The cruising adventures of Sid and Manuela

Wednesday, March 04, 2020



After 22 years of cruising and having felt at home in Panama for 7 year, being back in Mexico is an amazing feeling of being home. Didn’t realize we missed Mexico so much and we are just at the southern Border close to Guatemala.

The Chiapas Marina in Puerto Madero is probably one of the calmest marinas we have ever been to since we left Marina Del Rey in 1997. Not a ripple on the water, only maybe 1 mm when we have a breeze. You know how beautiful reflections are in the water and how rare they are. Here it’s a daily occurrence. The marina is a man made hole, feels like being in a small pond that is surrounded by nature. Well at times you hear the military guys shoot their guns or do their chants as the base is neighboring the marina and unfortunately taking away the beach area. The employees at the marina are amazing, super friendly and very helpful.

As wonderful as the marina is, it does lack on the pool that has been promised for 9 years. Word is out that the owners finally gave the ok to build it, hmmmm, when??? When they say now and not mañana! Not going to be here when that happens but it definitely would be a nice addition. 
There is no laundry machine either but one of the worker’s wife, Roni, does a good job at a very fair price and you get the laundry back within 24 hours. The probably biggest drawback is there is nowhere for us to go to do Internet, wifi does not work on docks and when the office is closed there is a bench in front of the office which is ant infested and you will get eaten up by mosquitoes at dusk and dawn, to that a story later. But the new pool will have a palapa area, swim up bar, wifi and bathrooms, so that will be the perfect marina then. 
Although there is no marine store in Tapachula which is the next biggest city 30 miles away, but a Home Depot, Walmart and Sam’s club is there at your convenience. 
The yard is asphalt and seems a good place to leave the boat or do repairs. 

Tapachula has its own charm and a collective Bus for 25 (roughly 1.35 US) pesos will take you to town. At times the bus is very full depending what day of the week and what time of the day. We always took the Collective to Tapachula but with all the stuff we buy, it was worth paying the 250 pesos (13.50 US) for a taxi ride back. If you take the bus back offer an extra 5 pesos and the driver gladly will drive you into the marina. 
I befriended Nayo Taxi with a nice, clean and AC car Ph: 962 1588 359, Spanish only or ask Rolf to make arrangements with Nayo.

Wifi story: for Xmas I was a bit behind with sending my Xmas messages out, 800 of them. Well it was already 8pm the mosquitoes threatened to eat me alive and so I decided to hide in the bathrooms as there is no power plug anywhere other than 1 single one by the bathroom sink. So I hooked it up and placed my computer on the weird counter top that is slanted downhill to the wall. After 30 minutes of bending over and typing I got tired so I sat on the massive sink, which surprisingly was very comfortable. I leaned onto the mirror and continued my work. Sid came to check on me around 10 pm and laughed when he saw me sitting there. Told him I had maybe 30 minutes left. About 5 minutes later he came back with a yummy rum and coke and we exchanged a few word when a loud crash behind me interrupted us. OH NO WAY, the mirror broke. Then we realized the mirror was not on the wall it was 1 ½ inches off the wall, who on earth would mount a mirror that far from the wall?!!!! Sid brought me a new rum and coke without glass pieces in it. 
Well I broke it and I fessed up the next day. Rolf was laughing but said, Memo will charge you for it. Well, Memo wasn’t there for the holidays and so about 2 weeks later I finally got to talk to him. He was very understanding about yes we have nowhere to go and who the heck would put a mirror that far off the wall. But when I told him look at the mirror how old it is. 
Later in the office he called the owners and explained so my bill was ½ of the mirror and they would not charge for the work since it is old. I was sweating bullets to hear the price as it is a huge mirror and sigh when I heard it was only 3500 about 180 dollars, I ended up paying 1500 about 75 bucks. Needless to say I never sat up there again. So far as I know the mirror is still broken.

We were supposed to spend New Years with Arturo the tour guide that drove us to the border for the Temporary Import Permit. But I wasn’t up to it with not feeling 100%, was still having issues with my bladder infection, comes out he was very busy as well. A couple days before New Year’s Eve Rolf at the marina invited Way She Goes and us to join him, his daughter and his mom at her house. Since I felt a bit better, we decided since we probably would not find a taxi to get back to the marina to spend the night in a hotel. What a fun New Year’s Eve that was, Rolf’s daughter is 5 and the cutest thing there is. His mom Zulema is a pistol and so much fun. We had a wonderful dinner a special Mexican New Year’s meatloaf type dish and I brought a Hungarian goulash with Spätzle. 


