24/03/11, 15 28.76'N:93 41.95'W, en-route day 2
Hi everyone, We are into day 2 of our passage to El Salvador, conditions are hot and calm, very little wind with the exception of a couple of hours we enjoyed the geneca pushing us along. We encountered a weather system building behind us around 4.30 pm with no consequence, except for Matthew cooking Prawn & Vegetable Lasagne calling out "What's going on with all this tilting, trying to cook here." Matthew's shift ended with scare, looking up to peruse for any traffic and a large red glow was directly ahead which looked to be a ship's stern, he went to wake dad only to hear Eric from Perfect Wave trying to work out also. It was only a half moon rising behind clouds...but these things scare the hell out of you when tired. John was cooking an omelete this morning when he looked out to see three mexican's in a panga along side smiling at him, not a lot said but they made an interpretation of a fish swimming and John said "No Gracias" and off they roared - later to return asking for soda...but we gave water instead, they were happy! It's now 2pm and enough wind to hoist geneca, moving along at 4.5 - 6.5kts - engine off, silence at last! Adios for now Lea John & Matt x
We are about to up anchor and begin the 500 odd nm passage from Mexico to El Salvador . We estimate we will arrive at Bahia De Sol El Salvador in 4 days on Sunday morning at about 5.30am. We will be in company with Perfect Wave and there are about 6 other boats all headed the same way leaving within 12 hours either side of our departure.
Weather sources say we should experience very light winds and calm seas.
Will post updates along the way.
20/03/11, Southern Pacific Mexico
We have moved anchorage to the main Huatulco port as the one we were in proved to be very effected by the swell as the tide rose and as such became quite uncomfortable. We had a peak at the town of Huatulco yesterday and it looks like an interesting place, we are looking forward to doing a bit more exploring over the next couple of days in between some boat jobs that need to be done in order to be ready for our next passage for which at this stage the weather looks favorable for departure on Wednesday.
Have added some pictures to the Gallery of the trip between Acapulco.
Will update again in a couple of days LOL J,L n M.
19/03/11, 15 43.35'N:96 9.63'W, Isla Cacalula
Hi Family & Friends, We have arrived safely at Huatulco anchored at Isla Cacalula, a beautiful bay with golden sandy beach, slightly rolly but comfortable and a couple of blow holes spouting for our entertainment. Our trip from Acapulco to Isla Cacalula started with a wonderful sail 15-20 kts beam reach averaging 7.5 - 8.5 SOG, weather is hot & humid. We had a spectacular full moon to show our way the whole trip & plenty of sea life to keep us entertained, dolphins, rays and a Sailfish hooked our line but managed to break the reel and get away, not before putting on a great performance for us flying out of the water and splaying it's fin. We managed to fly the kite for a short time also, which is always a spectacular site. We have been accompanied by a Navy ship most of the way, radio silenced but ever present at each location. We had entered Escondido, Puerto Angel & Puerto Sacraficios cove Jicaral into our way points for potential anchorages, but swelly conditions made us continue on to find a suitable stop. Spectacular sunrise again this morning - Dinghy in the water, Matt off on a paddle ski to explore & Perfect Wave anchored beside us.
Adios for now Lea John & Matt xxx
17/03/11, 16 8.93'N:98 55.59'W, en-route
Just a quicky to let you all know we currently about 10nm off the coast and the sun has just set . Great days sailing average 7-8 knots currently 6 knots running dead downwind wing on wing. Perfect conditions with 3/4 moon .
LOL J,L n M
Hard to believe it! We are in our own sailboat on a mooring in Acapulco harbour Mexico, oh and check out our Longitude our degrees are down to double digits-first time ever for us!
This is a long blog because it is about a pretty iconic place so for those of you who don't like to read a lot maybe just skip the blog and go straight to the photo gallery.
Thanks to some info relayed from other cruisers, we had some local knowledge and local contacts before we arrived. We really were not sure about how wise a decision it was to come here as there has been a lot of people who had advised us not to come, mostly the media, but also most Mexicans we spoke to about Acapulco said it was not safe due to the drug wars and related violence. The past month we have received several reports of very public multiple murders happening in the streets, both in broad daylight and at night. Had we not have been in company of another vessel (Perfect Wave) and had the research I did of other cruisers experiences who had visited here in the last few weeks not been positive we probably would have given Acapulco a miss the prospect of which really disappointed both Leanne and I as we had both been excited about coming here. For me it was the cliff diving that I badly wanted to see as I remember seeing it on old movies with Mum & Dad when I was a kid. You know the Midday movies that used to feature on Sundays with Elvis & Dean Martin and many others. Well today we went to the cliff diving and it was every bit as awesome as I remembered the shows depicting it to be. More on this later in the blog.
