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Kusadasi to Coffs Harbour
Bahia Tenacatita
24/01/2015, Punta Chubasco anchorage

Sunday we ended up at Ensenada Carrizal, a small undeveloped cove around the corner from Bahia Santiago. It was great to have it all to ourselves for a couple of hours before 4 yachts & a stink boat took up residence as well. The water is crystal clear & the snorkelling was pretty good. A night without loud club music was heaven to our ears!
Monday we upped anchor & had a slow sail north to Bahia de Navidad. As with down south on the Guatemala border we came across 2 long lines laid by local fisherman. They are miles of rope with plastic bottles attached to float the fishing lines that are tied to the rope. We managed to motor around the first, but had to float over the second. Were lucky enough not to get the rope caught anywhere. We headed into the lagoon, grabbed some diesel at the marina & anchored in the lagoon anchorage in 2 metres of water! After getting the dinghy set up we went across to the town of Barra de Navidad (know as just 'Barra') & had a good wander around. There are heaps of American & Canadian tourists here but the town is not all built up & covered in high rise hotels. It has plenty of character & well worth a visit.
We had a couple of beers at Hector's Bar & watched the world go by. Every type of transport imaginable went past - from home made buggies, bikes & golf carts!
Tuesday we headed across the bay to the anchorage off the town of Melaque (Mal-ar-kee). We got eaten by mosquitoes in the lagoon & had seen all of Barra that we wanted. Melaque again is a nice town occupied by lots of tourists but hasn't lost any of its Mexican charm. No buildings over 4 stories adds to the relaxing atmosphere as well. There is a caravan park too - the first we've seen since we left the Mediterranean. With no swell we had an easy job of beach landing the dinghy & then had a walk around town. We found a supermarket called The Hawaii Store which was packed with food items we have not seen for a long time. Prices were expensive, but it was well worth it. We had lunch at a small restaurant back off the beach - again another cheap meal - AUD$10 for 2 meals & 2 beers.
Wednesday Ange went to the local weekly market that sold everything from food, clothing, touristy stuff to kitchen ware & cigars! We then had a lovely but slow sail to Bahia Tenacatita where we anchored off 'The Aquarium.' Aptly named due to its crystal clear waters & great snorkelling off the reefs that surround the headland. We had 2 nights there all by ourselves except for land based tourists that arrived during the days to snorkel & walk on the lovely beach. We did a lot of walking, swimming & snorkelling.
Yesterday we motored across the bay to La Manzanilla - the main town serving Bahia Tenacatita. It has a wonderful mixture of small Mexican town quaintness & seaside tourism. After taking the dinghy ashore we came upon the weekly markets where Steve picked up a couple of pairs of cheap boardies & Ange a lovely Mexican blanket. We found a computer shop to top up our internet credit & had lunch at a lovely cafe. At the edge of town is a large lagoon filled with BIG crocodiles. The protected sanctuary is fenced off so none of the crocodiles take a walk down town! We paid a small fee to have a wander through the lagoon on a raised boardwalk - there were lots of crocs! We stocked up on some meat & groceries and took PANNIKIN to the main anchorage of Punta Chubasco. PANNIKIN is in the company of 30 odd yachts here - the most we've seen since Panama City. There is a lovely beach to walk on & also a long inland estuary which can be toured in your dinghy - a "jungle tour."

18/01/2015, Las Hadas Resort anchorage

We picked up anchor on Tuesday & motored around the headland to Ixtapa - the hotel & resort coast in this part of Mexico. We popped into Ixtapa marina to fuel up & hopefully get a glimpse of the crocodiles that live there. It was pretty busy in the marina so we didn't get to see them - not sure I'd like to leave my boat there!
After getting some more diesel we dropped anchor at Isla Grande - a small island with 3 lovely beaches & many seafood restaurants. Lots of tourists from Ixtapa come out every day to enjoy the water & sand but by 5pm they (& all the restaurant staff) leave & you have the island all to yourself. It was a lovely place to spend a couple of lazy days walking on the beaches & having a swim.
4.30am Thursday we started our journey north to Manzanillo. We got to Caleta de Campos at 5pm in the afternoon after a full day of motoring. We were surprised at how peaceful this anchorage was & had a nice afternoon of watching kids swim & fish off the break wall. It also was a pretty anchorage, surrounded by clean beaches & high red cliffs.
Another 4.30am start on Friday morning as we continued to head north. At midday we picked up a nice breeze & had a great spinnaker run until 6pm. We were going to stop at Punta Cabeza Negra for the night but decided to push on to Manzanillo. After dodging some very large ships anchored in the bay & doing a very quick run across the traffic separation zone in front a huge container ship we arrived at the Las Hadas Resort anchorage at midnight. A very big day! Unfortunately the resort & its next door neighbours had their night clubs pumping but the earplugs came through again - sleep was good!
Yesterday we had a nice sleep in & then caught up on computer work & emails seeing as though we have internet at last. We rowed the tender into the marina & went for a walk along the resort beach fronts to Commercial Mexicana - a big grocery store. We had lovely Chinese for lunch & then stocked up on groceries. A quick taxi ride back through some lovely houses on the headland then through the resort to the marina. Yesterday afternoon was a nice relax reading & watching some TV. Today we are heading around the point to Bahia Santiago to the anchorage off Playa la Boquita for some quiet time.

