Thursday, May 28, 2015

La Crucecita - Marina Chahue, Huatulco

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Bahias Huatulco, La Crucecita

The town of La Crucecita is about 4 kms from Marina Chahue and although it is a pretty walk the heat made the 25 peso taxi rides too tempting to refuse.
La Crucecita Plaza

The town center has a plaza filled with large old shade trees. Neighbouring bays have large resorts but the town La Crucecita is set slightly inland so the central area remains largely unchanged from years ago.

The church from the plaza

There are several boutique hotels in the old town and an earlier Italian influence is present in both restaurants and deli selections.

One of the Boutique Hotels
Another updated hotel
The Italian influence
A beautiful street scene
In keeping with our experience in Mexico, the people are quick to smile and offer assistance. This area has received a huge influx of Canadians and we are well regarded. We are only unique in that we are here so late in the season and that we are sailing not flying in to condos on the beach.

Cruise ship in Santa Cruz
The next bay to Chahue is Santa Cruz which has a cruise ship dock and a palapa lined beach.

Pangas in Santa Cruz waiting for cruise ship customers
We were constantly amazed by the number of Trunkfish, Porcupinefish and Balloonfish that swam n Marina Chahue. Mags even caught a photo of this eagle ray.
Lots of trunkfish and balloonfish in the marina
Mags' Eagle Ray in marina
The marina is subject to swell so good chafe protection is strongly advised but the staff  is helpful and friendly. No jejeneys or mosquitos at the marina but the shower is an open air, well, there are walls, cold water only structure, but who needs hot water down here? The new fuel dock is operational.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Ixtapa to Huatulco

Saturday, 16 May 2015, departure

Ixtapa to Huatulco

Ixtapa Marina office
The Ixtapa Harbour entrance red closure flag was finally changed from red to yellow so we decided to make a run for it. The Harbourmaster Lic. Elsa Zuniga Loeza and her staff treated us very well and the location is secure and very pretty, but it was time to go. After a stop at the fuel dock taking on 150 liters of diesel we were away.

Kanilela with the Faro at the Marina
Ixtapa to Huatulco is 342 nautical miles so we were anticipating 3 days and nights for the passage.
Acapulco is only 107 miles from Ixtapa but it is no longer as welcoming to cruisers as it once was so we followed recommendations to go direct to Huatulco.

We followed the coast line from 5 to 15 miles off shore and managed to get a few offshore and onshore thermals throughout the 3 days but it was mainly calm flat conditions, sailing only 11 hours of the 68 hour trip.

Lexi with several thousand feet of water below
As the winds died, Lexi took the opportunity to dive into the indigo blue water.

Dolphins and turtles were frequent visitors.

Lots of dolphins
As nightfall fell the coastal clouds built up and lightning flashed, usually cloud to cloud. On her 2100 to midnight watch, Mags saw a few strikes on land with one erupting briefly in flames. As I took over for the midnight to 0400, I was feeling quite confident that our position off shore was good because the lightning appeared to be only over the land. By 0200 a black cloud passed overhead blocking all of the stars. Lightning started shortly after and soon, behind us and out to sea strikes were hitting the water, or possibly more correctly, were going up from the water to the clouds. One feels extremely exposed knowing the force can destroy everything electrical and all electronics on the boat in, quite literally, a flash.

Honest, that is a turtle!

Staying in the shade

Entering the breakwater at Marina Chahue

Bahias Huatulco are actually a series of 9 to 12 bays with 24 beaches, several that make beautiful private anchorages. Our destination was the Marina Chahue in Bahia Chahue beside the town of Crucecita. We made an early morning landfall as planned and entered the marina.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Zihautanejo Mx

Tuesday, 12 May 2015


Ixtapa was created for tourism so there is only a small shopping area with restaurants and tourist shops to support the shoreline of large resort properties. A 10 peso bus ride to Zihuatanejo takes you to a beautiful clean town.

A Zihaut Street
It was originally a small fishing village that now thrives on the tourist trade but it does it with character. There is a large local population so all the stores to support them are there and people are really friendly.

The streets are quite narrow with veranda-like structures covering the sidewalks creating a much cooler breezeway for walking.

The beach and anchorage are inviting, although because we are so close to summer, the crowds are gone.
An Oriental Gate at a Round-About

Beach with anchorage in the distance

Beach and shoreline houses

Copenhagen, Vancouver and Zihuatanejo, she is every where!

The women of Guerrero State
The women of Guerrero State 2
We really enjoyed it.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Ixtapa - Zihuatanejo

Friday, 15 May 2015

Ixtapa – Zihuatanejo

Who knew that paradise was coated with very sticky fly-paper? Our intention was to spend two days here and continue on to Huatulco. Why are we still here, five days later? Well class, our new Spanish phrase for today is:


These are large ocean swells that roll in from the Pacific. I say large, in fact out at sea, they are not that noticeable, but as they reach the shore they become serious. (Google: Mar de Fondo, Acapulco for the waves that hit that area on May 5th or check any of the coast from Mazatlan to Chiapas as they are rolling in again).

