Saturday, May 4, 2013

Acapulco: Pessimism Versus Optimism

On a boat, Acapulco is certainly a mixed bag. The anchorage is blessedly still but crowded with mooring balls and is very deep. The city has a lot to offer - major spots to provision and plenty of marine services - but good luck getting to those places if you can even figure out where to go. From the anchorage at night you're surrounded with sparkling lights reaching far into the hills. It's actually quite stunning, but walking around town can be a dirty and, unfortunately for my ultra sensitive snout, a smelly proposition.

Several things broke while Vlad was on passage that we needed repaired in Acapulco. Our water pump that bring in salt water to cool the engine and our primary bilge pump bit the dust at the same time while he was underway, which created a situation where seawater was coming up almost over the floor boards. Vlad managed to cobble together a working water pump by beating in the spare water pump's bearings and seals with a mallet. The spare water pump was also not working, by the way, though fortunately the spare bilge pump was! Luckily, Vlad's machinations worked, but we had no idea how long they would last. We were both pretty pessimistic about finding either a new water pump or spares and a machine shop here in Acapulco. We were pretty sure they existed, but who knows how many days and how many cab rides it would take us to find them. Enter Nacho.

For those of you who came to visit us in the San Blas or who have been to Nargana yourself, you might recall Federico, the Kuna man who did just about everything for cruisers - laundry, water procurement, guided tours, help with propane or whatever. Sure, he was occasionally drunk, but he always came through. Well, Nacho is kind of like the Acapulco Federico.

Shockingly, he got both water pumps repaired, got us a set of spare bearings and seals, our propane tank filled, the exact giant bolts that we need to secure the water pump and the bilge pump motor working, though it still has a broken plastic gear that we are going to try to find a replacement for in Puerto Vallarta. For all of this - the repairs, parts, propane, taxi rides and his time - we paid $160. And we didn't have to spend five days lugging water pumps and propane tanks all over town, which was especially nice since I got food poisoning from eating something on the bus ride. (And, no, it wasn't from the iguana tamales that some lady was selling. I did not eat them, I swear.)

Shockingly again, I think Nacho may have actually saved us money when you consider all the fruitless bus and taxi rides we would have racked up trying to find all these odds and ends. Add another point for optimism.

Really, the only straight up negative aspect of cruising Acapulco is the absurd dinghy docking situation. It is a laughable 350 pesos a day - or 29 dollars!! - at the Yacht Club, 100 pesos at the marina and dangerous to leave your dinghy along the public seawall without anyone watching it (mainly because there's not a good place to lock it). We found, through some lovely cruisers we met on S/V Brio (thanks for the cheesecake!), a dock to keep the dinghy at for 50 pesos a day, which is still outrageous but a downright steal in Acapulco.

But all pessimism aside, I will forever look fondly on this once bustling tourist town that is now one of Mexico's most dangerous cities. It gave Vlad and I a whole week to hang out together with almost zero vomiting on my part. We got to cook, make attempts at cleaning the boat (it's a big job at this point), take walks, fix stuff, enjoy the perfect weather and meet some nice and some strange people. For that, I tip my hat to Acapulco.  


  1. Yay for Nacho! Super glad to hear he came through for you and you guys got your parts fixed and are good to go again :) My only regret is that we didn't get to hang out with you cool people a little more!!!

    1. I know! It's such a bummer, but maybe next time around. :) Oh, and I've been meaning to write you about Alfredo, the guy who owns the dock. Wild stories.

  2. You ate iguana. I know it.

    1. I swear I didn't!!! I was all excited when I heard her selling tamales, and then she said IGUANA. I was totally floored.