Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Isla Ixtapa and down on to Puerto Ensenado. NOW.

Isla Ixtapa hidden in the Top left corner

We anchored in the top rt of the bay.
Isla Ixtapa
Well it's a Friday the 7th Jan 2011, we left Zihuatanejo at about 08:00 and motored to Marina Ixtapa here we filled up with Diesel. Whilst there we were joined at the fuel dock by Pico... we first met Lauren and Lauren on Pico in San Blas...we chatted to them for a while and then left to go and explore Ixtapa Island. Well what a disappointment :-( The little island is jam packed with palapa's selling touristy junk, jet ski's, little boats whizzing everywhere, lots of boats on mooring balls so cutting down the anchoring space hugely AND a large swell coming into the snorkeling bay that, if we did get around to snorkeling, would probably dash us against any rocks....sigh...we didn't even stop, just turned around, hoisted the sail and journeyed on.

We don't normally set sail for a long distance on a Friday so We decided to motor on down to Potosi Anchorage and anchor for the night. There is a lagoon that is a bird sanctury there.

Glints of gold in the sand.
The Lagoon is calm.
Is that a green heron?

To do this takes stacks of practice!

A close-up of their canoes.

Going back towards the entrance of the Lagoon...
 The next morning we kayaked ashore and managed to land in the surf without too much trouble...then we dragged the kayak to the lagoon entrance and had a glorious time exploring the lagoon, after which we lunched at one of the Palapa restaurants on the beach. YUM! These restaurants don't want you to leave after eating. They hang hammocks inbetween the tables so you can have an afternoon nap. You are encouraged to spend the whole day there if you like. I think it's a wonderful idea.
Hammocks for anyone's use.
Especially the little people...

We also raided a nearby store to stock up on important stuff like limes, a 2ltr coke, some crisps and bread rolls. I'd made a huge pot of soup and the bread would be good to go with it. When it was time to back to Puddytat we were rather nervous facing the surf, with our groceries on the kayak. David dragged the Kayak, I carried the paddles and we walked into the surf...the idea was to get beyond the breakers, without capsizing the kayak and the groceries, climb on and paddle back to Puddytat....well as David walked out and got to about thigh level in the water, a huge wave creasted and broke just ahead of him.. David saw it coming, put his back towards the wave and lifted the kayak's nose clear of the water, the wave grabbed it and pulled, he hung on and then suddenly the wave let go and the kayak shot back towards him the point smacking him in the thigh right next to his groin...ooooeeerrr  @*%*!, he bent over in pain, gradually straightened, looked at me and said that you are a very lucky girl, other than probably a bad bruise, I'm not damaged.

The PLAN was to sail on down the coast to another bay called Papanoa but we had about 9 kts of wind, we thought we'd take advantage of it and carry on down to Acapulco. We never wanted to go to Acapulco, but we needed to see if we could locate some round fiberglass battens for our sails and so we decided to make a quick pit stop there.
Sunrise on the10th Jan 2011
This section of the trip was proving to be boring...really boring..the wind dropped and messed about as usual. I learned how NOT to gybe the spinaker, I wrapped it around the furled Genoa, but thankfully if you're going to do that, then do as I did and get it done in a next to nothing wind and there will be no damage, other than to your self esteem ;-p... David had a wonderful experience just after sunrise ...a pod of Pantropical dolphin came to play with Puddytat. "We were ghosting along at about 1.5 knots under sail, he says, and they arrived and played for at least half an hour, it was gorgeous." Plus he'd been witness to phosphorescent dolphin during the night, man he lucked out.

Two Pantropical dolphin.

08:00...We arrived in Acapulco...IT'S HUGE!!!! A massive city...huge expensive houses and mansions line the coast as you sail in. The whole massive bay is lined with high rises.

Mansions, apartments and hotels.....
Part of the city in the distance.
The waterline is packed...
You can anchor there but if you want to go ashore the dinghy dock will cost you US$35 a day! We stopped and spoke to another couple on their boat, that was anchored out there...There is, across that huge bay, a navy base with a dinghy dock that you can anchor near...that dock costs US$8 a day...both outrageous prices! We didn't stop and when we were a little further away from all the boats we raised the Main again...onwards Puddytat! to Puerto Escondido! As we were motor-sailing out of the bay we saw another Catana Catamaran, we waylaid them and had a chat arranging to meet up with them in Hautalco, where we would all be clearing out of Mexico to sail to Central America. It was 10:00. It had taken us two hours to go into the bay and come out again, that's how large that bay is. BYE Acapulco..

So now we're going on to Puerto Escondido....another "overnighter". I love sailing, but, when you sail for a day or two you get very tired. It's only after the third or the fourth day that your body finally kicks in and catches onto the new routine, then everything improves. Still at least we know what to expect, having done this umpteen times before :-). We take naps whenever we need them during the day, making sure that one of us is always awake of course.
The dough and squeezing them out.
On the stove...
A nice pile...
I forgot to tell you that we ran out of Tortillias so I made a double batch, hoping that David wouldn't go through them too fast...ha ha not a hope...

