Manzanillo is as far south as we intend to go this cruising season. Its coordinates are 19.0609 North and 104.2070 West, and Comox can be found at 49.6733 North and 124.9022 West. This means we have travelled 30.6124 lines of latitude. As each line of latitude is 60 nautical miles, we have travelled 1836.744 nautical miles south and 20.6974 degrees east - as the crow flies. (A nautical mile is 1.1508 longer than a statute mile.) We have crossed two time zones. Of course we haven’t travelled in a straight line anywhere and we consider ourselves outrageously lucky if we make 6 knots an hour - which means we cover just under 7 miles an hour. We left Comox on June 26 so it has taken us 8 months to get this far with many stops along the way. Fast going, eh? But, oh! What a way to travel!
|Port of Manzanillo and Manzanillo Bay in foreground, Santiago Bay in background, Las Hadas on the point between them.|
As I write, we are anchored off the Las Hadas resort. It is a Moorish designed complex built on the slopes of a headland found between the two large bays of Manzanillo and gained fame as the setting for the 80’s movie “10” starring Bo Derek, Dudley Moore and Julie Andrews. Yes, there is a beach in front of the resort, but we can hardly believe it is where the famous running scene took place, compared to some of the other beaches we have seen in Mexico.
Nevertheless, it is a gorgeous spot, the anchorage is calm, and the water clean and warm.
|Ka'sala is just under the tall palm - port of Manzanillo in the far background|
At night we look over the bay at the lights of the city and the large container port in the distance – if the temperature didn’t give it away, we would think we were in Vancouver. Of course, seeing it all under a full moon makes any place special.
|Ka'sala in front of Las Hadas (Mary Alice photo)|
On the other side of the headland is another great bay called Santiago. When we arrived in the area on Friday, February 19, we went directly to the anchorage there at Playa La Boquita.
We had a good sail down the
coast from the Aquarium at Tenacatita, managing to sail almost the entire 35
miles with the wind on our quarter. Just a few miles along we met with Tappen Zee - another Coast 34. Doug had been corresponding with Annie and Tom, but this was the first we met.
As we rounded the point into La Boquita the wind picked up and we flew
into the anchorage, dropping our hook in about 7 meters of water. There were half a dozen other sailboats in
this comfortable spot, surrounded by miles of sandy beach stretching off into
The only fly in the ointment
on this passage was we managed to snag one of the ubiquitous pop bottle fishing
lines on our rudder, forcing us to heave-to in order to untangle ourselves with
the boat hook. Unfortunately, that did
not work and we had to force poor Ka’sala into irons in order to back up on the
line. Luckily this manoeuvre did work,
otherwise one of us would have had to go over the side. Of course, all of this took place in 20 knots
of wind with a nice sea running.
The anchorage at La Boquita is lovely. The headland protects it from prevailing
winds and swells so it is relatively calm.
Jungle climbs up its steep sides and in the evenings a fragrant bouquet,
smelling like gardenia, wafts across the water, while the insects swell with
|Playa La Boquita anchorage at sunset|
|Tappen Zee, another Coast 34, off the coast of Tenacatita|
|Downwind sailing - bliss!|
|Uncharted "rock" off the coast - yet another Piedro Blanco|
|Jungly Cove off Playa La Boquita|
We could splash our toes in the ocean and enjoy shrimp ceviche and margaritas all day if we wanted to!
We certainly enjoyed watching dozens of Mexican families doing just that!
A real bonus was the fact that we could easily land and launch our dinghy and kayaks on the beach in front of these establishments.
|Ice Cream is wonderful!|
|Cobblestones keep down speed!|
|Viewed from the bus - a palapa roof being contructed|
|Anchorage at the Port of Manzanillo|
|Entrance to the lagoon at Playa La Boquita|
|Craggy cliffs line the side of the anchorage|
|Wreck of the San Luciano at Playa La Boquita|
We really enjoyed Playa La Boquita and could have spent longer than the three days we did. But there was more to see in the area, so on Tuesday, the 23rd, we upped anchor and motored around the bay and over to the Las Hadas anchorage.
We were hoping to charge up our batteries
along the way, but as we were putting along, the engine alarm went off and we
saw we were overheating. Luckily we were
far enough out, and there was just enough wind, that we could unfurl our
headsail while Doug tried to figure out what was wrong. Fortunately it was only the fan belt which
was relatively easy to replace, though the engine was very hot. Good planning on Doug’s part meant we had a
spare fan belt. Ironically, he had just
replaced it two weeks before to prevent the very thing that happened! Our previous belt had lasted almost 2000
engine hours. The new one less than two
weeks! Hopefully this one will last!
|We checked out the anchorage at La Audiencia|
|Marina at Las Hadas - Ka'sala in the anchorage out front|
We spent two nights at Las Hadas. What a surprise for us to see the Dutch sailboat Zwerver also anchored there! We had first encountered Harry and Ellen in Neah Bay, just as we were about to begin our passage to San Francisco and sailed together for a couple of days. After that, we leap-frogged down the coast, not catching up with each other until this moment. We were able to share a meal together before going our separate ways – they to continue down to Panama and us to return back north.
While at Las Hadas we were able to get out in the kayaks to
explore and swam several times around the boat in the 28 degree water.
On our final day in Manzanillo we sailed over to Ensenada
Carrizal. This bay, only five miles from
the city is totally remote. There is no
development and the jungle meets the cliffs that cascade down into the aquamarine
There is an extensive coral reef
along the coastline and we spent some time snorkeling with a large variety of
colourful reef fish in very good visibility.
A large surf surged into caves and indentations along the shoreline
creating roaring and booming sounds making us think there was an enormous sea
creature nearby. The night was quite
rolly, but we thought it was worth it for experiencing the bay’s unspoiled beauty.
|Ellen, Lyneita, Doug and Harry - Cape Mendecino survivors!|
|In front of Playa del Sol|
|Juvenile pelicans off the Las Hadas breakwater|
|Ah! Life aboard a sailboat.|