News aboard Sol Surfin

Hello, This is my Feb. and March update of 2006!

We have spent 2 months in Zihuatanejo thoroughly enjoying ourselves. The cruisers had a huge fund raising event here in Zihuatanejo on Feb. 1st -5th, 2006. This event started 5 years ago raising money for the indigenous children. The children are very bright but because they did not speak Spanish they were not able to attend school. The cruisers had started fundraising and now 5 years later they actually have their own school and learn both in their native tongue and Spanish. The school has been so successful that they get more funding from the cruisers than all the Spanish speaking schools combined for the entire state. At the inception of the fundraising 5 years ago, the cruisers raised $1500.00 and now after finishing this year, the total matching funds raised were $56,000.00 US Dollars! The events consisted of silent auctions, chili cook-offs, bake sales, sailboat races (we crewed on a 72’ boat and won 1st place), sailboat parades offering rides to the visiting tourists, and other fun things. Gary and I played music at Rick’s bar one night and we donated all our tips to the children. We also bought many things at the auction like dinners, and swimming with dolphins which has been a highlight of the trip for me! We have had so much fun and we are glad that we hung around to meet many cruisers heading to Central America and the South Pacific. There were over 100 vessels registered and anchored in the bay.

We left Zihuatanejo on Feb. 23rd and headed down the coast and stopped in Acapulco for a week. Acapulco was very alive, busy and exciting. The lights at night were spectacular and sparkled like diamonds on the water. We saw the cliff divers, rode the crazy painted buses, went to the movies, ate at McDonald’s, and enjoyed the town. We took a side trip to a picturesque hillside town called Taxco, known for silver jewelry and where many minerals are mined. The old colonial town is just beautiful, just like some of the towns in Spain and Italy. Cobbled stoned streets, cafes, and lots of churches! One of the churches was built in the 1400’s, and was just amazing. We explored some of the worlds’ larges cave grottos (Las Grutas) discovered nearby. We walked for almost 2 miles deep into these huge caves. Some of the cave rooms were 80’ feet high and 250’ feet wide. It was cool and refreshing to be inside since it was boiling hot outside. I thought of the indigenous people who must have dwelled in the caves and thought that I could definitely live here!

We left Acapulco and heading south stopping at the world class surf spot at Punta Galero and also Puerto Escondido. The waves were very powerful and closing out on the shore. We rode one wave just to say we did it but that was enough, I am not interested in separating my shoulder again!

We continued down the coast and are currently anchored in Bahias de Huatulco. This sweet seaside resort is spread out amongst many bays. The bays are really beautiful with pristine beaches and great snorkeling on the reefs. The water is very clean and refreshing. We have enjoyed the isolation of some of the bays which are quiet and serene. A yoga teacher and friend of mine, Thomas Fortel joined us for a few days which was such a surprise and a real treat. We ran into him in a gallery in Oaxaca. Gary and I took a side trip to Oaxaca spending 5 days exploring the ancient ruins of Monte Alban and walking the streets of this very old city. Oaxaca was originally an Aztec settlement. The Spanish conquered and laid out the town around the existing town square (zocalo) in 1529. The Santa Domingo Church and Dominican monastery were built between 1570 and 1608 and are just spectacular, gilded in gold and ornate as can be. The monastery was turned into a museum and houses the treasures found in the ruins and tombs of Monte Alban. Monte Alban is an ancient city built by the Zapatecs between 200 BC and about AD 300. The palaces and temples were built on top of the highest mountain above Oaxaca. Fortunately it was not ruined by the Spaniards because it was buried under dirt and was not discovered until the 1930’s.

In the nearby valleys, we explored some of the artisan towns, each specializing in a particular handicraft. I was most intrigued with the town of Teotitlan del Valle which is world famous for its loomed rugs. We wondered in and out of homes where the families live and work, meeting the Indians weaving these beautiful rugs. We met a family who for 8 generations have been weaving the wool and dying with natural dyes from the region. We met a grandmother who at 93 was still carding and spinning the wool. I really loved seeing this custom of passing on the craft to the children, while the whole family lived and worked together in one cohesive unit.
This particular family of Perez Mendoza had 20 weavers in the family and 18 children learning the craft. We also went to the pottery village of Coyotepec which is famous for the black pottery which is burnished to a glossy finish by using a quartz crystal. Overall we (especially me) just loved visiting the artisan villages and I would love to return someday.

Now we are getting ready to leave Mexico. We have loved Mexico and the people and places we have been. It is time for us to begin our exploration of Central America. We will set sail in the next weather window and safely cross the dreaded Gulf of Tehuantepec which has gale force winds most of the time. Once we have a safe window to cross we will set course for El Salvador. Our first stop will be Bahia del Sol near Rio Jiboa, where we plan to anchor for a few weeks while we explore the old towns and villages in Guatemala.

I will send another update from El Salvador.

Blessings to all of you,
Celeste on Sol Surfin

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