Captains Corner

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Dos Chiquitas Ride Again!!!

Literally and figuratively!!   The Elysium is finally in good working condition.  Amazing that the simplest solutions are the ones often overlooked.  It seems our problems stemmed from our coils….that spiked our generator, that electrocuted our electrical boards and destroyed our chargers…..the coils that connected to the generator were burned to a crisp.  No one ever looked at them until Jewell heard clicking noises in the Coil Closet.  Please don’t ask what Jewell was doing in the Coil Closet!!!!   We found Sergio, an electrical engineer, in Ixtapa.  He found new coils and all is well.  This problem started almost 5 months ago.


Today we rode our motorcycle for the first time in months.  Everyone told us NOT to ride to Zihuatanejo on the highway….so, guess where we went?  Right you are!!  Zwhat, as it is called, is a throwback to the very early 1900 American/Mexican West.  The streets are full of bars, music, restaurants, and vendor stands.   We stopped at a cute restaurant and had drinks and rested our rears. 

We were about 15 minutes into our return to Ixtapa and Jewell says "Deb I forgot my helmet on the sidewalk".  OH NO... we had to make our way back into the city to try and find it.  We did find our spot and the storekeeper in front of where we parked had taken the helmet in.  When she saw Jewell she said "are you looking for this?" In L.A. it would have disappeared.   

We stayed anchored at an Island called Isle Grande.  We were there for 6 days.  It was paradise.  Clean, beautiful water, with four small beaches on all four sides of the Island, and small Mexican restaurants in abundance.  The Island stays solvent with tourist being brought in by ponga.  At night, the entire Island closes up. Everyone leaves by 6:30 – 7:00.  It is pitch black. We felt like the people in “Lost”.

Sunset and Lucio trying to catch us dinner.

The Tsunami warning came to the Island on the second day we were there.  There were three other boats anchored.  One of the boats got on the radio and called us and told us that it was going to hit around 12 noon and that we should get out of the anchorage.  Trust that we pulled anchor and went out to sea about 6 miles into very deep water.  What we felt were a few 3 to 4 ft. waves.  That’s all..  On our way out, we saw pods of dolphin, in the hundreds, plus, a few whales and lots of turtles.  When we returned to the anchorage at about 2 p.m., the water was receding and rising at a rate of 5 feet every thirty seconds.  This went on for about another hour.  It was amazing to watch.
A sea of dolphins.

I tried to get them jumping.
While at the island we met new friends.  Pamela, Michael and Riley.  For several years Pamela has run her 42' sailboat, with the help of her Cavalier King Charles, Riley.  Her boyfriend joined her for his birthday weekend.  Aggie and Riley played as we celebrated Michael’s birthday.
All of our friends have left Ixtapa/Zwhat for Hualtuco to wait for weather and the trip to El Salvador.  We were forced to stay here and get the boat fixed.  Now, on the 7th, I’m leaving for L.A. and Miami as poor Jewell (right!!) stays here to keep an eye on things.  When I return, we’ll leave for Hualtuco, then to El Salvador, prior to the 15th of May.
Pamela, Michael and Riley arriving for cocktails.

New friends going to the beach to play.

Pamela and Michael

And oh, that damn Crocodile visited us several more times when we were in Marina Ixtapa.  Aggie barks her head off and the Croc keeps waiting for her to slip up and fall off the boat!!! 

Friday, March 4, 2011

New Port of Call Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, Mexico

Those of you reading this blog know us pretty well, so nothing should be a surprise…..  Here goes a description of our latest adventures.

For the first time since being in Mexico, Jewell, Lucio and I made a 24 hour run from Manzanillo to Ixtapa without stopping.  Have any of you ever seen BLACK.   No lights.  No houses on the coast.  BLACK.  No moon.  Loads of stars but considering they are zillions of miles away, they did not light our way. It was BLACK.    

All three of us stayed up all night absolutely horrified we were going to hit something.   We stared at the radar and imagined every blip to be a potential accident waiting to happen.  Nothing happened.  We arrived at daybreak in Ixtapa, found the Marina, which was a miracle in itself since it is pretty well hidden behind rocks, got a slip assignment and fell asleep for 12 hours.  Whew!!  We’re here.
The Elysium


Jewell and I rented bicycles.  I haven’t been on a bicycle in 55 years!!!   Do we go slowly?  One block at a time to explore?  Of course not.  We took an 8 mile ride on the cyclopista, to a place called Playa Linda. 

