Sunday, February 13, 2011

Barra de Navidad to Ixtapa

We spent three days anchored in the lagoon at beautiful Barra de Navidad, but the days were slipping by and soon it was time to move on, as the Honcho needed to be in Ixtapa no later than February 12th. So we upped the anchor and headed south once again toward Las Hadas, in Bahia Manzanillo, about 25 miles down the coast. The sailing was excellent, with bright sunshine, following seas and a pleasant 15 knot breeze. Alas, the fishing was not as good as the sailing. Trolling the trusty cedar plug, we caught nothing except a 10 pound cavally, which is not good eating, so we released it and sailed on, still hungry for some fresh dorado.

We anchored in a lovely spot at Las Hadas, across the bay from the city of Manzanillo. Manzanillo is an old city, having been a stopover for Spanish galleons en route from Manila to Panama in the 16th century. Today it is Mexico's busiest commercial port, handling over 22 million tons of cargo in 2008. Part of the reason for this commercial success is that it is a convenient alternative to the congested ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in California. Manzanillo is  located in a beautiful bay with lots of beaches and excellent fishing so it's also a popular vacation destination and served about 30 cruise ships in 2008.

Aside from relaxing around the pool at the Las Hadas resort, we made a couple of sorties to the local supermarket and Walmart for some much needed provisons, then sailed for Ixtapa, about 180 miles south. Our course took the Honcho southwest across Bahia Manzanillo and out past Roca Vela (Sail Rock). From there we turned south, then southeast for the long run down the coast. Leaving at 1600, we had a fresh breeze and great sailing until dark when the wind fell light and we were obliged to start the motor. By 1000 the next morning the wind came up again and we hoisted the jib and doused the engine, sailing close inshore so we could enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Mexican coast. By nightfall we were approaching the busy commercial port of Lazaro Cardenas. For several hours we dodged between fast moving freighters as we motored past the harbor. Hurrying to get past Lazaro Cardenas, we crossed Bahia de Peticalco then had to slow down as we approached Isla Grande, also called Isla Ixtapa, to wait for sunrise so we could pick our way through the many rocks around the entrance to Marina Ixtapa, where we planned to stay for a few days. By mid morning the Honcho was tied up in the marina and the crew was enjoying a meal at one of the nearby waterside restaurants.

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