Sunday, January 23, 2011

Barra de Navidad, Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo, Troncones & Saladita

We left La Cruz and sailed south across Banderas Bay, heading for Barra de Navidad. The trip was uneventful except for a pod of three whales that crossed our path. The most forward one spouted of our starboard beam and it was LOUD! It was so close I could have sworn its head was under our stern.

Two days later we arrived in Barra de Navidad, a charming little town alive and bustling with beach-goers. The marina is part of a beautiful five star resort with pools, tennis courts, and yoga on the beach every day.


The town is separated from the resort by the narrow mouth of a large placid lagoon, so going to town necessitates the service of a water taxi. Just call them up on VHF 22: “Taxi Aquatico, Taxi Aquatico, this is El Tiburon,” and a panga will pick you up in ten minutes. And you can’t beat the price: ten pesos per person each way.

Water taxi dock in Barra de Navidad

The French Baker can be reached on VHF 23 and he’ll come to your boat to deliver fresh buttery croissants and crunchy baguettes. Be sure to let him know in advance if you want a ham and cheese croissant with b├ęchamel, as they sell out first. What service!


We rang in the new year with our friends Maja, Laurent, and John from Windsong in a biker bar in town and watched the massive fireworks display.


Our next stop was Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo. We stayed in the marina in Ixtapa and it was unremarkable except for the large crocodile I saw swimming along serenely next to the dock. Kitty was kept on a very short leash after that and we walked only in the middle of the dock.

Sadly, Andrew had to fly home for a conference and his flight was out of Acapulco. We rented a car and prepared for a three-hour drive south. It turned out to be a five-hour drive on a rural two-lane highway, with vicious speed bumps at every little pueblo and dirt dappled children who stood on the speed bumps selling candies or bags of peanuts.

Eventually we got to Acapulco but had to drive through the sprawling crowded city to get to the airport on the other side and of course, we didn’t know how to get there. Waiting at a stoplight, we motioned to a gentleman to roll down his window and asked him how to get to the airport. He responded with a rapid string of Spanish words we could barely understand except I thought I heard him say “Sigame,” and for some reason I thought that might have meant “Follow me.” We followed him for a number of hectic blocks before we started to doubt that “sigame” meant “follow me” or that he’d even said “sigame” at all, and we attempted to make a left turn. The two of our cars were stopped in traffic at a diagonal from one another when I glanced back and saw our guide looking at me and motioning vigorously with both arms, jabbing his pointed fingers towards his steering wheel. I took that to mean he meant us to keep following him. We made an awkward three-point turn and were once again behind our kindly leader.

At this point, it was about forty minutes before Andrew’s international flight was scheduled to leave, and because he’d thought he’d be at the airport by now, he had set up an important conference call. He had to take it. Oh, and did I mention that he was also the one driving? And the car was a stick shift. As John was in the passenger seat, he assisted Andrew by alternately holding the phone next to his ear and shifting the gears, all while we were trying to follow a nimble and expeditious Mexican driver through the packed streets of Acapulco. Soon we began to see signs for the airport and were relieved to find our guide had not led us astray. Andrew wrapped us his call as we pulled into departures, now with only fifteen minutes before takeoff. He ran to check in and check his baggage (our broken propeller) and made the flight. What a feat it was!

While Andrew was gone, John, Luke, and I drove north of Zihuatanejo to a surf town called Troncones, then stayed in a comfy beachside house in Saladita where the waves were perfect. That night we had a massive feast of roadside chicken and beef tacos for a total of six dollars. I woke up in the morning to find this guy staring at me right outside my window:



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