Having a swell time

Zihuat pangas (1)We ran up on the last day of February fairly quickly.   Since we had internet and are literally watching varnish dry today we thought we would give you a quick update on what is going on in the anchorage.

 

For one thing the waves are up, way up.   Our friends behind us have a beautiful anchorage, or at least from our perspective 500 yards away.   The seas are crashing up on the rocks just 100 yards or so behind them and really give you a feeling that you are close to nature.   For us, it is nice to have a cold beer with them on board but neither Bill nor Lisa could sleep soundly if we were so close to the breaks.   Today the seas are running about 6 to 7 feet high through the Bay of Zihuatanejo.   The period is long, so if you have read this blog before you know that the seas could be considered relatively comfortable if we were underway.   As it is we get a fairly prolonged roll about half of the day.   For those closer to shore the rolls are constant and if the wind is not in their favor they probably don’t have a beer bottle or flower vase standing in the boat anymore.

 

The weather has gotten decidedly muggy over the last two days as well.   As the sun sets you can see the moisture in the air, and when it rises the decks are soaked and the carpet on the boat feels damp.  The trouble with the carpet is that we walk on it with feet that have been in the salt water all day and even though we think our feet are dry we still leave minute amounts of salt on the carpet which then attracted the moisture in the air at night.   Mildew doesn’t grow so we are not completely worried, and besides we have varnish to watch.

 

A milestone for the website is coming up soon.   We have had nearly 10,000 unique hits on our website since we started it.   We get a lot of fun out of writing and hope that people are enjoying what we have chosen to put up on the pages.  On the day we think we will see the number 10,000 come up we will post a special splash with some of the highlights that have occurred over the last couple of years that we have been posting.   Tooting our own horns, yes, sorry.

 

We’re not on the subject but we can’t leave the site alone without mentioning Guitar Fest, Zihuatanejo, 2013.   Guitar Fest starts next week.   There are a number of cruisers around the bay that are promoting it heavily.   We have not been and hope that it really is something special for the town of Zihuatanejo but the way it is being portrayed we have a feeling it was started by cruisers to get their guitar playing buddies to come down to Z-what on a free trip.    Most of the Fests: Z-Fest Lorreto Fest, Sailfest in Puerto Vallarta and the Festival that is held in La Paz each year all raise money for some local charity.   Guitar Fest raises money for the people who fly down from the States and Canada and perhaps a couple of locals to pay for their expenses.   We must have lost something in the translation as we can’t imagine who would support such a thing, but perhaps the guitarist are really good, heck they should be, tickets for the individual shows are up to $200 pesos ($US 18) and the venues are bars and restaurants.   We can hardly afford a dinner for $200 pesos each, let alone a no-name guitarist.  Who knows, perhaps Jimmy Page, Chet Atkins or Estaban will show up.   Unless somebody promotes a day of Festivus, we are all fested out.  Hope the tanks show up soon.

Stand in place

Well, we have done it again. Tomato com We ordered services that should have been completed a week ago and still need to be performed.   You can read about it in the Dudes Page if you have a moment today, otherwise you can choose to read it tomorrow.  We will still me here.

Life can be slow in Mexico.   We are taking it with a grain of salt and perhaps a bit of the local nectar.

Enjoy your commute.

Calm Seas

chute comLife has definitely slowed down for us in Zihuatanejo.   This morning were discussing that we have been here for almost 20 days and it really doesn’t feel like time has passed by at all.   Of course we are waiting on parts, or this time service to be performed on our dive tanks, but that really is not bugging us that much.   Most of the days here have been very pleasant with a light breeze coming out of the North and a comfortable 80 degree temperature.   Our typical day consists of waking early and having a cup of Joe while the sun rises, listening to the radio nets if we are in the mood or putting on some soft jazz as we nose into the morning and then sometime around 10 AM we get breakfast going.  It could be that this schedule just coincides with noon so we can think about street tacos or a couple of cold cervezas prior to pulling something out for dinner.   We still have our daily palaver on the front deck to discuss the coming days and how we will fill them but really the days seem to fill themselves without much work on our side.