Zulema want's to learn to play the guitar so I played a little showing her a few things, we had fun. For midnight we headed up to the 3rd floor’s patio and got ready for the New Year. OMG 1 minute before midnight the sky 360 around us exploded into a massive unorganized fireworks show that lasted at least 30 minutes. We did not know where to look, never seen anything like it. What fun.

On January second we did a local tour with Arturo and his buddy Roberto. He took us to the local Artisan Chocolate Maker, she is well in her 70s and was discovered by several world known chefs and was invited to France for an Artisan Chocolate Fair and she won an award, since then she has been invited to many more of these events and is now very famous in Mexico. Her next invite is to China, good for her (hope after the Corona Virus). The sad part is neither of her kids are interested in keeping her business going so she said she will take her recipes into her grave. 
We were taught how they make their own tortillas and showed us the roasting of the cocoa. We didn’t expect to have breakfast at her place, after I helped here with the cocoa roasting and grinding we were seated at a table, where she joined us and her assistant brought us tortillas with cheese and one of the best tasting tamales I have ever had. But the best was her hot chocolate. We learned that the right way to make hot chocolate is not with milk, milk ruins the value of the chocolate, she makes a sugar with peanut butter to sweeten the chocolate but uses just hot water. Wow the flavor is amazing and no milk is necessary. Of course I bought some of her chocolate and a nice local dress. This was nice experience and would visit her again and again.

From here we went to see the local market close by, one fruit I bought I was told was wonderful, they called it Melocoton, which is peach, this did not even look close to a peach. (we didn't like it but the dock guys were very happy to have it).


 From here we went to the first and oldest Mayan Ruins in Mexico "Izapa". We learned that the Mayans were nomads but when they found this oasis full of fruits they never left, as usually they eat all the fruits then when the season is over they head on, this place had so many different fruit trees that grew all year round they never emptied and so they settled here. We haven’t seen any other sites yet like Palanque or Tchizinizza but we were told these differ and the Izapa is the most ancient.

Sun Clock

From here a 2 hour drive into the mountains took as near the Taca Volcano that towers 4000 meter over the ocean, in a beautiful and even though dry season still very green tropical jungle, to the Argovia Coffee Plantation. This was actually were I had planned to spend New Year’s Eve but there was no rental car available. Beautiful estate started by a Swiss Family then sold to a German guy. Since the coffee business got too competitive it was not bringing in much profit anymore so the Swiss family turned it into a resort. Beautiful place and we learned a few more things about coffee and of course loaded up on some. I regret not having bought more as it is one of the best coffees ever.

All the machinery is from begin 1900

On the way back we stopped in Tapachula at El MetoT a Taco place. OMG an endless choice of Tacos and they load the table up with 13 different salsas from mild to hot and the margaritas are not bad either. 

Shrim with Chicharon

Arturo and Roberto, 2 great guys

A couple weeks later I hired Arturo to take us shopping, guess where we ate lunch again. That was a fun day. We finally bought our replacement Plexiglas for the companion way. 
We added the bamboo

We didn’t know that Arturo was teaching English at the University, but he had it planned out well, he asked us during out shopping trip if we would mind joining him during the 2 morning classes so the kids could intervene with people that speak the right English. That was really fun and comes out the first class that their first day so everything was in Spanish but we did have to introduce ourselves in English. Then the kids had many, many questions for us, like what our favorite taco was, or if we ever are afraid and think of dying when we are in a storm, and what our best and worst story is. Plus they had a lot of Police questions for Sid. It was fun and 3 of the girls they wanted to hug us at the end. The second class was at its second term but they don’t speak English yet so it was a good Spanish experience for me LOL. 

Arturo also took me to his music store to check the input of my guitar as it doesn’t work, or we though it didn’t comes out it was just operator error on our part, but I ended up walking out of there with a Flight Pineapple Ukulele. I think we are getting closer to a trailer yet, 3 guitars, a Uke, at least 40 harmonicas plus flutes.

The marina has been a great place for us to catch up on some needed projects. For 2 years we had a big roll of naugahide on board, but replace the headliners was postpone and postpone. This marina had a perfect area to work on it and so we finally did it. It was fun work and only took 3 days and Paradise looks like new on the inside, if you don’t look too close on the slightly stained cushions, which are on the do list for later. Had a little of an exciting day on day 2. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a shadow crawling by my foot and when I looked down there was this 2 inch brown spider with a head of about ¾ inches, yikes. Well since we had to still work at the table I tried to get it back to where it came from with the yard stick. Holy smokes was it aggressive, it attacked the yard stick!!! Can’t have this aggression around our feet so I smacked it good with the yard stick. Sid was watching me and OMG at least 1 hundred tiny, tiny mite size baby spider exploded from under her and dispersed into all directions, we did a few step dance steps and they were gone, yuck. 
The project was definitely enjoyable but I have to add the old headliner had a foam backing which in the tropical environment totally dissolved. We were very careful to take the pieces out without leaving a mess and did a good job, until the very last 2 pieces in the V-Berth, yikes what a mess. But sure looks good all done new.