12/01/2015, Playa la Ropa

Light winds were the order of the day once again on Thursday so the motor gained a few more hours on it. When the breeze did pick up on dusk it was on the nose so were unable to sail. The sea picked up a bit which made PANNIKIN slam down off the waves making it too uncomfortable to sleep so we decided to seek shelter behind a headland and wait for the wind to change. At 5am Friday we headed off again and motored all the way to Zihuatanejo. Just as we were about to enter the bay the largest whale we have ever seen breached three times 200m from the boat. S**t!!! It also had the youngest calf we have seen which was doing it own thing - tail slapping and swimming around in circles at full throttle. It is truly amazing to get to see these amazing creatures up close. We feel very privileged.
We anchored within swimming distance from the beach and laid a kedge anchor out the back just in case the anchorage became rolly later. The white sandy beach is lined with hotels, restaurants and bars and there are plenty of American and Canadian tourists enjoying the sunshine and warm water. The main town is a short dinghy ride away - we leave the tender on the beach near the town jetty and a local guy watches it for us for a small fee while we go exploring. The town reminds us of Kuta in Bali with lots of trinket and t-shirt shops, bars and places to eat. It has a nice laid back feel to it without the high pressure sales people and the locals are once again friendly and helpful.
We are enjoying walking on the beach every morning watching the small manta rays swimming through the waves & in and out around swimmers. A morning swim has been the order of the day as well. Lunch in town has been followed by lazy afternoons reading or doing odd jobs on PANNIKIN.

Fun in Acapulco!
07/01/2015, Isla Roqueta

Sunday was a slow sail to Bahia Chacahua (Punta Galera) arriving just on sundown. Horrible place - very rolly & confused seas even with a stern anchor. Didn't have much sleep that night!
Off to Acapulco early Monday morning with periods of sailing slowly & motoring. We had a very uneventful overnighter seeing only 2 cargo ships & no local fishing boats. Plenty of dolphins kept us company.
Arrived into Acapulco early yesterday morning. It is a huge bay with older & newer parts of town. The original city has lovely & unusual houses clinging to the cliffs & the newer - high risers on the beach. We headed straight to the Acapulco marina to get diesel, but were politely refused. There was a gigantic yacht tied to the fuel dock - maybe they had no fuel? A slip was $200 per night - no thanks! We were directed to another fuel dock on the opposite side of the bay. It was a strange set up. Pick up a mooring ball then reverse towards a very large concrete wall on the mainland. Throw a line to the guys at the dock who tied us off & then they lowered the diesel hose down to us on a rope! It was interesting to get the credit card up & the docket signed! We spoke to a couple of Canadian guys tied mooring ball....cruisers are discouraged to anchor in the bay... they were told to move each day until they finally agreed to take a ball. We headed around the corner to Isla Roqueta & anchored in beautiful clear water with a sandy bottom off a lovely swimming beach. There are plenty of glass bottom boats delivering day trippers to the island, but it is still peaceful & no other boats around.
We hired a local, Vincent, & his little 1960's powerboat to take us around to La Quebrada to see the cliff divers after he introduced himself & was a very friendly & genuine guy. 4th generation divers (men only) perform twice daily starting with young boys who dive from about 1/3 of the way up the cliff. Originally started in the 1940s & was first recognised internationally in the 1963 Elvis movie 'Fun in Acapulco.' The show lasted about ½ hour & the divers are not paid for their amazing efforts. They swim out to any boats below & walk through the crowd on the viewing platform opposite for tips from the tourists.
Vincent then took us back to PANNIKIN pointing out some homes that had been previously owned by John Wayne, Frank Sinatra & Johnny Weissmuller (original Tarzan & amazing swimmer). It's easy to see how Acapulco must have been a really happening place in the 50's & 60's - the houses are perched high on the cliffs with pools below & cable car tracks alongside to get guests & goods up to the house. We had a quiet afternoon then catching up on sleep & swimming in the beautiful water.
This morning Ange caught up on computer work while Steve donned his dive gear & scrubbed the bottom of PANNIKIN. We then caught a local glass bottom boat on return to the mainland & went 'downtown.' The taxis here are old VW beetles - most in complete disrepair - & there are hundreds of them. We had a good walk checking out all the local shops & even found a papeleria (stationery shop) which sold Mexican flags! Stocked up on some coloured pencils, pens & note pads to make some small gift bags for the kids in the South Pacific as well! We had lunch in a small out of the way restaurant before heading to the local supermarket to get a few groceries to get us to Zihuatanejo (Zee-what-a-neh-ho) or Z-what for short! This afternoon we swam to the beach, had a couple of beers at the restaurant & watched people having a good time. A great day! We are loving Mexico - the people are super, super friendly & the food is great!