We arrived in the late afternoon and checked out the anchorages that were in the guide books a couple of which were also recommended by other cruisers but we were not excited by them nor did they give me a feeling of security so we decided to check out the marina areas and main harbour moorings . We called the guys that were recommended to us Alex & Hugo (for you other cruisers who are using this blog as a research tool their phone number is 744 437 8788) both of whom speak very understandable English and told them we wanted to rent a mooring. They told us to wait 10 minutes and they would meet us,,,,,,, hmmmmm 10 minutes in Mexico has been a very long time in the past, sometimes as much as a full day ? Soon enough (less than 10 minutes actually) we heard some whistling and shouting and when we found the source it was Hugo and Alex in a very small row boat that appeared to be sinking. We followed their directions and met them at a mooring where they expertly took our mooring line and secured it. We then waited whilst they did the same for Perfect Wave and about 30minutes later both boats had been secured and arrangements made for Hugo and Alex to take us to the shops to provision as well as to escort friends of Perfect Wave to the airport who we returning to the USA . We paid our 1000 pesos to them (about $90.00 vs. about $600.00 for the same period of time in the marina!) for the mooring for 3 days and then I offered to give the guys a lift back to the dock and tow their dinghy (it has no motor and only 1 oar!). On the way I asked them about our safety whilst in Acapulco and they were adamant that provided we were not drug dealers we would have no problems, they said that all of the people in Acapulco - drug dealers or not respected and valued tourists. They also said that they would make sure we were safe by taking us anywhere we wanted to go if we were concerned but they were certain that this was unnecessary. We felt much happier about our decision and very grateful to the cruising community for sharing the particulars of their experience and especially for providing Hugo & Alex's contact info. Once again we experience the now familiar humble, hard working, and friendly Mexican people. On my return to Red Sky Matt has cooked yet another gourmet meal of Shrimp (sorry I mean prawns) & Scallops which we enjoy after marvelling at the thousands of twinkling /shimmering lights that is the Acapulco skyline in the evening ( It has often been referred to as the Diamond Bowl) Wow what a sight !
Eric (Perfect Wave) & Don (Eric's mate) as arranged met Hugo and Alex at the dock at 9.00am and set of on there provisioning run whist Matt , Lea , Myself and the rest of the crew of Perfect wave set off to complete the official duty of checking in with the Port Captain . Unfortunately we were direct by the port captain via the VHF radio when we arrived to check in at the Marina but when we arrived there (after about a 30min walk and another 30minute wait) we were informed that as we were not staying in the marina they were not able to do this for us and that we needed to go to the port captains office. We decided that we would do that later because we wanted to catch the 1.00pm cliff diving show. We (all 9 of us) set off on foot to the Hotel El Mirador (thanks to the directions provided by Hugo & Alex) despite the abundance of buses and taxi's both of which were sources of entertainment in themselves. First the taxi's; VW Beetles, like 60`s and 70`s models all looking just like Walt Disney's Herbie and there are literally hundreds of them here. Then there are the busses. "Bling on Wheels" would be an apt description. They have truck style fronts complete with the long bonnets , polished chrome grilles and bumpers and custom paintjobs and they have really loud sound systems featuring what must be serious sub woofers because you can almost feel the base from the sidewalk and you can definitely hear it. After walking for about and hour we arrived with about 1 hour to spare after what was a really interesting & entertaining walk through the coastal streets and suburbs of Acapulco. The views out over the coast and the deep blue Pacific Ocean were sensational. During our walk we were the only tourists that we saw the entire way, which was quite a strange feeling, but at no time were we given reason to feel that we were not welcome.
