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Nereida comes to a sad end

Well, I've been trying to write this for several days... but it has been very difficult to bring myself to do so (apart from difficult Internet access and my time last week filled with long journeys and little sleep) ... The sad & painful fact is that "Nereida" is a sorry sight, grounded on a very isolated beach, Playa Michigan, in the state of Guerrero, between Acapulco and Zihuatanejo....   The beach is backed by a very long lagoon and the nearest town is Tecpan - a one-and-a-half hour journey away by boat, dusty track &  then made-up road.
I'm finding it difficult to come to terms with the situation as you can imagine... feeling only half here - the other half still being with the beloved "Nereida" I knew... Fortunately, apart from a few lumps, cuts and bruises, I'm well ... so I must be thankful for that.  I have had my hands full dealing with the situation on the beach, with my poor Spanish not helping... but a kindly Acapulco family have taken me under their wing, for which I'm very grateful.

"Nereida" was grounded halfway from Acapulco to Zihuatanejo in a desolate, mainly uninhabited part of the coast, after the autopilot remote control lost power which put the autopilot into 'standby' just before first light on Thursday 19th June.  I was taking my usual timed nap - stopwatch set for forty-five minutes - which looked fine in the situation ... full moon, some swell and waves, but not much, motoring in very little wind, a good distance from a long sandy shore.  Because I was motoring in calm conditions, the resultant change of course resulting from our usual slight heel to starboard was not obvious enough to wake me up in time - as it would have done had I been sailing.

I spent most of the rest of the day setting anchors up the beach with help from a few fishermen who appeared some time after dawn... trying to secure her from damage in the surge so I could try to get a tow off the beach as and when it could be arranged.  The marines came around noon to offer assistance but they don't have boats, nor the Navy in Acapulco (not for towing me off, anyway) and the Acapulco Port Captain couldn't help either - all were phoned with the help of the Captain of the Marines who came to the beach to help me with his platoon of soldiers in their truck and then took me first to their camp and then to a town a long, bumpy, cross-country ride away so I could make phone calls for help.  The beach had no cellphone coverage but I had set off my EPIRB once I realized I couldn't get off unaided - it was still nearly dark with no lights on shore - no sign of anyone, in fact, for ages as I tried to start setting my anchors - very difficult in the strong (spring-tide), swirling, surf conditions - I came close to drowning a couple of times but managed to avoid being pulled out to sea in the surge - just!
At least I'm OK physically - give or take a few lumps, cuts and bruises.  But "Nereida" is anything but - especially now, a week later.  From the start, her starboard side soon began to crack slightly, with being heeled one way and then the other in the wash & surge, despite setting anchors up the beach.  With a small tide coming in, it was difficult to keep the chain & lines taut enough to stop her from suddenly being heeled down the steep beach slope from time to time - and then she'd suddenly come back up the other way in the surge, often with a slight bang.
Thank goodness I'd stopped at the Acapulco Y.C over Tuesday night and Wednesday - Senor Marquez, their Harbour master, had been very helpful with my stay and Clearance in to Mexico,so I contacted him to see if he could offer any help when other sources dried up.  He said to come and stay with his family at their house overnight and in the morning we could try to see if a big fishing boat would be willing and able to go & pull Nereida off - but that didn't work out either & Without an almost immediate tow off the beach, she was doomed.  It's so very isolated & access is so difficult and there were just no suitable boats near enough to be able to help. 

So every day since then I've had a long (3-4hr) difficult journey to & fro, rescuing what items I could - so much gear, clothing and personal stuff on board,  A lot of water got inside the boat very early on so all electronics were quickly useless, the engine stopped working and everything soon became coated in a mess of paper pulp.   I only have my passport, some US dollars and one debit card with me - my credit card was washed out of my pocket early on, setting an anchor, in the 'washing machine' conditions ..

Another cruiser I met in Colon was a week behind me, also headed to SF, and he got here Wednesday evening.  I've been able to load my personal gear onto Skip's boat, 'Annamarina". and I shall help him up the coast from Manzanillo on Monday, I hope.  Really very nice of him to offer to help me in that way & then wait around another day for me to bring my things.

Written by : Mike

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