Saturday, March 5, 2011

Manzanillo to Tenecatita

Most floats gave candy. This one handed out glasses of beer!! Only in Mexico!

The "not so real" Queens

The Real Queen

22:00, 24 Feb 2011. Anchored in the lagoon, Barra de Navidad
The festivities have begun, the queen will be crowned Saturday and the weekend should be a blast. Mardi Gras in Mexico is celebrated in style. We won’t see as good a parade as we saw in Manzanillo last year but I am sure that the small town spirit of Barra will not be outdone. For some reason Barra celebrates the event a week early.
We have been in Barra since Monday. Our friends Marg and Bruce arrived the previous Thursday by bus from Rincon de Guayabidos. We had an eventful program planned for them. We toured Manzanillo, sailed to Santiago for a day, another day to Cuasecomate and finally back to the lagoon in Barra de Navidad for a day of seeing old haunts. They had a 2-week stay here a few years ago. They left from here Tuesday morning and, from the feedback, appear to have enjoyed the diversion from their condo/apt in Rincon.
We arrived to a very crowded lagoon. We counted 61 boats yesterday morning but there is still a lot of room for more. Many of our friends are here and others are headed this way in the next few days. We had cocktails with Cheyenne yesterday and Koala Kai this evening. Full Quiver arrived today and tomorrow we will have lunch with 5 other Blue Water cruising boats. Unfortunately Sea Turtle 4 left yesterday, on their way south to Central America and beyond. The lagoon is much warmer now than it was a few weeks ago. When the breeze dies it gets stifling. Our first night back with Marg and Bruce we saw what makes it so worthwhile to do what we are doing. The full moon was rising and the water was like a mirror. The sailboats up-moon from us, were outlined in the moons reflection on the water and the sound of the crashing surf on the other side of the peninsula was the only sound. My only regret was not being able to record it in any way.
On the domestic side, there are lots to do. The ever present need to replenish water tanks can be a pain. We will have to look into a decent sized watermaker for next season to relieve us of the need to replenish from ashore using jerry cans. We also have to refuel here but the fuel dock is still out of commission. This entails more trips by dinghy ashore to fill jerry cans with diesel from the local gas station. The bright side of this is that the fuel will be cleaner and 13% cheaper than at the dock at Las Hadas. We have just heard from friends that didn’t filter their fuel from there and lost both engine and generator from clogged fuel filters enroute to La Cruz. The bright-work also needed sprucing up so J-G spent the better part of 2 days polishing all of the stainless using a product called Flitz. It is quite expensive but a small amount goes a long way and it does an excellent job. Just to be on the safe side he finished the job with a sealer wax. Hopefully this will last the season.
J-G is still doing the SSB net on Monday evenings. For the past 2 weeks he has also done Wednesdays for another operator who is away. He also volunteers for the local nets when no-one comes up. Fran is beginning to feel like the subject of a song by Eilean Quinn, “SSB Widow”. Eilean sings about cruising subjects and some can really hit home.
21:30, Sunday, 27 February, 2011
Happy birthday to our son Chris!!!
It has been quite a day! It started with a boat going aground on its way into the lagoon. Why anyone attempts to enter without the waypoints is beyond logic! It took a number of dinghies and a panga to get him off the bar. Later we got a NW wind blowing 20-22 kts until past sunset; the forecast was for the light offshore winds we have experienced over the past few weeks. Boats were dragging all over the anchorage and several of us, who had decided to stay on our boats, played the Barra Rodeo circuit rescuing boats and dinghies for a good part of the afternoon. It is an excellent way of meeting people....
The wind conditions caused us to miss the Mardi Gras events ashore and the special Oscar reception held at the Grand Bay Hotel/Resort. So far the events in town have been fun. We have made a point to attend the shows in the town square where comedians (Spanish, so lost on us gringos), singers and dancers have performed. Mexicans like their music and announcers LOUD, so after the first show we have been bringing ear plugs with us. Hopefully we won’t miss tomorrow’s crowning of the “Gay” princess tonight and the parade on Tuesday.
We have had our wheel recovered with leather. Weston is a craftsman who has been doing this for years. He did a few last year for other boaters so we were glad that he was still here this season. He finished it today and it is beautiful.
2230, Monday, 28 Feb
Best laid plans... We had another very windy day. This time the wind blew steadily in the mid 20s and we saw one gust at 26.4 kts. Boats behaved this time and no rescues were required. We stayed aboard again and had another “movie night” with microwave popcorn done in a pot on the stove. Whatever the conditions are tomorrow we will not miss the parade.
1800, Thursday, 3 Mar
Another quiet morning in the lagoon at Barra. Boats are arriving and others are leaving to go north and south. The wind conditions are always best for moving offshore between Manzanillo and Cabo Corrientes in the morning hours before the daily diurnal wind sets in. Normally that means 10-15 knot northerly winds, either on the nose for those sailing north, or directly on the stern for those proceeding south. We are hoping to get a southerly flow by the weekend and will take advantage of that to get up to Tenecatita with Full Quiver.
The Carnival is over. The parade was a lot of fun with floats depicting a variety of subjects having nothing to do with Lent. The general theme seems to be a Rio type of event on a much smaller budget and scale. The most outlandish floats belonged to the transvestite community which has a strong following in this area. Later on they were front and centre at a stage show in the town square. They are very good entertainers, lip synching to a number of Mexican divas.
We did our last shop in Barra, checked out with the Port Captain and had a last swim at the pool at the Sands Hotel, the cruisers’ hangout. It has been another hot day with light winds and the pool was a refreshing stop after walking down to the market. We met the folks from Kenta Anae, another Canadian boat that we had met a few years ago in La Cruz. They are a young couple with 2 boys, 6 and 8.
20:00, 4 March. At anchor in Tenecatita Bay
We arrived in this, another of our favourite anchorages, just in time to participate in the Friday evening raft-up where the cruisers get together at a designated spot in the anchorage and tie up together, pass appies, drink whatever and share stories. All of this is under the direction of the “mayor” the boater that has been here the longest. We were in that position last year for a similar event.
We left Barra mid-morning just after the local radio net that J-G was running. Full Quiver as supposed to accompany us but as they pulled up their anchor a swivel snapped. Last we heard they were staying another night in the hope of getting divers to locate the anchor tomorrow morning.
We had a very nice motorsail all the way in very light southerly winds stopping at Cuastacomate for lunch and trying in vain to catch a fish at the reef at the entrance to the bay. We are still fishless this year. How long will the blight last?? Just as we were entering the bay our bilge pump went off. We were quick to identify a fresh water leak and shut off the pump. We later found a disconnected hose under the sink. This is the third time we have had this problem so we are able to respond quickly and not lose much of our precious fresh water supply.
At the raft-up we heard of a sailboat called Luffin It that was struck by a whale just off Tenecatita yesterday. Apparently it damaged their rudder, sail-drive strut and the stuffing in the stuffing box to shift and water to leak in. They also had trouble with some jammed doors afterwards. A number of boats responded to their call and assisted them back into the anchorage, stopped the leak and she was able to proceed to La Cruz in the company of another vessel today. Fortunately conditions are ideal for a transit up the coast and around Cabo Corrientes over the next few days. This same boat ran aground coming into Barra a few days ago....
We plan on staying here for a week or more before heading to La Cruz. This is a good location to clean the bottom and do a few other chores. We are also thinking about going over to the Blue Bay resort to check out the restaurant. We have been told by friends that you can arrange to get a full course meal with drinks for $25 US. If Pam and Steve (Full Quiver) make it tomorrow we’ll take advantage of the deal to celebrate Pam’s birthday there.

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