We ran out of them and so he took a turn and made two loaves of wholewheat bread.
David's bread.....

I got lucky the next day...some more Pantropical Dolphin came to play...the dolphin in the Sea Of Cortes don't play for more than a minute or two...these guys play for hours...they have spots like snow flakes on their backs. The number of spots on their backs depend on two things, their age and where in the world you see them. For example the adult ones here, are really well covered, the smaller juveniles are almost 'unspotted'...in Hawai'i all of them hardly have any spots at all, and from a distance the adults can look as if they too have no spots.
Does anyone know what kind this is?
We are also seeing turtles..lots and lots of turtles..floating in the water suntanning. :-) They are different to turtles we've seen before....does anyone know which kind this one is? In the last half an hour we have sailed past between 20 to thirty of them...a lovely sight.

Trying to swim away..we woke it up.

It's 14:50 ( 10 to 3), we've just put the spinnaker up and our speed has gone from 3 kts to a racing 5 kts ha ha...actually it's not bad in 6.8 kts of wind.... :-P
I made lunch...a kind of chicken stew on rice...and then the wind dropped so we doused the spinny again and packed it away...on went the donk...Just over two hours later we motored into Puerto Escondido...It's incredibly deep here, 150 feet deep and you're almost on the beach...the rollers roll under you and about 40 feet away they start to build and curl and then they crash with a loud roar onto the sand...it's a bit disconcerting...we found a section that was fairly shallow, a kind of shelf 40 - 15ft deep and dropped the anchor.....It's taken us 3 days and two nights to get here from Zihuatanejo...must be the slowest time ever by a Catamaran. It's the 11th Jan 2011..time for a sundowner. Tomorrow we'll go exploring our new back yard.

Sunset, as we arrive in Escondido.
Surprisingly we had a good nights sleep,despite the continuous roar from the pounding surf...we got up at our usual time which is about 08:00..David first and me, well actually I lay in bed a while and read my book, then I get up, make the bed, do some tidying and a spot of cleaning if need be. Every second day I splurge with a lovely hot shower, and If I can't have a swim and a wash on the back step on the alternate days, I have to resort to the flannel wash. Anyway I eventually made it into the saloon and we made plans to hit the town. We dropped the dinghy and rowed to a protected piece of beach, turned the dinghy around so the stern faces the beach and row like mad...the waves pick us up and slides us quite far up and the following waves are cleaved by our pointy bow. We used to do it the other way around and inevitably got swamped as the following waves broke over the flat stern...we learned, by watching the fishermen....
One of the streets in Escondido.
Puddytat at anchor.
Town, is pretty with even cobbled streets, nicely decorated with inviting looking restaurants and interesting shops. No touristy place this...though it's packed with people having fun, 90% of them are Mexicans, this is great! We wander around looking for an restaurant that has wifi so that we can do that at the same time as fill our faces, and enjoy the scenery. After being repeatedly told that 'no, there are no restaurants that have internet, you must use the internet cafe'...I saw a sign saying Danny's restaurant and bar ...in we went and were directed down some stairs that opened up onto a courtyard and then the restaurant/bar, palm trees and the beach.
Cool cool shade at the bar at Danny's.
We asked and were told yes of course we have internet......yippie...and best of all we could sit in this wonderfully cool terrace, eat, drink, surf the net and also be able to see Puddytat bobbing about on her anchor.....needless to say we spent the whole afternoon there it was so pleasant.
Part of the restaurant..where we sat.
Just before we decided to get going, David checked the weather report. It was 18:10....there it was a tehuantepec wind of 50 knots forecast to rush through the gap in the mountains and over the Golfo de Tehuantepec.... We are 90 miles away and in an exposed anchorage. What can we expect? David copies the info and saves it in notepad. We stop at a little tienda, buy some staples and row back to Puddytat.
Once back on Puddyat we secure the dinghy between the davits as is our habit if we are not leaving the boat again, pour a Cuba Libre and sort through the info, using the GPS Chart Plotter to plot where this wind will be occurring. Hmmmmm seems that the forecast is not telling exactly when the wind will hit...just sometime in the next 24hrs. Yes we are a distance away but we can expect up to 40 knots here and 8 ft swells. Personally I'm not happy with being in an exposed anchorage in weather like that. I'd rather be out on the ocean, but it would mean sailing back to Acapulco and we are not too enthralled with that option...so eventually David makes a decision. Thirty five miles closer to this wind is a really well protected harbour called Puerto Angel, if we leave now...20:00...and we sail at 5 kts we can make it there by 01:00. It's not a difficult harbour to go into at night. On goes the engines and up comes the anchor. Now these winds don't give much warning when they arrive they just happen...this is what we've been told. David says that if it had been blowing we would have felt some of it's effects by now and as it is, it's dead calm, so we feel that maybe we have enough time to get to a safe harbour. David checks that our other dinghy 'flea' is tied down securely onto the trampoline and that the kayak is tied tightly too and he comes back into the cockpit. I'm at the wheel... he suggests that we put the main up..I ask 'all of it?' and he says, 'yes, there's no swell, and hardly any wind so lets do it.' Well I must say that I got this horrid tight heavy feeling in my stomach...I'm not happy with putting up a full sail....anyway it gets done..and then the genoa is unfurled and we are trucking along at 5.2 kts with one engine helping...I suggested to David...that we should make sure the ties on the surf board are tight and also put some duct tape on that tear in it's cover...he decided to take it off the bimini and put it in the cockpit...OK so we climb out and start to undo all the ties holding the board down......sure as the sun rises every morning....the bloody wind starts to rise and I don't mean slowly. It goes from a wobbly 5 kts to 18 knots in about 10 seconds and we now have, a surf board that wants to learn how to fly, with only one tie hold it. David goes to get a knife to cut the tie...I yell at him to come back...the wind is up to 25 knots and we are screaming along with all sails set and this bloody surf board flapping about. Together we manage to pull it out of it's remaining tie and manouver it into the cockpit. While I stow it David releases the main sheet spilling wind and slowing us down, then he releases the genoa and my word it makes a racket flagging about fit to tear itself apart. I take over the helm and steer us into the wind slowing us even more as there are no tight sails to catch the wind. David furls the genoa till only a small piece is exposed and drops the main into it's bag, then I turn us downwind and away from the shore...everything calms down...even though we are now getting over 30 knots of wind. When you sail into the wind it always seems much more violent than if you sail with it....I kept Puddytat on an almost downwind track and David climbed up to zip up the lazy bag tucking the main away neat and tidy. Now what to do. We obviously cannot sail down to the next harbour, the wind will be on the nose and even stronger when we get around the bend...yes we were still in rather protected waters when this lot hit us out of nowhere. Whew... so options are...sail downwind to Acapulco....hove to out in the sea and sit it out..but we weren't sure how far we'd be blown and the further out we went the harder the wind would get...or we could go back into Escondido and see what it was like with this wind blowing...We motor back on our outward track into Escondido.
Unbelievably there is hardly any wind. It's chalk and cheese...there is about 5 knots of wind here...It seems that those mountains behind the town are protecting us from the wind..that's why you get whacked once you are a tad offshore and everything seems hunky dory here..hmmmm so David decides we drop the anchor again but further away from the beach this time...if the swell increases we don't want to be as close to shore as we were. We went to bed, wondering if things will change and if we'd be getting any sleep.
Well I slept like a log...and so did David. If we didn't know better, we'd never believe that there was that wind out there. At about 16:00 (4pm) this afternoon David went ashore to take a look at a Super Che that he spotted with the binocs to see if he can get some few cans of stuff and some fresh veg AND to check out the weather. The tehuantepec wind is still raging. It is expected to carry on for at least another 36 hours....While he was in town the swells got up and rocked Puddytat about quite badly..I hoped that it would calm down during the evening and as of 23:30 (11:30pm) this evening, we have a gentle cooling breeze with some rather large gentler swells...but nothing Puddytat can't handle and so we can too....I'm going to bed....