Happy New Year!
04/01/2015, Puerto Escondido

Happy New Year! We enjoyed our stay at Puerto Angel - it was a lovely little spot. Tuesday we took the local bus to the nearby town of Pochutla where we walked the streets & sampled lots of street food - empanadas, tacos & enchiladas. It was all delicious! Steve got a great hair cut for the pricey sum of 25 pesos ($1.80) & we spent a lot of time in the local market looking at all the fresh produce up for grabs. Everyone was extremely friendly & we had a top day.
Wednesday we explored more around Puerto Angel, shouted ourselves tacos for lunch & watched the preparations for New Year celebrations. We had a lovely dinner in one of the beachside restaurants & then prepared ourselves for the noisy night ahead. We weren't disappointed. Loud, loud, loud music by a DJ played until daybreak yesterday. Lucky we had our ear plugs in!
We had a nice but slow sail north Thursday to Puerto Escondido. The ocean was full of life - leaping rays, fish, dolphins, turtles & a whale. Escondido is a big town with plenty of tourists. It has lovely beaches with plenty of sunbakers & swimmers. Escondido is also known for its great surf - the Mexican pipeline.
Friday we took the dinghy ashore to find a laundromat & some groceries. There is a real holiday vibe going on with plenty of families packing out the beaches. Unfortunately the surf Steve was promised isn't going to happen due to lack of swell, but it does make the anchorage comfortable!
Yesterday we headed 'uptown' to continue our search for a Mexican flag for PANNIKIN. Again no luck but we found the local market - had a great lunch & a wander for a couple of hours. We bought a small bottle of Mezcal (with a worm in it) to take home & had a great walk back to the beach. Spent yesterday afternoon doing laundry & odd jobs on the boat.
Today we lifted anchor & are on our way to Punta Galera about 30 odd miles away. We will stay the night then head to Acapulco.

Mexican Motoring Madness!
29/12/2014, Puerto Angel

Friday we were up at 5.30am ready for our 6am departure. Unfortunately the port captain did not arrive to do our exit paperwork until 7.15am & the navy man another 20 minutes after that. We finally got away around 8am. We started the trip off nicely with a 5 hour spinnaker run. Then it was motor, motor, motor. We ended up staying Saturday night in a bay north of Salina Cruz called Bahia Ventosa. Neither of us had much sleep over the 2 days previously so we decided to stop.
Yesterday we headed off again at 6am. The coast along this part of Mexico is pretty spectacular - long beaches & imposing white cliffs. It is also the coast of the jumping ray! Every time you looked out over the ocean a ray was leaping out of the water & spinning in the air up to 3 times. Fish are everywhere too.
We've picked a great weather window & there has been no sight of the dreaded Tehuantepec winds (the 'T-pecker' for short) which can blow up 80 knots through the Gulf of Tehuantepec. Only problem is that there has been little or no wind at all. We've motored for 34 of the 45 hour trip from Chiapas.
We anchored off a Club Med in Bahia Tangolunda in the area of Huatulco (pronounced Wah-tool-coh) last night. This is the start of touristy Mexico & the hotels have to be seen to be believed! Plenty of little local boats & jet skis were whizzing around the bay.
Today we headed around to the bay of Huatulco with plans to see the port captain, purchase our fishing permits & buy a Mexican courtesy flag for the boat. We couldn't find anywhere to anchor & the place was a zoo! So many local boats, jet skis & fishing charters speeding everywhere - so we left! We headed to the next anchorage called Puerto Angel about 5 hours away. It's a lovely little bay lined with restaurants, small supermarkets & hostels. After checking in with the port captain we had our first Mexican meal - fish, beans, rice, tortillas & a hot, hot salsa washed down with a couple of Coronas. Will stay for about 3 days then continue to head north to Puerto Escondido - a great surf spot - where Steve can finally get his board out!

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