 

Grilled people com

Tempting as it was, we didn’t order the Grilled People for lunch.

We have visited a couple of nice restaurants and some others that had table fare not quite to our particular liking but things are a bit different in Mexico anyway.

 

Our Garmin woes have not gone away but they are not taking up much of our time either at this point.   We sent a mail off yesterday to see if they would just replace the unit again so we can roll on our merry way.   We hope to hear back today or tomorrow.   As we have said many times before we love the GPSMap 4208 when it works but golly I can’t think that the units we have are typical of Garmin.   If they are I am sure that Raytheon, Furuno and Simrad will soon acquire the Garmin marine unit as they will simply not be able to get away with shoddy work for much time.

 

Assuming we get our tanks back this week we will be shooting north again.   We believe we have hit our apogee for this trip and will start to make our way home soon.   The deeper into Mexico we go the more we dislike the anchorages, water clarity, fishing and availability of parts.   We have always known that parts would be a problem so on the list of things that make us want to return to the Sea of Cortez, parts rank pretty low, but the others are the big three reasons for making a U-turn.

 

We have spoken with way to many folks that have gone further south and report that while there is an anchorage or two that should not be missed, by and large the anchorages that we have visited since leaving the Sea of Cortez are typical of the trip south.   For our limited amount of money and time it just doesn’t seem worth the expense when we know that 700 miles north we can find quiet anchorages, fish and water clarity that doesn’t have you scurrying for a fresh water shower when you exit the water.

 

So there you have it, our plans are a bit changed from the original but that shouldn’t come as a surprise.   We have always written our plans in the sand so changing them is easy for us.   For now we will hang out in Z-what and enjoy the wait while our dive tanks are re-certified.   Zihuatanejo ranks high on our list of large cities that we would re-visit again.  The town really is just a fishing village albeit with about 100,000 residents.   The tourist shops can get in the way if you are near the water front but other than that you do feel like you are in another country as the large hotel chains have yet to appear and almost every hotel in town looks to be independent without any affiliations to international brands or influences.

High on Surf

Finally we have gotten the Chick out of her funk and she has posted another section to her page.   Looking for a dream fulfilled? Want a little Chick Humor or a girl’s perspective on learning how to surf?  How about another advertisement for the Mexcalli Surf School?   Take a look at the Chicks Version today.

While we are talking about updates you will notice that we have added some media buttons so you can share updates with your friends if you like.  Just click one of the Car sign combuttons above and if you have a Facebook, Pinterest or other account this update will be loaded to you Timeline.  Because of the length of the Chicks, Dudes and Sparky’s pages we have chosen to have the buttons on the top.

Have a Great Saturday.

 

When it gets tough we take a vacation.

Liquer store scooter comWe have had a good couple of weeks here in Z-what.   The past few days have been trying as Lisa came down with a tooth ache and Bill has been trying to find a part that should be available at all marine stores but unfortunately no in Ixtapa, oh well,   The dentist worked out and the part issue was fixed by cannibalizing some parts around the boat and so with little else to do we decided to take a little excursion in land when we saw the sign that advertised a couple of our favorite things.

If you have a couple of moments Bill broke the trip down into a couple of parts and posted them on the Dudes View.   Have a look but be prepared with the proper dictionary as he used a number of different slang’s in these stories.

A little bay called Zihuatanejo

We spent a couple ofwater bike com nights at Isla Grande or as they have tried to call it since 1970, Isla Ixtapa.   It seems like forever since we had had a nice anchorage with easy dinghy landings so we really enjoyed it along with about 2,000 other vacationers that came and went each day.   After the third day the anchorage got rolly and we have since moved to Zihuatanejo Bay which really is nice although there are still some lumps in the sea and it is another tourist destination.