Today I decided it was time that I repaired a tear in the Lazybag. I was just having my breakfast cup of tea, relaxing in the saloon, when I looked out of the door and saw a yacht coming right for us. I lept up blurting 'a yacht'...David glanced up and saw it too. We went out into the cockpit and realised that it was Vida Nova, the folks we'd spoken to in Acapulco...they'd arrived and were pleased to have caught up with us. ;-) We told them about the anchoring conditions here and invited them around for sundowners this evening. Yay, company!
The jacks are the paler lines holding the bag up.
I had to get to work...I set about measuring and working out how much fabric I wanted and how I wanted to do the job. David scrounged a piece of plywood out from the depths of the boat to lay across the bimini top so that I could sit there and do the sewing. It had to be done by hand so it was going to take a while.....actually it took all day and I got a bit burned before I changed into a loose top and plonked a sombrero on my head. At about 3pm we sat down to a delicious roast chicken I'd prepared and cooked whilst working. After the meal I carried on with the repair. By 4pm the job was done.  Now it was David's turn to sort out how he was going to attach the new lazy jacks...the ropes that hold the bag up and also guided the Main into the bag when we drop the sail. I set about tidying the saloon and made a few snacks. By 6:30pm we were ready for our guests. Their dinghy is rolled up and packed away so David rowed across to their boat and collected them. Their names are Veronica and Dinis, A really great couple and we quickly clicked, not surprising really as he is Portuguese/South African/Canadian and she's a South African/Canadian...so we had a huge amount to talk about.

Today I'm being really lazy..other than writing up my blog I'm going to read my book and relax, while David faffs about with ropes designing the new lazy jack system....
Had a lovely day, I can watch someone else working all day and actually get quite tired.. :-D I read my book and finished it, did my blog as promised..and David has finally got one side of the lazy jacks up. He says the other side is all done, he just has to put it up. We're going over to Vida Nova for sundowners...great!

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