We arrived on Monday the 11th and there was a small swell in the narrow Ixtapa entrance but nothing that made us too concerned. Tuesday, we took the bus to Zihuatanejo to celebrate Mag’s birthday and see the sights. (Zihuat will be the next blog) While passing a small shop I saw a scene of coastal devastation on television and asked the guy watch if he knew where it was from. Si, esto es Acapulco, semana pasada. Acapulco last week!

A 3m wave at entrance
When we arrived back to the marina, the harbour entrance was closed and another set of Mar De Fondo swells were starting up. The next morning we walked to the port entrance and Mags got some pictures. The shallowest point is 8 feet on a calm day, the troughs are probably 5 feet in the photo, Kanilela draws 6 feet!

The buoys in center were side by side, hmmmm

Later that day, Mags and Lexi were walking in the marina and discovered why we never see crocs in the river estuaries we venture into. There here in the Marina! 

Cocodrilo (yep, crocodile) more than 2m swimming in the marina

Lots of teeth too!
Well this morning has a yellow flag for the harbour so we will make a run for it.
This leg will be 3 days and nights to Huatulco, all going as planned. We do not intend to stop in Acapulco. More later.


Friday, May 15, 2015

Tenacatita to Ixtapa

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Ixtapa Marina

No wind…. 220 nautical miles and only a few hours sailing in the late afternoon, evening of the second day. About 46 hours, with the motor on for at least 40, the crew was contemplating mutiny.

The plus to flat calm seas was that we saw 19 turtles on the first day and 30 turtles on the second. I am guessing hawksbill or green, especially green, because some were very big. No photos because when they are close they quickly give you an indignant look and sink down out of sight and far away they really do not show up well.

A hazy dawn landfall near Ixtapa
Both Manzanillo and Lazaro Cardenas are large container ports so we saw several freighters and a couple of cruise ships. We were just northwest of Lazaro Cardenas as the second day turned to night and the wind reduced so our speed and manoeuverability also reduced.
We do not usually call freighters on the radio. We watch them intently on the AIS, the radar and visually and always take early evasive action, so we never have felt the need to get on the radio. While we do not have an AIS transmitter, we do have an Echo Max radar reflector as well as an earlier tubular model but I never assume we are seen, I am very attentive when I see big ships doing 18+ knots.
The AIS receiver is great because you do get the name of the ships passing. I am certain that a lot of the old day’s radio calls to “ship on my bow” went unanswered because no one had any identity. Last night after listening to the Clifford Maersk, approaching from our port stern quarter, radioing the Jian Hua, approaching from our starboard bow, requesting that they would do a starboard to starboard passing, I became very attentive.  The Jian Hua confirmed they would accommodate this passage because the Clifford Maersk was on the shore side and did not have much manoeuverability.
That would mean the Jian Hua would be closer to us than the Clifford Maersk in their alignment. The issue I had was that the course the Clifford was on already showed them with a 0.78 NM CPA (closest point of approach) to us travelling at 12.4 Knots. Where was the Jian Hua, moving at 18.2 Knots, planning on travelling? Time to break the radio silence,

“Clifford Maersk, Clifford Maersk, sailing vessel Kanilela – over”

“Kanilela, Clifford Maersk over”

“We are a sailing vessel under sail 2.4 miles off your starboard bow, your present CPA shows you at 0.78 miles in 7 minutes. We do not have an AIS transmitter, do you see us on radar or visual?”

Short hesitation…. “Yes, Kanilela we have you on radar and will pass on your port side”

“Thank you Sir, have a good evening”

“And you too Kanilela, Sir”

Okay, that’s the one that is closest looked after, but he wasn’t the greatest concern.

“Jian Hua, Jian Hua, sailing vessel Kanilela – over” long pause, no answer.

“Jian Hua, Jian Hua, sailing vessel Kanilela – over” another long pause finally….

“Kanilela, Jian Hua over”

“We are a sailing vessel 4.9 miles off your port bow with TCPA (time to closest point of approach) of 9 minutes. We do not transmit AIS. Do you see us on radar or visual?”

After a long pause “yah okay”

“Thank you Jian Hua, have a good evening”

And three ships passed in the night, one distinctly smaller than the other two.


Saturday, 09 May 2015


Great passage, well… very good….. great would have wind for the whole trip but 14 hours of sailing was good.  We left about 10:00 am and dropped the hook about 24 hours later. Stars, moon and lots of phosphorescence made for a pretty night. Saw dolphins, small rays and a couple of turtles.

Palapa back in the coconut grove
Tenacatita is a double bay just west of Barra Navidad/Melaque and 31 miles west of Manzanillo. The east lobe of Tenactita is more protected and less developed. The west end of that bay has private resort but the west corner behind a headland had a palapa restaurant at the mouth of a mangrove lined estuary and is the best protected anchorage. Being late in the season, we shared the anchorage with only one other boat, Georgia B from Astoria.

