Update # 12 – Tenacatita to Manzanillo

Greetings all!

I’ll start today’s blog update by talking about our last day in the bay of Tenecatita.

We decided to take the tender and explore. Our first stop was the little town of La Manzanilla, at the back of the bay. Unfortunately, the waves were breaking on the beach, and we didn’t want to risk trying to land the tender. We were returning to Sans Souci, when I remembered that I had heard rumor of a golf resort named Tamarindo that had a dinghy dock. It was fairly close, so we headed towards it.

As we were on our way, Ingrid suddenly shouted “There’s a sea turtle!”. Although we had seen hundreds of them while passing by here a few days ago, it wasn’t the same as seeing them from a tender, where we could get low enough, and close enough, to take pictures without risking accidentally running one over.

As we moved closer our mood was shattered, as we discovered that the sea turtle was dead and wrapped in a fishing net. This wrecked our appetite for sea turtle exploring and put us back on the track of seeking a dinghy dock and lunch. As we approached the beach in front of Tamarindo, we did indeed see a dinghy dock, and it was too good to be true!

Our first thought was that it was someone’s home, and that we would soon be asked to leave. But, we were hungry and the idea of being able to tie up the tender and walk on land was just too tempting. As we were tying to the dock, a uniformed man approached, and I started thinking of an excuse for why we were there. As he reached us, instead of yelling at us he stooped to assist us tying lines. This was a very promising start, so we asked “Is there a restaurant here?” He took out a walkie-talkie and immediately started making reservations for us! Things were looking up!

The luxurious resort around us took us completely by surprise. To understand how we felt you need to understand how rugged the boondocks of Mexico can be at times. We knew that lunch wouldn’t be cheap, and we stopped on the beach to count money before we reached the restaurant. Lunch was excellent, and we thoroughly enjoyed being pampered.


Back on Sans Souci we had visitors from Voyager, a Selene 53 that was anchored near us. Les and Rosemary Dobbe are like Roberta and I, in that they retired young and are spending the bulk of their time cruising. I had corresponded with them via email about possibly traveling together across the Pacific. They previously had a sailing catamaran which they ran across the Atlantic. Unfortunately, their plans have changed and they are now heading into the Caribbean. We spoke about Roberta’s and my plans to cross the Pacific, and Rosemary nailed it succinctly when she said “If you can’t get Shelby [our dog] into Polynesia, Australia or New Zealand, will Hawaii alone justify the trip?” We said “Yes. We think so.” There’s an Indonesia rally that we want to do: http://www.sailindonesia.net/, and I’ve already confirmed that Shelby should be fine for the rally. Once we are out of the South Pacific we think Shelby will not be an issue. Les also mentioned a weather site which he was surprised I didn’t know about: MagicSeaweed.com — (http://magicseaweed.com/Mexico-Pacific-MSW-Surf-Charts/19// ) I am using a weather router on this trip (Bob Jones of Omni – http://www.ocmarnav.com/), but I also consult all the weather sites as well; both to get a second opinion, and to help me learn about interpreting weather. At first glance, MagicSeaweed.com seems like it will be amongst my favorites. Hopefully Roberta and I will cross paths with the Dobbes again. It’s one thing about boating that is hard to get used to. You encounter cool people, but then realize they are cruising one way, and you another – and, it may be ten years before you find yourself anchored in the same bay again.

On a completely different topic, here’s a fun picture of me, Roberta and Dean getting into the freezer trying to find some chicken. We have a large deep freeze which is buried under the berth at the back of the pilot house. To get into it one person has to hold the heavy temperpedic mattress up while someone else practically climbs into the freezer. As soon as we get the boat home (wherever that is), I’ll be exploring if some sort of lifting mechanism is possible. What we have isn’t working well…

And, here’s one more fun picture from our last evening in Tenacatita:

Believe it or not, these are fish gathered at the back of the transom. There were a few more than usual because I turned on the lights, but we saw huge numbers of fish with, or without, the lights. The fish seem to be everywhere at night. We entertained ourselves during dinner watching a pelican who was floating about 20 feet from the boat. He would wander over about every 15 minutes to eat one of these fellas, then go rest for a bit, before repeating the process.

And, our last picture from Tenacatita – the sunset!

It was finally time to start thinking about moving on. Our last night in Tenacatita was Feb 13th, and we had reservations at the marina in Ixtapa on the 14th, 250 miles south. Clearly we weren’t going to be able to get to Ixtapa in time. Thus, I emailed the marina at Ixtapa, and to my surprise they were VERY accommodating. I also begged them for the largest, and easiest to get into slip they had. Sans Souci is a new boat for me, and it would be my first time in the marina.

