Thursday, April 29, 2010


April 29, 2010 1:00AM CST
Day 1701
Position: 18°36'N 103°51'W
Underway and about 24 hours north of Zihuatanejo heading towards Bara Navidad with about 11 hours to go.
Miles YTD: 3495
Miles since day 1: 29719

We spent a few low key days in Zihuatanejo taking care of the basics. You know, forty pounds of laundry to be washed and huge bags of fresh fruits and vegetables to be purchased. Fishing has been so poor we even bought a big hunk of meat from a butcher at the local market. One of those local affairs where meat is hanging on a hook just before we made our purchase and the butcher hacks off what ever piece you want. The local market was bustling with shoppers pouring over colorful and eclectic goods of every description. To give you an idea of what's possible; we picked up fresh mangoes, broccoli, potatoes, tomatoes, bananas, papaya, popcorn, a huge slab of beef, a knife sharpening stones, yogurt, hot sauce and a great lunch in one trip. What a great opportunity to buy local and support the local farmers in this world of blurring globalization that's creating a numbing sameness nearly everywhere. Buy local!

Zihuatanejo is a neat little town that, despite tourism, "Zhua" holds onto its' Mexican identity well and remains a charming city. Zihuatanejo is an easy place to spend awhile and we were a bit hesitant to rush off. The downside to this town is the water quality in the bay on an outgoing tide. The local sewer plant seems to dumps effluent into the lagoon and then it drains into the bay where we anchored LightSpeed. Yuck!

We met some nice cruisers in Zihuatanejo. One couple Jim & Kent on s/v Sea Level had recently completed construction of a beautiful Schonning Winderness 14.8 meter (48') sailing catamaran and are now headed to the South Pacific later this week. We hosted happy hour one night for s/v Take me away and s/v Sea Level and then spent the next few evenings on s/v Sea Level being entertained and fed while helping sort out some computer questions related to GRIB files, Sailmail, WIFI internet access, and navigation software. They spent one of their first summers cruising their new cat in British Colombia and reinforced just how 'worth it' cruising BC will be. I always have a fun time working on computers, perhaps some day I can figure how to make a few $$ along the way.

We made an early morning departure form Zihuatanejo, early morning being a nice way to say five minutes after midnight. Why so early? Well the wind has been uncooperative in direction lately plus in the afternoons the Sea breeze has been enhancing the strength of the wind. Lately, we try to avoid sailing in the afternoon as the winds get strong on the nose. So we waited until the evening land breeze kicks OUT to counteract the wind blowing IN from offshore. Land breeze equals breeze blowing from land. Sea breeze equals breeze blowing from sea toward land. These are diurnal winds related to the heating of air by the sun in the day and the lack of heating of air by the sun at night and the relative warm temperature of the sea compared to colder air inland at higher elevations. Google 'diurnal winds' for a visual.

About an hour before first light I spotted a small light ahead of us. Checking it out with the Binoculars I was jolted by clearly seeing the dark outline of a pretty big navy ship contrasting in the strong moonlight. Shocking to see such a big ship so so dark with only one light. I guessed they were on some sort of maneuvers or mission to intercept drug runners. At any moment I expected a high speed all back RIB to race along side and have M-16's and blinding flashlights aimed in my direction. It would be pretty normal to be boarded and inspected by the Mexican Navy or USCG in this situation. Apparently, everyone was asleep on the warship as nothing came of our close passing in the night. I altered course 20 degrees and took the warships stern having us pass less than 1 nautical mile apart.

Sailing near the coast, about 3 miles off, we've had the luxury of a favorable current for a change. It's nice to get a little boost of up to 1 knot instead of the adverse current thats been hampering forward progress since El Salvador.

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