January 20, 2012

The Other Cabo

Kai and her partner Rob dropped their hook in San Jose del Cabo and were pleased by what they found.

© 2012 Rob Sanderson

When we hauled our anchor aboard our Ingrid 38 ketch Velella velella after two noisy nights in Cabo San Lucas last month, we had no goal but to get out of there. We ended up in San Jose del Cabo, about 15-20 miles to the northeast only because we’d heard they held an impressive Farmer’s Market every Saturday. A cruiser rumor worth following up on as organic produce had been hard to find since crossing the border.

African drumming and dancing delighted the crowd at the farmer’s market.

© Kai Wallin

The Farmer’s Market or Mercado Orgánico was not a myth and we spent an entire afternoon blissfully enjoying the fresh produce, artsy crafts and eclectic scene. Just when I thought it couldn’t get better, a hip bohemian crew picked up some drums and four women started dancing their hearts out. We were blown away. West African drumming and dancing is a huge passion of ours. What a treat to find it down here! When the performance was over, we strolled around the market, stocking up on juicy tomatoes, crunchy cucumbers, bags of citrus and smoked marlin. We even found one small stall selling rainbow chard and kale, just like our market back home in Port Townsend, Washington.

The variety and quality of food were a pleasant surprise.

© Kai Wallin

On our way out we swung left for some artisan bread and, as we handed over our pesos, we asked the vendors if they knew of any music that night. That little inquiry turned into an epic night of dancing at an electronica show hosted by Más Beats at a lighthouse overlooking the beach. Not bad for an unplanned stop in a town we almost sailed right by!

Fast Forward to Richardson Bay

Profiled in the February 2010 issue of Latitude 38 — just after he was "reactivated" back into the Army and shortly before he was deployed to Afghanistan — Alex Pearce is back home in Sausalito, living aboard his Cal 2-29 Shrimp Louie with his new bride Tara. Residents at Richardson Bay Marina (ex-Kappas), Alex and Tara are blessed with some of the most stunning views in the Bay Area. As a film student at the Academy of Art University in the City, Alex loves playing with new techniques, one of which is the time lapse feature of his Panasonic HMC40. His passions merged in this beautiful video shot throughout the month of December. Kind of makes you want to move aboard your boat, doesn’t it?

A Fantastic Sailing Sight in Acapulco

Acapulco has a pretty darn good racing fleet, and ideal day sailing conditions.

©2012 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

"There was lots of on-the-water action in Acapulco on Sunday, report Emily and Mark Fagan of the Arizona-based Hunter 44 Groovy. "We’d just dropped the hook at Isla Roqueta, one of the islands in the Bay, after a 13-hour sail from Papanoa, and were finishing our bean burritos when a fleet of large sailboats in an Acapulco YC regatta came barreling up the channel. What a fantastic sight it was, with Acapulco’s famous Honolulu-like beachfront high-rises in the background, and the banana boats, Jet Skis and recreational boaters weaving in and out of the sailboat fleet.

"When the leader Vincitore got a little close to Patches — I think they’re both TP 52s — as they tacked up the channel, my husband Mark said, ‘They’re gonna hit!’ ‘Nah,’ I responded, ‘that would never happen.’ Then CRUNCH! The next thing we saw was Vincitore dousing their jib and heading back home. But we had perfect ‘front row seats’ anchored just off the beach as the boats soared by on their downwind leg with spinnakers flying. What a great afternoon!"

When you race in Acapulco Bay, crew work is important, because the legs are limited by the relatively small size of the Bay.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Acapulco is one beautiful place. Its three-mile-by-three-mile tropical bay is just a little smaller than that of cruiser favorite Tenanacita Bay, 500 miles to the north. But unlike Tenacatita Bay, Acapulco is a major tourist center, and also has a port and a naval base. It’s also warmer, rimmed by taller jungle mountains — and has two million people living in the immediate area! Acapulco exploded from a village of 4,000 in the ’40s to a huge city in the ’60s that was popular with Hollywood types and international travelers. Acapulco’s popularity with the international set has declined in recent decades, but it has become more popular with Mexican tourists, in part because it’s only 190 miles from Mexico City’s 20 million (!) residents. The Acapulco area, including some malls and the nightclub area, has been the scene of some sporadic — yet horrific — narco violence. Most of it is directed at rival gangs. According to United Kingdom government travel advisories, two foreign tourists were killed by stray gunfire last year.

Pardon the heresy, but Acapulco is an even better ‘ampitheather’ for sailing than is San Francisco Bay. Nonetheless, it would be way too small to host an America’s Cup.

©2012 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

We haven’t gotten a lot of recent feedback on Acapulco from cruisers because not that many seasonal cruisers travel so far south. Acapulco is roughly 750 miles south of Cabo, which is 750 miles south of San Diego. Some cruisers have said they didn’t feel that safe in Acapulco, nor did they feel welcome at the Acapulco YC. On the other hand, other cruisers have said Acapulco is just like any other big city and that the folks at the Acapulco YC couldn’t have been nicer. We’d like to get more reports.

Mark and Emily’s lifestyle is a ‘road less travelled’ for the general population, but their ‘six and six’ is very popular within the cruising community.

©2012 Latitude 38 Media, LLC

As for Mark and Emily, in May of ’07 they decided to seek a life of travel and adventure. So they rented out their Arizona house and moved into a travel trailer. For 2.5 years they criss-crossed the U.S. In January of ’10, they took to the sea, purchasing a Hunter 44 and headed to Mexico. Their goal is to spend six months cruising in their motorhome and six months cruising on their boat. The old ‘six and six’ that is so popular with sailors.

Although Holger and Tracy removed all of Lord Jim’s planking and did a total hull refit, that was the easy part.
"When I changed the air filter on my Beta Marine 1505 air filter recently, I recalled the claims of other manufacturers that their engines didn’t need an air filter for marine applications," writes Jay Bietz, who sails his Westsail 32 Pygmalion out of Alameda.
We always assumed that it was a captain’s decision whether to put to sea or not, particularly if bad weather is approaching.
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