Saturday, March 13, 2010

Manzanillo – Sailfish, Tsunamis, and Sushi

Note there is actually no sushi in this post - it just sounded good in the title...

It is hard to believe we have been in Manzanillo for over two weeks, anchored for the most part off Las Hadas resort where the movie, Ten, with Dudley Moore and Bo Derek was filmed. The anchorage here has been quite lively with up to 25 boats closely packed behind the resort's breakwater.

Las Hadas anchorage

Las Hadas resort from the anchorage
We sailed down from Tenacatita to Carrizal anchorage at the entrance to Manzanillo Bay with very light winds, passing Bara de Navidad in the early afternoon and the Manzanillo airport around supper. The wind died completely as the sun set and we motored the last two hours intoCarrizal, anchoring in the dark near the sailing boat, Lovely Rita, the only other occupant of this remote anchorage.

City of Manzanillo from mirador

Rani & Chris in front of sailfish - Manzanillo claims to be the sailfish capitol of the world
The next day, a big southerly swell made the anchorage too rocky to linger, so we sailed to Las Hadas, where our friends Marv and Ardy were anchored along with another 20 or so boats. We spent the next day in downtown Manzanillo, taking the inexpensive (6 peso) bus and visiting the famous sailfish statue, and a surprising veggie cafe for lunch. Much of the town climbs up hills overlooking the port on one side and a massive coal fired power plant on another. We climbed up through the winding stairs to a viewpoint and down the other side to a volcanic sand beach before retracing our steps and returning to the anchorage. That night we walked out to the main street (a strenuous journey over winding cobble stoned streets) to watch the Carnival parade.

Someone appears to live in this tiny makeshift beach shelter.

Chinese float in Carnival parade

Carnival dancer

Another nicely decorated dancer

The parade reminded us of the one we had seen in Guaymas a year earlier. The recipe for success in this one was to find the largest flatbed truck possible, fit it out with a sound system appropriate for a Rolling Stones concert, decorate it with something colourful, and persuade at least a half dozen very scantily clad young women to dance provocatively amongst the decorations. Some floats had themes beyond this, including a Gold's Gym float with well built scantily clad men, a couple of transvestite floats, and a Chinese one.
Gold's gym float.

By coincidence we bumped into the only person I know in Manzanillo at the parade. Dave Wilkinson is a neighbor from Esquimalt who has a winter home in Santiago, just outside Manzanillo. We had planned to hook up via email, but for some odd reason we ended up in the same location on the crowded 3 mile long parade route that night. Over the next couple of weeks we visited Dave and later his family (Katie and daughters Mariah and Rebecca who flew in a few days later) at their beach front home. in addition to entertaining us, they were kind enough to let us use their shower and do laundry – luxuries highly valued by water-starved cruisers.

Chris and Dave returning from a body surfing expedition.

Dave was in the process of building a home on an adjacent lot to use as a vacation rental property and the excavation for the foundations was just getting underway when we arrived. There were no clearances between the building lot, Dave's driveway, and the neighbor's house, so needless to say there were a few tense moments over the next few days as the hole grew deeper and Dave worked out ways to ensure that the neighbor's house and his own driveway did not end up in the pit. So far he has been successful with the house, but much of the driveway will need to be replaced. The foundation pour begins today.

Rebecca and Dave barbecuing vegetables & shrimp - yum.
During Dave's bachelor days, we sailed over one day and anchored off his surfy beach, kayaking in with a boat-cooked lunch. We nearly capsized in one wave, and then forgot a sauce pan and had to paddle back out through the surf, getting soaked in the process. After lunch Dave and I went for a swim and he showed me how to body surf. The waves here can get pretty big and we had a few good runs, although I got pretty badly dumped when a wave curled on top of me, twisting my body like a licorice twizzler and pile driving my head into the sand.

Chris, Rebecca, and Katie in their lovely beach front home in Santiago
Apart from visiting with Dave and Katie, we have been enjoying the facilities at Las Hadas, especially the great pool. This resort, which literally means 'The Fairies', is a beautifully built series of wings and towers overlooking the anchorage. There are private pools in many suites and charming lanes and alleys connect the various wings. Each tower is different and built in a fanciful style. There are sculptures of winged fairies and gargoyles, and mosaic walkways wind between the buildings. The place seemed quite empty however, perhaps reflecting a downturn in tourism, but more likely because the prices are a bit steep here (the nearby more family-oriented Karmina Palace appeared to be quite full). If I had heaps of money this would be a fun place to have a wedding.

The pools at Las Hadas

Enjoying the pool.

Jo and Rob enjoying the pool.
We also had a tsunami scare here shortly after arriving. All boats but one left the anchorage and motored out into deep water after a major earthquake struck Chile. We received two hours warning before the tsunami was expected to reach Manzanillo. It was a bit of an anti climax, with the water rising only a few inches, imperceptible to all but the most careful observer.
Blue Moon arrived a few days after we did and we have spent some pleasant evenings with Jo and Rob and with two new friends on the steel sailboat, Blue Bottle (named for a character in BBC radio's vintage Goon Show). Joe on Blue Bottle is an accomplished Ukelele, Banjo, and Guitar player and we all had great fun trying to play each other's music on our assortment of stringed and wind instruments. Adrienne, Joe's other half, joined in on vocals, and Rob and Rani rounded out the percussion section.

Jamming on Blue Moon with Rob and Jo.

The following video features sailors/musicians Joe Blake, Chris Bennett and Jo Woollacott playing banjo, ukelele and guitar aboard  sv Blue Moon. Vocals, percussion and monkey impressions gamely provided by Adrienne, Ernie, Rob and Rani. The Monkey Song or " When You Grow Old " is one of Rani's favourites and we thank Joe Blake for sharing it with us.

Ukelele maestro, Joe from Blue Bottle. Ernie Kruell from Morgana, whom we first met in Coos Bay on our way down to Mexico is in the background

Chris tunes up his uke with Adrienne from Blue Bottle ready to join in the next song.
Sadly all good things must end. Blue Bottle is off across the Pacific, while Blue Moon heads for El Salvador, and Ladybug returns to the Sea of Cortez for another season. We leave today to begin our trip north.

1 comment:

John's Arts & Crafts said...

Great blog & photos! New Blog on the Hx. of the Ladybug: