Monday, April 22, 2013

Photos from Acapulco, Huatulco, and the trip between....

Dolphins came to play quite often

They love jumping, especially when their efforts elicit
whoops of joy from on deck

Judy is a dolphin siren

The cliff divers of Acapulco put on a stunning
show at an equally stunning venue

Divers enter through the viewing area,
swim across to the cliff.

As you can see, the divers are just kids.  We heard the oldest were about 17 or 18.  There were some very young kids also, maybe 10 or 12 who were apprentices, diving from lower levels of the cliff.  The older fellow carrying towels stayed in the water just outside the landing zone and would swim  to the divers as they surfaced to haul them to shore if they had knocked themselves out in the landing.

They climb to the top with incredible speed and ease.

I wasn't able to take pictures of the dives, it was too dark and all I got were blurs.  They don't do simple swan dives anymore.  Now they are doing twisting flips.  It was amazing.  At the end of the show the divers stood at the top of the stairs holding tip jars.  I hope this was not the only money they were paid.  There are restaurants, bars, and trinket shops all around the cliff making tons of money off these kids.

A couple things I will remember about Acapulco:

If you want to take a taxi get ready to ride in an old VW Beetle.  Most look really old, and really tired.  We caught one for our provisioning trip to Costco, across town and over a very high and steep hill.  Our VW didn't make it.  One of the rear tires went flat about half way up.  The driver would not stop, continuing the climb. eventually overheating the engine near the top.  We flagged down another VW, got over the hill and on to do our shopping.  The poor guy was still parked when we came back a couple hours later.

The other thing I will remember: the police.  I would be exaggerating if I said there were as many police on the road as Beetles, but it seemed like there were.  It was unsettling to see a truck filled with unsmiling, Kevlar clad young men packing automatic rifles staring intently at.... me. 
Its not a bad thing.  Acapulco has had some tough times lately with crime and drug problems being acted out in the streets.  A couple weeks ago a tourist was raped by some thugs.  They were caught and will never see the light of day again, if they are seeing anything at all.  There was a lot of coverage in the US and European press.  But Acapulco is probably no more violent then Seattle, and the government is taking very aggressive steps against the local troublemakers. 

One more thing about Acapulco, the marinas suck.  If you are coming in try to get a slip at Marina Acapulco.  It looks like it may have floating docks.  The other marina, Club De Yates Acapulco, does not have floating docks.  You must make adjustments to lines and fenders throughout the day.  They have no cleats, instead there are loops of chain embedded in the dock that you tie lines to.  Some of the chain is old and corroded, having sharp edges that chew lines incredibly fast.  Plus there is a gigantic surge.  Never seen anything like it.  Our boat was being thrown around constantly  It was awful, and on top of that they charged Cabo prices.  The best thing to do is anchor out, or find a mooring ball.

Acapulco mushrooms

Lastly some photos from Haultulco...

The church on Hualtulco's plaza looks nice, but fairly ordinary from across the street. Come closer.......

The arched dark wood front door is covered with carvings. 


Running the length of the central vault is a painting of the Virgin Mary.

In her womb is the embryonic Jesus, with his sacred heart fully charged up.

The ceiling on each side of the central vault is a beautiful dark blue studded with stars.  At each end are brilliantly colored paintings.

The meaning of the painting above the alter is a mystery to me. 

I took a twenty or thirty pictures of the paintings, and feel the every one of them is worth putting in the blog, but I don't think blogspot would be pleased if I did.

The paintings don't strike me as masterpieces or anything close, but in their entirety they speak of  incredible vision and commitment.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Puerto Chiapas

Marina Chiapas
975 miles from La Cruz, and the last stop in Mexico.  Good thing too, our visas expire April 20th.  I want to leave Friday, but the Admiral has determined the best course to steer is to take an expensive tour into Guatamala Sunday, April 21st. and get new tourist visas when we recross the border back into Mexico.  This will give us an additional 90 days to get prepared for our new departure date of Tuesday, April 23rd.  I'm so glad I don't have to make these complicated decisions.

