Trip Reports

Acapulco (21-Apr-2003-17-00):
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 unreservedly.)

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.

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