SAILING MEXICO
Que Pasa Amigos!  This website update finds the crew of Southern Belle in the beautiful Bahias de Hualtuco (pronounced Wha-tool-co).  This
portion of the Mexican pacific coastline trends east-west, and there are several beautiful bays over a 15 mile stretch.  The area is a national
park so the only bay with any development is Huatulco itself where you find the small town of Santa Cruz de Hualtuco.  You can find
corresponding pictures by clicking on the
Photo Album button above (we are trying a new slide show format, so feedback would be appreciated).  
And remember, you can always look at our previous ramblings by clicking on the archived Journal Entries (above) and the corresponding archived
Photo Albums on the
Photo Album page.

After we said good-bye to our friends in Zihuatanejo, we headed southeast for the famous resort destination of Acapulco.  We diligently
trolled our fishing lines as we made our way south.  We only had one strike but it was a big one.  Sadly, we did not land the fish because that
sucker was so big it almost completely spooled our rig and then broke our 50 pound test line.  I think we are probably lucky we didn't get it to
the boat because we really aren't equipped to land the big ones.  We made it into Acapulco Bay the next afternoon.  Acapulco Bay is huge!  To
enter we motored between the mainland and Isla Roqueta where the Virgen Ahogada (Sunken statue of the Virgen Mary) is located.  We were
awed by the multitude of development that climbs the hillsides surrounding the bay.  We picked up a mooring near the Acapulco Club de Yates
that our friends Jeff and Debbie aboard
Sailor's Run had reserved for us.

We spent four days in Acapulco which was just perfect.  Among our regular duties such as home schooling and provisioning, our activities
included:

Swimming at the Acapulco Club de Yates, which is a truly beautiful facility.

Attending a birthday party for Debbie (Sailor's Run) aboard the 80-foot classic wooden sailboat Astor.  Astor is owned by Richard &
Lani, and they have been sailing it around the world for the past 8 years.  They became friends with Sailor's Run in Fiji 5 years ago.

Exploring the old Fort which overlooks the bay.  The Fort has been beautifully restored and is also a very cool museum

Playing at the Parque Papagayo, which is a large kid-friendly park near the main beach in Acapulco.  The park has animals, swimming,
bicycle rentals, rides, go-karts, etc.  Joshua had a blast.

Watching the famous Acapulco cliff divers.  This was truly an amazing thing to see.

Enjoying the evenings when the entire area lights up and you are surrounded by thousands of twinkling lights on the hillsides that
surround the bay.

We left Acapulco in the early afternoon and sailed east-southeast to Puerto Escondido.  We had very nice sailing weather for most of this leg
of the journey.  We made Puerto Escondido the next day in the late afternoon.  This bay is a renowned surfing destination so we were looking
forward to spending a day or so and seeing some of the pros do their thing.  Unfortunately, it was not to be.  The anchorage was mostly deep
and the shallow portions were packed with moored Mexican Pangas.  We motored around for a while trying to find a spot to set our hook, but
finally had to give up.  Too bad, because the waves breaking onshore were truly impressive!

So we continued east toward the next anchorage at Puerto Angel.  As we left Puerto Escondido to our stern we said, "Oh well, at least it's
nice and calm with a nice flat sea state".  Oh man, don't ever say that!  By 11:00 PM we were beating into 4- to 6-foot seas with very little
wind.  By the time we reached Puerto Angel at 2:00 AM the seas had built to 6- to 8-foot, with occasional 10-foot breaking waves.  It was
strange to have this kind of sea state without any wind.  We finally realized that it must be slop-over from the near hurricane force winds
blowing in the Gulf of Tehuantepec, approximately 50 to 75 miles east of us.  To create this kind of side effect the Gulf must have had winds
of up to 50 knots and seas running in excess of 30-feet high.  Ouch, would not want to be there!  Since we were unfamiliar with the entrance
to Puerto Angel, we decided to hover outside until first light before going in.  It was a bit uncomfortable, but the correct decision.  So at
first light we motored on in just to find another situation where the local pangas had taken up most of the prime anchoring spots.  Well too
bad Seniors and Senioritas!  We were determined to find a spot and get some rest!  After a few tries, we finally got a decent anchoring spot
and shut down for some much needed rest.  Joshua, of course, slept like a baby through the whole bouncy night and was up and ready to play.  
Thankfully, he was able to entertain himself while we adults took a nap.

Puerto Angel was a bit surgy because of the unsettled seas, but our anchor held just fine.  We were the only yatista in the bay for the first
day, and then
Free Spirit pulled in and anchored next to us the next day.  Puerto Angel is a beautiful little spot that is a quiet vacation
destination favored by Mexicans and Canadians.  At least that is mostly who was there at this time.  We checked in with the Capitania de
Puerto on the afternoon of the day we arrived and had a nice dinner at a Palapa restaurant on the beach near where we were anchored.  The
next afternoon some of the local kids swam out to Southern Belle on their surfboards and asked if they could come onboard and play with
Joshua.  At one point we had 6 Mexican boys and Joshua all running around the boat playing with Joshuas rather large collection of toy guns
and swords.  It was a little hectic for us adults who kept saying "Despacio!" (slow down) and Cuidates! (be careful), but the kids had a blast.  
After a while we gave them drinks and chocolate candy bars, which was a big hit, and then they all paddled off to go surfing/boogie boarding by
the beach.  Joshua joined them for this activity and Melinda and George went snorkeling.  While snorkeling we spoitted a sea snake poking
around the rocks on the bottom.  That didn't give us a warm fuzzy feeling but at least it didn't seem aggressive.  As it got later in the
afternoon, one of the local boys, Luis, that had been playing with Joshua came up and politely asked if he could come over in the evening and
play some more.  We were happy to have him and said absolutely yes.  At around 7:30 pm, just as it was getting dark, Luis came paddling up very
carefully on his surfboard so as not to get his nice clothes wet.  Luis brought a bag of Doritos as an offering for Joshua.  At about the same
time our neighbors from
Free Spirit came over for a visit, so we had a guest for the child and guests for the adults.  In true Southern Belle
fashion we set about making dinner for everybody.  Paul and Anne from
Free Spirit are a young adventurous Dutch couple from just outside of
Amsterdam.  They flew to San Francisco last October, bought Free Spirit which is a 32-foot sailboat, and took off in November to sail south
into Mexico.  They plan to continue across to the South Pacific and then down to New Zealand where they will sell the boat before heading
back to Holland.  Quite the aggressive schedule!

After two days in Puerto Angel, we raised our anchor and continued east toward the beautiful bays of Hualtuco.  By this time the storm in the
Gulf of Tehuantepec had subsided and the seas were once again nice and calm.  We had a nice breeze out of the southwest to help us along the
25 mile journey to Bahias de Hualtuco.  We will describe the Hualtuco area and provide some nice pictures in our next installment.

Until then we wish you all a fair breeze and following seas!
Monte Alban Archaeological site outside of Oaxaca, Mexico
Zihuatanejo to Bahias Hualtuco
ARCHIVED JOURNAL ENTRY #17