Friday, June 19, 2009

Barra de Navidad

Position: 06/19/09 9:00pm PDT 19 11.890N 104 56.715W

The last few days in Barra de Navidad have been a nice break from beating up the coast but was still really busy. Yesterday I cleaned up the boat, cleared in to the marina, and caught a panga into town in search of some fresh food and an Internet cafe. On the way to the first Internet cafe I came across a magazine shop and went in looking for a copy of ESPN Magazine as I haven't actually seen a copy yet. Unfortunately, I was only able to find the Spanish/Mexican version. Oh well, I'll have to wait to see it when I get back in a few weeks.

After milling through the mostly empty town, I went back to the mostly empty marina. It is pretty weird seeing a tourist town in the off season - something like a ghost town. And being there alone was...surreal.

I spent more time restowing things after bashing around at sea for days and finished up a few more jobs on the boat. Looking at the weather, I didn't expect to be able to pull out until tomorrow so I had planned to get a hair cut and get some laundry done. When I checked in this morning for a weather update I learned that the system that I had 'hidden' from was dissipating and some light southerlies were mine for the taking if I could check out quickly.

I went through the process of checking out of the marina and some provisioning for the next leg. I stumbled upon a street taco stand with the most incredible tacos. I completely gorged myself on the .50 wonders.

Jobs done, I fired up the engine to head out of the harbor only to hear the over heat alarm sounding after a few minutes. It turned out to be a faulty belt on the impeller. So 2 hours and a few bloody knuckles later I was ready to go again. I made my way to the fuel dock to top off my tanks. After a few hassles with the credit card company, who cannot seem to understand that I am traveling the world and stopping in different locations from time to time (even though we have been on the phone with them explaining this ad nauseum) I head out of the mangrove strewn mouth of the harbor and into the black squally night.

Speaking of black squalls, I see one bearing down on me now as well as a ship.

Gotta run!



Blogger Bill Mann said...

Being as how it sounds like you cheated me out of my giving you a haircut, I still can't wait to finally see you in MDR.

As the trip winds down to it's last few miles, one starts to wonder what we Zac Pacers shall do come July when there are no more hair raising stories about the young man and the sea.

I am hoping that the friendships we have made during this amazing year continue into the future.

A lot of the Pac has signed on to my monthly (mostly monthly) newsletter. For those who have not, if you are interested, send an email to me and I shall enter your name into the list.

Wishing you Zac fair weather for the remainder of your journey.

To Laurence, a happy Father's Day.

Bill Mann

June 19, 2009 at 10:16 PM  
Blogger John Gezelius said...

I know that you want to get home but count yourself as fortunate - not everybody has their own boat on the western Mexican coast. You can drop into a port when needed and actually talk to people. No doubt a welcome change from the Capetown - St Helena - Grenada leg!

BTW, there is a whale prowling around the MDR marina! So says Channel 9.

June 19, 2009 at 10:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hope all is well, Zac. I could just picture you in the "ghost town" gorging yourself on .50 outrageous tacos. This in itself would make a great movie.

Fair Winds to ya,
Bend, OR

June 19, 2009 at 10:43 PM  
Anonymous Rory Gogan Singapore said...

Very nice update. I'm still searching for the ESPN mag too. I might end up getting the Chinese version.
Leave the hair ...It's become your trade mark Shaggy look.
Credit Card problems...I'll make U a convert of the 50:50:90 rule yet Zac.
Stay safe

June 19, 2009 at 11:11 PM  
Blogger Lizzie said...

hi zac! i think it's really courageous and amazing what you are doing.i also learned about your story on way to pick the coolest way ever to see the world. it's every kid's dream. hope you make it home as comfortably and pleasantly as you can!

June 19, 2009 at 11:51 PM  
Blogger "Classic NonConformist" said...

i read ur article in ESPN magazine today at my 9-5 job....ur one crazy dude... but in the best way possible. keep it looks like ur almost home. Home. that must be an interesting concept since you haven't been there for so long. Good Luck. hope you make it back in one piece!

June 20, 2009 at 12:42 AM  
Blogger Anita said...

Hi Zac!!!

I wondered if the credit card issues were cleared up. When I went to Tasmaina I used mine there, and Sydney plus a few other cities.....all luckily was good! One wonders what the problem is..seems simple to understand but......who knows!

