Zihuatanejo is a great little Mexican town. The main economic stimulator is tourism, but many of the tourists are American and Canadian tourist and they call Zihuat their home for many months of the year. It has a great ex pat community, which means services are usually good and reliable along with a vibrant commercial market. In the market you can buy cheese from a guy who walks around with a giant ball of Oaxcan cheese (much like Mozzarella) and will unroll a few strands for you, a fantastic produce market, meats that, once you get past the flies and the non refrigeration, are really quite good. In that same market you can buy a machete, any plastic utensil under the sun, and almost anything else you can think of. Before we had Walmart, we had the Mexican market. There is also a food court, with the most fantastic pozole, chile rellenos and tamales. Large cast iron pots of mole, soup and other stews simmer on the makeshift stoves while women hand roll tortillas in sweltering conditions. Many tourist miss out on the tasty foods that come out of those food stalls. What's a little explosive diarrhea when you can experience authentic cuisine. OK, TMI, and we have actually been super lucky and have not been sick yet. Knock on wood!
Zihuatanejo is growing on us and we know where the best wifi can be lifted, where to find the tacos with the carmelized onions and pineapple wedges, and most importantly, the best ice cream stalls (boat freezers don't freeze ice cream well!) The town is family friendly and we even let the kids take the dinghy into town by themselves and grab a treat or play basketball. It is a great little town and we have really enjoyed our time here. We'd stay longer it we didn't need to move down the coast.
Highlights of our stay in Zihuat have been our continued buddy boating with Family Circus, I'm not sure who will be sadder, the kids or us to leave. They are awesome and we are excited to follow their journey across the Pacific. Other highlights include an evening on the beach when we were interrupted by an Olive Ridley Sea Turtle making her way up the beach lay her eggs. The boys got to release the same species in PV, so they were pretty excited to see the full spectrum and the life cycle of a sea turtle. Zander also studied and mastered his PADI open water dive certification. He did awesome, he studied hard, took it really seriously and aced the test. He now is a legal diver and Mike is excited to have a buddy to dive with. He has to go with an adult until he is 15, but otherwise is fully certified. We also entered our little home in our first ever sailing race. Thank you to all those wonderful people, who with less than 24 hours notice, sent hundreds of dollars to "Para Los Ninos" a charity that helps the impoverished school kids in the Zihuat area. It is a great charity with a huge ex pat volunteer base. In an effort to legitimize our slacker lifestyle, we along with other cruisers took paying passengers out to race and raised money for the kids. We didn't take home any prize, but it was a fun experience and we had lovely guests that made the day very memorable. Several days before we left Zihuat, there was a 30 boat parade, full of more paying passengers that toured the bay and sailed up to Ixtapa. We opted out of taking out own boat since we were in the midst of provisioning and it was pretty torn up down below, but we contributed some life jackets and joined 12 passengers as they toured around with our friends Family Circus. It was a great afternoon, with just a tad bit of boat envy on our end. Our next cruise may have to be with a catamaran!
Just prior to leaving we had a little engine scare. Mike noticed the engine mount had cracked completely through and the engine was sitting at an angle. It was a little unsettling, but Mike scoured town and with the help of some of the other boaters, found a welder that fixed the piece on a Saturday. With another stroke of luck Michael was able to get the mount installed by himself and we were only delayed one day.
Anyway, it is a bittersweet goodbye to Zihuat. Most of the cruisers we have met along the way will not continue south, so the parting is sad, but we are excited for the next chapter in our journey. Up next is one more town in Mexico and then the "forgotten middle", the area along the Central American coast where few cruisers stop. We are still not sure where we will make land falls, some of that depends on the winds, but we could stop in Guatamala, El Salvador, Costa Rica and then on to Panama.
We will have radio email capabilities, so the texts will keep coming, but it may be a while before I can load some pictures. From now on our wifi will be very limited.