Troncones and Sharkfest

We always enjoy  a trip to Troncones, a quieter village not far from Zihuatanejo. I believe it was surfer central way back in the 60’s and still popular with surfers, but now also has a large contingent of  lovely beach front homes and hotels. Our purpose for going this particular weekend was the “Sharkfest Swim”  that I have participated in over the last 6 years.  There are Sharkfest Swims all over the US in large bodies of water  But those are competitive swims, timed events for serious folks. This is the relaxed, just for fun Mexican style swim.  For me the challenge is that I can still do it at my age and I’m determined not to come in last. But with my fit bit I did track my time and distance, 48 minutes to swim 1,613 yd. That is pretty close to my average pool time of 2:48 for 100 yds

The surf was easy going in, I was able to get thru the waves and out into water where I could put my fins on with out being washed back and forth.  We swim as a large group at first but soon everyone is swimming at their own pace.  We head straight out to where

img_1248
KO coming ashore

our boat is then make a left turn.  This has us safely swimming around the rocks at Point Majahua then we head for Hacienda Eden in Manzanillo Bay.  A distance of about 1 mile mas o menos. As I approached the shore I could see the surf was getting high and wiped out one or two of the swimmers as they finished. 2 years ago I got caught  in  two huge sets of waves that took both my fins, my goggles and my swim I pod never to be seen again. I thought it was going to take me also. Put a couple of young strong men helped me walk in thru the waves.  So now I’m mildly terrified of huge waves.  So I hung back and watched the next couple of sets break and when the paddle boarders said “swim like hell” I did.  One of the then helped me get my fins off so I could walk in with her.  I love to swim, but don’t like the waves.

img_1172We had a pleasant stay at Tronco Bay Inn.  All my Spanish classes were a big help as no

img_1180
The Senor at sunset

English was spoken there.  They have a nice pool , a good restaurant and good rooms with a great ocean view. But two days was all the Senor could handle of peace and quiet as he was missing his football games.

The pool was beautifully lit at night, changing colors to even red and lavender.  Signing off KO

Creepy Things

Sometimes things happen that just give you a creepy feeling and set your imagination running wild. I’m a daily lap swimmer, most mornings around 8 you will find me at the “Alberca Olympica”,  Zihuatanejo’s Olympic size community pool. Usually there are 3-4 lap swimmers, always the “pool dude” who has a student or two he is working with.  And occasionally high school swimmers arrive for training. This morning I arrived at the pool about 15 minutes later than usual and no one was there.  No “pool dude” no swimmers, I didn’t even see any of the usual maintenance people. It was empty. So I decided to use the “pool dude”s lane as it is the only one that the sun hits and is a tad bit warmer. Since they covered the pool the water in the morning is cold. I figured I’d swim in that lane until the “pool dude arrived and he would then run me off.  He has a charming way of getting my attention.  He just shouts hey, hey until I look up and points to another area of the pool and I dutifully move, never sure if I’m complying with what he has requested as I don’t understand his rapid fire Spanish. So I swam a few laps, and no one came, I swam a few more laps and no one came.  Now I’m a pretty fair swimmer, I usually swim for 45 minutes but even though I had my music going on my swim I pod, Creedence  Clearwater couldn’t keep my mind off the “what if”s”  What if I got a bad cramp, what if I had a heart attack no one was there to help.  Since my first swim lesson at 5 years old I’ve been taught you never swim alone, and here I was 70 some years later in an Olympic size pool swimming all by myself.  Then the imagination came to play, why was no one there, did someone plant deadly fish in the pool, is the water toxic on and on like that until I said enough and cut my swim short. The only person I saw there, was as I was leaving, the friendly maintenance man. He was just arriving and joked that maybe everyone was still on holiday.  I was very disappointed in myself for cutting my swim short as my “Sharkfest Swim” is just a week and half away and I need to be in good shape for it but I also need to be safe.

After a trip through the Mercado to get fruit and vegies I get back to our apartment, fixed breakfast and as we sit down to eat our attention was directed to the movie theater rooftop.

IMG_0602
Vulture feasting on dead pigeon

A very large dark bird had landed. Obviously we are easily entertained as our breakfast got cold as we kept trying to decide what he was and why he was there. Thankfully we have a camera with a telephoto lens and the ability to zoom in once the picture is on the computer so we could decide with certainty that it was a vulture breakfasting on a dead pigeon. It surprised me that several other pigeons calmly stayed around while one of there own was being devoured, but then I believe Vultures aren’t hunters but scavengers.

IMG_0594
waste management,useful, but creepy

They are like crows, part of the “waste-management” of the animal world and do provide a useful service. Creepy, but useful!  Signing off KO

Mexico Makes Me Smile!!!

Smiles come in various types. Some smiles are in awe of phenomenal beauty such as sunrises in Zihuatanejo.

Some times I smile in appreciation of a street performance or friends who

Street dancer

are musicians.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other times the smiles comes from the self satisfaction of having accomplished something.

 

Finishing my 1.75 open ocean sharkfest swim

Sometimes a smile comes when something simple amuses me and other times it comes from complete bewilderment as when I discovered the only fax machine in Zihuatanejo is in a pinball parlor.

 

Other times is’s a smile of relief knowing the Senor is going to  be OK as he is airlifted to the hospital.

The senor being air lifted to hospital

Kids playing in the sand and surf, good food, good friends and pink flowers that pop open only at night all make me smile.