Before, the mildew that builds up in tropics is aweful

The tropical humidity is really horrible on everything

Right before and left after

much better now

Forgot to take before picture the headliner was hanging down. We moved the lights to where they are now to help he sagging
Have I mentioned the Mosquitoes, yet. We can never tell when they show up but just after the sun goes down, with or without breeze, there are nights without them one never knows. But since there is a Dengue outbreak here we do use bug spray. One night I woke up to a buzzing close by my ear then the buzzing inside my ear. It sounded like a fly went into my ear. Yikes, it kept buzzing I jumped out of bed and shook my head like when I have water in my ear to get it out. I wanted that fly out, was worried it would lay eggs in my ear then little flies coming out of there, don’t laugh it’s not funny, we both had botfly larva under our skin, in the tropics I think anything is possible. It did not want to come out so I googled how to remove a fly from the ear. Guess what ,it really happens there were a few suggestions, I chose the oil in the ear, olive oil at that LOL. Now it was hard to get the olive oil out, but no fly bathing in it. I did not want to use a QTip to shove the fly further in so I rinsed my ear out with water. That didn’t work, well at least it was no buzzing anymore so I figured it was safe to go back to sleep and take care of it the next morning. Sid guessed it was a mosquito, I told him that was too loud to be one, I was sure it is a fly. He looked into my ear and saw something entangled in the hair in the ear and we both decided probably best for a professional to remove it. The doctor looked into my ear and said: Oh it’s a tiny, tiny mosquito, no need to take it out, it’ll dry out and will come out eventually!!!! I had a funny ear for a few days then I guess it dried out!!! I laughed when the marina guys told me to next time just shine a flashlight into the ear, the mosquito or fly will find it's way out, really LOL!!!!

One of our other projects was to fix the rip in the Sunshade that happened when we put our Xmas deco up. We took it up to the grass area and careful not to rip it any further and Sid dissembled it. The following day I fixed  it and when Sid looked for the bridal and lines he swore he had tossed on deck. They were nowhere to be found. So I asked the gardener if by chance he found the lines, as he had watched Sid taking it apart. He told me no. OK no worries and so I went to the office and asked, if anybody brought some lines in, no was the answer, but they would ask the employees. 2 hours later the gardener came by the boat letting me know our lines are at his house and he will bring them back the following day, which he did but only the bridal the lines and clips he did not. So I asked him, showing him one so he knows what we were missing, and he said that he had 2, told him there must be 4. Twenty minutes later we got them back. Lucky on that as we had no spare on the bridal. Sid had given the guy a few things we dumped, like an old backpack, some backing dishes, tools etc, so I guess he thought when Sid forgot it up there it was for him.

I finally finished the new slip covers for our cockpit cushion, which I was going to finish in Contadora, but realized I did not have the cushions with me LOL. I also made a matching foldable bread basket and napkins:

We had invited Rolf, his mom Zulema and his daugher Sara for a Sunday afternoon and dinner. What a fun visit that was and OMG Sara is the cutest thing. Sid showed her the spoon hanging:

Way She Goes found a good weather window and decided to leave. Naval and the sniffing dog were at their boat to check them out, when the port captain came and was almost done with the paperwork he told them they can’t leave the port is closed the Tehuantepec was blowing hard. It was almost 5 o’clock and for sure it’s 5 o’clock somewhere and it turned into a fun impromptu happy hour with dinner on Way She Goes. Although the port was still closed the following day Wayne convinced the marina office that he knows the weather is good for him to leave, he had to sign a paper that he understood the weather and to clear the marina, a few minutes later the officials showed up again and cleared him to transit the Pecker. We were worried for 2 days as the window had closed in but luckily they made it across before it blew again.

We are next we are aiting for a good window but with our speed we need at least a 3 days break.
Ironic I was thinking about when we left Huatulco for El Salvador in 2000 our last evening we had dinner ashore and shared a fried fish, result we had Montezuma’s revenge for 3 days underway to El Salvador. With this in mind I vowed not to eat anything out but our own meal the night before our departure. As we were enjoying dinner, my neighbor Debbie came over and brought me some shrimp ceviche she just had bought for their dinner at the restaurant, reason too spicy for them. I ate 4 and Sid one, they were yummy, but I noticed they were not marinated long enough. What do you know, I got diapoopoos. So we canceled the check out at 8 am to see how I felt later. Luckily it was short lived and at 11:30 the Military arrived with the dog to sniff out any drugs or guns., then we were checked out with a national zarpe by customs and left for Huatulco at noon. 

