10/22/2014, Barra de Navidad
April 14, 2014 Barra de Navidad. Oceanside Harbor boaters pictured are Dave & Marisa from s/v Pacifico, Tom & BJ from m/v Caribbean Soul, Dan & Deb from s/v Caper, Eddie Lare from s/v Blade and Fred & Jeanette from s/v Marsha Dee.
Somehow we all collected here at Barra, some by intent, some by chance, but our Oceanside group was a large percentage of the late season cruisers still here in Barra. We had quite the end of season dock party, Oceanside Cruiser's style, and everyone was invited to join in. In a few days our group had scattered, leaving only s/v Pacifico and s/v Marsha Dee to summer-over along with a handful of other boats. This is a good spot to consider for your summer hurricane hole. The marina is well sheltered and withstood the Cat. 3 hurricane "Jova" of 2011 without loss. We'll see what next year brings, but the marina has offered the best rates in Mexico for off season moorage.
10/22/2014, Barra de Navidad
The last two weeks of April were getting pretty warm, actually hot with humidity building it was getting uncomfortable. I had the end of season "leave the boat" list from Mike and Julie of s/v Slacker as well as ideas from a few others and my own, but pretty well stuck to Mike and Julies list. I'd been working on the list for almost three weeks before leaving. I arranged with Pancho, one of the local boat workers to oversee the boat in the off season, to include periodic wash downs, bottom cleaning, run engine 2X monthly for half hour, check batteries, recheck dock lines and adjust as needed.
This is my list with their ideas and a few others all mixed in and I'm sure there are as many more ideas as there are boaters out there, but this is what I did to leave the boat in the tropics in hurricane season:
Pull and store all small electronics in oven and lower lockers with batteries removed.
Clean out refrigerator, ice locker and portable freezer, dry and prop open.
Put out buckets of dehumidifier, spares for periodic refills.
Wipe all surfaces with vinegar.
Clean and oil cabin sole (Pacifico has a natural teak and holly sole)
Fill and bleach water tanks.
Fill fuel tank and treat with biocide.
Empty and clean all deck jerry jugs, tether with cable and lock into cockpit.
Service outboard engine, chain lower case oil, lube oil in cylinder, drain carborrator and clean, dump (give away) any remaining gasoline.
Same for Honda Generator.
Remove all clothing, bag and close tightly.
Remove all food items, give away anything perishable. Bag remaining food stuffs.
Remove sails, clean, dry, fold and put below.
Remove all halyards and control lines threading with messenger lines, wash, dry and put below.
Remove all canvas, wash, dry and store below.
Clean and treat dinghy with 303 or similar, roll up and store on deck under tarps.
Clean all stainless steel.
Clean radar, cover with old t-shirt.
Remove BBQ, clean and store below.
Remove two of three solar panels, clean and store below.
Pickle water maker, drain lines.
Place all clothes, bedding and towels in vacuum bags for storage.
Spray with wd-40 and wipe down winches, cover.
Turn off gas.
Plug haus pipes, engine intakes.
Rig tarps to cover boat, tightly.
Clean anchor chain and rode, dry and store, seal locker.
Lightly spray engine with wd-40, wipe down
All this and I had time for the pool in the afternoons too, of course it was getting to hot to do any more work, and I just finished in time to fly home April 30, 2014 from Manzanillo.
End of Season, to be continued!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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?
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.
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.
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.