Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Barra - Santiago bay

Wednesday, 28th of Jan
We have been anchored off the Las Hadas resort for the past few days. Since the last entry we have been relaxing in sheltered anchorages and enjoying our surroundings. Here we have found a spot where we have free WIFI access so I can finally update the blog for the past week.
We departed Tenecatita the following morning and arrived at the entrance to Barra by early afternoon. Although I had the waypoints for the channel leading in to the lagoon we called ahead and were met by Shoot the Moon who guided us in his dinghy. The waypoints proved to be very accurate even though they had been charted 4 years ago.
Inside the lagoon there were approx 30 boats and we were the only Canadian boat for a few days until we were joined by a boat from Vancouver called called Mary Powell. We were in a good company of cruisers who maintained an enjoyable morning net that covered Santiago bay to Tenecatita. Barra hasn’t changed much in the past 2 years since we visited in Royal Exchange. The sands Hotel still caters to the cruiser crowd and it still appears to be run down but the bars are lively and it has free WIFI service. Who could ask for more? The laundry we used then is still operating and a still good deal, the little girl we photographed in 2007 is 2 years older now but still accompanies her mother to the same souvenir shop and the French Baker who delivers to the boats in the lagoon still has outlandish prices on his products but still finds customers among the boats in the lagoon and marina..
While there, the centre of activity was the Grand Bay Marina which hosted a 3-day fishing tournament. Our curiosity kept us there an extra day to see the final weigh –in. The winning fish was a 93.3 kg marlin. But the fish was only part of the attraction. 10 peso beer and the Tecate girls (Tecate was the principle sponsor for the tourney) and it being a focal point to meet other cruisers made it a fun event. The tourney itself was a rich man’s event and at $3000 per entry it was out of reach to the cruiser community.
We did meet some old acquaintances from last year’s passage up the coast, Coastal Passage and Darkside and a few we had met while on Royal Exchange, Dean and Maryanne in Rippling Waters and Bill on Raptor Dance who came out to the boat and gave me some pointers to improve my SSB/Ham performance.
Rosie enjoyed this stop and went nuts when we took her to the manicured lawns of the Grand Bay. She ran around in the soft grass like a whirling dervish for about 10 minutes. We also took her on the kayak to the golf course and along the shore where we found a beautiful plant nursery for the resort.
We weighed anchor and left Barra on Sunday the 25th and powered in light airs down the coast towards Manzanillo. During the 5 hour crossing we had the line out and to our great surprise we hooked a 25-40 lb sail fish that gave us quite a show for the 20 minutes he was on the line. Mercifully, it slipped the hook but we had had our thrill. Our only regret was not getting a decent photo.
We arrived in Santiago Bay in mid-afternoon and bypassed the usual anchorage spot on the north side of the bay for the cove outside Las Hadas. This proved to be a wise decision. Here we are close to public transportation for shopping, we can use the dock facilities of Las Hadas for free and we have free WIFI thanks to some unsuspecting provider and there are a few bars and restaurants along the beach that are very friendly to the cruisers.
There are a dozen other boats here, including a few that have followed us from Barra. We were thrilled to meet up with another Blue Water Cruising boat, Warren Peace (Steve and Linda Warren), who we had met at the farewell event for this year’s departing cruisers in Montague Harbour last summer. With Steve’s help I was able to re-rig my masthead halyard. We had a good morning snorkeling with them just off the 18th hole of the local golf course collecting golf balls and seeing the colorful fish and we topped it all off with supper on board, sharing stories and planning future rendezvous.
We have had to shut down the freezer. It was costing us a fortune in amp-hours. The difference without it is quite remarkable. Looks like we will have to go back to the drawing board on that one.
We will be departing this afternoon for Zihuatanejo, a 2-day run from here. The weather is ideal but the winds may be a bit light for us. No idea what e-mail service will be like when we get there.

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