The new, wonderfully paved  “bicycle” route took us up and down hills and finally to a path marked “JUNGLE”. I’m pretty sure that’s what it MUST have said because there were BIG snakes, sloths, and other animals running around, loose! 

We couldn’t go back.  It was too far.  We needed to proceed.  Needless to say, we got through and arrived in Playa Linda.   I needed to hire a guy with a pickup truck to get us back to Ixtapa.  I KNOW our butts will never be the same.    How do guys do this?  ….  If you know what I mean?
Deb is pointing to sore butt!!!!

Now, the really exciting part.   All over the docks   there are signs “Crocodiles”   “Don’t let your dog loose”. 

Well, they had signs like that in P.V. as well.  But here in Ixtapa they weren’t kidding.  As I was showering from our exhaustive bike ride I heard Jewell screaming my name. 

I grabbed a towel and ran upstairs.  In the back of the boat was a Crock with a head the size of a small VW.  No kidding.  He was humongous.  About 11 or 12 feet long and at least 3 feet wide.  Look at the photos.   

He was actually sniffing the air looking for Aggie.  He stayed at the back of the boat and then proceeded to the bow in the path between the boat and the finger of the dock.  He stayed with us for 20 minutes.  Aggie, being the smart dog she is, never came out of the salon of the boat.  This is how we found her when we came back in:
I swear we did not do this to her!!!!!
That was day one in Ixtapa.  Do you guys really want us to keep writing this?  We’re like Frick and Frack, Ethel and Lucy, Abbott and Costello.  We’re dangerous!!!  Talk to you again soon.  Written by Deborah.


This is what we have done to our gates so Aggie cannot get down to the swim step~!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Next Stop Manzanillo, Mexico

We left Chamela on Thursday the 25th of February without any more so-called events.  It was an 11.5 hour run to Manzanillo, Mexico.  As we approached Manzanillo we literally ran into the Gregory Peck movie “the Birds”.  There were so many birds we thought they were going to fly right through the open windows.  We ran away from the helm screaming.  

You cannot believe how many there were

As we came around the bend into Marina Las Hadas we remembered how beautiful it is here.   There are two bays:   the first one is Santiago Bay and the one outside the marina is called Las Hadas Bay.

The gorgeous hotel Las Hadas was made famous from the move “10”. Remember the famous beach scene with Bo Derek running down the beach  with her blond braids and bikini, with Dudley Moore running after her?  That’s where we anchored.

 As we plotted our departure to Ixtapa, getting fuel was on our to do list.  We were told to go to the other side of the bay (8 miles) to the shipping port for the fuel.  Not knowing just where we were going, some friends said they would go with us.  Once the port captain gave us clearance, we proceeded.  As we entered the port all of the military ships were there as well as the large tankers.

Military - don't know if we should feel safe or scared to death.

See the panga in front to the tanker?

 We arrived at the area were told had a fuel dock.  We figureed these tankers are very large and the fuel dock should at least be visible; right?  Wrong!!  We could not see the fuel dock.  We asked around and someone said it was behind a freighter that was getting fuel.  Wrong.  The freighter was docked there.   HOWEVER there was no fuel.  Evidently we needed to call someone to bring a truck with the fuel.  Then they said we needed to come along side one of the freighters and they would stretch the hose over the other boats until it reached us and we could pump the fuel.   I DON’T THINK SO.  So we went back to Marina Las Hadas to their fuel tank. 

This is the boat they wanted us to sidle up to!!!!!
Here is the deal at this tank.  We have to moor Mediterranean style.  What that means is we begin to back into the dock and drop our anchor and back straight up and toss the lines to the dock guys and they tie us off and we hope the anchor holds and we don’t get too close to the rocks and ruin the boat.

Don't know how well you can see, but these are Med Moored.
Well we managed to get fuel and get back out to our anchorage without incident.  Safely anchored for our last night we went out to dinner with friends who have convinced us we need to go to El Salvador.  With a new stop added to our adventure list, we headed for Ixtapa-Zihuatenjo.  Written by JC.