Las Hadas to Zihuatanejo

We arrived into Las Hadas in the first week of Feb, we covered this place a lot last year when we anchored here, it’s an interesting spot, but we were here just to provision. There’s some great big fancy supermarkets a short walk away, so Kathy is able to stock up on vegan food. The main highlight of our visit was making friends with a couple of Americans, Grey and Sarah, it’s often 50/50 when you meet new people from the States, but we were pleased to find these guys were very firmly in the right 50%. We had dinner with them later in Zihuatanejo before they had to run down to Chiapas and haulout and return to work. We swapped many notes and I hope to meet up with them later this year when we return to Sister Midnight in Chiapas.

Sailing south to Zihuatanejo

Isla Grande 8th Feb 2024
Sarah and Grey left very early from Las Hadas and we followed an hour later to make a long day sail to Isla Grande, a lovely island just off Ixtapa.
The Pacific has some big swells running at the moment and we arrived just after sunset and had to anchor in the dark as the twilight had just disappeared. We tried to tuck in behind a rocky outcrop to avoid the swell. As we were manoeuvring a catamaran appeared in front of us, it was anchored but with no lights on at all. I don’t know why people think that’s acceptable. It was made worse by many bright lights behind it on the shore.
We didn’t make great speed on the way, and the light wind didn’t help, but mostly the growth on the hull was a problem, and I confirmed this with a swim under the boat the next day.

The following morning, after a somewhat rolly night, we upped anchor and scooted the 7 or so miles south to the slightly better protected bay at Zihuatanejo. Here we anchored close to the shore in relative calm.

We love Zi, and made use of the supermarkets, the great mercado and the local provisions. Hilda & Ismael provide a service to boaters and will bring you water/fuel/propane, take your laundry etc etc. A great service and delivered to you at anchor.

We arrived just in time for the Zihuatanejo Sailfest Festival. Lots of boats take part, 20-30 this year, and various events like sunset sails with paying guests, a sponsored race and regatta, all to raise money for the charity ‘Por Los Niños’ (for the children). This is a great charity that raises many thousands of pounds each year to pay for schools, school refurbs, tutoring etc. It has been going on for decades and can claim to have had a major impact on many kids’ life outcomes over the years.

I had the bottom cleaned and the diver pointed out the anode had completely eroded away, leaving the expensive MaxProp vulnerable to attack. I provided him with a new anode to fit, I always carry spares, but it would seem I had bought one that was too small. So we decided to order some online and wait here for 10 days for it to arrive. It did look fine to me just a week before, so I’m mighty confused. In the meantime, I’m hanging a grounded zinc over the stern close to the prop hoping this will help. I don’t expect it will, but psychologically it feels better. The idea of a £4000 prop melting away isn’t great.

Rally day

Or possibly race day

A printing press?

The anodes arrived along with a new water foot pump and a repair kit for my engine water pump shaft.

A lovely new foot pump

I made short work of fitting the foot pump and the sleeve for the shaft on the water pump is stowed for another day.

However it seems I have repeated my mistake with the zinc anodes for the prop. Three shiny new ones arrived and they are the wrong size, 63mm and it seems they should be 70mm. I fell for the advert that said they were universal and fitted all maxprop classic models. They don’t. Further investigation revealed a pull down size list on that showed the option for the 70mm version, which if I had checked my notes, I would have realised, that’s what I have.
So back to Amazon, and as I write this my anodes have left California, been processed in Ontario Canada, sent onto and processed in LA and today arrived and left the facility in Cincinatti Ohio. I think tomorrow they should arrive in Mexico and on Tuesday arrive in Zi, where they will sit up the road from here for 5 days before they are delivered. I have a diver booked for three days after they arrive to clean the hull and fit the zinc. Fingers crossed.

We decided to treat ourselves to a very posh meal at a very posh restaurant, as they had an excellent vegan menu. By Mexican standards it was a little pricey, but worth every penny.

Sunset as desert arrived

La Ropa, the beach opposite the main town.

In the meantime we have decided to sit tight and enjoy the guitar festival that started yesterday (2nd March). This is quite a big deal here, some very famous acts appear at various venues around town, the artists travel from around the world to take part and perform for free. The proceeds of the festival go to providing music education in the local schools. We bought tickets for the opening concert where about ten of the acts performed a couple of ‘taster’ songs each. It was great except for a group of drunken gringo women who insisted on yapping loudly during the performances.

Below is the scene from a local coffee shop where Steph and Stu from the English boat Matador performed. There are many similar performances all over town over the next few weeks. Zi is a very musical place.

Hopefully in the next 7 days the zincs will arrive because I have the diver booked for 8am to fit them on Monday 15th, once fitted we haul anchor and head south. One stop before we arrive in hurricane devastated Acapulco. This will be interesting, late last year hurricane Otis, a Cat 5 Hurricane (peak winds of 165 mph), the most destructive and expensive in Mexican history hit. There were many marinas here before, they have all gone, many boats too, I understand the coast is littered with luxury yachts and many smaller boats. The harbour is full of sunken debris. The resort was a major tourist destination, and many high rise hotels were stripped bare of fixtures and fittings by the strength of the storm, rooms were suctioned of all their contents and all that remains are the shells of building. Much worse was the human cost with 52 lives lost and many missing and many injured.
From Acapulco we continue south and should arrive at Marina Chiapas near the Guatemalan border at the start of April, from where Kathy will fly home and I will work on the boat. It’s a marina so I can do some of the jobs that are difficult at anchor, like untwisting the anchor chain. I will haul out there then fly home for the summer.

Paul Collister 3rd March 2024

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