Manzanillo to Zihuatenejo

As the sun rises over the sleepy fishing village of Caleta de Campos, the sound of the huge crashing surf is a constant reminder of just how far south we have sailed. Our current anchorage lies just 75 miles NW of Zihuatenejo, a popular destination among surfers, sailors, and fellow northerners looking to escape the deep freeze of their respective homelands. Along with larger, more consistent surf comes longer sailing passages between safe anchorages, and much more challenging dinghy landings, or in our case, paddleboard landings.
Most folks speak about sailing the nearly 200 mile passage from Manzanillo to Zihuat in a single, long, overnight push. Some choose this because the handful of available stops are poorly protected anchorages with a lot of swell finding its way in, leaving one to restlessly debate throughout the night whether or not stopping was a good idea. Others bypass this section of the Michoacan coast for fear of banditos or somehow getting entangled in the ever present war on drugs. The state of Michoacan is infamous for growing large amounts of Marijuana. With Cat2Fold’s ability to handle swell better than most boats due to her wide beam, and my ever present ability to sniff out the good and the bad “mota” folk, we decided to try and day sail our way down the coast.
Our first anchorage, Cabeza Negra, 50 miles SE of Manzanillo was one of the former anchorages. Arriving just before sunset, we made the mistake of not taking the time to set up a stern anchor. The swell, which clearly had been building throughout our day sail, wrapped its way into our anchorage, hitting Cat2Fold directly abeam, turning our flat stable sleeping platform into a thrusting, gyrating, hop and pop sort of sleepless event. A middle of the night, half hearted attempt at setting a stern anchor did nothing to solve the dilemma (albeit for a measly 15 minutes), and in fact almost turned a bad situation worse by wrapping itself around our main ground tackle. Luckily, this was not noticed at all until morning, during the retrieval of our dual anchor setup.
Wasting no time hanging out in the not so peaceful anchorage, our next stop was a small village called Maruata, some 30 miles down the coast. We ventured ashore to stretch our legs and have a look around. We were also in search of an Internet connection so Deidre could continue working from the boat. I felt like the beach and the whole village was dead. With no internet connection to be found, and more empty palapa’s then people, we headed back to C2F. I couldn’t help but wonder why this cute little town seemed so empty. Oh well, with better protection afforded in this anchorage by the surrounding rocky islets jutting out from its’ northwestern side, and a swell subsiding by the hour, Deidre and I finally caught up on some much needed rest.
In the morning, our journey south continued. We had nearly 40 miles to sail to the next semi-protected anchorage, Caleta de Campos. Here we found an anchorage with pretty good protection from the ever present swell, and also, a thriving little beach community. Our first night here, we were (gladly) kept awake late into the night by a raucous, Mexican “Ooompah-pah” band. Having never seen this type of party music live, I was enthralled with the sound. In hindsight, we should have rallied, got up out of bed and gone to see the music. The next day, I learned that the music party should continue the next couple of nights, so Deidre and I made a plan to have dinner on the beach that evening, with hopes of catching the performance. Unfortunately, the info was incorrect, the music was done here at Caleta de Campos.
Nevertheless, 4 days have passed as we have become enchanted with this amazing spot. We are only one long day sail away from Zihuatenejo, and with “SailFest” being more than two weeks away, we are finding ourselves in no hurry to be anywhere…might as well be here…

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2 thoughts on “Manzanillo to Zihuatenejo

  1. There is a picture of your folks in the January, 2013 Latitude 38 magazine. A full PDF of their magazine is available online at their site, but let me know if you want a scanned copy.

    We really miss Mexico, and enjoy following along your blog!
    Scott S/V Jane’O

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