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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Guaymas to Huatulco in 20 Days – (a quick synopsis)

From Guaymas on 2/1 to La Cruz 2/5 it was wing-and-wing in a gentle downwind breeze much of the time. We kept our whisker pole out at night - no biggie to take it down if the wind fell off - not so much of a piece of cake if the wind kicks up, but it wasn't an issue for us. We have jack lines installed and are harnessed in from dusk to dawn - no exceptions. I would say we motor-sailed half the time. Sailing the rest of the time was a delightful, quiet sail - 4 days and nights until La Cruz... with one 2 hour quick stop at Isla Isabela because I have been trying to get there for over 3 years! Isla Isabella is a must and I wish we could have stayed longer because there are lots of trails to hike. We love La Cruz – cruiser friendly, great provisioning, fresh produce and nice little restaurants at a good price.

From Cabo Corrientes 2/8 to Santiago Bay 2/9 it was flat calm... no wind. I took great video of dolphins running with us at the bow, which I will post as soon as I get a better internet connection. Lots of longlines though - the fishermen hook coke bottles or bleach bottles daisy chained for miles. Hotspur didn't catch a single one and we must have seen 10 of them. No telling how many we ran over and didn't see. Other boats have gotten their props caught up in them. With our 5’ draft and cut away keel (sort of) with a skeg hung rudder, we slipped right over them. If we did happen to see them, we put the boat in neutral until safely past. No point in tempting fate. We didn’t stay long in Santiago Bay – it was pretty, but Tim and Jim went for dinner and said it was mediocre and very expensive. It looked very resort-ish from the boat. In fairness, we didn’t stay long enough to give a chance, but we wouldn't go rushing back unless someone told us we missed something marvelous.

We stopped for a few hours in Santiago Bay to sleep and head out early morn so that we could arrive in Zijuatanejo in daylight. We had a fabulous, rainy sail from Santiago 2/10 all the way to Zihuatanejo  2/11 - we saw 8.5 knots for at least 3 hours on a beam reach – just incredible! 15-18 knots of wind and we must have had current with us. We discovered our bimini leaks - wish we had some Thompson’s water repellent, Nigel Calder’s recommendation. The drip, drip, drip on top of the head was too much – Jim propped up the middle of the bimini with our telescoping boat hooks – a true Mexican fix that worked! Salt water flying everywhere - so fun! Sea state was lumpy, but we didn't care.

One note - lots of container ships, big cruise ships, etc… - at least 15 between Santiago and Zihua. One cruise ship 1 mile off knocked us down at midnight one night with a wave. Yes, rail in the water! No damage or injuries.

Zijuatanejo was on my bucket list and we spent 6 glorious days there. We adored the town. It was well worth the stop and not a one of us regrets it. We would go back in a heartbeat. A true gem.

2/17 left Zihua and headed south, anchoring in Papanoa on the evening of the 17th. The north side wasn’t very exciting, so we went around the corner to check out the south side. The surf is very strong there and so we were very rolly, although the beach looked beautiful and I would have liked to have checked it out in calmer conditions. So back to the north side we went. Horrible holding – we re-anchored 4 times until it was dark. We tried the 80 lb. Manson and when that didn’t work, the 55 Delta, which didn’t work either. We were too tired to mess with it and jumped up several times during the night to check. Loud music until 3am from a palapa right behind us made sure we didn’t sleep too heavily. We would never go back to Papanoa.

Arrived 2/19 in Chacahua (CHA-KAW-WAH), just north of Puerto Escondido. What a fabulous, hidden pueblo! Very cool spot – our first time in the water for a very long time. Great beginner surfing, beautiful beaches, and a very wide estuary that empties into a lake. Will write more on that later with photos and waypoints. Only disappointment was that we had to motor the entire way here – no wind. We spotted hundreds of sea turtles – I’m not exaggerating! We saw a blue marlin squirt out of the ocean ten times. Even motoring in the flat calm has its benefits. Chacahua isn’t in any of the guide books except a short sentence mentioning that it has no restaurants or stores in Charlie’s Charts – not true anymore. Chacahua is a must!!

2/20 we departed Chacahua and headed to La India, a small, reefy bay in Huatulco. What a beautiful little paradise! Snorkeled some more and found 2 Jenneria pustulata shells – my favorite! Stayed one night and then motored to the marina on the 21st.

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