Too bad you couldn't find a copy of the ESPN mag. I found mine at the grocery store, and my boss was kind enough to bring me a copy from home ( Thanks Dr. O!) Great article, when I showed my friends they all comment on the same photo of you resting down below Intrepid. First the giggle, then they say it looks just like their teenage son/daughters room LOL!!! That really brings it home that although you have accomplished what most grown men will never even attempt you still are a teenager!

May the good Lord bless you in whatever He thinks you need today and all the days following, my you know His hand is upon you and with Him all things are possible. Be still and listen Zac <><

Hugs, Be safe and have fun!!! Your sailing Zac!
Waterloo, NY
Captain SV "Wombat"

June 20, 2009 at 4:01 AM  
Blogger Tomi said...

Capt Zac! -
Way glad you enjoyed safe harbor, sad to hear youre still being challenged by that credit card company (could name a couple I won't do business w/anymore & I w*rk in the industry). Only caution I can state is things have gotten "tight" risk-wise & they've been battening down the hatches so to speak.

Stay safe Capt.

Bear HUGS!

June 20, 2009 at 4:23 AM  
Blogger Eric of Sherman Oaks said...

Zac, I feel your pain regarding the credit card. I won't name any names even though I'm tempted too but this certain credit card has been nothing but trouble for us. Even after informing them on numerous occasions that we would be using the card in various locations around the world they still freeze the card because of "unusual usage". The problem is that few establishments abroad accept American Express, which we prefer to use, so we are forced to have to use the problem credit card. Oh well hang in there because you're almost home and then you can use your Am Ex all you want. Praying for steady winds and squall free nights. Eric of Sherman Oaks

June 20, 2009 at 5:27 AM  
Blogger Atlanta24 said...

I am so interested in your journey that I can't even describe it. I am curious as to how you make your dreams come true. I mean, how did you fund this trip, plan things, stay sane, etc?

June 20, 2009 at 6:24 AM  
Blogger Todd said...

Hey man, I work at a rock club in NYC and we had an event with ESPN and we had about 100 issues of the magazine all over the place. So if you need a few, I could easily ship them to you. I also submitted some songs for you and you upcoming DVD, so if there's something specific you need, just give a shout.
You're almost there Zac, keep it up. Your adventure is truly an inspiration. God Speed!


Todd Ogren

June 20, 2009 at 6:47 AM  
Anonymous Brenda & Desi said...

Zacpacker! So glad you're good! So, did you meet any ghosts in that ghost town, or did they just wave as you passed by? Most important, you're safe, full...and clean, in that order. We're glad to know. Sorry about the knuckles, & something else needing to be fixed or maintained. I believe when you own a boat, it states, next to the dotted line, you will have to fix something everyday. I'm pretty sure it's on every contract. We had 2 new ones, and still had to sign, then fix. Well, you should be seeing that gorgeous sunrise any moment...the one on the weather horizon you're watching for? Did you see green? If not, we hope you saw brilliant, more squalls. Have a great day, with great speed...hope you get a break for a few hours of any new challanges, other than adjusting sails. We'll be watching the weather & praying you're well. Till eve, out from Atlanta, Desi & Mimi
PS - You're closer!!!

June 20, 2009 at 6:58 AM  
Blogger Douglas Pistone said...

Hello Zac,

So you made a speedy exit from Barra de Navidad. I guess since it was not a planned stop anyway out you went. That only means you'll be home sooner. I'm glad you enjoyed the tacos. Should have grabbed a few extras for the trip back to MDR.

It's funny how things decide to break down when your trying to make a speedy exit. Hopefully the knuckles are not very bloody. I'm sure they will resolve that credit card issue after you get home and don't need it anymore.

I hope you catch some good winds and strut your stuff back into MDR. You know that everyone here is waiting for you.

Enjoy the Sail,
Douglas Pistone
MDR, California

June 20, 2009 at 7:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great description, Zac, of your last couple of days.Glad you sorted the belt fault but sorry about the knuckles....ouch!
What's this about a haircut....noooo can't do that! I know, you're scared Bill Mann is going to get you!
Hoping that the big, black, bad squalls and the ship, left you alone.
Keep safe Zac.
So near.

UK friend

June 20, 2009 at 7:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Zac: ˙His eye is on the Sparrow so I know he is watching you. God is on your shoulder. Sail safe.

God Bless

Balmoral Sailor

June 20, 2009 at 8:22 AM  
Blogger valntim said...