We paid our entry fee of 40 pesos each ($3.50) and chose our vantage point above the chasm for the cliff divers. The show which lasted about 45minutes was provided by 4 young men maybe 16 to 20 years old and two older guys all of which were very well built much to the pleasure of the females of the audience of about 30 people. These guys were great! They warmed up by doing some dives off the comparatively low level cliff wall (about 20 feet to the water) into the narrow section of ocean at the bottom which was surging and swirling with the swell and undercurrents of the ocean as it collided with the rock walls before climbing out of the water onto the rocks and rapidly ascending to the top (without any safety gear) of the vertical face of the opposite side of the chasm. The climb in itself was a display of great skill and courage. Then one by one after having said a prayer at one or both of the shrines at the cliff top they each dove off the cliff during the 150 or so foot drop to the 15 foot deep ocean below them. None of the dives were however straight forward all contained various acrobatics including summersaults & twists that were the cause of much ooohhhing and ahhhhing from us the spectators but the last diver caused most of us to hold our breath as he readied himself hanging by his toes standing backwards on the cliff top. His arrow like poise as he entered the ocean with hardly a splash was preceded by a backward summersault,,, truly a fantastic thing to see. Leanne was able to have a photo with two of the senior divers.
We headed for the hotel and some lunch where the stars of the past had dined before us, after lunch we perused the photos on the restaurant walls and signatures of the stars. Afterwards we headed back towards the harbour and the port captains office, which turned out to be a lot further than we expected, only to discover when we arrived at 4.00pm that he was having a Siesta and would return at 5.30pm, before going home again at 6.00pm. We decided we would go back by dinghy tomorrow and try again, so it was back to the boats we wandered. Along the way we passed many abandoned speed boats on the shoreline that had been stripped of various parts that we really have no idea as to why they were left there in the first place. We did get told that a lot of boats had been seized by authorities as a result of being found to be used for drug running, so perhaps these were some of those as they were all high powered expensive speed boats before they were left high and dry. We also saw several pickup style utilities that were police vehicles with 4 or so policemen in vests with serious firepower riding in the back. They looked pretty ominous and spoke volumes as to the seriousness of the situation here.
We arrived back at Red Sky safe, sound and pretty exhausted from what was yet another tick on the bucket list day for me. Again Matt cooked another gourmet dinner for us, this time it was Chicken Cacatory and it was great. After dinner we once again retired to the cockpit of our floating home and enjoyed the twinkling skyline of the city.
Hugo & Alex met as the dock this morning at 8.00am as arranged and Leanne, Hugo, Alex & I all squeezed into their VW beetle and drove for about 30mins to Wal Mart. Hugo and Alex pushed our shopping trolley around the shop whilst we loaded it with our provisions and then helped us carry them back to the VW and along with our 10 or so bags of stuff we all squashed back in and returned to the dock. They carried our bags down and loaded them into the dinghy all for just 200pasos (about $18.00) unbelievable service. The Hugo offered to take me here to this internet café so I could submit this blog and the pictures as the internet on the boat was too slow to do so. These guys are just fantastic and great ambassadors for Acapulco.
We will depart here tomorrow morning and over the next week or so travel to Huatalco where we will wait for a suitable weather window for the crossing of the notorious gulf of Tehauntepec, an isthmus that experiences high winds that funnel over from the Gulf of Mexico and are often in excess of 40 knots. We have been following the weather patterns down there for the last couple of weeks and it seems that there are regular good weather windows each week of 2-3 days which should be plenty of time to travel the 220nm to our final Mexico port of Puerto Chiapas from where we will depart for El-Salvador.
Not sure how good the internet will be from here on in but if we can't get good service we will post position updates on the blog via the sat phone every couple of days.
LOL , J L n M
14/03/11, 17 9.60'N:101 4.37'W, en-route
We departed Isla Grande Ixtapa yesterday morning approx 6am (actually 5am - Perfect Wave thought we had to wind clocks forward re:daylight saving - All Good! early arrival at our destination gives us more time to explore) We had a uneventful trip to Punta de Papanoa, calm, hot conditions, motor sailed most of the way except an hour or so. Sea alive with Turtles the entire trip, a pod of Dolphins, school of Rays and the ever present Whales putting on a show for us on arrival at Punta de Papanoa.
Punta de Papanoa anchorage was a quiet anchorage with the exception of few fishing boats coming and going & one other Yacht anchored flying the French Flag. We explored in our dinghy for surf spots and potential second anchorage, neither excited us, shoreline palapas, beach & town appeared quite deserted. We decided to call it an early night and depart for Acapulco. Matt cooked Spaghetti Bog onboard & we watched a movie, Matt read as 8.30 to bed was not appealing, he has kicked the cigarettes now for 3 days after reading the "How to quit book" we were loaned in New Caledonia.
Up anchor this morning approx 3am heading to Acapulco, conditions calm, motor sailing and for the first time in 10 months we have the Southern Cross in our sites this morning. A familiar site for us, first time for Perfect Wave.
Keep updating as we go along Love to all x