Zihuatenejo, Mexico, February 2004
February 2, 2004

We’re anchored in Zihuatanejo (located about 100 miles north of Acapulco) in the state of
Guerrero.  (I was asked to give more specifics about our locations).    We’re about 50 yards off
of Playa La Ropa (how is that for specific?), anchored near two other boats, Pegasus and
Lemuria, with similar age kids.  Our “typical” day consists of:  getting up at about 6:30 a.m.
(Central Standard Time), having some breakfast, turning on the Amigo net at 8:00 a.m. to
listen to the weather and hear reports from other cruising boats (on passages and
anchored/in a marina), school starts around 8:30—although at this point its difficult because
we are listening on the SSB to the Amigo net and then listening to the VHF radio for the
Zihuatanejo local net—so, if by some slight chance one of our dear students is not motivated
to self-start—some times school doesn’t start until 9:00.  By noon, school work is usually
complete for the day.  The kids then contact the other kids on boats to see if they are “ready
to play”.  The kids invariably head to the beach—boogie boarding, swimming and sand castle
building.  The parents then do whatever they need to do and then prepare for the 3:00
Zihuatanejo swim team practice—where we swim about ½ mile and end up at the beach,  
Then, we walk/run the beach and decide we’re thirsty—those that are so inclined get a beer.  
Then we talk about the day as we hang out on the beach and watch the kids.  We swim back
to the boats and spend the evening on the boat—with a gorgeous view of the sunset.  

Martin is also taking guitar lessons—three times per week.  He is loving it!  A musician who
formerly played with the Beach Boys and is a famous surfer - Corky Carroll- plays at the local
“yacht club”.  The night we went to see him- his voice had given out on him (he said from a
party, others said because he yells when he catches a good wave).  Martin was in deep
admiration of him and enthusiastically shared his opinion, “The Beach Boys are better than
the Beatles.”

This is very delightful.  It is nice to have other families close by.  Again, we would like to have a
balance of cruising friends and “natives”.  We participated in Sailfest which was a flurry of
activity—all fun, but very reminiscent of our filled to the brim calendars in the Bay Area.  We
were in the regatta (finished 4th of 11 entrants),  in a parade, in a treasure hunt with dinghies
and kayaks—you get the picture.  The Sailfest benefits the Indian (Nahua—part of the Aztec
tribes) school  here.  We were fortunate to have the director of the school and three children
from the school with us on the sailboat parade.  The director of the school, Marina—is an
amazing woman.  Petite, but full of direction and purpose. She had the vision for this school
and started it without government backing.  The school now has an enrollment of 325 and is
now recognized by the government.   I look forward to working more with the school in the next
couple of weeks.  They are also teaching the native Indian (Nahuatl) language to the
children—so it doesn’t get lost and they keep a thread of their heritage!

Our stop before Zihuatanejo was Tenacatita (Emily liked the name so much she wanted to
change her name).  Tenacatita is located about 50 miles north of Manzanillo.  Our short stay
there involved a wild dinghy ride through a mangrove river, some snorkeling, going to town
called St. Patrick de Melaque (Irish mercenaries helping the US against Mexico-in one of the
many wars- jumped ship, switched sides and settled in this town) and celebrating my 44th
birthday.    We’re looking forward to spending more time in Tenacatita on our way back up to
the Sea of Cortez.

My mood has improved one hundred percent.    I’ve got my laugh back!   It’s a combination of
exercise and having some friends.  It was hard to be so far away from those that understand
when we commemorated  the anniversary of the Columbia accident.  Its difficult to tell new
friends how your heart and soul aches.   Thank you so much for your e-mails and letting me
know of your joys and challenges.  I’m continually grateful for my family and friends.   

Our cell phone works nicely here— so please feel free to call us 650-465-0655.   On the
weekends we have more minutes.  We are in Central Standard Time here.

What we are reading:  Lou is reading--- Ingenious Pursuits and Two Year Before the Mast:  
Martin just finished the second book in Brian Jacques’s series Redwall (although the book got
a thorough dunking as we mistimed our exit from the beach near Tenacatita);  Emily is reading
Redwall now: Mary is in reading doldrums.  While on passage, I listened (on our iPod—
wonderful thing!) to Hillary Clinton read her autobiography, “Living History”.  (No revelations-
except a reminder how brutal Washington was to the Clintons—even if I correct for Hillary’s
bias).  I attempted to read Travels with Cranes by Peter Mathiessen and maybe my timing was
wrong, but I wasn’t captivated by it.  

16 February 2004

We left Zihuatanejo this morning.  It was a beautiful and magical departure as we were
escorted out of the Bay by a mother humpback whale and her calf.  The mother treated us to
a breach about 3 boat lengths in front of us!  Yippee skipee! (as my friend Stephanie says).  
And now we are under sail- we’ve been going as fast as 6.6 knots- which is wonderful since
the winds at this time of the year are usually right on the nose (from the Northwest).   It’s nice
to have Ace doing what she does best- sail!

Other magical experiences in Zihuatanejo were:  

I found a seahorse swimming right next to our boat.  He let me hold him for a little while, but
when I let him back in the water he moved quickly to the depths.  

We viewed many spectacular sunsets (my favorite pastime!)   I could sit at the bow pulpit and
watch as if the show was all for me!  

And (you’ll think I’m getting a little touched here)- I enjoyed donning scuba tanks with Lou and
cleaning Ace’s bottom.  The growth on her bottom was amazing in these warm and fertile
waters.  It was an act of grooming and love for a boat that has really taken good care of us.  
The fish that took up residence with us while we were living in Zihuatanejo enjoyed the tasty
tidbits that were being scraped off the hull.  

