24 January 2011
After leaving Ensenada Carrizal we slowly motored the few miles to Bahia Santiago on January 16, 2011, charging and making water before anchoring in the west end of the bay off of Playa de Boquita in about 20' of water. This is a large bay with anchorages at both ends of its beautiful three plus miles of white sand beach with the town of Santiago at the west end. Our anchorage was well sheltered from the north, west and east, but wide open to the south with clear open water we were able to continue making water in the anchorage to fill our tanks. This bay, like so many of the others we have visited, is alive with fish, all kinds of fish. It's like everywhere you look there's fish down there! It's no wonder the big game fishing down here is so good, they have plenty to eat!
On our first afternoon in the bay we went ashore with the crew from Blue Rodeo to explore afoot the east end of the bay. There is an estuary and its entrance at that end with a foot bridge leading across the outlet to a nice hotel or condo style development on the hillside above the lagoon. Interesting parking covers, check out the pictures. That end of the beach is also developed as a day use area for local Mexican families with palapa restaurants, umbrellas for rent and signs advertising the availability of "banos" for $4 or 5 pesos. There are also the remains of a 330' freighter that went aground and broke up during a hurricane in the 1960's. Some of the remains are above water, the rest below in about 20-25' and create a great dive and snorkeling area. There is a residential development off the central beach area on this end occupied by, yep, mostly Canadians as best as we could figure out, any way it's a nice area and afforded us a place to leave our dinghies and walk through the development to the highway to catch the bus to town or all the way into Manzanillo for $6 pesos or about $.50 US. We also found that they had a nice beach shower which we could use to not only shower after swimming, but to fill our deck jugs that we use to fill our solar shower bags with; that means less water making. You learn to appreciate the simple things in life, not to mention that there was a great little beach bar called the Oasis there that had a happy hour with $12 peso beers!
The water in the bay was not only clear and full of fish, but was so flat and calm in the bay that we were again getting about in our dingy by "oar" power and we left the motor on its ship board mount. Despite the calmness we managed to get wet the first couple of dinghy beach landings and take-offs. We decided that we should not use the dinghy wheels in the down position for landings or take-offs without the engine. We tended to get in trouble with them because they hold the transom of the dinghy up, which puts the bow down and susceptible to submersion, especially when one of us gets nervous and jumps in too soon! Once we got the hang of it and started taking our time to watch the wave sets we were home free. Knock on wood ..
Both Sirocco and So Inclined arrived in the anchorage the following morning and we all caught the bus into the outskirts of Manzanillo for some grocery shopping at the "big" stores, Mega, Wal-Mart and Soriana. We found the chicken rotisserie shop by the Mega we had been told about by Herb (Synchrony) and it smelled and looked so good we decided to give it a try. This is a takeout place and we had to take it into the shopping mall to find a spot to sit and eat it. There at the Mega store, we found a food court. There was a small restaurant here and we bought drinks and asked if we could sit in their seating area. Not only did they let us sit there, but brought us plates and utensils to eat the food that we had brought in with us, not something you would see at home. Anyway, it was a successful shopping trip and we lugged everything back that we had purchased in our tote bags and back packs on the bus then through the complex to the beach were we loaded it into our dinghies then rowed it out to our boats. Who said this cruising life is easy?
We made another bus run all the way into Manzanillo to see the old port and Centro area, and to do a little more shopping. Marisa found a great tortilla press to use in her new found skill of tortilla making. Manzanillo is an old port, discovered in 1522 by Cortez and soon there after becoming a port in Spain's Manila trade route. The port has been modernized and today is an important container cargo port with rail links across Mexico and into the US.
That was about it for us and this area except that we did get in some good off the boat walks on the beach and through the town of Santiago. We will make one last stop in the Manzanillo area at Las Hadas anchorage and marina just a few miles away before continuing south to Zihuatanejo.