The beach often is a surf landing and after a quick dinghy trip in, we decided to let the tide and surf calm down before we entered. Back to the boat to relax after the night passage and then in the afternoon we again checked out the estuary mouth.
Not too late to turn around.....
We spent an hour and a half riding up into the mangrove with the channel narrowing until we were in a verdant green pipe, Lexi and Mags watching for cocodrilos. I was concerned about the obvious falling tide and reports I had read about the estuary being more shallow since a hurricane a few years ago. We finally turned after seeing numerous bird species but the elusive logs with eyes evaded us yet again. A fun trip.

Where is Tuan Jim?
Dinner at the palapa was excellent. Tenacatita is noted for its local favorite “rollo de mar”, much like chicken cordon bleu but is a fish fillet wrapped around shrimp wrapped with a slice of bacon and covered in a rich almond cream sauce. To die for. Sorry no photo.

With our long delay in La Cruz we will make Tanacatita a one day stop and head for Iztapa/Zihuatanejo about 10:00 am tomorrow.
And you thought you could leave the estuary - not through theses mangrove roots......

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Away From La Cruz

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Finally! – We’re outta here…..

That sounds as though we do not like La Cruz, when the opposite is the truth. La Cruz is great, lots of good people, locals and cruisers, and a rustic Mexican Puebla feel. The town is only about 5 blocks east to west and about 4 blocks from the marina and waterfront up to the road to Punta De Mita, with outlying growth above the highway and east towards Bucerias.
Main Street La Cruz
The streets are cobbled with +/- 5” round river rocks in various stages of disrepair and the merchants serve the local community. We were welcomed by many as regulars after a few weeks. Kids and dogs play on the streets and the cobble stones ensure the infrequent cars move at a crawl. But, we left here on March 28th, so to still be here in May, waiting for parts was a stretch of our patience.

During that time La Cruz had a small street carnival with little kid’s rides, that took  over the town for a week. This was followed by Easter processions that lasted several days and recently we had the La Cruz De Huantecaxtle Days which lasted 10 continuous days.

A great street side restaurant
At 5:30 in the morning the first of the explosions would go off followed quickly by 10 to 12 more. This was repeated several times throughout the day ending with a final group of explosions at about 10:30 pm. It is a tradition that dates back to the Spanish period when the canons were used to ensure the outlying farmers knew they had to get to the church for the special masses that are held.

There was a street parade with kids of all ages marching, playing in the band, riding floats and having a wonderful time. The restaurant tables spilled out onto the narrow streets vying with the floats and horses for space. I’m certain the horses, with fireworks going off around them as they skittishly pranced up the road inches from patrons at restaurant tables would have cause apoplexy to a litigious attorney from the north.

The Plaza at a quiet time
Every night the plaza was filled until midnight with the makeshift stage presenting everything from the contestants for Miss La Cruz De Huantecaxtle, to children’s cultural dancing groups and an endless assortment of adult ethnic dance troops and local bands. The streets are packed with food kiosks and carnival attractions. Local families crowd together greeting each other , only a few cruisers are still here in the crowds. The winter condominium dwellers from Bucerias and above the road have already headed north for a cooler summer climate.

Each night the big finale was the fireworks in the plaza. Here, there is no separation from fireworks and audience, sparks are landing everywhere. And finally, a man with a bulls costume emitting flares and fireworks chases through the crowds, much to the excited pleasure of the kids of all ages.

Eddie's side, Jerry on other side - camera died
After turning on the hook twice daily for 3 weeks in the anchorage, we decided to move into the Marina Rivera Nayarit, the La Cruz Marina. If the anchor chain was fouled by the turning, we had no engine to reset the anchor should we drag in the afternoon thermals. Eddie, previously from Disturbia, now Om, and Jerry from Lazy Lion put their dinghies on each side of Kanilela and we moved from the anchorage into the Marina just in time for a visit from our North Vancouver friend of many years, Paula Campbell. With her were her daughter Laura, son-in-law Brice and their three young children who were staying in Punta De Mita, they savored a real Mexican experience and rode the local bus to La Cruz. It was great visiting with them.
Mags and Paula

Our other big news from La Cruz is that we now have a crew member. On the morning cruisers net on the VHF chan 22, there is a section for boats looking for crews and/or crew looking for a boat. Alexis (Lexi) announced that she was a Canadian looking to crew south. She had had some experience in the Sea of Cortez but was a traveller wanting to learn more about sailing. Mags and I have been alone since Vancouver and have never had crew. While on the street in La Cruz we bumped into an Aussie cruiser we know who introduced us to Lexi. After a street side visit we invited her for dinner on board to let her know who she would be with and for us to hear her story. We agreed it was a fit and she endured our prolonged raw water pump wait before finally setting out. 

Eddie and our new crew Lexi
Love this billboard
I received the pumps late yesterday and installed one immediately, the other is a spare that I should have rebuilt when it went last July. Oh well, I have it now so there will be no further raw water pump issues. So with that said, we are truly outta here!!!
Tuna sashimi and prawns, we'll miss the fishermen's market