Background February 17
The Mexican Gold Coast runs 315 NM Southeast from Cabo Corrientes on the north, marking the south end of Banderas Bay, to Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo Bay. It would be another 112 nm south along a rugged coast to Acapulco with only a couple of unexciting intermediate stops (to be missed). We are fully content to explore the entire Gold Coast, but Acapulco is further can we choose to reach on this trip, considering we wish to return to Seattle by Memorial Day 2016. Major intermediate stops along the coast include Bahia Tennacatita (not to be missed), and nearby Barra de Navidad and Manzanillo. Further south is Lizardo Bay (definitely to be avoided) as the Guide Book delicately puts it: “don’t count on help from highway 200; this stretch is notorious for banditos.” Caleta de Cammpos is reputed to be friendlier and then the reward of Isla Ixtapa, Ixtapa bay and Zihuatenejo bay bunched together.
Manzanillo Wednesday February 17
It was a delightfully uneventful sail and motor-sail from Teninsnicatita, passing Barra de Navidad and sailing or motor-sailing on to Manzanillo. The goal was Las Hadas marina, a small Med-mooring yacht basis and fuel dock, bounded by The Fairies Spires, a grand hotel of the sixties comparable to the one in Navidad.
With one major difference: “a small Med-mooring yacht basin”. After taking on 400 liters of diesel fuel at the fuel dock, and getting all the information I could about their Med-mooring procedures, I departed with Victor on board for guidance. Raven’s Dance has a severe case of “prop wash”. For those who haven’t experienced it, the short version is she backs under control to starboard (having a left-hand engine) but has her own obstreperous opinion about just how proper backing to port is. In summary backing RD has its challenges.
We accomplished it, more by me following Victor’s instructions than by leading. You might say this was the first time I’ve ever had a port captain on board, or given up control of RD to him (who I’ve known for 10 minutes). I think I trusted him because he spoke English, and also seemed experienced, and reassuring.
Like most things in life, the fear (fear of what?) was not realized, and we didn’t die and the worst-case scenario was not realized. We had willing dock help to control our stern lines, and I’d give us a B for our first effort — good enough to not have a more dramatic story. But no doubt, Med-mooring is the most complex of the various docking maneuvers, and it’s easy to botch it and incur insulting joy of the on-lookers, who are ever-present!