Zihua and Sailfest

Well, we’ve hit our southernmost (really easternmost) terminus of our 2016-17 cruise—Zihuatanejo. We didn’t have time last season to make it this far. It’s an extra 400 miles round trip from Barra de Navidad. We had 7 months, so who knows what happened, the time just went by so fast. But we’re really happy to be here now. Sailfest 2017 is happening and the town is hopping. The air always seems to be about 5 degrees warmer than up the coast and the water temp is 83 vs 78 so we’re loving the swimming. Sailfest is a weeklong benefit festival with the beneficiaries being the local kids and schools.   Last year the festival raised 1.3 million pesos. There are concerts, auctions, chili cook-off, and beach parties. The cruisers take people (mostly gringo tourists) out sailing on their boats in return for donating to the cause. We had a really fun group of Wenatchee farmers aboard Carmanah for the race around the Roca Negro on Wednesday. The wind was light and Carmanah walked away from the fleet with “Old Whitey” the 39 year old #1 jib powering her along. It’s truly a wonder sail. How many races has “he” been in now? Several hundred just with us. Who knows how many in the 26 years before that. They should make a TV Special about the amazing Old Whitey.   There are actual rumors (started by me) that his Dacron threads were the by-product of a super-secret government project during the cold war. Anyway, amazing sail who’s been waiting in the storage locker for the past 18 months waiting for a chance to shine.

There are no marinas in the actual harbor of Zihuatanejo so we all anchor out, beautiful anchorage just off the town. The dinghy landing puts you right in the downtown which is one of the most nicely done towns we’ve experienced. All the extra wide sidewalks are covered for shade, the streets are well laid pavers, all the shops are doing well, many many great restaurants, lots of tropical vegetation–just a very nice town.   You could easily spend a lot of time here. We were a little worried about the higher heat but with the constant light breeze, it was pretty comfortable with day time highs in the upper 80s and lows in the 70s.
One thing about cruising a 2nd year in Mexico is that we have gotten to know a lot of folks from various boats who we keep Running into on our journeys. It’s fun to get together when we cross paths and its sad to say good bye. But for the most part, we know we’ll see them again. It’s like a big family here in the Mexican cruising community. Everyone is so nice all the time. Ass holes are very rare even though they seemed to be very common back home. Not sure why, I guess this lifestyle just brings out the best in people or we’re seeing them at their very best. Also, we all know we may need to rely on each other if there’s trouble. We had to say goodbye “for real” to some of the boats continuing on to Central America and the Panama Canal so there was more a sense of loss there. Boats like Wild Rumpus and Finte won’t pop up down the road. It’s real, they’re gone for who knows how long. The same will happen back up in Puerto Vallarta this spring when we’re up there. The folks heading to the South Pacific “jump-off” from there in late March and April. We’re still planning to cruise Mexico at least one more year. We’ll make our way north along the Gold Coast to Puerto Vallarta area for much of March to meet Mike, Mike, Bob, Peggy, Teri, and Alex for the Banderas Bay Regatta then a week with our niece Ruby. After that, we’ll cross over to Baja to meet-up with Don and Emily for an encore cruise up the peninsula to Loreto. In May we’ll haul the boat at San Carlos/ Guaymas and drive back to Washington to get Restless ready for a summer of NW cruising.


The halfway point of this season’s cruise. Well over a 1,500 miles so far.


The lagoon at Barra de Navidad is the only land locked anchorage on the entire coast with zero ocean swell.


Run, Swim, Run between the towns of Barra and Melaque. Lucy hates the swim part.


Lucy trying to stay cool by digging a hole in the sand at the Hidden Beach near Barra.


Our new favorite fish–African Pompano. Delicious! This guy was deep and rather difficult to bring up. I ordered a reel for the speargun to allow me to surface then bring the speared fish up.


Lucy’ early morning walk.  The beach at Tenacatita is one of the best on the coast. Lots of boats are regularly anchored here.


Early morning “jungle paddle” though the mangrove passages at Tenacatita. Lucy is of course a hood ornament on Donna’s kayak-always on the verge of falling in. Luckily no crocs near us today (we hope).


The bulk carrier Los Lianitos aground since hurricane Patricia–cat-5 in 2015 outside the Barra Lagoon is a constant reminder to us sailors of how nasty this usually benign climate can get at times.


Heading south to Zihua involved some spectacular sailing, we made it in just over 30 hours.


The 17th annual event that has raised millions Por Los Ninos.


The Zihua anchorage (Carmanah far left) being welcomed by one of the many bronze statues around town–part of a regional art project


Pangas in Zihua get beached when they return from fishing–usually with a running start at high speed so beware you beach walkers


The public walkway which includes sections of sand beach encompasses much of the Zihua harbor.  Many early morning walkers.


Yayyy! The water is warm again.  83 degrees.  Lucy hates swimming.


5 year old Julian of Wild Rumpus using his “learner’s permit” with dad Trevor in the family car–the inflatable dinghy.


We randomly ran in to our vacationing next door neighbors–Karen and Diane–in a Zihua restaurant. It also happened to be Karen’s birthday so of course we needed party hats.  They have a farm next to our home on Bainbridge.


Our guests for the Sailfest Race Around the Rock race were delivered to Carmanah in the anchorage by panga. Jim and Mark of Quincy, WA are fruit farmers along with Janelle, Barb, and Gretchen. They were a lot of fun and great crew.


Up goes “Old Whitey” for the start of the Race Around the Rock. Tissue paper thin from use but loves the light air.


Final leg on Race Around the Rock. We flew “Patches” our 1982 3/4 oz spinnaker that is more repair tape than spinnaker cloth.


Donna at the Public Market in Zihua trying not to see or smell the dead pigs next to her as she shops for veggies.


Jeff and Mary of Finte are getting ready to head south through the Panama Canal and up the east coast. Tough say a real goodbye, we’ve been crossing paths since leaving the NW.


The sidewalks of Zihua are a joy. Shaded and minimal trip hazards. You can almost look around a little while you walk. Don’t try this in most Mexican towns or you’ll break something.

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