Tuesday, February 22, 2011


The days flew past while we were in Ixtapa. We had not planned to go there but I'm really glad we did. While there we toured both Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo, visited Isla Grande, Playa Linda and the Cocodrilario, and perhaps most fun of all, celebrated our friend, Judy's 50th birthday. We stayed at the Marina Ixtapa Nautica, a fairly luxurious marina in Ixtapa. We had been at anchor in more remote places for three weeks prior, so it was nice to get into a marina where we could give the Honcho a good freshwater scrub, sleep all night without an anchor watch, and take easy advantage of the great restaurants and stores nearby. I also wanted to get the hull bottom scrubbed, but laughed when I was told that no one is allowed to swim or perform underwater services in the marina because of the crocodile threat. We kept a sharp lookout but saw no crocs.
Hobie Cat

Judy's birthday was much more than a simple party, it was an Event, with guests flying in from various points in the States, and as far away as Denmark for five days of festivities. We arrived on Feb. 12th and participated in a day long outing to Isla Grande, then a day of Hobie Cat racing and the grand finale party on the 15th. We met a lot of great people and had a wonderful time at the party, the highlight of which was Torben, Judy's husband, shedding his conservative Danish demeanor to grab the mike and belt out an excellent rendition of Blue Suede Shoes. He truly rocked the place. After three days of partying, we spent the next day taking care of boat chores and relaxing. The following day we took some friends out to Isla Grande where we swam and relaxed and I had an opportunity to scrub the bottom of the boat myself. I'm glad to report that it was surprisingly clean, with only some serious growth on the speed and depth sensor thru-hulls. I checked the rudder, prop shaft, strut and prop as well as the zincs, all in good shape.
Pina Colada Isla Grande Style

On our last day in Ixtapa we decided to visit the Cocodrilario (Crocodile preserve) in Playa Linda, since we had yet to see any crocs in the wild, except for one poor little duffer in a flood control canal in Puerto Vallarta. Taking the bus, which is our usual mode of land transportation in Mexico, is always interesting. Local  buses charge between 5 and 12 Pesos and if they don't have a music system, a local musician often climbs aboard and serenades the riders with a guitar and song. The cocodrilario is located at the bus stop in Playa Linda so we got to see the crocs, iguanas, turtles and other wildlife up close. I like that there's nothing but a chain link fence between the spectators and the animals, you can get within a few feet of them, so we got lots of up close and personal photos. Playa Linda is a beautiful beach with dozens of vendor stalls selling everything from toy crocs to clothing, along with delicious food and Mexican beer. Isla Grande lies less than a mile off the coast and tourists arrive by the busload to take pangas out to the island for a day of snorkeling, sipping and sun. We wandered around the place for a while, but quickly tired of the tourist crowds and grabbed a bus back to the marina, where we began preparations to leave Ixtapa. Lisa went up to the office to check us out while I loaded the boat with diesel...a few minutes later she came running back, telling me that finally there was a crocodile swimming through the marina, which she got photos of. Frankly, I'm a bit croc'd out and didn't need to see it myself.

We cleared the breakwater around 1630, and set a course that would take us out around Punta Ixtapa and northwest, back toward Manzanillo.  I must say I felt a twinge of regret as we rounded the point. Ixtapa marks the furthest south we will go on this voyage, and every mile we travel from now on will be homeward bound. I'd rather be headed for the other horizon.

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