Even with all the repairs, delays, sickness it was a very nice stop. Tapachula is a much laid back city. Again we are leaving some wonderful friends behind we made here. Rolf the marina manager and his wonderful mom Zulema, and fun Arturo and Roberto. Any cruisers stopping in Chiapas Marina I highly recommend Arturo and Roberto’s tours, tell him to bring the Ukulele LOL. Rolf will organize it for you.

About the drug dog I have to add, pretty much every cruiser by now knows that it is a big no-no to bring weapons into Mexico. A couple days before we left a new boat came in. They passed all check in and the last inspection (we didn’t get that one) was agriculture so when asked if they had any fruits, veggies etc the owner said yes and showed them the fruits then put a gun on the table and said: and I need to declare this. All hell broke loose. They were going to arrest them right there and then and confiscate the boat, not even talking what would have happened to their dog. This owner is very lucky, due to someone very powerful in Tapachula connected with the marina saved them a lot of hardship. They were ordered to leave get read of the gun then come back and they will treat it as they had never been here, but shall they return with the gun they will go to jail and loose the boat. So they did get read of it. OK folks don’t bring in any weapons.

We couldn’t have a better window, it was beautiful out there. We had 8 knots of wind although we found a slight current against us slowing us down to 4.1 to 4.5 knots but as long as we go 4 plus we are happy. The sea was very comfortable. The entire trip was pretty uneventful except when the biggest dolphins I have ever seen joined us. Best pictures I ever took of them.

At night occasional dolphins played with the bow wake and the trip was easy. 2 days and 1 hour later with 250 miles behind us we dropped anchor.

Amazing after 20 years to see the Huatulco Coast line. There were a few houses in Santa Cruz, where the port captain is. Then in 2000 it had 2 hotels, 3 restaurants and a dive shop, now it’s a huge city plus has a pier for cruise ships. The 2 bays east of it there was no known anchorage, no civilization either, now overbuilt with big hotels and resorts. 

We spent 1 night in front of the ex Club Med now Las Brisas Resort in the Tangola Tangola Bay. In 2000 it was not a known anchorage yet. Pretty anchorage with a little roll. We truly lucked out with the Tehuantepec wind and pretty much the day we anchored we received 20 plus knots from the West, good timing on our part.

As the Tehuantepec was going to blow again in a few days we decided to go to El Indio and Maguay where we had departed Huatulco in 2000. Funny we can’t find El Indio on the charts just Maguay and the bay next to was then called El Indio is now Organo. It hit me, I remembered it was called el Indio for the sleeping Indian carved by nature into the shore rocks. And sure enough there he still was, it’s quit something. We anchored in Organo for 2 days and enjoyed not having any signal from the cell towers. The following morning we loaded our jerrycans in the dinghy and drove the 2 miles to Santa Crux we then called Huatulco. There was nowhere to tie the dinghy up so Sid dropped me off at the many tourist boat docks and I took a cab to and from the gas station and was back within 20 minutes, piece of cake, but oh man this place is not that little tiny Mexicon Pueblo anymore it’s a full blown big city. 
In the afternoon we ventured to the sleeping Indian for some photos
Santa Cruz Huatulco

The sleeping Indian, isn't it amazing

and to see the 2 palapa restaurants that we noticed in Maguay. As we drove further around the corner to the then very beautiful and lonely beach there was 3, 4, 5 plus many more palapa restaurants along the whole beach. Wow, it was a busy beach, shocker.

In the 2 months in Chiapas studying the Pecker weather I noticed that if a strong Pecker blew there was not much wind heading along the coast towards Acapulco but as soon as the Pecker dies, up to 25 knots of wind get funneled down, which would make it a rough trip into the wind, so as the Pecker started blowing the following day we lifted anchor and headed 18 miles toward Puerto Angel. In 2000 we just spent the night as we did not want to check in and out with the port captain so this time we were going to see it. Weellllll…. We had such a great trip an weather couldn’t have been better we decided to keep on going straight to Zihuantanejo 344 miles and the weather was promising till then. If weather should chance we’d stop in Acapulco. Funny Janet wrote on Whatsapp that we will miss Super Bowl. Holy S*^#t we totally forgot about that!! So we decided to sail to Acapulco and stop after all just for Super Bowl, but this plan was written in sand as well and at very low tide. Amazing the difference from 2000 and now, then we didn’t even get weather, now you can look it up on your cell, even called the restaurant with Buffalo wings in Acapulco if they had SB on, plus made reservations in the marina, how kewl is that! 
This is what the Tehuantepec looks like in a good blow, we went from the right star to the left bout 220 miles, along the coast (blue line) just for precaution in case the Pecker starts to blow. Very dangerous. We had a perfect window with not wind

