01 March 2006


  • Zihuatanejo
Wow! March already! Since our last update we’ve travelled almost 200 nautical miles to Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo, otherwise known as ‘Z-what’, ‘Z-town’ or ‘Z-watt’.

We left Manzanilla February 21, around 9am. After a quick tour around the bay we set off down the coast. With our friend Sam already in Z-town waiting for us, we had to put the Sandpiper in high gear. Of course we had no wind. So 42 hours of motoring later, we arrived.

Our original plan was to anchor off Isla Grande, a small serious of rocks just outside Ixtapa, and then pull into Z early morning. We usually plan our trips so as not to pull into anywhere at night, especially in Mexico where the charts haven’t been updated for years, or are nonexistent. With all our motoring we arrived at 11:30pm just outside Isla Grande. This meant we weren’t going to be anchoring until after midnight. There are lots of rocks around Isla Grande, and very few lights, so we opted to just go the extra hour to Z and pull into their nice big harbor.

Tom loves pulling into a foreign port where all buoys flash white, are not on the charts, you have no idea what they mean, what they mark, or even what side to pass on. It was still a little weird pulling in so late and not knowing what to expect in the morning.

Around 6am the fishing boats started heading out for the day, and we were right in their path. So I awoke to the boat a rockin’. After getting the sleep out, coffee, and listening to the morning net, we pulled up anchor and got in closer to the beach. Everyone always seems to anchor so far out. But we prefer being closer to the beach. This makes for a shorter and drier dingy ride.

We met up with Sam at the cruiser friendly bar ‘Rick’s’. Since Sam had already been in Z for a few days, he showed us around town and the local market. We got supplies for dinner, headed back to the Sandpiper, and got ready for a barbeque. The next day we rented mopeds and cruised to the far beaches of Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo. What a blast! Later that night, we met Sam’s friends from California; Sean and Tiffany. We all hung together for the next couple of days, exploring beaches, and the Mexican cuisine.

After cruising around both Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo I have to say this is my favorite coast town. What a great way to remember Mexico. Finally, nice clean blue water that I want to swim in, and even snorkel in. The towns are small enough that makes getting around easy. The markets are great, with lots of cheap veggies, fruit, and fish. There are no time-share people harassing you. And the local people are very friendly and helpful.

My favorite beach so far is Las Gatas. It is only accessible by boat. Once on the beach, you are greeted by a string of palapa restaurants, with lounge chairs, that will serve you all day long. We found the place with the cheapest beer and parked ourselves for a few hours. I don’t think Tom got up from his lounge all afternoon.

We moved the boat from the harbor to Marina Ixtapa on Monday. We washed the boat, dingy, and then finally ourselves. Have I mentioned how hot it is here? 90’ degrees, with around 60% humidity! We haven’t had this kind of heat since August in Indiana.

This marina is a little unusually in that they say small children and dogs should not be left unattended because there is a 15 foot crocodile that will eat them. We still haven’t seen him. But I’m not actively looking either. We are a little out here, but with all the guests, it makes it easier for all. After everyone leaves we’ll anchor out again.

Yesterday, Tuesday, we went to our first puddle jump meeting here. There’s another big group leaving from here, which is nice. We trade/copy cruising guides and itinery ideas. Some folks have already left, with the rest of us leaving anywhere from this Saturday to the end of the month. Tom and I still haven’t figured out an exact date… but somewhere near the week of March 20.

Mom and Shannon come to visit this week, which I’m really looking forward to. After a week with the Sherman girls, Tom is going to need a vacation, or maybe therapy.

Until next time,
First Mate Amy

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