Zihuatanejo to Huatulco

Tuesday, Feb. 4th, Mike went into Zihua early to try (again!) to renew our fishing license. I stayed behind to get Mermaid ready to go to sea. Mike waited outside the office until the man in the next office called the officer to find out when he would be in… He said he wasn’t coming in today… Oh well, no fish for Mermaid…
At 11:00 in the morning we hoisted our anchor and bid farewell to Zihuatanejo. We hailed to Port Captain on the radio but got no response. We had tried to check out and get our exit papers the day before but the Port Captain said our papers were in order and just call on the radio when we left. This made us a little uncomfortable because most ports insist on an exit paper.
We saw lots of rays and fish jumping and many tropic birds with their pretty tails during the day. We arrived at our first planned stop at Bahia Pampanoa and dropped the anchor. What a sweet little village. It would have been fun to see it during a weekend full of Mexican tourists.
PeeWee seemed to be a tiny bit better we thought. We had been worried about him because he seemed to have a pinched nerve in his back or something that was causing him a lot of pain. We were making sure he stayed still and gave him lots of loving. We also doubled his arthritis medicine which has helped in the past.
In the morning we hoisted the anchor and headed back out to sea. We saw whales, dolphins, turtles, fish and birds. We found the wind and were able to sail a bit with only a jib. There was more swell than wind so we rolled up the jib and motored to be more comfortable and stop the rolling.
At 6:30 in the evening the autopilot stopped working (OH NO!). I took the helm and Mike went below to see what was wrong. He found a broken belt. We were about three house outside of Acapulco and decided that if any city on this coast had the little belt it would be Acapulco. So, we headed into the bay just outside called Bahia Marquez – after dark. Heading into a new bay after dark is not something we like to do! We had intended on skipping Acapulco because of all the reports of it being unsafe. Oh well, we hoped to find the belt and be able to use the autopilot for the rest of our journey.
Mike plotted a course on our chart plotter and we followed it into the bay. There was still some moon helping us as well. We dropped the anchor and went to sleep. The next morning I took Mike to shore and returned to Mermaid thinking I had most of the day to get some things done (baking). Less than an hour later he called saying he was ready to be picked up. He was so happy that he had found the belt at his first stop. I said “so you got two?” and the look on his face was priceless… No he hadn’t gotten two. We took a short dink adventure before heading back to Mermaid.
Mike got the belt on the auto pilot, we hoisted the anchor and gave it a try – Yea it worked! We headed back out to sea to find it flat calm. We motored until around 2:00 and hoisted Waldo (our red and white stripped gennaker). We had a lovely day of sailing making 7’s and 8’s all day. Just before dark the wind started to die and go behind us so we took Waldo down and rolled out the jib. We were amazed at how many sea turtles we saw all through the day.
We motored through the beautiful, starry night and on and off the next day. We saw lots of jumping rays and tons of turtles. At one point a panga I had been watching in the distance starting waving his hat at us. I called Mike up from his nap to help me look for lines. Sure enough we saw them and the fisherman waved us out to sea. We had to go quite a way out to reach the end of his line and he seemed grateful that we had gone around. We were finally back on track and course but with a very watchful eye for more lines. We realized that any anchorage we would reach near Huatulco would now be after dark and decided to see if we could anchor in Puerto Escondido.
Just before 2:00 in the afternoon we were anchored (bow and stern) just off the beach and next to the pangas in Puerto Escondido. The bay is very deep right up to the beach and the pangas filled the little area where anchorage could be taken. PE is known as a surfing town and what makes it a great surfing area makes it a bad place to anchor, but today the surf wasn’t too bad. Just after we anchored a panga came out from the Port Captain’s office and said we had 30 minutes to check in and the office would be closed for the weekend so we had to hurry since our name had gone on their list.
We hurried into the office with all of our papers in hand and made it before they closed. They were very friendly and polite but wanted our exit papers from Zihuatanejo. We explained what had happened and they got on the phone. We were there a while when finally they said we were good and gave us our new papers. We were relieved that we now had exit papers for Huatulco. The agent asked how long we had been in Mexico and was surprised to learn it was only two years… he said our Spanish we very good.
We went to a beach palapa for a cold beer and fresh fish for lunch. PeeWee seemed happy to be in a chair on land and enjoyed some bites of fish. We went back to Mermaid and had a swim before bed.
At 6:00 am the next morning we hoisted the stern anchor then the bow anchor. We went just a little out and hoisted the dink and got it and the engine stowed before departing the bay.
We saw huge whales, lots of turtles, fish birds and dolphins. We tried sailing but decided we wouldn’t make the first anchorage before dark and kept motoring. We were getting some adverse current which also slowed us down.
As we rounded Puerto Angel the already clear water turned even clearer and the most beautiful shade of blue. The waves also started to build. The jumping rays all of a sudden were giants and so amazing to watch.
Then… the seas grew and grew and grew! None of the anchorages were approachable. Mike said “we are going into a marina where we will be safe.” So we did.

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