At about 10 pm at night we had passed Puerto Escondido by about 6 miles when I smelled some kind of chemical, brought it up to Sid’s attention, he didn’t smell anything, so I raced down below and low and behold there was steam coming out of the engine compartment. We shut the motor off ASAP and I sat at the helm steering Paradise in the 5 knots of wind we had and Sid went to work on the engine.

I had a heck of a time steering the boat, we would back wind the sails and the boat would totally do a 180 so it took a while to get her back in the right direction and again, not to mention we had a current against us that was stronger than the wind so by the 2 hours Sid tried to fix the motor he said can’t do we have to either head back to Angel or stop in Escondido. I started questioning my sailing ability as I was doing one pirouette after another, but then when Sid took over and same thing happened I looked at the currents on windy we realized 5 knots of winds were no match for the 1.6 to 1.9 knots of current, in all our sailing we never had anything this frustrating happening not being able to control the direction we wanted to go. The alarming thing was the current gets stronger towards the Tehuantepec and will sweep you right out in to the path of the Pecker winds and adios direction Hawaii. 

This current is no joke,  ompaire the two photos and see how far into the Tehuantepec it will take you. With a broken motor and no wind no match. Now picture the wind starting to blow and the unthinkable will happen, you can get blown off shore for 800 miles easily, very rough and dangerouse. We cruisers highly respect this area.

Seeing this Sid opted to do the Golfito thing again, it was midnight at the time, we lowered the dinghy and since the boat was bobbing bow up then stern down with the davits coming dangerously close to anybody that was underneath it, meaning where Sid was going to tie the dinghy to push us. So he hip tied and for 4 hours pushed us 8 miles to Puerto Escondido, yep the current had swept us south that far already. We arrived 2 hours before dawn and knew the anchoring here was problematic. All we could here was roaring thunder from the breaking shore breaks in front of us and to starboard side. He had pushed us into 50 feet when I could see through a curling wave in front of us, we decided to stop right there and then and drift around for 2 hours until daylight. Good thing cause were we landed we were just at the surf beach that Puerto Escondido is famous for. 
Believe it or not it was freezing cold, since we had to wait 2 hours for daylight I made us a hot toddy that warmed us up and kept us awake till the sun came up.

We anchored here in 2000 in 70 feet as all the shallower water was taken by all the fishing boats. Nothing has changed, but there is an anchorage that was unknown yet in 2000, although it looked very intimidating as it is side by side with the super surf rollers thundering ashore. So while Sid pushed us through the anchorage the only area with depths less than 100 feet was very close to the shore at least the breakers were minimal here compared to the giant surf further out. We dropped the anchor close to the beach in 70 feet and hoped we had no onshore wind coming. We didn't but we had quit a few rip currents whoosh by. 

By the way according to the internet Pt. Escondido is number #4 in the world best place for surfing.

Actually it wasn’t a bad stop, Puerto Escondido is a quaint, beautiful surfer town but we were anchored very close to one moored fishing boat in particular. But seemed like we were doing fine. As tired as we were, none of us got some sleep last night, Sid went to work on the engine to see what we needed. Inspecting the motor he noticed one screw started coming out. The coupling on the top of engine that holds the alternator and is also attached to the thermostat housing the part that circulates the coolant broke. It also holds the thermostat housing. Bolt to alternator broke and thermostat housing blew it’s gasket. Luckily I smelled the chemical and engine did not overheat. Here we are again in an exotic place fixing our boat. But good thing Sid was not going to miss his Super Bowl, he hasn’t missed one yet since the first one. Pretty sure they have the game on somewhere. Found somewhere on the Internet as well.

We napped for a while then went ashore, checking in with the port captain which was a breeze, he just took copies of our papers stamped them and told us just to call on the radio when we leave. 

Finding the parts was amazingly fast and easy, we went to the Tornio House, translated House of the Screws or Screw House, they had all Sid needed, bolt plus tap, cobalt drill to drill the broken one out plus at Auto Zone loaded up on Coolant and oil and went back to Paradise for some well-deserved coffee and breakfast.

