Just around the corner from Santiago Bay is Bahia Manzanillo and the beautiful Las Hadas marina and resort. Although this place is praised in the cruising book as one of “many cruisers favorite stops on the Pacific coast”, we found it very beautiful but slightly frustrating.
The resort has laid claim to almost all of the beach, as well as buoying off the water out front for swimming exclusively for their guests. Before you could pay few bucks to use their dingy dock and have access to their pool, laundry and other facilities, but while we were here cruisers were not allowed within the resort and they charged $25 a day just to tie up the dingy and have access to the road into town, making just getting off the boat expensive. There is also a black sand beach across the way where you can land your dingy but it can be rough with the surf landing and you have to walk quite a ways across the private golf course to get to the road. Our friend Becca from S/V Halcyon has a funny story written up about our exciting night sneaking through resorts trying to get back to our boats after dinner one evening.
After five days we made a fun exit. March 31st is Rachel and I’s wedding anniversary and to get everyone involved in the celebration we organized a ‘Cruiser Olympics’.
Let the games begin…
Up first and likely our weakest event was a sailing race.
“But your sailors.. How could this be your weakest event?”
No, no, no… we consider ourselves more destinationers than sailors, and I hold strongly to the mantra that we drift not sail. The winds started off light, not Agape’s favorite and we began the 5.5 mile race to the anchorage in Bahia Santiago. With the winds picking up slightly, the sailing got a little more fun and our 1.5 mile spinnaker sail into the anchorage was definitely a highlight.
Brian and Liz on Pura Vida, a 40′ Hunter came in 1st place with a commanding lead, followed by Halcyon, and bringing home bronze was Agape!
I thought we had this event for sure. Round two was a partner race in which one person drove the dingy towing the other around all three boats at anchor, three times by whatever means possible.
Halcyon had John driving, powered by an 8hp outboard and pulling Becca on an inflatable standup.
Pura Vida had Liz pulling Brian in a kayak with a 15hp outboard.
And we went for mobility and tight cornering, hoping I could pull Weston on a surfboard with our little, 6hp outboard to victory.
It looked good for us on the first lap, we were able to corner quickly and cut super close to the boats, but once John got up on a plane it was all over… His extra horses pushed him to victory, with Becca holding on for dear life, (she actually lost her watch during this event from it being drug in the water at such high speeds. Luckily she was smart enough to wear swim googles).
Poor Liz and Brian… Turns out kayaks don’t corner very well.
For the third and final event, and our last chance to bring home gold it was the beach games.
Bocchi ball and spikeball. This was finally our chance for a come back! Not only did we flood the course with all four of us, but we had hours, nay days of practice in these two disciplines from our time cruising at the Channel Island. And all that practice payed off. We took home the gold in both!!
After all the excitement and celebration it was time to head the beautiful anchorage of Carrizal just 5nm a way. We all planned to meet up with Mike and Nicole on Sloboda for a little R&R. This bay has great snorkeling and decent spearfishing, and we spent all day in the water!
Our second night in the bay we braved the surf landing on the rocky beach to have a huge bonfire. We pilled huge logs and sticks together and doused it all in gasoline. The idea was that we’d all stand back and light it up by shooting the fuel soaked logs with roman candles.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t get it to light with the fireworks so Mike moved in with a lighter. I guess we underestimated how much gasoline we used… As he struck the lighter it went up with a roar. Mike jumped back, but not fast enough, the fire claimed some of his hair on his head, face and arms.
Unphased, pyro activities continued on throughout the night and we had an O.K. coral style show down with the remaining fireworks.