February 2011
Puerto Madero, our first port of call in Mexico, is located next to the bustling city of Tapachula.  The southern most, commercial center surrounded by volcanos.  Not many tourists venture into this town, unless they are heading toward Guatemala.  Sitting on the plaza enjoying delicious tacos, we were bon-barded by entrepreneurs, selling their wares.  At least we re-loaded our DVD collection.   
In developing countries we always enjoy the local transportation, the likes of which would not be allowed in the USA.  Phoebe and Drake in the back of a covered pick-up truck on the way to town.  We visited the local Sam's club and were even able to re-new our card, which expired five years ago.  Guess we are getting closer to America.  So many choices.
While enjoying your fresh tuna it probably came from this fish killing machine.  It took all day for them to load the net.  The same boat showed up in Mazatlan. Puerto Madero is the port that most yachts wait for a good weather window to cross the notorious gulf of Tehuantepec.  The gales are strong northerly winds that funnel through gaps in the Sierra Madre Mountains and spill out it the gulf.  The winds in this area usually reach hurricane force.  We watched and listened to the weather on the single side band everyday and waited for a 48-72 hour window with zero wind predicted. 
Our weather window opened, however it was a short one, only 48 hours.  We checked out, and for the second time, had the Mexican Navy board the boat, with a dog, to make sure we were not taking anything we weren't supposed to.  At 18:00 we were underway.  The weather was calm with a 1.5 meter swell.  We had just finished dinner, put the dishes away and were getting into our routine when we noticed a small fishing boat.  Next thing you know we saw a floating gill net and immediately put the boat into neutral, too late.  It was 21:00 and very dark, with no moon, thankfully the weather was calm.  We immediately got the dive tank out and our hookah, the Pelican flash light and a pair of scissors.  I jumped in and proceeded to cut away at the net, trying not to get caught in it myself, or think of what was lurking below.  After half an hour, we were back underway.  Acapulco here we come.  Above you can see how calm the crossing was, a sea bird floating on top of a turtle.
The metropolis of Acapulco. Hotels and beaches.
Blue Sky, flying her Blue Sky soda flag anchored off the mega hotels of Acapulco.
All the negative media in the US about Mexico, translates into tourism way down. We found that all the hotels were very eager to have us utilize their facilities and large refreshing pools.  We thoroughly enjoyed our stay in Acapulco and never felt un-safe or threatened.  With Phoebe and Drake we are back on the boat early before the evening chaos starts.  Fuerte de San Diego, was one of the best preserved and impressive forts/museums we have seen.  Built in 1616, its mission was to protect from marauding Dutch and English buccaneers.  The Spanish Galleons had established a successful trading route between the Phillipines and Mexico. 
Fuerte de San Diego
The famous clavadistas, cliff divers, of Acapulco, have been performing for audiences since 1934.  They free climb up the 35 m cliff face and swan dive from various points on the rock wall, into a narrow ocean cove below.  Prior to each dive they pray to the small shrines located on top of the cliff.  This is a must do if you ever go to Acapulco.
Three men ascending the cliff at various stages.  Two at the very top, one of which did a double flip into the water. 
The Club de Yates, Acapulco is a first class yacht club.  Bring a card from any other yacht club in the world, in order to utilize the factilities for free.  Otherwise there is a daily fee of $50.00 a day.   We met s/v Lisa Kay with their son Ben and spent some fun days at the pool with them.
The photograph above,is of Jim at the wheel with Phoebe & Drake as we actually cross our 2006 track.  Jim is concentrating on the GPS to shout out the exact moment.  Later at anchor Jim gatherered all of the courtesy flags that we have needed throughout our voyage and strings them together to dress ship and show where we have been. 
In Zihuatanejo we met up with some very dear friends, whom we met in Ensenada while re-fitting Blue Sky and then again in Puerto Vallarta, prior to our departure.  Chris Machado from s/v La Ballona with Phoebe.
Dave from s/v Maluhea, whom we also met five years ago in Puerto Vallarta, and Jim from s/v Ballona (Chris' husband.)
Having been to Zihuatanejo before, it was nice to actually know where to park the dinghy and what the town was like.  We enjoyed visiting our favorite places, like the Hotel Irma, the pink building to the right.  They have great food and a refreshing pool.  When we were here six years ago it was very hot, this year we are surprised at how cool the air and water temperature is. 
The Hotel Irma above and the view from the pool below.
Blue Sky participated in the two hour parade, where tourist donated money for the chance to ride on a sail boat.  Our guests, above and below,  included Perri, Louis, Doug and Gloria, all visiting from Canada.  We enjoyed our time in Z-town and participating in SailFest. 
A young artist painting along the Malecon.

create & buy custom products at Zazzle
Leaving Acapulco was bitter sweet but our next port of call was Zihuatenejo a major event for the crew of s/v Blue Sky.  It was back in 2006 that we first went to Z-Town and this means that we will be crossing our southernmost track in the North Pacific.
CIRCUMNAVIGATION!
SailFest is a fund raising event for the education of disadvantaged children in Zihuatanejo.  The annual event is one of Mexico's premier sailing events.  It is a five day festival that combines fun and games, a pursuit race and boat parade.  This year five schools and more than 1000 underpriviledged children will benefit from the proceeds.  Raising over $36,000, this includes a matching grant from the Bellack Foundation.  Materials are bought and dontated to build and renovate the schools, and scholarships are given to top students.  The funds are administered by Por Los Ninos de Zihuatanejo, a Mexican registered non-profit organization, established to administer the money raised by SailFest.
A nine member advisory committee composed of bi-lingual Mexican educators, representatives from the sailing community and international residents make all the funding decisions. Pamela Bendall, did a fantastic job organizing the events this year. For more information you can see the SailFest web site or click here for the Latitude 38 story on the event.
(Click  to see article in Latitude 38.)