Second day Sid was busy, very busy fixing the motor. Took him a long time to get the broken bolt out that caused the thermostat housing to blow water. The thermostat housing is also a bracket to hold the alternator and the nut that held the alternator to the bracket came off and caused the stress that broke the bolt. So taking everything apart he drilled for an ezeeout but it wouldn’t work so he took the dremmel tool with a mini Carbide router, to round out the hole proper and to tap new threads (also found at SH). Everything went together perfect except there was prior an aluminum thermostat housing bolted to steel block which caused corrosion so he had to sand down the aluminum to make sure steel block was clean and they had a paper thin gasket from manufacturer and when he put it together it leaked. So Mr. Gasket makes a compound to make gaskets, he left the gasket in and put compound at both sides, tightened it down till almost tight, let it dry overnight then finished tightening up, NO LEAKS. The airbox silencer has been broken for last 5 years and Gorilla tape worked great but too much heat did the Gorilla tape in, so he decided to rebuild it till we can order a new one. He says rebuilding it is more fun than spending the 136 bucks for a new one. 
To regular motor maintenance: opened the end cap of heat exchanger and out popped the blade from the raw water pump. Radiator cap needed to be replaced. Replaced all 3 gaskets of them.  So 14 hours sweat dripping repair and maintenance he surely deserved watching super bowl….. right after he does the oil change LOL.  That was easy, remove the old filter, replace with new, remove old oil, refill motor with new oil, start motor. Well what happened didn’t happen that way. When the motor started there was a very fine spray of oil that went across the cabin and got everything it could. Looking at afterwords, found a rusted pin hole in the filter. 

Cleaned that up. New filter and another quart of oil. That was all he could take. I treated him with a gourmet meal too, realizing if I hired him it would have cost me 65 bucks per hour. Oh also threw in 2 Cuba Libres with ice. I think I will keep him around a bit longer. Sid is still my Hero!!!

We are the only sailboat and cruising boat out there

Yes we got a little close

Kinda interesting the following morning Sid watched a gathering of people on the beach so we both started looking at what they were looking at. I be damn the beach started to break off and fall into the sea, the waves were not very strong just sweeping in and out. The about 10 foot gap got bigger and wider and within an hour it was like a soccer field wide and kept on growing. We had to head ashore and catch the super bowl so we could not watch it but when we came back OMG it quadrupled in side and before we knew it the whole beach was cut back by a lot. A local fisherman warned us that this happens all the time but to make sure our anchor is not buried in it. It happens a lot too, so when we finally pulled up anchor we were a bit worried. 

Anyway, off to Super Bowl we went. The place was right on the beach and filled up with mostly Canadians, we were the only Americans and all rooted for 49ers while Sid rooted for the Chiefs.  Made it very interesting LOL. Got kinda into a Political discussion with my Canadian neighbor so I did ask him if Trudeau was really as bad as the media claims. He said no not at all but the other half of the country does think he is. He explained the all the East Coasters like him as every illegal alien should have the right to come in and settle and share their wealth, while British Colombia does not agree and want it controlled. I snickered kinda like what we have in the States, socialism really seems to be on the rise. Scary!!!

Anyway we had a wonderful time and Sid was happy to watch a good game. Got back in the dark to the boat and since motor was fixed we got up early lifted anchor and were on our way to Zihuatanejo. Sid noticed the empty blue water jug, they only one not covered up was missing  from out boat while we were ashore. F#@*g thieves, guess we are back in MX.

I saw it as a good omen when within 30 minutes we saw dozens of rays jumping out of the water it looked like popping popcorn. At the same time dolphins enjoyed the bow wake and whales spouted in the near distance and lots of turtles. We were motor sailing with 6.4 knots which later slowed down to 5.3 knots. But of course night time settled in and so did the wind, it became ugly, wind was on the nose we were doing 2.6 knots and waves on the bow to put us on dead stop, it was like the Caribbean 2 step, 2 forward and 1 back, this was going to be a long night. But according to windy wind will calm down at 22:00, so we just pounded away till then. Waves were not even big just short and choppy.