“… Dear Mr. Williams,

Thank you very much for letting us know the new dates for your stay in our Marina. I did confirm your reservation to Karen in an smaller slip, but now I am going to reserve you a larger one, just to try to make your boat operation easier (I hope so).

Please let me know if your electricity request is only 50 amps single phase. If you want, I can send you by email a marina map just in order you know what can be your slip assigned. Please check our rates information according with the length of your boat on our web page
www.marinaixtapa.com Also I want to let you know we are dredging the main channel access and our schedules for boat trafic from monday to saturday are as follow:

Before 8:30 AM Between 12:30 a 1:30 PM After 5:30 PM

If you may need any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Best Regards

Elsa …”

I asked for a full week delay, so that we could have several days in Manzanillo, and I also want to allow for a few days at anchor in the Ixtapa/Zihuatenejo area before entering the marina.

Our run from Tenacatita to Manzanillo couldn’t have gone smoother. I decided to waste a bit of fuel and run fast. We made the run at 1450 rpm, burning 17 gallons per hour, at 10.5 knots. We left Tenacatita at 9:30 and by 1:30pm we were sitting in front of the marina in Manzanillo.

Manzanillo [19 06.035N 104 20.551W]

Our first view of Manzanillo – we dropped anchor on the right side of the little peninsula above

Ken, Roberta & Shelby, tendering to shore (with Sans Souci in the background)

We thought about trying for a spot in the Las Hadas marina, which is right in front of a resort. But, we decided it was even better just to anchor in front. This gave us use of the internet connection, and the dinghy dock at the resort – while maintaining an amazing view.

The resort where they filmed the movie “10”

We had Valentine’s day dinner at L’Recif Restaurant

As you can see from the photos above, life is good on Sans Souci. That said, there is one cloud on the horizon. We really only wanted two nights here in Manzanillo. However, Bob (the weather router) is telling us that we should consider waiting until next Tuesday, before we roll for Ixtapa/Zihuatenejo. Our preference would be to depart on Sunday, but the weather gods, and Bob, have alternate plans for us. Looking at the forecast, there is nothing dangerous, or anywhere near what a Nordhavn is capable of. That said, it’s a 24 hour run, with no good place between here and Ixtapa to hide if we don’t like the weather. The forecast is for winds to 25 kts, and swells to 8 feet – both from behind us. This isn’t bad, but if we wait until Tuesday, we could have a 2 to 4 foot swell, which would be a much more comfortable ride. We’ll be watching the weather closely, and see what happens tomorrow (Saturday).

That’s it for day.

Thank you!

-Ken Williams Nordhavn68.com

Emails to Ken (my comments preceeded by +++)

Hi Ken,

Glad you went into Tenacatita–one of our favorites. In 1992 we were with a group who took knives and forks to the restaurant up the river–since they had lost all of theirs in a hurricane the summer before. Plates (paper or ceramic) were cheap and easy for the owners to obtain locally, but not “silverware”.

Enjoyed your piece on the twins/singles. We had a diesel bladder tank in the bilge–padded with ozite carpet to keep any abraision from the glass hull and secured with lines to beams under the floors. This kept the extra weight down and in the middle of the boat. Disadvantage was that we had to fill the tank in the boat. We could pump out with electric fuel pumps easily

What Sonar do you have?

Bob A

+++ We have the Furuno CH250 Blackbox Searchlight Sonar. Each time that I use it I get a little better, but it certainly as simple to interpret as I thought it would be. In particular, I’m having troubles in shallow water (<20’) in looking for shallow spaces ahead. When I get to Seattle I’ll look for a class, or someone who is an expert to give me some training.


I am sitting here in WI waiting for another 6-8 inches of white stuff, before it goes back below zero for the weekend. My brother and sister-in-law where on the Fubar rally with a Selene. I really enjoy your updates. Your discussion of twin engine running brings to mind something we did in the Navy many years ago with twin prop issues. We had on many ships (I was a sub sailor, and the old diesel boats all had twin screws) a coupler to disengage the screw from the engine and/or electric motor running it. On the newer nuke boats, we also had a “clutch” to disengage the screw from the main engine. Don’t know if this is an option on your style boat or not, but that way you wouldn’t get the drag from the stationary prop either. Calm seas to all (beats the North Atlantic in the Winter)

Bob Dobbe

+++ This is a wild coincidence. On the same day I received your email, Les and Rosemary dropped by the boat.

+++ I think I want a shaft lock rather than a clutch. I’d like to stop the prop that I’m not using from freewheeling. There are probably companies that sell shaft locks, and I just need to find one.


I was looking at Okinawa’s rules on boating, and if your dog is certified as clean in Hawaii, there’s only a short quarantine there. And maybe with two “Clean Pet Zone” areas behind you, Polynesia would be more willing to let you in.


+++ Maybe .. but, I don’t think so. Rules tend to be rules, and common sense doesn’t always apply. We also discovered a new problem we didn’t know we had. To qualify for Hawaii or Polynesia we need to be able to certify that Shelby has not been out of the US during the preceding six months. We live in Mexico much of the time, making this difficult, if not impossible, to do. Argh.


Ken: Just shuffle your feet along the bottom as you advance. The rays will move away. If you step on one their reflex is to drive a barb in their tail into the offender.

I have made the run from Panama to MDR and Alcapulco to MDR a number of times. Tenacatita is one of my favorite stops. I cannot blame you for sharing, but now everybody knows!

It sounds like you are a newbie at cruising. It does get easier. Don’t put yourself on too tight a schedule…wind and weather still trump all plans. At least you are out there while most of us are stuck in our daily rituals, here.

Enjoyed your shaft log story. We low tech guys just touch them. If they are warm to the touch let them drip. That is what bilge pumps are for.

Flat seas and light winds.

Marv S DRYC Member Ex blue water skipper (in another life-time.)
As are others, I’m enjoying your blog.

+++ On your comment that I may be a “newbie at cruising”: this is only partially true. I have a 100 ton masters license, a license from International Yachtmasters (Europe) and 10,000+ miles of offshore experience. This said, I do feel like a newbie most of the time. I spent my career as a software developer, not on a boat, and am constantly gaining new respect for the professional captains. It is amazing how much there is to learn, and what a broad skill set is needed! You have to be a navigator, diesel mechanic, plumber, electrician, pilot, leader, weather forecaster and more.

+++ One additional comment on this topic: My blog started so that my family could track our travels. Over time, the list has grown, and many others have signed up. My blog is now read by many thousands of people, only a small percentage of which are serious cruisers. I am passionate about boats and the sea, and enjoy sharing my enthusiasm with others, in the hope they will learn from Roberta’s and my experiences (and mistakes), and someday head out safely to sea themselves. I still tend to write as I did when my blog first started, and the only recipient was my dad. If I used too much nautical slang, or terminology, he wouldn’t “get” what I was talking about, or would be bored. I still consciously write the blog in such a way as to (hopefully) keep it interesting for those who don’t spend half their life on a boat. Sometimes this means I refer to the “right” side of the boat, instead of the “starboard” side – but, oh well… it’s just a blog. Grin … Sorry to be defensive….


Ken: At certain times of the year in Florida, from which we hail, stingrays can be a problem. At an early age, we learned the “stingray shuffle.” Basically, you shuffle your feet rather than picking them up and putting them down. Stingray “stings” occur when you step on one, at which time they whip up their tail and insert the barb on the tail’s end into your leg. If you are shuffling, you will hit the “wing” of the stingray and he’ll take off.

Go have fun!
Tim J N64

+++ Thank you Tim. I had never heard this. As we were walking around the marina today I noticed many stingrays in the water.


Hi Ken- I have been waiting, biting my nails, hoping that my information was correct at Tenacatita and the Jungle Cruise. I had this picture of you stranded on a bar with the stingrays surrounding you nipping at your heals. Glad you liked the trip. We really had a blast there, although we did not find the same wifi station that you did. You may have anchored closer to the hotel than we did.

Enjoy your trip.

Steven Argosy

+++ Greetings Steven! You are right – we anchored very close to the hotel, and even then it was a very weak signal. We could only get internet when the boat was at exactly the right angle. Whenever the Internet would “come on” everyone would make a scramble to get to the computers. Thank you for the recommendation on the jungle cruise! It was a blast. Had you not warned us to keep with it, we’d never have gone the distance. See you in Alaska!


Hi Ken– a good way to avoid getting stung by a stingray is to do the Stingray Shuffle… instead of walking in the water, you shuffle your feet along the bottom. This way you don’t step on a stingray; your feet would actually go under the stingray.

Happy cruising! John

+++ Thank you!


We live with String Rays at our beach in Florida. The solution to not getting STUNG is to do the sting ray shuffle.

They do not bite! They have teeth that are flat (I have fed sting rays and have been bitten, but it does not hurt! Their teeth are like hard gums!)

Do the sting ray shuffle…. Do not pick up your feet, shuffle them along the bottom and you will touch the rays and they will move, they sting when STEPPED on!

