|April 9 - Left Isla Grande for Caleta de Campos but the boys got on the radio and found that we had high winds coming up later today and they should last at least a few days. We decided to pull into Lazaro Cardenas instead. We're a little apprehensive because this is a major commercial seaport and the power plant stacks spew out a lot of nasty looking smoke. But we have no choice - so we're goin' in.
As we get to the breakwater, we can see 20' waves breaking along the coast. Huge walls of waves, but the entrance is smooth and we have no problem getting in. Later, we see a seadoo (3 blonde young men) heading for the breakwater to go surfing. They're using the seadoo to pull the surfers fast enough to catch these large waves.
As we continue into the entrance, we call the Port Captain to get clearance and he says to come into the Rio Balsas River where the Captain's office is. We've never had our 42' boat up a river before but there are large ships coming in so it must be okay (actually about 30-55' deep in the center of the river). Our draft (our keel) is 6'10". This is a major seaport employing about 15,000 people.
We anchored in front of the office and Dave & Steve kayaked in to check in. The Port Captain agreed to let us stay anchored in front of the office, which is nice because the town is a short walk from the office. What a wonderfully calm, safe haven to stop while there's bad weather. We have the Navy with their ships on one side of the river and the Port Captain on the other side. Plus the water is as calm as a lake.
Boarded By The Navy - After we settled in here, we invited Steve & Wendi over. Along comes a Navy boat - we're about to be boarded by the Navy. Two officers come aboard, were very friendly, wanted to see our ownership papers. But mostly the Captain wanted to tell us about his 2 brothers who live in Santa Paula and one in Norfolk, VA. We had a good time trying to speak broken Spanish and them speaking broken English. Dave gave them each a LA Fire Dept. T-shirt.
The four of us were all a little nervous as they approached our boat because we met a boater in Ixtapa marina who had been boarded just outside Larzaro Cardenas to check the boat for drugs. Evidentally, one of the largest drug busts occurred here about a month ago. So, we were relived they didn't want to search the boat. By the way, the boat in Ixtapa had one marijuana joint found on board. The man was fined $8,000 (because they found $10,000 in cash on his boat) and the boat was checked again while in the marina. The boater claims the joint had to have been put there by the previous owner of the boat.
April 10 - After a great night's sleep, we took off for town on our kayaks, found the open-air market and then found a nice restaurant. The owners were there with their family. The owner was holding a 6-month-old little boy - I smiled at her and she came right over and handed me this beautiful little boy. I told her I had a 6-month-old grandson and she said this was her grandson.
While at the restaurant, an Indian lady came in with large bags of some kind of fruit to sell. We asked what it was - we'd never seen it before. Turns out to be "Granada." I looked it up on the Internet and it's the Mexican pomegranate, but much easier to eat and much sweeter. You just pull the top off and eat it with a spoon. It was very sweet and the seeds are crunchy. We bought a whole bag of them for less than $2. I asked the owner of the restaurant where a super Mercado was in town and her son offered to take us to the Soriana (a large market) How nice these people are - we are so amazed how gracious they are.
April 11 - We have WIFI here and it is so nice - we can check our emails and get access to weather websites. Don Anderson (he's the expert on weather) on our single-side band radio says the winds & the seas will calm tomorrow. We head for Soriana for a few more fresh items and return to the boat. I made a shrimp Thai salad. We found shrimp for $20 for 1 ½ kilos, which is equal to a little more than 3 lbs. We split it and it only cost us $10 apiece for big, beautiful shrimp. We played "Oh Shoot" (cards) and went to bed early for our departure in the am.
April 12 - 7:30am we weighed anchor and made our way down the river - we're about half way down when the Port Captain calls us and said we needed to let them know when we were leaving. This was a question Steve asked while in the office and they said, "No, you don't need to check out." But no problem, Dave apologizes and thanks them for allowing us to stay in their lovely town and all is well. The spewing of the stacks wasn't a problem, there was so much wind keeping it going the other way, we didn't even notice it.
The seas started out being pretty calm but the wind picked up to a high of 23 knots plus we had some big swells and very confused. Needless to say, we had a rough ride and Don Anderson predicted we would have the winds all night (which we did but they decreased considerably). Wendi & Steve had a rogue wave hit them from the side that came over the top of their boat and spilling water in the cockpit and into the cabin below - not a lot of fun.
Just before sunset our bilge pump alarm started going off every few minutes (alerting us to water coming into the boat). After Dave investigated, he found that the water we were taking over the bow was too much for the little drain in the anchor locker. He discovered this by going out on the bow of the boat while we were crashing through the waves. He tethered himself to a line, so if he were tossed overboard, he would still be attached!! He looked like a drowned rat but still had to go back up a couple of times to remedy the problem.
It'll take us about 30 hours to reach Barra de Navidad where we look forward to a marina/5 star hotel with all the amenities.
A little bit about Don Anderson:
· Don lives in Oxnard. His boat "Summer Passage" is docked in Ventura Isle marina where we had our boat.
· He gets up every morning (I've heard this) @ 3:30am to receive all the weather information from around the world.
· He compiles it and then puts together his own forecast, then broadcasts his forecast every morning @ 9:15am on the dot!!
· Most every cruiser along the California to Mexican coast and the puddle jumpers going to the South Pacific follow Don's forecasts.
· He receives no money for doing this and if people want to give him money, he requests they donate it to his church.