Funny it took us 4 ½ years to get from CA to NC and after we had arrived Sid said: If I had known the wind was always on the nose I would have bought a powerboat. Well here we are again LOL.
The wind eventually did calm down and the sea flattened a bit after 22:00. Then suddenly it got really loud in the cockpit. Only took a split second to realize the noise was from the exhaust not getting any water running through and turned engine off. What now!!!!! Poor Sid had his hands full again. First he suspected the new water pump he just replaced. Needed to let engine cool before he could work on the problem. He noticed though the shaft just barely touching the coupler which now has been chewed up and he was not sure if it was fixable, oh dear. As the engine had cooled he did another sweat dripping 3 hours work on the engine. Then he called: Start the motor! Yeah he did it again saving our day. Sid never throws anything away and so he found an old one, although had to modify it. Hopefully that’s all the drama here for this trip, don’t need that much excitement in our lives. The Gremlins definitely are grounded!!! Sometimes I wonder why we still are out here doing this, but each time arriving in a beautiful anchorage it’s all forgotten quickly. Sid wants to know if it is illegal to kill a Gremlin or Murphy? My question is: why does shit happen only at night?!!!!

Yeah why does it only happen at night, well motor ran beautifully for 24 hours and decided to give up again at 1 am ironically the time it was fixed the night before. This time beyond repair. Dolphins were with us again and stayed for 2 hours. They were wallowing up the water under the boat and whatever they did seemed to work, the wind started picking up and we were able to pull all sails out and had a calm relaxing 3.5 knot sail towards Acapulco.
In mean time Sid had hooked up the wash down pump to motor so we can motor to the marina once there, he is so creative. Never a dull moment in and on Paradise. Sure looks like we will be in Acapulco for a while as we have to order parts. 

How lucky can we be, just 1 mile outside of the Acapulco Entrance when the wind totally died down, we had 4 miles to go and were hoping the wash down pump would do the trick. It sure did but not for long, the pump overheated rather quickly so plan B, dinghy tide to the hip and Sid pushing us to the marina. 

Acapulco looked the same as in my memory, maybe a few more houses built up the hill and definitely around the marina a lot more buildings plus a cruise ship terminal. We got an end tie so was easy to park Paradise with the dinghy. Relax time!!!

The view at night is spectacular

Cruise ship
After settling in I ventured across the street from the marina to the Superama Supermarket. OMG it was like Xmas, what a great store, put Riba Smith in the corner. We had fresh stuffed artichoke for dinner, grandma style and Hawaiian Tuna Poki yum. Two days later we had a repeat on the Artichokes and guess what a week later again LOL. By the time we left with had them 4 times.
My Italian Grandma's recipe, stuffed with garlich, parsley, parmesan cheese and bread crumbs, so yummy!!!
Poki and stuffed Banana Peppers

You know what the irony is here, a year ago we limped into Golfito on Valentine’s Day, this time 5 days before Valentine’s Day.

It took Sid a day to figure out what we needed and ordered all the parts. Westerbeeke’s arrived 5 days later and Defender held off as 1 part was not there yet, it was considerate of them to hold off till all was there as customs here charges a hefty fee just to process it not to mention the tax on top. Their fee was 150 dollar just for the processing so 2 week later we had the Defender parts, by the way super, super customer service. 

We also ordered our mail as our documentation papers expire on the 29th and the new one was in the mail. It was sent of via USPS on the 12 stating to arrive on the 18th, it was released in Mexico City on the 21st and well today as I am writing this is the 25th and it still hasn’t moved out of there. Sure hope we are not waiting for 2 ½ months like other cruisers here did.

The one thing Sid could not figure out was why the water pump did what it did chewing up the coupler. The tech at WESTERBEAKE told him there is no way the shaft and coupler are made the same even though it’s a newer model pump Sid installed. So when Sid went into the motor and took the housing apart he realized what he had done over the last OMG how many years? 30?!! Whenever he did major maintenance on the motor he would paint it all pretty again then the last 3 times he changed the water pump he did not see the gaskets as they were painted in a pretty red and it felt like part of the motor. When he took it apart this time, he realized the paint was covering 3 gaskets and now with the 4th no wonder the shaft did not fit all the way in. Including the Tech we got a good laugh and blamed it on being Polish, but he is a damn good mechanic I have to tell ya.

 Had a stupid Frigat bird land on our wincex on our first night here and broke it. It landed on our deck. 200 bucks in replacing it not to mentions Sid having to get up the mast. We have been successfully keeping them away by shooting them in the butt with some BBs. They are messy

After we received the second package with the major part and found a machine shop to take the bearings off and 2 hours later when we came back he said the bearings are bad you need new ones. Our hearts dropped, no way, it’ll take another good week to order those. We were relieved to find out a store was just around the corner who sold them. Get this, it cost us 22 dollars for both verses 200 bucks each had we ordered in the States. Sometimes the black cloud over us lets some good luck in. Sid refused to believe the bearings were bad as they worked fine when we brought the part in. So he soaked them in a solution and cleaned them and there is nothing wrong with them, good we have spares now if we ever need them.
We did have to chase down glow plugs and you can’t imagine we had this taxi driver he would not give up he said we will find it. He drove us from place to place we got to see entire Acapulco plus the hills and finally the 8th stop up the hill there was an tall iron gate and inside the mechanic was working on a commercial truck. Sure enough he had the glow plug, well it was almost the same and putting 3 washers on it made it work. The price was right too, would have cost an arm and a leg to order it in the States. The taxi driver beaming of pride that he could help us find it was priceless.

