Prepping for the Crossing in the Legendary Zihua!

Coming down to the last few weeks in Mexico before we point the bow west without seeing land for upwards of a month!!

We are anchored in Bahia de Zihuatanejo off the beautiful Playa la Ropa.  Alyssa flew back to the states to visit family and pick up our new tandem inflatable Hobie Kayak we ordered for my birthday!  She is flying back on Sunday with a huge haul of boat parts that either we can’t get down here or that are much cheaper in the states.

I have been running around Zihua collecting the parts and supplies we will need during the passage through the south pacific.  Running errands down here takes great patience and low expectations for success.  For example, trying to get 15w40 diesel oil for our engine included the following:

I landed on the municipal beach and was greeted by a slow, but friendly local who smelled like he had been soaking in a sewer.  He informed me that he watches the dinghies for ‘propina’ (tips).  I decided to trust him (or more accurately, our insurance).  I asked him where I can buy oil for my diesel engine, he replied “Si Amigo, oil for diesel, no problema, but we have to take cab.”  I asked how much it would cost and he said 30 pesos so we got a cab.  I sat in the front and he was in the back and managed to smell the cab up even though all the windows were down.  I asked a few times en route “This is a boat store, Barco Tienda, Si?”  He replied “Si Amigo, boat parts store, almost there”  Well, we arrived the the Mexicana Commercial, the Mexican Equivalent of Wal-Mart and he escorted me to the aisle with Automotive oil (of course NO diesel oil here).  Mind you he is only wearing shorts, no shirt, no shoes (with sand up to his knees), long hair, dirty and smelling like a septic tank…..and I’m apparently with this guy.  haha

I told him this isn’t what I was looking for and said I’ll have to go to a boat store.  It also donned on me that now I have to get this guy back to the beach, which included another smelly cab ride and 30 pesos.  Once back I walked to the centro and caught a bus to the Ixtapa Marina.  For sure they will have a boat store at the 650-slip high-end marina right?  Well, after the long bus ride over the hill, I found the little barco tienda and also found that they don’t have oil.  The trip was not in vein because a woman in the marina office told me that there is a little store across from the bus station in Zihua that sells oil for diesel engines.  Excellente!  There was a chance I would find oil today!  

Another chicken bus ride later I found myself in downtown Zihua to catch another bus.  Well the bus took me right back to where I passed on the previous chicken bus but at least I was at the right place.  I found the store – more like a counter on the sidewalk and they had 15w40 oil!!  Score!  I wanted 16 liters but I only had cash for 14, so I hoofed it in the heat back to the same Mexicana Commercial I was at earlier in the day, hit the ATM and headed back to buy the oil.  One cab ride later found me back at the dinghy and my smelly ‘guide.’ who of course wanted a tip for all of his hugely beneficial guidance.  I gave him some pesos and headed back to the boat to give our trusty Perkins engine a much needed oil change.

I also changed the racor fuel filter, fixed the broken fishing rod holder and re-wired the faulty primary bilge pump float-switch.

Most of the critical projects are done.  We still need to go up the mast and inspect all the rigging and I want to flush, bleach and sanitize the water tanks and plumbing once more before we depart.

 

 

So other than making a final provisioning run, we are set for the crossing!  As of now it looks like we will depart the first or second week in March, weather-depending of course.  And then it’s Adios Mexico!

Happy Valentine’s Day From Isla Ixtapa!

Hola Amigos y Amigas!

We haven’t written since Barra so I wanted to make a quick post.  We are celebrating my birthday at the Azul Ixtapa Grand Hotel today.  We sitting in lounge chairs in front of the infinity pool at the hotel, watching Ellie swing at anchor in the lee of Isla Ixtapa.  Life doesn’t get much better than this moment my friends.