 

 

 

 

Or walking out on the balcony to see that a cruise ship has arrived during the night.  

 

 

 

Seeing old traditions continue, but still keeping up with the times

Traditional street vendor carrying items on her head,
but note while talking on her cell phoneMexico makes me smile, life in Mexico really make me happy.  Signing off KO

 

TODAY I SWAM WITH THE FISHES AT SHARKFEST

Today was my first open water ocean distance swim. How did this almost 69 an eleven twelfths year old lady from Port Orchard WA end up in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Mexico swimming? Well it’s been an adventure begining April of 13 when I first heard about Sharkfest in an entry on ZihuaRob’s message board. Always willing to try new adventures, I said to my self “I can do that”. Then I said to my husband, the Senor “When we are in Zihuatanejo next winter I’m going to take part in the Sharkfest swim at Troncones.  The Senor’s prompt reply was “your nuts! You’ve never swam in open ocean waters.”  True, but that got me going and the next morning I was at the South Kitsap High School swim pool at 6:00 am ready to start training. And train I did. After a couple of weeks I put together a string of 16 beads on a leather thong to count laps with and I was doing pretty good I could do what I thought was a mile in about 40 min. But the life guard set me straight you swim up and back to complete a full lap in the 25 yards.  Gee I had a long way to go if I was going to get my time down to 1 mile in under an hour. So I swam 5 days a week lost a couple of pounds and figured if I watched a little better what I ate and dropped 20 lbs it would help with the speed. In a month or so I needed a new suit, in another month another new suit, my swim mates kept commenting on the shrinking me and I got faster. So 40 lbs later, with much encouragement from my swim mates and life guard I’m in a speedo swim suit displaying my wrinkled legs and arms and not caring because I AM A SWIMMER, maybe an old one, but one with great adventures in her heart.

As the Senor and I headed to Zihuatanejo for our 2 month vacation there was the conundrum of Seahawks Playoffs vs Sharkfest, both were going to happen on the same day.    I would not have been happy if the Senor  was to miss my big moment, and he would have if the times had conflicted. But there is a god in heaven and the Seahawks  were to have their game in the  late afternoon and my swim was going to be in  the early morning. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

So Saturday January 11,2014 arrives and I put on my suit, pack my fins, goggles and under water I pod and the Senor and I head out to catch a cab to Troncones which is around 20 or so miles away. Now at 7:00 am there aren’t many cabs around but we found a willing one and headed to Hacienda Eden in Troncones . I’m already registered so we don’t really need to be there that early, but the the Senor has a thing about time. Along the way a pick up truck with 4 guys standing up in the pack passes us and then slows down and pulls partway on the shoulder motioning us to pull up. Now we both are doing about 60 and we are wondering what the heck is going on. The two drivers exchange comments and the just is the pick up driver owns the cab and wants to know what the driver is doing so far out of town.  He explains and all is good and we move on, but single file now.

Kathleen #1 at Sharkfest
Kathleen #1 at Sharkfest

It’s a beautiful day and a beautiful place at Hacienda Eden, the participants start trickling in along with folks who are doing support service on kayaks and paddle boards. Everyone is registered we each have a number written on our hands so that everyone is accounted for at race end. Mine is 1 as I was the first to register. The participants walk the 1/2 mile or so to Majhaua Palms where we will enter the water and swim out past the point back to Hacienda Eden. As we prepare to enter the water 2 pigs and one baby pig arrive to cheer us on. After a group picture everyone enters the water, putting on goggles, fins or what ever they prefer and the swim is on.  Do remember this is not a race it is strictly a group event, everyone swims at their own pace. Now I knew I wouldn’t be the first one to finish, but I really didn’t want to be the last one to finish.  The Senors parting words to me were “now if you get tired let them help you in the boat”. And I thought to myself it would be my lifeless body they would have to drag in that boat, I’m swimming the whole way, I’ve worked too hard to give in at any point now.

The only difficulty I encountered was keeping oriented, as I kept swimming out to sea and had to keep correcting my direction.  For some reason, my left arm works harder than the right. The paddle boarders were a god send for folks like me who seem to be directionaly challenged as you could see them standing tall on the boards and I could keep altering my course towards them, but I know I swam a lot further than others as my arc was much wider.

Kathleen trying to get the fins off in the surf
Kathleen trying to get the fins off in the surf
Kathleen finishing in about 50 min
Kathleen finishing in about 50 min

None the less I finished swimming strong and not the last one in and feeling quite pleased with myself. I missed being in the group finish picture as I was stuck in “el bano” but they said they might be able to photo shop me in.  I know I will hear flack from that one.

We enjoyed a nice breakfast at Hacienda Enden, called a cab and back to Zihuatanejo as the Senor was worn out and need to rest before his game started. We took a short nap and now I’m going to go out and find some ice cream.

So before I turn 70 I have accomplished a 1.1 mile ocean swim. What is next?  I don’t know but I know I will continue to swim regularly as I feel better physically than I have in many years, I wore the same dress this New Years eve that I wore the night I met the Senor 20 years ago.

Kathleen at New Years 2014
Kathleen at New Years 2014

Please don’t say he should buy me a new dress, I love that dress and look fantastic in it.  I’m just waiting for the next adventure so keep me in mind.

Hacienda Eden
Hacienda Eden

 

 

 

Signing off KO