and it is vibrant. It seemed that of all the hotel buildings lining the beaches most units appeared vacant, yet the beaches were crowded on Sunday and the streets busy on Monday. We've read that Acapulco's economy is suffering because of their reputation regarding drug cartels activities, but we didn't have any problems and found it to be a great stop. And no, there were no pirates out there either.

From Centro we caught a cab up to the old Hotel Mirador for the Clavadistas or Cliff Divers show at 1PM. To be continued.

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