A sailboat with a broke engine is guided
through the long entrance channel to the marina-
could have been us.
Our trip across the Tehuantepec was uneventful.  The winds were as predicted.  Our engine worked OK, mostly.  It did knock a bit.  Tony, a friend on the sailboat Wind Strutter, who was making the crossing with us and is a mechanic, told me the knock could be the result of air in the fuel lines.  He suggested I bleed the fuel system, taking special care to get any trapped air out of the final fuel filter.  I checked everything out, found a hose connection with no band clamp and and several that were loose.  After installing and tightening the band clamps our engine purred  quietly for the next two days.  Sweet!  Thank you Tony!

Open air resturant next to marina
Its nice to be in Puerto Chiapas, only miles away from Central America.

Nescafe plant, turning Vietnamese beans into
instant coffee, all shipped to America.

Saturday, April 13, 2013


Town Square
near the marina

625 miles from La Cruz.  This morning we start our crossing of the Gulf of Tehuantepec, traveling from Hualtulco to Puerto Madero, the last stop in Mexico. 

The Tehuantepec is very well known here in Mexican waters.  It is the home of fierce gap winds respectfully called T-peckers.  T-pecker winds originate in the Gulf of Mexico, shoot 200 miles across the narrowest part of the country, through a gap in the Sierra Madre, spilling out into the Pacific.  It's a granddad of a gap wind, often reaching out two or three hundred miles with gale force winds capable of sinking ill-founded vessels. 

I'm a little apprehensive.  We are crossing at a favorable time of the year, but one never really knows for sure.  Also, our engine gave some trouble coming down from Acapulco.  I began knocking horribly.  I thought we were throwing a rod or something, so we shut it off.  It was at night, and we had no winds at the time so we were just bobbing along in a favorable current.  I was hoping we would get wind in the morning and we could sail into Hualtulco, but they didn't come up.  The current was carrying us into the Tehuantepec, not a good thing, so we tried the motor at low rpm's.  I knocked for a while, then quieted down.  We upped the revs and made port just fine.  We think the noise was caused by bad fuel that we may have picked up in Los Hadas.  When getting fuel I tapped the very large fuel tank and heard the echo that an empty tanks makes.  We probably were getting the dreggs of fuel that had been there for a very long time.  I ran the fuel polisher to clean it up, but apparently did not run it long enough.  I have changed all our fuel filters and run the polisher for a long time, so hopefully the engine will be ok.

As one of the dock guys here says: "Hasta bye-bye".

Tuesday, April 2, 2013



I've been looking forward to visiting Acapulco.  Cruising friends who went through last year gave it rave reviews.  They found the bad news that gringos hear about how the place has fallen apart, that there is rampant lawlessness etc. etc. has been grossly exaggerated.  Instead they found a clean, vibrant, beautiful place.  I, unfortunately will not be able to confirm this, as we are leaving as soon as possible, which means we get fuel and food today and leave tomorrow.  Our Mexican visas are expiring the 20th of this month, and we have about 500 more miles to go, including crossing the dreaded Gulf of Tehuantepec (more on this later).  Doesn't sound like much distance, but when you travel at not much more then a fast walk 500 miles looks like a lot.  Plus we must wait for a weather window to cross the Gulf.  Therefore, alas, no dinner at Las Brisas.  Bye-bye Acapulco.

We have come 460 miles from La Cruz, stopping at Barra de Navidad, Los Hadas, Zihuatanejo and Acapulco.  What a beautiful leg this has been.  Our son Kevin was able to join us, and each stop had us wondering about our decision to buy a condo in Puerto Vallarta.  I could live at any of these wonderful places.

Approaching Zihuatanejo
with Kevin on deck

Zihau has a wonderful public market

Its not uncommon for kids to accompany
thier parents to work, especially when they
are self employed.

The older girl organized a photo shoot
Zihau cliff house

More later....