God's speed Zac! Don't take any chances! We are all "with" you! A lot of us have been there for a year. We are all proud of you. I hope everyone doesn't mind me speaking for them. ha ha
tim burns palm springs

June 20, 2009 at 8:50 AM  
Blogger shan said...

Boy!! Certainly not the same Zac that left a year ago...(Needless to say!!) But have notice how your writing skills have grown over the past months...If you want to take a break from life on the sea - I'm sure you could author a few wonderful books, a "byline" for a newspaper perhaps?? You may be a young man - but are wise beyond your years..and it will only get better!! This journey may be coming to an end...but many of us look forward to your many new adventures and projects!! You're certainly an inspiration to us all!

June 20, 2009 at 8:51 AM  
Anonymous Chuck Allen said...

Zac, I first read your story in ESPN mag, and I will have to say you truly are a brave young man. The extent of my adventure at your age was working as a logger at 16-17 years old. Since reading the article I have been hooked, checking back daily for our progress and on your safty. Stay strong and safe and may the winds of good fortune be with you.

Chuck Allen

June 20, 2009 at 9:29 AM  
Anonymous Melanie said...

Glad you filled yourself of with those great "street" tacos Mexico is known for! Hope you topped them off with some "hot" salsa to kill any parasites! LOL

I don't believe it's actually clear from your blog whether you actually got the haircut or not. I actually like the "shaggy" look, but a trim is indicated, I'm sure at this point.

Glad you're on the water again and am wishing you good weather and continued safe travels. We can't wait to hear of your arrival!

June 20, 2009 at 9:31 AM  
Blogger TenekTech said...

We are following your journey. It is nice that you stop in Barra de Navidad and even tried tacos of a street vendor. Sail safe

June 20, 2009 at 10:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Bill Mann and all,
I, too, hope we Zac Packers remain a family - connected to and praying for the Sunderland family and all of Zac's upcoming adventures and projects forever. We are so blessed to have come together. I am not going anywhere and will comment and stay connected with Zac, his life, his blog, his family and all of the Zac Pac as long as I can.

Signed on forever,
Bend, OR

June 20, 2009 at 10:44 AM  
Anonymous Betty E. said...

Glad to know you are on the water again after your knuckle scraping fixer upper....hope to see you when you come in at MDR. My grandson, Brett T.(11yrs old) came in from Arizona just in time to go with me to see you sail in.
We both hope you have a safe sail home with the wind at your back and maybe some dolphins trailing you?
I also hope the Zacpac keeps tabs on your blog even AFTER you've landed...there is still so much we want to know.
Keeping you in prayer,
Betty E., Lomita, CA

June 20, 2009 at 10:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Found the link to your cover story on ESPN Magazine...thought you might enjoy reading it and watching the video. Great job!

June 20, 2009 at 12:04 PM  
Blogger Croaker of FrogPond said...

Hello Zac:

Have been away from my computer for a few days and lost the chance to acknowledge the anniversary of our joining you on this incredible adventure. What a wonderful and exciting year it has been!

Did you have the opportunity to get some serious rest in Barra de Navidad? Looks like you were just 'in and out'. I was hoping you'd have the opportunity to recharge your own batteries so you could make a grand gesture on the final dash back to MDR.

No matter. You're closing in on the home port. I'm very happy that your family will have you back amongst them, but sorry that the adventure is about over. There'll be other things to challenge you. Do not be impatient! You're still a tadpole in many ways and you've got a lifetime of adventures to plan and wonders to anticipate. To have done what you've done at the point in your life you've done it, I see a long and marvelous road ahead of you. Continue to enjoy the trip. Sometimes the trip is more important than the destination. Whoa. Am I telling you that? Apologies for the presumptiousness.

As ever,
The Croaker

June 20, 2009 at 12:39 PM  
Blogger Becky said...


I'm glad to see you are ssiling again. I hope the weather holds out now.

From the sounds of the last blog though, you said you were going to get a haircut, but had the opportunity to sail out under good weather conditions so you decided to do that instead, so maybe Bill Mann can still get a snip in. Not much though, because you can't be a 'shaggy haired' sailor with too much of a haircut!

The tacos sounded wonderful! I also think it rocks that people in other countries recognize you when you walk down the street (with a pizza...)!