Do not pick up your feet!


+++ OK…. I’m getting the message. I’ll be shuffling whenever I’m in the water from now on! Thank you.


Ken, I have been enjoying your emails from the NAR and now.

On my sail boat I put the transmission in reverse to stop the prop from free wheeling. Don’t know if that will work with props your size but simple to try.


+++ I think I’ll want to ask the transmission manufacturer before I try this – but, it’s worth a phone call. My guess is that it would be too tough on the transmission – but, I’m the wrong guy to ask.


Dear Ken, I have been following your journey for about a month or so and must say I read and enjoy each and every update thoroughly. I have no boat but hope to buy one say ten years down and dream like everyone of cruising around the world. I was wondering if you sight power catamarans on your journey (I know you had mentioned sighting one) and what your take on these boats are. Are they safe and capable of blue water cruising and transatlantic crossings? I have read reviews and reports that say power cats can handle rough seas and ocean crossings and more Do you recall any feedback or conversations with any power cat owner? Any info you have on the subject would be appreciated.

Anyways all the best and continue enjoying.
Kind Regards,
Bangalore India

+++ Roberta and I cruised last summer in the Bahamas on a power cat, and had the time of our lives. It was just a small 27’ Glacier Bay, but the 22” draft was perfect for the Bahamas. As to larger cats, and ocean crossings – I don’t know. I’ve seen plenty of advertisements for power cats claiming that they can cross oceans, but I’ve never spoken with a cat owner who has done it, or even read an article about one. Please of sailing cats have crossed oceans, so I suppose there is no reason why they couldn’t.


The last time (about a year ago) I was in Barra they were building a new marina further into the lagoon. It will be located past the fuel dock. Has it been completed yet? Were you able to check it out? In season, the hotel marina is usually full and it will be nice to have an alternative.

Thanks for the update.

Jeff Nordhavn 55

+++ Greetings Jeff! Great to hear from you. Roberta and I circled the entire lagoon with the tender, and never saw any sign of a second marina under construction. Perhaps we missed it? A lot of people read my blog. Perhaps someone else knows something…. We did cruise the entire shore past the fuel dock (I thought…)

Dear Ken,

I think the shaft lock idea is complicated by your having 3.5″ shafts. You may recall that a shaft brake offered for sailboats is based upon disc brakes. The disc rides on the shaft and the rest of the assembly is standard automobile technology. Of course, you could get the proper-sized hole done by a machine shop. You would end up using a large disc break which might be well-suited to the forces involved. This arrangement lends itself to remote control via an electric solenoid or similar.

Another tack would be to have two semi-circular pads clamp the shaft. On my Tartan 27, I used a pair of vice grips with tape marking the position needed to hide the two-bladed prop behind the keel. Helped in racing. {;*))

As you may recall, a Grand Banks 42 alternated engines for protracted periods with the owner going over the side to remove one of the props! Not a solution for your boat. However, the concept worked for him. I imagine that your 4-bladed props offer a decent amount of resistance.

Lastly, didn’t Nordhavn or some owner place a fuel bladder in the Portuguese bridge? On the T&T List, there was some criticism of this causing a high CG. Your huge foredeck might accommodate two large bladders to be drained first. They might need UV shielding. They could buy insurance for the haul from French Polynesia to NZ or Australia.

On Shelby and French Polynesia, I thought someone on one of our lists suggested it was almost hopeless. Of course, small dog, big boat – maybe Shelby doesn’t need to go ashore on the principal islands. Australia and NZ could be as bad Great Britain?

My best,
Ron R 1985 Willard 40FBS AIRBORNE
Lying Washington, NC

+++ I think I remember reading about the Grand Banks 42. Didn’t he go to Hawaii? As to fuel bladders: I am thinking that I would load on 500 to 1,000 gallons of extra fuel. I would burn this fuel first, and, put it low in the boat. My initial thinking is that I would put 500 gallons in the cockpit, and another 500 gallons in the chain locker. I also have a new and used oil tank that could be loaded with fuel. All extra fuel should be gone after the first five days of the trip.

+++ As to Shelby, and Australia and NZ: I spoke several times with Australia. The people were quite helpful and responsive. However, they were also quite firm. With Shelby onboard I can’t come into marinas, even if she doesn’t leave the boat. I’m also not allowed to be at a fuel dock. We’ll have to arrange an offshore delivery of fuel. Also: while I am anchored in Australian waters I’ll need to pay for daily visits by an inspector to verify she hasn’t left the boat. Poor little Shelby…. She doesn’t mean to be so much trouble.

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