 

The trip down from Caleta Campos went well.   We had a nice current that drove the boat

Notice the red plume of smoke coming from the stacks...It was only a short burst, can't be that bad.

Notice the red plume of smoke coming from the stacks…It was only a short burst, can’t be that bad.

along at over 7 knots most of the way.   Passing Lazaro Cardenas was a highlight of the trip but not so much because of the beauty or wild life.   As you approach this Cargo harbor the first thing you notice are the low hanging clouds.   As you get closer you realize that the clouds are caused by the immense amount of dust in the air and the steam and smoke from the incinerators and power plants that make this city beat.    We were about 6 miles off shore and needed the radar to see ships in broad daylight that were 5 miles off!

 

Passing Lazaro you began to catch the smell of the petroleum and other chemicals that were either dissolved in the air or floating on the water. coke balls com  It was quite a contrast to see the beautiful “Tuna” Blue water (if you have been to Lake Tahoe you know the color) covered in a sheen of petroleum, dust and what we believe were actually coke balls or chunks of ash from the coal burning power plants that must have just been dumped in the water.   We are not chemists so we might be wrong but we will attach a picture just so you can see.

 

After Lazaro things began to clear up.   We were buzzed by the Mexican Navy who appeared to be calling in our little ships name but other than that let us go about our business.   Somewhere during the trip we also had a hook-up with two Cravalles fish or Toro’s as the Mexicans call them.   We guess they each went about 25 lbs or so but we were only able to land one.  The second one got away with Lisa’s hand made fishing lure which kind of got her pushed out a shape a bit.   When the fish steaks were put on the grill, Lisa forgot all about the lure and all was well again on board.

 

We visited Ixtapa proper the other day as well.  Lisa in frog mobile com Pat and Mo from the Bay of Conception asked us to meet with their friends that were visiting and so we had a look around.   Bill was a little surprised at the town as it was actually created in 1970 (hence the name of Isla Grande changing to Isla Ixtapa) by the Mexican Government and Fonatur to be a destination for tourists.  They have succeeded in creating a nice, overpriced, gringo village that is not to our tastes but certainly clean, safe, friendly and you are never 5 steps away from a bit of cheap Mexican kitsch to bring home to the family.   Thank God the margaritas were 2 for 1 all day.

 

That should catch us up for while.  Isla Grande umbrella com We are enjoying our stay and will be here for a week or so before moving on.   Our dive tanks are out of certification and being updated now and Lisa has been in to see the dentist and needs a quick follow-up later next week.   No issues just some routine maintenance.

WL2K /On Turtle watch

Caleta Campos beach comWe are on the last leg of the trip to Ixtapa. The anchorage at Caleta Compos was much nicer than we had anticipated and we actually picked up about 7 hours of needed sleep. We will be sure to hit this cove again on the way north to explore the little town and its seaside Ramada’s or restaurants.

Currently we are having a grand sail and making way at 6.5 knots or about 7 miles per hour. There is no moon so we can’t see a thing except for a couple of falling stars, the shore side lights and theLisa's pinnapple drink com occasional passing ship. The Garmin Chart plotter has been working flawlessly over the last couple of days and Lisa is in love with it again. The sail couldn’t be more perfect.

ETA to Isla Grande and hopefully some rest and a real rum drink served in a fresh pineapple, 4 PM today. That’s it for now. Have a great Saturday; Monday will be back to the grind.

WL2K /Rock-a-bye

Spent the night last night at Punta Cabeza Negra, or Black Head Point, nice name, lousy anchorage.. Actually the small cove that we stopped in had some very nice homes but the vibe that was given off kept us from going on shore.

Arriving in time for cocktails we set thePunta Negro private homes com anchor and watched the sun go down. After dinner we were off to bed as tomorrow was going to be a long trip and we had hopes again of arriving before sunset. Sometime after we climbed into the bunks the boat began to roll sideways to the waves and that continued for about 5 hours or till just about the time we had to get up to leave.

