Monday, March 19, 2012


By Aaron

We had a light wind sail down from Manzanillo. At one point a couple miles offshore we were stopped by the Mexican Navy. For whatever reason they didn’t try to board us, and after giving them our information such as documentation number, destination, last port, etc. (Nicole shouting in Spanish over the gap between us and the patrol boat) we were on our way. It was professional and courteous. They let us know they were on patrol and to hail them on channel 16 if we needed anything. I’d say about half the boats we’ve met have had a visit by the Mexican Navy. We’ve yet to hear of anyone having a negative experience.

P2270650The placid seas made it easy to spot sea turtles

P2260648 Approaching Zihuatanejo at dawn after a full night of motoring. My watch goes until 2am. I watched a couple stupid movies in between checking the radar and course as we droned on towards our destination.

P3010704 We were running a little low on dinosaur wind and with another two night passage ahead of us we thought we should take on some fuel. There’s no fuel dock in Zihuatanejo, but that’s not a problem. There’s a panga named Zeus that runs around the anchorage offering to supply the cruising boats with fuel, water, beer, whatever you need. They took our laundry and brought it back the next day with some diesel and water.  One of these days I’ll finish the watermaker installation!

P2290698 When we arrive at an anchorage at these latitudes we immediately put up the bimini and a boat shade over the foredeck. It’s over 80 degrees in the shade every day. Perfect for enjoying a cold beer during business hours on a weekday.

P3020707 SV Jace and Panache are making their way to El Salvador with us. We met up with them for drinks at a beach palapa. (Cruising fact: Sand between your toes enhances the flavor of Pacifico.) Ben summed it up by stating, “This does not suck.”

P3030737 The omnipresent and generally friendly stray dogs of Mexico can always count on some pets from Zack and me. This one stopped by the palapa and got the name Massachusetts, since the white spot on his head was shaped like that state. Sort of.

P2280669 There were lots of statues and a very large fish market

P2290695 Fresh fish are brought in daily by a huge fleet of pangas

P2280674 We liked how walkable the town was… many of the streets are closed to traffic and we spend several afternoons lounging on bar patios with a Pacifico soaking up some wifi.

Right off the beach is the town square. There’s something going on there pretty much every day. There’s a basketball court there too. Apparently they take it pretty seriously, and various teams in full uniforms play most nights – till 2am with the announcer calling the game on huge speakers. One night there was a clown competition that we unfortunately missed. One day we visited and there were some kids doing various dances.

P3020711 We had dancing girls doing a well rehearsed sassy dance

P3020712 And the boys did their dances dressed up as old men

With the cruising life you just never know what you’ll be up to some days, and it’s always fun when we stumble upon some fun local event. It happened the next day we went to the square and found a high school science fair going on. They sure know how to do a science fair in Mexico!

P3030755 Zack and Nicole had a blood sample taken. The students were then able to do some chemistry stuff and determine their blood type. Nicole and Zach are both O-positive. I don’t like bleeding so I abstained from the test.

P3030751 I’m sure in the US this booth would have required latex gloves, extensive hazmat training, and some kind of phlebotomy license.

P3030745 I’m not entirely sure what was going on at this table, but it looked extremely dangerous

P3030748 Apparently you can find out how attractive you are by holding your hands on one of these beakers. The change in pressure as the air warms up should raise the fluid to various levels. There were little tags at regular intervals. Zack couldn’t get past “Feo” without the help of a hair dryer.

P3030758 I learned a word here… Fuego means fire! These kids were having a blast with fires, igniting some volatile and highly explosive chemicals. …I think the most exciting thing I saw in high school chemistry was vinegar and baking soda being mixed together.

P3030765 There were lots of tables with all kinds of homemade Mexican dishes. For FREE! The food was made by students and their parents for visitors to eat, and it was all delicious. Mezcal shots? Yep, the kids were giving them away at the science fair.

P3030764 We had a great time. And this picture pretty much sums up what the kids were like.

Keeping the boat stocked up with fresh fruits and vegetables has hardly been a challenge along the Mexican Riviera. The central market in Zihuatanejo is an amazing place to do some provisioning.

P2290692 The market was massive, about 4 city blocks of narrow labyrinth-like passageways leading between stalls with just about anything you can think of. One stall was nothing but blender parts. We stocked up on fruits and vegetables and wondered what some of the meats in various booths could possibly be.

P3020706 The bird’s name is PepĂ©. He wasn’t for sale.

P3020722 Zihuatanejo was definitely a starred location for us!


  1. Thank goodness for WIFI!!!!!!!!! I had almost forgotten what you two looked like. After several days of SNOW it turned to rain and was just plain cold.I would say have fun but looks a little wasteed here.
    Glad to finally hear from you guys was getting tired of re reading your blog. No new pictures(really miss seeing Mexico's sights)makes me kind of out of sorts, if you know what I mean.
    Have fun and be safe
    Love you guys

    1. Hi Dad, sorry to hear about the weather up there :) Can't say I miss it. We've been underway more than usual so sometimes it's hard to get the blog posts up.

  2. I was beginning to wonder if you got put in a Mexican jail which I am sure you wouldn't have liked. I am with your dad with missing pictures.

    Our weather has been in the 80's in Illinois. But enjoy your trip and don't wait sooo long to blog again.

    Be safe, Bonnie

    1. Well don't be surprised if there's a Mexican jail post one of these days :) Hopefully we'll have some more posts soon, but probaby not until we get to El Salvador.

  3. What amazing adventures - and photos to go with them. The science fair was especially entertaining and, er, surprising - our US science fairs now seem especially tame and uneventful!
    Katie and Mark (and Wylie)

  4. Katie and Mark, thanks! Love your blog and we're very excited for you to get underway. You're gonna love it!

  5. Delighted to see you having such a great time -- and a little jealous since we had snow on our lawn in Edmonds a week ago. La Nina.

    Do you remember Erden Eruc? He is over half-way across the Atlantic on his way to another possible Guinness rowing record. Called on his SatPhone for last month's dinner meeting.

    Happy sailing!

  6. Awesome last photo of Nicole! Amazing science fair...Only in Mexico will you get shots of tequila from minors...or at Costco. We went to Costco in PV and they were offering samples of Bud Light. I must say, Chope is much better.
    We're getting lots of turtle sightings now, too (in Melaque). But I can't seem to realize what the little black/greyish bumps are in the water until they're practically past the boat and then I scream down to Dave, "TORTUGA!!" Poor Dave doesn't get much of a look at them due to my slow recognition skillz. Safe travels guys.


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