Log #63c Acapulco to Huatulco

November 3, 2019 in Log Series 60-69, Logs by Series, Series 63, The Logs, Uncategorized

Log #63c Acapulco to Huatulco

Bahia Del Sol, El Salvador

Dec. 12, 2018

We were “stuck” in Club des Yachtes de Acapulco (16 50.225’N, 099 54.269’W – see map at the end of this log) for nine days (Nov. 18 to the 27th) getting things fixed. The old adage that “cruising gives one the opportunity to do maintenance in exotic locations” held true, although being stuck in Acapulco was not onerous. There were two main problems needing to be fixed. The first was that I could not get the engine to go into reverse gear. That was caused by a drip from the mixing elbow causing an accumulation of salt on the mechanism. Once the salt was cleared off it worked better. However we had to address the source of the leak and found the elbow was badly corroded, and a salt stalactite several inches long had accumulated. The pipe which had been replaced just last year in San Carlos was not stainless steel and needed to be replaced once again. 

The next problem was with our alternator which was replaced in Manzanillo, as it did not stop charging and would overcharge our batteries. It was replaced again but had the same problem. A second mechanic identified that the alternator did not have a regulator, and an external automotive regulator was then attached, and worked OK, except our tachometer was still not working. To remedy such was too complicated and so we still do not have a functioning tachometer.

The new and old mixing elbows

The yacht club was quite luxurious. We had the use of all facilities for a reduced price of only $1.00 a foot as we were from the North Channel Yacht Club.

The large swimming pool had a hot tub (that was actually hot) beneath the canopy beside it, and lounge chairs, cushions and towels were provided. Happiness was that we could get WiFi from the boat. The water on the docks was not potable and so we trundled a dozen 10-litre jugs from the local OXO around the corner.


Swimming pool and hot tub

The only negative aspect was that the docks did not have any cleats. This was a major problem when we came alongside, un-aided, without having a reverse gear to stop the boat. Fortunately, I coasted up slowly enough to be stopped before hitting the end of the slip. They were fixed cement docks which meant the lines had to be slack enough to accommodate the rise and fall of the tide. With floating docks, such is not a problem.


                                                                                                                    No cleats on the docks

To secure the boat, lines had to be tied to chain loops beneath the docks, awkward to get to. In addition the lines frayed rubbing against the concrete base when the tide rose. We broke two lines on this problem.

Frayed line

The yacht club was over on the inside of the Caleta peninsula of the bay, with good local transportation available by taxis (many old VW beetles), collectivos (small minivans), and other local buses (old school buses garishly painted on the outside).

VW Beetle Taxis

Lots of old VW Beetles

We took a VW beetle taxi up to the Botanical Gardens of Loyola University on the mountainside overlooking Acapulco, and it had a hard time climbing the paved road, needing to shift down to first gear to make it. The gardens were nice tropical vegetation, but no birds were seen. It provided a good view of Acapulco across the bay.

Another trip we took was to the Fuerte de San Diego, the well restored pentagonal fortress overlooking Acapulco Bay, initially built in 1616 to protect the Mexico-Philippine trade of Spanish galleons from English and Dutch pirates including Cavendish and Sir Francis Drake.                                  Model of the Fort

Entrance to Fuerte de San Diego 

Such trade was severely curtailed after Mexican Independence and the Spanish-American War of 1898. The fort houses the Museo Historico de Acapulco, its displays and history of the area well done, and in appreciatively air conditioned casemates of the fort.

Wandering down from the fort we came across a small maritime museum featuring exquisite half models of early sailing ships and other nautical memorabilia. The curator was most helpful in explaining how the ships were designed, including capstans and early steering mechanisms.

 Another interesting series of photographs were of the decommissioned Royal Canadian Navy destroyer HMCS Restigouche being sunk as an artificial reef in the bay. Another Canadian destroyer, HMCS Gatineau, was also sunk just outside the bay as well. 

From there we continued down into the old part of town to the Zocalo plaza in front of the colourfully blue-domed neo-Byzantine Nuestra Senora de la Soledad Cathedral. There were well attended masses going on each time we were in the plaza over the next few days. The park was a popular area alive with street performers, tourist hutches selling blankets, sombreros, and colourful blouses, shirts and jewellery. One of the times we were there a Sunday night performance of traditional Mexican music and dancing entertained the crowds. The only negative aspect was that there was not a good restaurant in the square, or nearby, and we did not want to chance the local fast food kiosks. The one restaurant we went to was disappointing.

There are a variety of other tourist attractions including luxurious beaches, scuba diving, bungee jumping, paragliding, casinos, and the spectacular cliff divers off the cliffs of the Caleta peninsula, none of which we participated in or watched. Beaches for us are now passḗ.

After we got the external regulator installed, we left just before noon hour for a 147-mile passage to Punta Galera. On our way out we saw another failed resort development that has stalled, uncompleted for years after the money ran out. We have seen such failed condominium developments in many of the resort areas we have visited.


                               Skeleton of a failed resort condominium

We anchored in the shallow bay of Punta Galers (15⁰ 58.145′ N, 097⁰ 40.245′ W) where there is a lagoon for bird watching. However, when we were there, no pangas came out to take us in, and we were not able to raise any of the restaurants for assistance. Too early in the season I guess. As the anchorage was quite rolly, we decide to shove on and went another 97 nautical miles down to anchor in Huatulco (15⁰ 45.152′ N, 096⁰ 07.672′ W), for a total passage from Acapulco of 244 nautical miles in 46 hours.