To back up a week, we were leaving Barra to sail non-stop to Zihua, but once we left the breakwater we crossed wakes with our friends on the catamaran Beach Access and decided to follow eachother 20 miles south and spend a few days in Carrizal Bay, which is just north of Manzanillo.  We spent two amazing days with them, kayaking around the coves, sharing stories over amazing food and raising a glass to incredible sunsets.  We parted ways on the 7th and pointed our bow south.

When we were anchored in Carrizal there was a huge school of fish under the boat.  Well, they managed to follow us for a surprisingly far way out to sea; about 40nm.  The first picture below is of the fish swimming in our wake.  They finally tired and either got eaten or returned to the shoreline.  But it was quite the sight to see these little fish following the ‘mother ship’ so far out to sea.

We spent two wonderful days on passage.  We had wind during the days and motor-sailed each night.  We read, relaxed, caught fish, cooked up some great meals and enjoyed our peace and serenity of once again being at sea.  After two days we made landfall at Isla Ixtapa and started to plan Alyssa’s birthday!

We kept looking over at the amazing hotel on shore across from the island and researched online to find the best deal.  We decided to splurge and spend Alyssa’s birthday at the Azul Ixtapa Grand Hotel, which has been nothing short of amazing.  We landed the dinghy at the hotel and checked in to an amazing room – Alyssa even literally jumped in the air after surveying the room!  (See pic below).

We were beside ourselves when we saw the spread at the lunch buffet.  I even had to bite my cheek to force the ear-to-ear grin to subside on my way back to the table with the huge variety of comida.  Alyssa had an amazing birthday that she says was the best she has ever had.  We lounged by the pool, went kayaking, enjoyed great food and wine, met a bunch of new friends and danced the night away at the beach-front disco.

We spent the next few days on the boat and at the island.  Made some progress on our dinghy chaps and chilled out.

We couldn’t stay away from the amazing hotel for long so we are back today to celebrate my 30th birthday.  We have reservations at the Oyster Bar this evening. The restaurant is right on the bay and the amazingly benign Mexican weather patterns will certainly gift us another incredible sunset.

Thank you so much to all our family and friends for sending us emails and comments wishing us both a happy birthday.  We miss you and love you all. 

Lastly, the 12th marked a great milestone: 6-months of cruising!  That’s right, we left the docks at Bair Island exactly 6 months ago.  So we have been celebrating all three milestones this week and in the most amazing setting possible.

Here are a few pictures of Carrizal, the passage and our time in Ixtapa thus far:

Cheers!

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Hasta Luego Barra!

Well, after a couple incredible weeks in Barra de Navidad, we have decided to point Ellie’s bow south once again.  We would probably stay longer but there is more exploring we would like to do further south before heading across the pacific ocean at the beginning of next month.  

We love it here and will miss it.  We know one thing for sure: we definitely have a new favorite spot on the Mexican coast.  There are many other cruisers who sailed in to Barra and never left; we completely understand why and will definitely be back some day.

We will put to sea in the next day or two on a 2 day passage bound for Ixtapa Island and Zihuatanejo.  We want to settle in before Alyssa’s birthday on the 10th.

We will make the 215 nm passage in one leg.  I guess there are drug smugglers that ply the coast between Manzanillo and Ixtapa so we’ll stay a good distance offshore (better fishing out there anyways)!

We made a bunch of great friends while in Barra and we are looking forward to staying in touch.  

Here are a couple pictures of where we have been anchored for the past couple weeks.  Ellie is in the back of the pack (left side of the first photo).

Hasta Luego Barra!

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Barra Sunset

Hope everyone is having a great weekend.  We enjoyed an amazing day yesterday that started with a beautiful sunrise and peaceful breakfast while swinging on the hook and then off to the pool for the day to escape the heat followed by showers at the resort, a dinghy ride to town for happy hour on the roofdeck of the only large hotel in town and then amazing pizza from a wood-fired oven while dining al fresco surrounded by the branches of a towering banyan tree!  

The sunset yesterday was absolutely incredible.  Here are some pics:

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