Of course while in Acapulco we did some tourist stuff, including non tourist stuff such as Sam’s club but I tell you the store right by the marina tops it all. And we did go see the cliff divers again, had a wonderful dinner with a colorful sunset then the cliff divers.

Acapulco is a fun place and beautiful city although at night you do hear gun battles, there was just one a night ago, 2 different guns fired, across the bay on the beach, then about 30 minutes later sirens. I read up on crime in Acapulco Mexico, holly cow Acapulco is number 2 in most dangerous City in Mexico and also up the list in the world. Cabo San Lucas tops Acapulco and is the world’s most dangerous city. La Paz is number 3 in Mexico. Although this crime is between gangs and cartels and does not affect tourism, expect of course  if you are at the wrong place at the wrong time.

The marina is pretty nice, the view for sure is spectacular and the marina now has concrete floating docks not the wooden docks they had back in 2000 and double the capacity of slips. The pool is spectacular but unfortunately it’s off limits on weekends and we have to ask permission every day with Louise if we can use it, feels like begging. The bathrooms are not open until 9 in the morning and close at 6 so if you don’t take a shower before that you are out of luck or showering on the dock or in your boat. Cold water only in freezing AC temperature BRRRR. 

Fun dinghy ride around to the cliff divrs

This property has it's own lagoon

Look at their sunset lookout sticking out of the rocks with glass botom

Filming a soarp opera right behind out boat. Translet the soap is called Married with Children

Of course Debbie and Bob of Inka Rose caught up with us an out of all Carl and Cynthia on Neshuma, they were at least 8 months behind us and yet here they are and looks like they are heading out before we are. The day they arrived I was sick with the flue, heard everybody in Zihuatanejo was sick, same in PV and Neshuma’s son Dillan arrived with a high fever, no it’s not the Corona Virus but wow so many people sick. Now that I am getting better Sid is getting it, luckily not to the extent I did.
What a great idea an amphitheater for sunsets

Cliff divers jump from this hi up
Hall of fame for the 50/60's Hollywood Stars that made Acapulco famous

The view from the Marina Lighthouse is incredible

A mail update: went to the MX postal office 3 times and they could not help me. An Assistant manager finally gave me his number and said he will contact his boss, call me back at 12:30. I did, but no answer, so since it was a weekend and for surely the post office is not open for the weekend I called him on Monday, still no answer. I did do my homework over the weekend and did find a number to call which was provided on the USPS website. So the friendly girl at the office dialed the number. You will not believe it we waited 55 minutes online for our turn, then a female answered the phone, she took our Tracking number and wanted to know where the delivery was, Acapulco. There was a brief silence then this woman started rattling off for at least 4 minutes, she was talking so fast I could not keep up with her, I just studied Lillie’s face that looked like in shock. Then I heard the lady ask do you have any other questions and Lillie disappointed said no then it was goodbye and hang up. Now she explained it to me, the tracking showed Status was updated to the 27th which was 5 days ago and the mail will be sent out in two or three weeks from now WTF!!!!!!
Having heard that, we are pretty much ready to head out of here so Thursday looks like a favorable weather window to leave. Once the mail gets here maybe the marina can FedEx it to us, definitely not MX postal office or one of us will take the bus or rent a car and come get it.
We thought it was bad in 2000, then at least it only took 3 weeks.

We are pretty upset with our mail forwarding service having talked us into using USPS, never had a problem. Later she wrote well sometimes it takes 3 weeks. Really why did you know tell us that then. Anyway, lesson learned never to send anything via regular mail to third world countries.
At least Acapulco was a nice place to be stuck and we got a lot of projects done. Now finally knowing how much longer I will now not miss Guitar Fest in Zijuatanejo.

Zihuatanejo is 110 miles away so hope we will make it in one uneventful trip.

A very nice neighbor in Chiapas Marina gave us a good size fish

Reys in the marina

Happy Sunday Coffee underway

Light lunch underway

Eventually we made it to Buffalo XTreme

Look at these beautiful peppers, remind me of tulips with the coloring

Love the store across the street, fresh berryies for breakfast

The Acapulco Marina had a catch and release turnament. Yep you read right release!