| 5:00 PM local time, Monday, April 21 (2200 April 21 UTC) 19 03 N 104 18 W. Temp.
86, Humidity 67%, Cloud Cover 50%. At Anchor in Manzanillo Bay, Mexico.
Warm greetings from the crew of Maverick.
Leaving Huatulco, Maverick battled strong countercurrents and the chop produced
by twenty knot headwinds around Puerto Angel. It took us thirty hours to make
the sixty miles from Huatulco to Puerto Escondido, for an average VMG of 2
knots. In order to make that average, for some very long hours we were going
backwards. We set the hook in the treacherous anchorage at Puerto Escondido
overnight so that we could replenish our fuel and so that Mr. Shrode could
recover from a vicious 24-hour flu. There, we found our old friends from the Red
Sea, the Med, and Morocco, the crew of Nordic. Frank and Mary and the kids
sailed from Santa Cruz about five years ago and as I write this are celebrating
crossing their outbound path at Manzanillo, completing their circumnavigation.
Our friends on Delphis will complete theirs in Zihuatenejo. As we've mentioned,
one of the peculiarities of Maverick's circumnavigation is that we will not
complete it until we get to the shipping channel outside the Golden Gate. On a
technicality, however, as both Mr. Shrode and the Captain have sailed up the
coast from San Diego to San Francisco on Maverick, and since in order to say
you've circumnavigated you needn't have done it all on the same voyage, we will
be able to claim ours in San Diego. But we won't.
We intended on sailing from Huatulco directly to Zihuatenejo, but we didn't make
it. After the quick stop in Escondido we noticed the transmission was not
reliably engaging in forward. That's no big deal at sea, but of course it will
finally fail when you are maneuvering in close quarters in a harbor. We
determined to head for Acapulco to see if repairs could be made. We're now
veterans of the process of arranging for serious repairs in countries that may
not have US-style equipment or access to parts. We have to be out of this area
of Mexico, or actually all of Mexico, by June 1st because of the threat of
hurricanes. And of course, everyone calls Mexico "Mananaland." I feared the
worst, as we still had a long way to go to San Diego.
We entered Acapulco late on Tuesday the 8th of April, and anchored in about 70
feet. The harbor is a mushroom-shaped bay about the size of the central San
Francisco Bay bordered by Angel Island, the Golden Gate Bridge, the City, and
Treasure Island, and it's almost as pretty as ours. During the daytime, Acapulco
seems a typical modern city with high-rises crowding the shore, but at night you
see that the surrounding hills make a natural bowl, and the lights twinkling
from the houses on the hillsides create a beautiful frame for a painting that
features Maverick at anchor, right in the center.
The next day, Wednesday, we were referred to a mechanic named Oscar Rodriguez.
We managed to track him down on his cell phone and made an appointment for
Thursday for him to see the transmission. When he told us on Thursday that the
engine would have to be removed and the transmission rebuilt, my heart sank.
When could it be done? He said he would start it the next day (Friday) and could
have it back in the boat the first of the week. I couldn't believe my ears, and
although he seemed knowledgeable and honest, I had to ask him two or three
times. I still didn't believe it. But by Tuesday afternoon, we had completed sea
trials and were ready to leave the next morning. The price was about $850. By
comparison, the job of rebuilding both the engine and transmission, carried out
soon before our departure by a respected and well-known shop in the Bay Area,
had taken something like two months and the cost of the transmission rebuild was
much higher. And of course, now both the engine and transmission have required
major repairs since we left. (I don't want to blame the shop for this; it could
be just luck, so I'd rather not say who they are. I will say that it was NOT
British Marine in Alameda, who have been incredibly resourceful and reliable in
providing parts and advice since we've left, and who I would recommend
Other than that, the big deal in Acapulco was seeing the cliff divers. It costs
$2.50 which includes a beer and it's just about worth it.
By the time we arrived in "Z-Town" as the cruisers call it, we didn't have the
leisure to stay. But I saw one feature of the town that I've never read about.
It's another mushroom-shaped bay, about a quarter of the size of Acapulco. The
beaches surrounding the bay are chock-a-bloc with resorts, but higher, on the
hills overlooking the bay where you'd figure the rich folks live, are plywood,
one-room shacks that have the look of extreme poverty. Their occupants have a
perfect view of the folks frolicking at the resorts, and the luxury yachts in
the harbor. OK, Maverick's not really a luxury yacht but you get the picture.
We left the next morning without going ashore and motored the entire 180 miles
to Manzanillo. Here Mr. Shrode will get a respite from the Captain's strict
discipline while he (the Captain, you fool) takes shore leave with Theresa at
Las Hadas. This is the famous and painfully expensive resort where the movie
"10" was made with Bo Derek. The male star was Dudley Moore, who was about as
tall as the Captain. Bo Derek isn't really as stupid as everyone said, but when
she was asked to make the sequel, "11," she had to be told that that was the
next number. I have sent Theresa my instructions that she must bleach her hair
blonde and put it up in cornrows, and I anxiously await her response.