Exploring Acapulco

So, by Friday night, then, things had normalized enough that I felt able to go exploring. I suggested that we all go into town, perhaps the Zocalo, for a nice dinner, which we did. The beautiful shade-tree'd Zocalo was very busy, with clowns putting on a show for the children and crowds milling about in the pleasant twilight.

On Saturday, we took a bus over to Playa Caleta, a small tourist beach on the south side of the entrance to Bahia Acapulco. After a short walk around there, we decided to go to another beach, Playa Hornitos, over by the hotel strip.

At Playa Hornitos, we walked a bit along the beach, then rented an umbrella w/chairs for $5, had drinks, and played in the surf. Slightly after noon, we abandoned the umbrella and had lunch at a nearby palapa restaurant. In the afternoon, we settled down at another palapa restaurant for more drinks and lazing around. At one point, a mariachi came by and he and I traded songs for about 20 minutes. Then we were invited to share some delicious birthday cake ... like a very light cheesecake ... with a family which was celebrating the patriarch's 60th birthday at the adjacent table.

We had several more boat-related adventures in Acapulco, that might be worth mentioning.

The first one has to do with ownership of the mooring, and occurred on Monday morning. When Vincente helped me pull up the anchor and move to the mooring on the previous Wednesday, I had given him $20-30 for the help that he had provided, along with $10/day for 3 days rental on the mooring.

On Monday, therefore, I was pretty surprised when there was a knock on the boat, and a different guy, named Capt Joe Monje, was saying that we were on his mooring and asking how long we planned to stay! I told him that I had paid Vincente for the mooring, and he said that Vincente had nothing to do with it, that this was in fact his mooring, and he would very much like us to pay rent, thank you! Not having any other course of action, I paid him a bit for the past days, as well as 3 days additional "future" time. I told him to return on Friday to work out the rest of it.

Later, we ran into Vincente several times again and told him what had happened and his response varied from "you did the right thing, I know the guy, and it's his mooring" to "it's my mooring and I'll come by to collect the rent next time"! We never did get a clear story from Vincente. However, Vincente never came by our boat again, and (as it turned out, we stayed another whole week) on the following Monday, Joe came by again and suggested that we owed him some additional back rent. He had no objections to signing a receipt, which I had penned up in anticipation, and, so, between Joe and Vincente we paid for every day we stayed on the mooring, although I'll never really know who owned it :-)

During our stay, we had numerous discussions about the mooring situation and why Acapulco gets a bad rap in the cruisers community. I contend it is because of the general disorganization ... the mixed anchoring and mooring field, the lack of clear information, and so on, while she maintains it is merely the result of bad publicity. In any case, it is worth noting that, generally speaking, Ixtapa and Zihuat are considered the southern extent of the yearly cruisers route and most cruisers, for whatever reason, don't come down to Acapulco. Where there were 20+ cruisers in I/Z at any given time, there are rarely more than 5-6 in Acapulco.

Oh, and what about Marina Acapulco, also known as La Marina, where we had originally planned to stay? It turned out that it was very run down, I mean dangerously so. There are no showers or other facilities, and the docks and pilings are all rotten and falling apart. It might be possible to tie a boat there, but it would be dangerous walking from it along the docks to the shore! To be fair, tho, it is worth noting that La Marina only charges $5/day to park your dinghy there, with 24/7 security, which we gladly did almost every day we were in Acapulco.

The only other marina choice is the Acapulco Yacht Club, which charges an outlandish $30/day for dinghy parking (tho that does include showers and the use of their pool), $50/day for a mooring (as opposed to the $10/day for our private mooring, even if we were a little unclear as to WHO to pay lol), and a whopping $150 a day ($3/foot/day) for a 50' boat.

So, my theory of why Acapulco gets a bad rap is that it's very disorganized, can be expensive, and is definitely hard to figure out. And I believe that cruisers, in general, want a sure thing, like a good place to park, when they endeavor to travel several hundred miles in their multi-hundred thousand dollar boats. Anyway, enough of the mooring situation in Acapulco!


The second small adventure that happened to us occurred on Thursday, a week after we had arrived, I think. A persistent noise was bothering me ... kind of tap-tap-tap on the hull somwhere near the front of the boat. When I went up on deck to check it out, I was hugely alarmed to see another sailboat, called NINA BONITA, about 25' in length, banging up against Rhapsody's bow! Apparently the boat's mooring line had parted because it had drifted down on us, complete with its mooring ball. The mooring ball must have gotten tangled in our mooring and was the only thing that had stopped the boat from drifting on past Rhapsody and out into Acapulco Bay.

I grabbed the boat hook and fended the smaller sailboat off off Rhapsody's starboard side. When the boat came to rest, its mooring still tangled in ours, it was parallel as if it was rafted up to us on our starboard to its port sides. We grabbed some bumpers and put them between the boats, and a quick inspection revealed that no damage had been done to Rhapsody, as the boat had slipped around the bow and come to rest in its current position.

Tony saw what was going on and came over to Rhapsody. I had him call the Harbor Master on the radio and report the situation. They said they would send someone by in a while in a boat to check it out, but they never arrived. Tony said "you could have a dead body floating in the water next to the boat ... you could be sinking, with a dead body next to the boat, and the Harbor Patrol will never come by .... they do NOTHING here!". We could not help but laugh at Tony's adamant insults! And he was right, as they never did show up.

A short time later, however, one of the locals, a guy living on a boat on a mooring near us, came by in his small motorboat, apologized, attached (his friend's)NINA BONITA's mooring line to the stern of his little motorboat, towed it away and tied it to another mooring. No harm no foul, but as you can see, it's a little crazy in Acapulco!