Passage to Ixtapa/Zihautanejo
18 December 2008 | Ixtapa/Zihautanejo, Mex
We got up early to get a good start on our 190 mile passage. We buddy boated with our friends on s/v Freestyle. Most of the cruising guides recommend buddy boating during this passage b/c the area is known to have banditos and/or drug smugglers along this stretch of coast/land. The guides also mention that the anchorages listed as possible stopovers are not cruiser friendly or have minimum facilities. It was nice to have another boat out there with us while we made such a long passage. You knew that there was someone else was up in the middle of the night to talk with as we sailed along. Unfortunately, we had to motor sail for the passage because there was minimum wind. Apparently this is the norm for this area this time of year. Well, all was going well until approximately 6 hours into the trip; we pumped our bilge pump and found that we had quite a bit of water being pumped out....uh oh...this is not good! Brian checked out everything while I took the helm, and found that we had a small leak in our raw water pump. This is of course not good because it if failed then there goes our engine! We made the decision to continue on, but keeping a close eye on the engine temperature, flow rate of the leak and pump the bilge every half hour. With a lot of monitoring, worrying and praying we were able to keep on course throughout the night. Overall the sail was still pleasant with the ¬ĺ moon, calm seas and balmy air temperature. We made landfall the next day to Isla Grande (Ixtapa Island). This allowed the motor to rest overnight and gave us a chance to catch up on sleep too! We then made arrangements to sail around the bay to Marina Ixtapa to get in a slip, so Brian could fix the water pump.
Isla Grande is a little island that has tourist facilities for visitors staying on the mainland. Tourists and the Mexican workers are transported by pangas daily to the island. Just as we set out anchor, we looked out over the bay and saw 3 whales spouting water and swimming only 300 yards from our boat! We watched them swim around towards the opening of the bay then turned as if they were going to head towards our boat. The whales got turned back out to sea by a small dinghy full of Mexicans trying to get a closer look. Funny, as the whales turned towards the Mexican's dinghy they were screaming (and laughing) and turned their boat around rather quickly almost capsizing the dinghy!
The next day we motored 3 miles around the corner to Ixtapa Marina so we could repair the water pump.