Zihuatanejo, Mexico

The final scenes of the movie “ Shawshank Redemption” had been in my mind’s viewer ever since we decided to turn left to Mexico rather than straight to the South Pacific.  Would it be like the movie?  Probably in the time frame of the movies, it did look like that, still does sorta.

The bay is medium in size and protected by big cliffs and rocks from the northwest give it a rating as a really good place for cruisers to drop the hook and hang there for a while.  There are a bunch of pangas along the shore, all pulled up pretty far from the water’s edge.  Ahhhh.  We now know why – tidal changes and the occasional Hawaii Five O whopper waves.

There is a big concrete pier that juts out into the bay so that tourists may get on and off the many tour boats that work here.  Also a good many charter fishing craft and we’re told cruise ships use it to get their passengers to and from land.

Our first trip in was by oar in our backup dinghy, we’d anchored in a likely spot along with two or three other cruisers.  It was the first time in a long time that I’d oared a boat the half mile or so to the calmest part of the beach.  This was to check in with the port captain and get a first look around.  What we saw from shore was mighty appealing.

Z-what is an old-school tourist area, the newer Las Vegas style tourist mega-experience is 5 miles away in Ixtapa which is just fine, we didn’t miss it.  There were plenty of small streets, vendors, restaurants and bars all clustered near the beach and the pier.  The town is really set up for walking around with wide, covered sidewalks, some art work, small tiendas, and low key improvements.

We finally landed at a beach side restaurant in time for breakfast and a beer.  It’s that kind of place.  It was Saturday and we saw the local fishermen selling their catch to the local residents, mostly very critical women.  The ladies were haggling, looking and buying from the tired but pleasant fishermen.

It went kind of like this.  The fish were laid out on small blankets (having been stored in ice chests) for people to see, then when a choice was made someone would go get the scale, like those you used to see in the produce department of the grocery stores.  One guy would hold the scale by its chain and the seller would put the fish in the basket underneath to determine the price.  They only had one scale to share amongst all of them but the system worked out pretty well.

One thing we noted was the fish were not field dressed, just caught and put in an ice chest, then brought to the marketplace.  I saw one guy walking home with a small backpack and a Tuna tail sticking out of the top.

Fishing is the main enterprise here, we would see these men and boys from early in the morning till dark out in their boats throwing cast nets, fishing with hand lines and occasionally a rod & reel.  The prize winner for low overhead free enterprise were the guys that would simply swim out and start fishing without using a boat.  Very much like our wading out fishing days in Texas City.

One fellow swam out to our boat, handed me a laminated card in English that told of his experience with cleaning boat bottoms.  He had everything with him, fins, mask, snorkel and a hook to hang on to the boat.  We didn’t need him but I admired his style.

We are beginning to see why it takes people years to make these cruising journeys, it would be easy to camp out here for awhile.  We met our fellow cruisers in town at a bar and shared stories, tips, and recommendations on how to get things done.  Priceless company.  After getting back to our boats we even started chatting on the SSB (Single Sideband Radio) which we’d only used for email previously.

One bit of good news, we resuscitated the outboard.  Apparently the immediate flushing with water and WD40, removal of spark plugs and changing of the oil worked.  The Yamaha lives, the dinghy is now named the Leaky Cauldron.

That’s all for Z-town, gotta go south.


One Comment Add yours

  1. Kimberli says:

    I think people used it as a toilet so they didn t miss out on drinking time but simple just don t go in it. The beach and gardens are maintained to a very high standards.

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