We guess we picked up about 3 hours of sleep total so we are kind of running on empty today. All is well on board but needless to say Cabeza Negra is not on our re-visit list.

WL2K /Moving South at a fast walk.

After the worst trio of meals weTortugario in Cuyatlan com have had in Mexico we are finally underway. On Tuesday we took a trip to the Capital of the Mexican State of Colima, strangely named Colima. The trip itself was fantastic and we do have a lot of pictures to share. Unfortunately we are underway and just can’t send the pictures through Ham email.

After picking up the rental car we headed out looking for breakfast. Lisa found the most popular place on the street with plenty of customers so we figured it was a good choice. If you like pork for Breakfast pork in Manzanillo combreakfast, not eggs and pork or even eggs and bacon, but just plain chopped pork on a tortilla, then Rica’s on the malicon of Manzanillo is for you. We prefer a little more variation so not the worst breakfast ever but certainly the worst we have had (and it was our choice) in Mexico.

After visiting the Turtle Hatchery in Cuyutlan, we ventured another 50 miles to Colima. Colima is a colonial town meaning that the Spanish actually set it up and the architecture certainly shows. The downtown area was happening colima downtown again comand very pretty. Bill even mentioned that he loved the downtown garden, so either he is getting real old or the place was stunning to him.

For lunch Bill had a hamburger. In his words it was one of the plainest, thinnest hamburgers he has had so chalk it up as the worst in Mexico. Lisa did much better with her Fluanta’s which were “quite tasty” to her.

Colima pyramid site Chanel 2 comNext on our quick tour of the state was the Temple or pyramid of Chanel. Small pyramid but gorgeous grounds and really quite a site to see with all the prehistoric foundations of a very lively community. Funny in the States, there would have been gift shops and soda stands all about touting “Chanel” as the largest pyramid in the state, but here there was just a nice young man taking $2.00 a head to come and see a bit of history.

As we meandered back home we thought we should stop at Los Antonio’s which was a restaurant we saw early in the day that served Paella. We are not experts with Paella but guess that the saffron rice should be fluffy, the lobster tasty and any other ingredients able to hold a taste similar to what nature intended. At $50 US for two plates and a couple of beers, we expected a heck of a lot more, or perhaps we got it. Absolutely the worst meal we have ever had without getting sick. If Los Antonio’s is on the Michelin guide, skip it.

So off we go. Heading for Ixtapa and should arrive in a couple of days. We are hoping to day hop but due to swell we may have to go direct and through the night. So far the sailing is lovely. Enjoy your commute.

..Do not pass Go!

Well it didn’t take long for the mood around the boat to change last night.   We had just finished up our dinner and completed a movie when we thought we would take one last look at our Chart Plotter to see that it still worked.   According to my Technical Representative, we should turn the unit on and off quite a bit to confirm this anyway.

 

garmin comWe pushed the buttons and instantly got the Garmin Splash screen as usual.  After about 30 second of just seeing the splash screen we began to get concerned and then 5 minutes later we began to write a letter to Garmin again regarding the issues with the GPSmap 4208.

 

Lisa has been looking at flights and bus fares to States since last night as we are not about to wait another month to try and get something through customs in the usual “expedited” way, so we will eventually go to Arizona to collect the part, or at least that is the current plan.

 

Bill has been on the internet doing research on Garmin issues.   It appears we are not the only ones with a Splash Screen issue as can be attested to by the number of comments on the web.   Sadly nothing has made our “Garmin” screen go away, so now at least we are not plagued by intermittent issues as for hours now all we have been able to bring up is “Garmin”.

 

We will be moving back to Barra de Navidad either today or Monday.  There is not much we can do but sit and wait again since Garmin is not at home during the weekend.   Hopefully next will we will have a good unit working and be back to traveling.