@ Todd~~thats cool that you have a bunch of ESPN magazines. I bet there are people who will be in Cali for the 'homecoming' that would love to have a copy. I know I would and could not find one around here. I never made it to a bookstore to search. I will find one somewhere though.

I'm off the check google-earth weather.


June 20, 2009 at 12:44 PM  
Anonymous Marie said...

Happy Father's Day, Laurence!!! Zac will be home soon!

Blessings -

June 20, 2009 at 1:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Zac,
We met at the marina at Barra de Navidad, you came to ask us some info about the fuel dock.
We're admiring what you're doing. It's quite an accomplishment!
Have a safe sail up the coast to the final.
God bless!
S/V Calou

June 20, 2009 at 2:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Zac sounds a little irritated by having to go into 'hiding' by this pesky storm that amounted to nothing really. :-)

I don't think he did get the hair cut he split and leave after learning that he's good to go that day, before laundry and the hair dresser.

All I can say is I simply cannot and can't fathom what he is doing i.e. getting on a boat in pitch black darkness and sailing out into the ocean. If you're not a sailor, simply close your eyes and try to navigate to your kitchen or bathroom.


I guess you have to have it ingrained. Just sailing forward in the darkness without knowing what is around you other than some unreliable electronics pinging away. How to check the sails and the strings that hold them up? Is the boat flood lit, if it is it is even worse on the eyes to look out from a bright room into the distant darkness.

It's insane.

And to try and sleep blindly like that. Nuts !

What you can tell is Zac's blase attitude milling around some port in Mexico. Where people are freaking out about visiting there, here's our Man Zac, who's unfazed having been almost everywhere and seen it all. Any other 17 yo kid walking down the street in a tourist town and a complete stranger, Mexican no less, yells their name, they'd have a cow and flee squealing for Mommy and Daddy :-)

One has to now wonder if after all this that Zac has been through, when he arrives home, will he consider LA and CA tame and lame.

June 20, 2009 at 3:30 PM  
Anonymous Marie said...

@Bill Mann... If I read it right, Zac said he "planned" on getting a haircut --- you may still be in luck!

Blessings -

June 20, 2009 at 5:16 PM  
Anonymous Mimi and Desi said...

Hey Zac,
We were just talking tonight about how funny things are. Something starts, becomes a part of your life...actually becomes one of those good habits. That's what's happened with you. Desi comes thru the door, "Hey, Mimi, where's Zac?" Gladly for you, the little orange line on google is getting shorter & shorter. We'll miss checking in with you. Hopefully you'll keep in touch. We hope your day's been better than even you expected, weather wise. It's blistering here in Atlanta...94. We've decided to send it your way. Wishing loads of gentle breezes moving straight for Cali.
Till the morn...Mimi and Desi

June 20, 2009 at 6:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Zac,

I'm not sure if you are aware of it yet , but there is a nasty system forming about 160nm south of Acapulco and heading WNW. I'm hoping that you are far enough ahead of it to make Cabo San Lucas as a refuge. I'm guessing your within two days of Cabo. Here is what the National Hurricane Center has posted.

Wishing you good luck and a safe and speedy trip home.


June 20, 2009 at 7:49 PM  
Blogger Bill Mann said...

I want to thank all those who have sent their email address to me and have asked to be included in the emails.

I have sent out the first email of what I hope to be many years of friendship.

For those who are not on the list, you may read the first letter at

Cut and paste the link when you are finished reading Zac's blog.

Because the bloggers cover as much as the globe as Zac did, obviously I am not going to meet too many of the bloggers at MDR, but I am hoping to see a great turnout of at least the local bloggers.

Godspeed Zac and hurry home.

Bill Mann

June 20, 2009 at 8:07 PM  
Anonymous Bill Jamison said...

It looks like there may be another tropical system developing for Zac to worry about. Hopefully it doesn't form and Zac can make enough progress to reach Cabo if needed.

June 20, 2009 at 8:36 PM  
Blogger Elaine said...

Zac I think your writing has grown and become much more lush and descriptive. I have enjoyed reading all your posts but notice lately that your words jump off the page (computer screen) more. I believe you have a writing career in you somewhere! Keep up the good work and stay safe.

June 21, 2009 at 7:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I spent a few weeks in Barra in June a few years ago. Great little town to hang in and so much nicer in the off season than during the winter. Did you know they filmed the McHales Navy movie there in the bay behind the marina?

June 21, 2009 at 10:38 AM  

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