Waking at 3:30 in the morning to see the double treat: the Southern Cross and the Big

And, last but not least, watching Martin grin from ear to ear as he jammed with a band at the
local cruiser’s bar on the song, “Gloria”.  He’s got the chords down for “Gloria”, and we’ve
been hearing lots of it.

We’ve been out cruising for 5 months now!  Emily and Martin were queried today and both
want to keep on cruising.  Emily wants to go for another six months and return to Mountain
View.  Martin was not so specific, but he wants to keep going.  This is a big and welcome
change from 5 months ago!

Zihuatanejo has offered us an ideal location of being on anchor, yet enjoying the benefits of a
nice sized city.   We also loved the proximity to La Ropa beach so we could swim in and walk
the beach.   Did I tell you there were crocodiles on the beach?  Yes indeed!

We have enjoyed some decadent luxuries.  Lou and I won a night at a hotel from a silent
auction at the SailFest.  It was nice to stay at this hotel perched on the hill overlooking   the
beach and bay.  Emily and Martin stayed with a marvelous couple, Rich and Hope on Ceilidh.  
They have grown children, but had volunteered to take our “littles”, as Hope calls them, for the
night.  Everyone was happy for the break in routine.  Russ and Fay (friends from the Bay
area) came to Zihuatanejo for vacation.  One evening, they shared their beautiful
accommodations with us.  They had a suite overlooking La Ropa beach and Zihuatanejo bay
that had an infinity pool on the patio.  Emily and her friend, Amy (from Pegasus) were treated
by Fay to one of the simple joys to a cruiser- a shower with unlimited hot water.   Then Fay
spruced Emily and Amy up and got the rasta knots out of Emily’s hair.  They were delightfully
clean.  Russ and Lou carried the girls out on the beach and through the surf to Amy’s dad who
was waiting in a dinghy.  You wouldn’t want to get them all salted up again! Lou and I enjoyed
the sunset from the infinity pool!  

Emily had a wonderful weekend celebration of her birthday with all of the cruising kids.  It was
fun and I was happy not having to scramble around to prepare goodie bags. She is having fun
being ten.  She enjoyed the beach, boogie boarding and free boarding (boogie boarding
behind the dinghy with a tow rope).  

Our experiences with the locals have been limited in Zihuatanejo.  I wish we had done more at
the school.  Basically, we  didn’t have to speak much Spanish.   It is one of my goals to make
this more part of our cruising experience.  It is too easy to just hang out with the cruisers and
other travelers.   

Home schooling is going some better.  There is still a little bit of resistance.  We have also
enlisted the help of some other cruisers.  Emily had her writing critiqued by Michael on
Sabbatical.   Michael is a journalism professor.  He typed up his comments to Emily and gave
her some excellent examples.  He put a lot of thought into what he wrote to Emily and it made
Emily feel good and capable.  She is pouring her heart into her novel.  And it is good and
interesting.  There is a wealth of knowledge in the cruising fleet.

We really have been blessed with the cruisers we have met.  Its been nice to have the other
cruising families around and taking turns watching the kids.  But, it is also nice when we are
accepted by cruisers who aren’t cruising with kids.   Michael on Sabbatical and his friend,
Sanders treated our whole family to Valentines dinner.  Michael is “batching” it while his wife is
back at work in the states.  It was so nice to spend the evening with them—and have our
children welcomed and enjoyed by them.  We were going to sing sea chanties but we couldn’t
compete with the music coming from the beach.

What we are reading:  Martin is on his third book of the Redwall series, “Mattimeo”.  Emily is
reading Tamora Pierce’s, “Trickster’s Choice”  Lou just finished “Two Years Before the Mast”,
which gave him some ideas for dealing with mutinous crew members, and is now reading some
Isaac Asimov and Fatty Goodlander.  Mary is reading, “The Mastery of Love” and is listening
to Isabel Allende’s, “My Invented Country”on the MP3 player.

Martin, Emily and Mary will be in Kansas (to celebrate my dad’s 80th birthday and St. Patrick’s
day and to do taxes!) from March 9th-March 28th.    Lou will be “batching” it in Tenacatita or
Barra de Navidad.  He might like some company!
Emily, Amy, Heidi, Maria, Martin, hanging out on
Ace after finishing schoolwork.  We were lucky to
stay in Zihuatanejo for 3 weeks with 4 or 5 other
kid boats.  We anchored withing swimming distance
of Play La Ropa , and the kids had a blast.  At
least they’re not hanging out in a bar.
This is Ace during the Zihuatanejo
Sailfest Regatta.  It was mostly a drifting
match until the wind came up near the
end of the race.  We finished 4th out of
about12 boats.
Emily and Martin at the school for indigenous
kids in Zihuatanejo, called Netzahuacoyotl (I
think!)  The kids don’t speak Spanish at
home, but are learning it in school.  This
school was the beneficiary of the funds raised
at the Zihua Sailfest.
Marina Sanchez Hernandez is the founder
and director of the Netzahuacoyotl school,
and we were lucky to have her and some of
her best students on board Ace for the Zihua
Sailfest Parade.
Martin took guitar lessons from Steve in
Zihuatanejo for 3 weeks, and it really rejuvenated
Martin’s interest in guitar, which had been waning
after several months away from his teacher,
Terry Carleton, back home.  Martin even played
at open-mike night at Rick’s Bar in Zihuatanejo
(there they go hanging out in bars again.)