Monday, December 26, 2011

Isla Isabel

A calm overnighter of 92 miles brought us to the remote Island of Isabel, a bird sanctuary for the rare Blue-footed Booby. The birds were nesting and have no fear of humans due to their isolated location. It was fascinating watching their mating rituals and the comical way they preen and coo at each other like an old married couple. We dinghies to an abandoned fishing camp where a few pescaderos were mending their nets. Later, after a sundowner on the deck, we turned in, admiring the magnificent view of immense rocky white spires surrounding the anchorage. It turned out to be a great anchorage, even though the charts showed us to be in the middle of the ocean!
                                                    The One That Got Away (for someone else)
San Blas

Amid the crumbling walls of the old San Blas, Longfellow wrote his tribute 'The Bells of San Blas' many years ago. Times have changed but much is still as it was in this ancient Mexican town. The original church, now in tatters, was established in 1769, and still stands proudly beside the new cathedral, and the shady plaza below. At night it is a pleasant pastime to enjoy the local scene. Being the Feast of Our Lady of Guadaloupe, the evening mass was in session, and all ages spilled out on to the plaza dressed in all their finery, the small children in costumes, and all singing the Spanish hymns of the season. The fellowship and community spirit was intoxicating.
        A jungle trip, 'Tovara', down the river with Ian and Ellen on Kasasa, has been a major highlight of our time in San Blas. Our guide, Chengo, picked us up in his panga early one morning and we drifted downstream viewing a menagerie of tropical birds and reptiles, notably; Iguanas, Turtles and, yes, Cocorodillas! These amazing creatures lurked in the reeds and intertwined branches along the shore, smiling rakishly at unsuspecting Georgie as we glided by. We lunched at a small palapa and swam in a clear pool of fresh stream water, before a leisurely ride homeward.
        We have started Spanish lessons with Ami, a hairdresser in town who is willing to give lessons while tending her clients in between. Part of her case caved in during a rainstorm and was being rebuilt while we practiced our phrases. Between the customers and the construction there was always a commotion, but we were enjoying the classes and learned a lot about life in small-town Mexico. We heard about Ami from Pedro who owns a small restaurant across the street, Walla Walla. Pedro is a lovely guy who happens to speak excellent English. He agreed to drive us to Mazatlan to collect our new generator off of friends from home, Neil and Peggy on Night Sky. The day trip proved to be most interesting, as we zoomed along through villages and farmyards en route.  Pedro explained many aspects of Mexican life as we traveled. For example did you know that the term 'Gringo' is probably derived from the term 'green eyes' the Mexicans used to describe the Americans who tried to settle on their lands near the borders. 'Green Go!' was consequently the phrase they used to express their feelings regarding the situation. We shared a delicious repast with Neil and Peggy, collected our generator,( Thanks Neil!), and bid them a 'Bien Viaje'! We also said goodbye to the Jejaynes (Hay Hay Nees), also know as No see ums, who were eating us alive, and set off for Chacala.  On the way I plucked 15 Tics off of poor George, and am still finding the odd one of the little Bloodsuckers!


Chacala is the quintessential anchorage most people dream of. Its clear blue waters, lapping at white sand, surrounded by lush vegetation and coconut palms, make it a special place. A brief dinghy ride ashore and we strolled the tiny village and made our way to a ramada-lined beach dotted with colourful beach umbrellas. Later we shared a succulent meal of hand-picked, BBQ'd fish with Ian and Ellen. Two golden sunsets later, we hoisted the dinghy and prepared for the mornings crossing to La Cruz.

A large white cross, (LaCruz), now stands sentinel at the centre of this charming village, where a revered elder passed away and a leafy Huanacaxtle tree was planted to commemorate the spot. There is a wonderful music scene here, and we have spent a number of evenings at the local haunts enjoying the vibes.  Yesterday we met Jos and Barb, friends from Parksville BC who have a villa in nearby surf town Sayulita. We spent the night with them dining in the village and learning more about the people, customs and politics of this diverse country. The beach was bustling with young beach bums and surfers enjoying the holiday season. The cruisers have all arrived in Bandaras Bay for the Christmas festivities and many boats haves draped the rigging with Christmas lights. There is a Gringo turkey dinner being planned for Christmas Day with presents for the local children, and the pinatas are going up. I think I hear Jose Feliciano now......Feliz Navidad!

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both,
And be yet one traveler , long I stood,
And looked down one as far as I could go,
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

I shall be telling this with a sigh,
Somewhere ages and ages hence,
Two roads diverged in a wood,
And I took the one less-traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost