Thursday, February 26, 2009

Back to Las hadas and Santiago Bay.

Sunday, 22 Feb 2009: 1400
We are at anchor in Santiago Bay, an open anchorage in a wide bay, on the west side of Manzanillo Bay. We are protected from the predominant SW swell but some of it makes its way around the point to give a slight. The land and sea breezes are quite refreshing and the lull between the two, between 9 and noon is an ideal time to go snorkelling.
After arriving at the anchorage of Las Hadas we settled down to a few days of projects and relaxation. J-G had been wanting to use the gas powered hookah system that we got with the boat but had never had time to try out. After 3 months in this warm water is time to do a bottom cleaning and the hookah is be an ideal tool. We have no idea when it was last used and, naturally, it would not start. It took J-G 2 days of fiddling with but finally, after soaking and cleaning the carburetor, he managed to get it going and it now runs like a top. Another project that was accomplished was the soldering of the ground plane copper straps that he had run last week. Hopefully that will improve our SSB/HF capability.
We also had to get some fuel aboard. Las Hadas has a fuel dock but all boats are required to med-moor into the dock. That decided us to get our fuel by dinghy using portable jerry cans. Las Hadas doesn’t charge a docking fee like most other locations in Mexico but their fuel prices have been adjusted to make up the difference, therefore, everyone pays the premium price whether you go alongside or not. At 8.6 pesos / li it was the most expensive to date. Thankfully, they didn’t charge for the numerous dinghy landings or for fresh water that J-G picked by jerry up every chance he got to supplement our fresh water supply.
We also took the time to explore Manzanillo. It certainly has changed since J-G was there in 1984 with Oriole. We also did a major grocery run here at the Sorianna store, one of 3 major food outlets close by.
While there we met quite a few boats, including, Rio Nimkish (Tom and Shirley) who we had met at the Blue Water Cruising rendezvous in August 2008. We also met Bob and Gisele Coffey from Victoria in a boat called Relax. We have also heard Curare, another Blue water boat that we had met last year in Guaymas, on the net and are looking forward to meeting Geoff and Linda when we get to Santiago Bay.
We left Las Hadas and sailed across the bay to Santiago on the 20th. We have been here for the past 2 days enjoying the crystal clear water and the beautiful beach. The beach seems to be used mainly by the local holidaying population living in the many houses lining the beach. It is rare and refreshing to see a lack of resort development on such a choice location. There are only 2 small hotels that we can see.
The anchorage is a popular one for cruisers. Snorkelling locations are hard to find along the coast at this time of year due to the swell and poor visibility caused by turbulence and plankton and we have seen an increase in plankton in the bay since we arrived. There is a wreck of an old freighter in about 30-40 ft that provides a great snorkelling site and the shore has interesting reefs. J-G spent a few hours trying out the hooka today and did a thorough cleaning of the hull. It was time. The algae growth was getting thick but the barnacles were quite small and easy to remove. Scrubbing with the pad removed quite a bit of the finish that was put on in San Diego last January so a new coat of bottom paint will be required next fall.
We expect to leave tomorrow or Tuesday for Barra de Navidad.

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