Posted by: vlbyers | March 4, 2011

Santiago Bay and Manzanillo

Sunset over Manzanillo bay

Bridge at north end of Santiago bay

Bird walk led by MaryJane

Street in Manzanillo

Goofing around with Craig

Kiki, Craig and Larry getting ready for walk into Santiago for breakfast

Las Hadas background, Rocinante foreground

Larry relaxing by the pool in Las Hadas

Passages stress me out

Very large ship off our stern

Passing ship, very close

Zaandam anchored in Zihuatanejo with us

Beautiful Z town

Z beach scene

There comes a time when even cruisers must stick to their plans to move on to the next spot, we had picked our weather window and were ready to head to Santiago. On the morning of our departure from the Barra de Navidad area we heard ‘Whatcha gonna do’ check in on the morning net. For a moment I panicked thinking that they were pulling into Barra on the day we were leaving. We do love these guys but there comes a time when even a cruiser needs to go when they say they are going and today was the day, however this moment of panic passed as they reported they were just out of Santiago bay heading to the anchorage there, exactly where we were heading. The anticipation of seeing our dear cruising friends made this trip even more exciting.
Santiago bay is a nicely protected anchorage, long flat beach, plenty of palapa restaurants, a wreak to dive or snorkel and easy access by bus to the towns of Santiago and Manzanillo to the south. Whatcha gonna do had done an overnight to arrive early morning and we instructed them to rest up for our arrival, anticipated late afternoon. Barb had started a fast a few days prior, just done an overnight passage, not gotten enough sleep even after our instructions, and still invited us over for dinner that night, since it was Friday it was their traditional Shabbat, which we are always honored to be included in. These guys are just like family and it is wonderful to hear the latest news, even though we keep up with their activity through their blog.
We spent 6 days here, playing in the water, on the beach, snorkeling the wreck which lies just off the beach, eating in many of the restaurants, going to the Saturday market in Santiago, visiting with other friends on Oya and Grey Max, meeting new friends on Santosha (Tammy led yoga on the beach for us), Blue Sky (just completed a 5 year circumnavigation), and doing a bird watch led by our friend Mary Jane (Grey Max). Our stay wouldn’t be complete without a jam session or 2, hosted on Whatcha gonna do since they have the biggest cockpit, I think we had 12 people one time. This one was especially fun since we had Bill (Grey Max) and his bass. Harrison requested Delilah for which Larry had to get the words and practice. Michael is perfecting his vocal performance with Sweet Caroline, next time you better have the words!! I also played along with 2 tunes on the flute! For me this has been one of the best stops and as Barb said, for her it is about the people. Well the people definitely made this anchorage very memorable. Saying goodby to Whatcha gonna do was difficult, but as we watched them sail off in the early morning light we understand that this is what makes meeting up with old friends so special, you never know when the next time will be so you ‘seize the day’.
We moved the 5 miles to the next anchorage of Manzanillo, just off of Las Hadas, a fairy tale appearing resort with a dinghy dock in the marina and cruiser friendly attitude. We spent a day relaxing by the pool and walking the grounds of these resorts built into the steep sides of the mountain, good exercise. Paradise is a restaurant which offers a discount for cruisers so we had a nice late afternoon lunch enjoying the view. We had planned to leave on Saturday but our dinghy needs some patch replacement and thought we might get the necessary clamps from the market. We returned with 4 bags of stuff, never did find the clamps but we got some other ‘necessary’ items! The anchorages are so close that many people skip this one, also it is much smaller, but the bus ride to and from town was worth it with the view of both bays at the top of the mountain, spectacular.
It is Sunday morning, the 20th of February and we awoke dark and early (well it wasn’t bright), at 0345 for our 0430 departure. It is about 36 hours at the max to get to Zihuantanejo so if our passage timing is correct we should arrive on the 22nd in the daylight hours. We have seen 2 very large ships coming into the Manzanillo bay which is a shipping port and are now well offshore making our way SE. Our watermaker is making water for us as the engine is running. We have 5-10 NE winds and the forecast is for light winds for the whole passage, we have the jib up so we are motor sailing. Maybe the winds will pick up a little later in the day. As you can see the passages stress Caly to the max, too bad she hasn’t gotten used to her home.
Entry Feb. 22- During our passage we saw 6 large ships, one cruise ship came so close to us at sunset we waved at the passengers. Not actually that close, but we could read their name without binoculars. We sailed into Zihuatanejo bay after our 30 ½ hour passage, we did not end up getting much wind and any time we had any it was coming right from where we wanted to go. Our water tanks are filled now though and we were able to use our navigation program, which is on my laptop but is not able to run without power since my battery needs to be replaced. Our friend Henry off of Rapscullion is here as well as Gato Go. There seem to be about 12 other boats anchored at this time, the bay is large enough for dozens of boats and according to Henry there were 48 just the other day. Boy am I happy we stayed north a few extra days to miss the crowd.
We anchored in the middle of the bay, close to the main anchorage and where the dock is. Being warned that water quality is better the further you are from the dock. After some rest we will head in to explore this town.

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