sailing homepage : trip reports : 5: pv to zihuatanejo : zihuatanejo

Jan 27-29: Passage from Manzanillo to Zihuatanejo, overnight trip with a stop at Marauta Cove, catching skipjack tuna, hauling ass south for the sailing festival

We bummed around the Las Hadas Resort all day long, working on some web stuff, reading, and being super lazy. After our wonderful Colima road trip we weren't in any hurry to go anywhere; relaxing was just what the doctor ordered. Just before sunset we quickly put away the windscoop, hauled Purpeat back on deck, and prepped the boat for the 170nm trip down to Zihuatanejo before it got dark.

Sunset at the Las Hadas anchorage


Will enjoys the first watch

We left at 3AM, timed so we would arrive in Zihua in the morning a day later, and immediately discovered one of our navigation lights had gone out. It turns out a crimped connection had vibrated itself apart, and I would have to dig out the soldering iron and extension cord to fix it. No way, we just zip-tied one of our waterproof red-LED headlights to the bow rail! It worked perfectly.

Great sailing wind


Amazing colours

We had some surprisingly good wind for sailing, a great off-shore breeze that stayed with us almost all day. It was a nice change of scenery not to be running with the wind, and if it would only hold we would have a great trip back north. With the wind blowing off- or on-shore, we would be beam-reaching - Wanderlust's preferred point of sail.

Perfectly flat seas


Nicely trimmed sails

Better yet, with the wind coming off the shore there weren't even many waves! We had some swell coming with us from the north, but no wind waves to speak of. It was really wonderful, one of those days where everything feels perfect. We lounged around, occasionally trimming the sails, but the intensity and direction of the wind barely changed all day.

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I miscalculated how long the engine had been running since our last fillup, and managed to convince myself that we needed to add diesel to avoid running out if we needed the motor overnight. Refueling while underway is a tricky operation. We first use towels around the filler hole - we can't have ANY water or debris introduced into the tank - and then pour the diesel through our huge 20gpm filter.

The filter removes large particulates, like dirt or sand or organic growth in the fuel, but it's also a great funnel. It perfectly fits the filler hole and the filter is so large we can put five gallons of diesel in without spilling a drop - even while the boat is sailing along!

Heavier than it looks



It was a good thing I was pouring slowly, otherwise I wouldn't have heard the tank filling up. In all we put in six gallons, so it had been a totally unnecessary operation. Oh well. At least we were absolutely sure we had enough fuel!

We were making good time and were feeling pretty tired from the early start, so when we saw that we were approaching a mid-way anchorage called Marauta Cove, we decided to duck in for a few hours sleep.

Marauta is behind those rocks


The small anchorage

In retrospect it wasn't the best plan: the anchorage wasn't great and we spent an hour making sure the hook was set securely, and the wind blew nicely for the four or five hours we were resting. When we pulled out of Marauta at midnight the perfect wind had mellowed and we found ourselves motoring south instead. Drats. It was nice to rest up, and we were chipper the rest of the day, but I think we should have pressed on while the conditions were good.

The midnight to six AM watch was easy, our red-LED headlight was serving nicely as a nav light, and we were again blessed with another perfect sunrise.

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I can't stop myself from taking hundreds of pictures every time the sun comes up or goes down, but even the best picture doesn't seem to quite capture the colours.

Sunrise off the bow


Calm morning

Just before sunrise I had let out the fishing lines and within half an hour we had two hits! Normally this is a good thing, but these tunas wanted to punish us for catching them, so they somehow managed to totally tangle the three lines we were dragging. It took an hour to untangle the lines enough to separate the first fish!

Two tunas on the hook!


What a tangled mess

Both were little beauties: skipjack tuna, 10-15lbs. The meat is red and oily, but it marinates well with soy sauce and honey, and they're easy to clean. We used our new fish bonker to stun them, and drowned them quickly in tequila. What a way to go.

Hello fishy!


Goodbye fishy!

After dispatching our catch, we make cuts behind their gills and at the base of their tails, then chuck them back in the water for ten or fifteen minutes to bleed out. Fish blood stinks and is a real pain to clean off the decks, and this saves us a lot of work.

Unfortunately it also allows the dead fish to somehow escape the hook. I think it was because we were dragging them too close behind the boat, so much of the line was tangled we couldn't let them further out; the bigger of the two was gone when we hauled in the line to clean him. Sara was pissed: she starts salivating as soon as we see we've caught something, and her mood sours if anything gets in the way of her dinner. No matter, the smaller tuna was perfect for two, and was just delicious.

Two fish bleeding out


Kiss goodbye

The wind on the second day was too light to sail and the motor droned away all day. We had some cloud coverage which relieved the temperatures somewhat, so all in all it was another relaxing day at sea.

We arrived outside Zihuatanejo's nicely-protected bay at about 4PM, just a bit behind schedule given our six-hour stopover at Marauta. The bay was packed with boats, and it was another two hours before we had found a good spot, put out bow and stern anchors, and were settled in for the night.

Sara guides us in


Zihua anchorage

Overnights are tough, they really tax you, but this was one of our most pleasant multi-day passages to date. Maybe we're getting into the swing of things. I'd love to go to Hawaii someday and really experience what it's like to sail for two weeks straight.

We slept well, excited to see what the Zihuatanejo Sailfest had in store for us.