After 4 wonderful
and relaxing weeks with both friends and family visiting, we
finally tore ourselves away from Ixtapa and headed towards Acapulco
on March 28th. An easy 110 mile overnight passage
(mostly motoring) found us arriving at Club de Yachtes the
following morning in time to fuel up and med moor on one of
the outside docks.
Club de Yachtes is the oldest yacht club in Mexico and
one of the few privately owned marinas on the Pacific Coast.
Rates are high ($1 USD per foot per night plus 15% tax plus
whatever electricity you use plus fees for checking in and
checking out of the port) but the facilities are reasonable.
And besides, there are few other choices. The only
other small-boat marina in Acapulco is reportedly literally
falling apart. We did not check it out ourselves, but
other cruisers who did told us that what slips were still
usable were completely taken by local boats and the marina
supposedly doesn't take in transients anymore.
Anchoring out is a possibility, but the water in the bay is
too deep for anchoring in most places and the remaining,
semi-protected anchoring spots are severely crowded with
private mooring buoys and large tourist-centered sunset and
dinner cruise boats. Additionally, horror stories of
snagging anchors on abandoned junk on the bottom of the bay
here are near legend among the cruising community, so you
take your chances if you decide to anchor. There are a
few private mooring buoys supposedly for rent and Club de
Yachtes manages a few (for a flat fee of $22 USD per night,
which does give you the right to land your dinghy at their
dingy dock and use their pool and other facilities).
Many cruisers just pick up a mooring at random and hope
no-one comes to kick them off.
The docks at Club de Yachtes are all non-floating, naked
concrete affairs. None of this pull up to the dock,
side-tie, fender stuff that is the norm in the states.
No, here its all med-style mooring, but most of the slips do
have bow buoys with bow lines you can pick up prior to
backing stern-to up to the dock. The idea is to keep
enough tension on the bow line to hold the boat just a foot
or two off the concrete dock, close enough to step on and
off but far enough away not to bash your stern into the
naked, unyielding and unmoving concrete as the afternoon
cross winds come up or the constant surge from the ocean
swell relentlessly stretches and works at the lines.
The only space they had for us was on one of the outside
docks, usually taken by a 100+ foot power boat. This
gave us a little more breathing space with respect to
getting in and out than most of the spots, but we had to
attach own own lines to the lines leading from the bow buoy
to give us enough slack to back into our spot. It
worked, but Melissa was a nervous wreck by the end of it and
promised never again to stress about mooring in a normal
slip! Few cruising boats stay more than a few
days in Acapulco it seems, although we did meet one couple
heading to the South Pacific who had left their boat at Club
de Yachtes (with someone paid to watch it and check the
lines regularly) for a month while they flew home to the
states. They incurred no damage other than that done
to their pocket book.
Being on the outside of the marina
put us about as far away from the pool, main gate and other
facilities as is possible while still being in the the
marina, which made provisioning a little more difficult, but
also had the disadvantage of being a rather exposed
location. The wakes from jet skis, water ski boats and
all the other traffic on this busy end of the bay kept
things interesting during the day. A nice 15kt wind
would come up in the afternoon directly off the port beam,
threatening to push us into the boat next to us and at
night, the constant working of the lines from the swell
caused so much creaking and groaning that it would wake us
up at times. We had a ridiculous number of stern lines
rigged in an attempt to minimize the movement and the forces
on the boat and on the stern cleats from the constant swell
were probably higher than we have experienced in any other
Many cruisers seem to avoid Acapulco because of
the mooring hassles and the lack of convenient anchoring or
inexpensive marina facilities, but for all our complaining,
we really enjoyed our time there. Med-mooring and
expense aside, Club de Yachtes was no worse than many other
places we have been and considerably better than many.
The grounds are beautifully manicured, the pool is nice if
nothing special, the rest room and shower facilities are
immaculate (complete with attendant and towel service) the
yacht club restaurant and bar looked good (although we did
not get a chance to check it out in our limited time there)
and the marina itself is conveniently located to taxis,
buses, banks, Wal-mart and one of the must-see attractions
in Acapulco, the famous cliff divers, which we ventured out
to see Wednesday evening.
The cliff diving is quite
impressive. There are several 'shows' each day, mostly
in the evening after sunset. Each 'show' consists of a
handful of divers in Speedos first walking through the crowd
holding torches, climbing down the audience side of the
cliff wall and then climbing up the opposite cliff wall
before diving into the water from different heights, usually
either 25 or 35 meters above the water, with the final dive
of course being the highest. The water is not that
deep and the waves coming in get concentrated by the narrow
opening between the two cliffs, so the divers must time
their dives so as to hit the surface at the right moment
when a save is there so as to have enough depth to not hit
bottom. This can take several minutes for each diver
to time the waves (or perhaps stele their nerves) looking
down from the cliffs above, which of course adds to the
crowd's anticipation and accolades for each dive. The
dives themselves take only a moment, but they are an
impressive demonstration of practiced, ritualized insanity
none-the-less. At least one diver we saw did a perfect
1 1/2 gainer flip while executing his dive from 25 meters.
Lots of ritual and showmanship involved and well worth the
minimal entry fee.
Acapulco is a huge city of over a million people and one
could spend months here seeing all there is to see, but we
were eager to be heading south. With provisioning,
home school, pool time, boat maintenance, various errands
and sightseeing, our three days and two nights there flew
by. We did manage to find a guitar for Kelsey (and
Dad) in a local music store, but had no luck attempting to
replace our broken Cannon A85 camera, the victim of a
loosely capped water bottle in the back pack.
(We foudn plenty of camera stores, but not the exact camera.
It has to be the same camera so as to fit in the waterproof
case we have for scuba diving.)
On March 31st, we departed in the afternoon for the 230
mile passage to Hautulco.
As always, click on the images to see a