Through the Mangroves
27 March 2016
Sunday, February 21, 2016
This morning we took the river cruise. Tucked into the west (and mostly protected) corner is an inlet, fraught with rocks, that leads to a river. The river flows through mangroves for 2 ½ miles before it opens up into a lagoon. There we were able to beach the dinghy and walk across the path to the "Aquarium," another anchorage here in Tenacatita where the snorkeling is supposed to be good.
Honestly, I was a little apprehensive. I don't know what has gotten to my adventurous spirit. Is it simply due to my accident last year? Or, am I feeling my age and vulnerability? I fear it is a little of both. Jay really wanted to go and invited our friends, Kathy and Jim, to go along. That helped alleviate some of my anxiety.
We left at high tide so were able to manuever through the rocks and the opening quite easily. Parts of the river got very shallow but we had our handy hand-held depth finder and so I was able to report the depths as needed.
The trip, in all, went rather well. On the way up we had to dodge sticks in the water and over-hanging branches. Sometimes the clutter in the water forced us to turn off the engine and row. That was an unexpected blessing. With the motor off, it was quiet, and the birds we had scared off with the engine running, returned. We could hear them chirping, the current rustling and the sound of the surf bellowing somewhere off in the distance. That, of course, added another dimension the to the experience.
We saw several species of birds and little red crabs crawling on the sticks poking out of the water. Large termite homes hung from the trees looking like big black nests. No crocodiles, thankfully.
When we arrived at the Aquarium - the beach where all the cruisers used to go until there was a land dispute that got ugly and they razed all the buildings down - we found it to be mostly deserted. The beach, itself is beautiful. It stretches for miles and is good for swimming. Off to one side are rocks, big and small, rising from the sea. This is the area that is good for snorkeling.
We stood there for a bit. We met several cruisers who had just followed our path. Kathy and I stuck our toes in the water. Then we headed back. For some reason, the way home was much easier than the way up. Only the current was flowing out and much stronger than before, pushing the dinghy, making it a little difficult to steer.
All was good until we got to the mouth of the river that lead to the sea. Suddenly the current was not only fiercely fast but turbulent and going in circles. Our dinghy got caught in the tide but fortunately we were able to stand as it was quite shallow. The unfortunate thing about it being shallow water was the engine could get caught in the sand. In the end, we recovered quickly from the chaos and pulled the dinghy on shore.
Ah, nice. Now for the much-deserved beer at the palapa. But, no! We forgot it was Sunday and the palapa was closed. We sat down under the shade and contemplated how we were to get the dinghy back through the mad current while dodging rocks and incoming waves. Oh, the heck with it, I thought. I'm going swimming. "Do you want to go swimming, Kathy?"
"Sure." She said, taking off her wrap. The water was just cool enough and we enjoyed a good swim.
When we got back, the boys said it was time to go.
There was a bit of a struggle as to which way to head out. I was fearful the current would push us into the rocks. It seemed all four of us thought we should go in different directions. After walking the dinghy one way and then the other we all agreed on a direction. After a few tense moments, we got far enough out and jumped in. Kathy rowed while Jay started the engine. We headed for Solar Flair to toast our success with a beer.
Later, Kathy and Jim came over for dinner. It was a great evening with good food and much laughter. From time to time we would stop and look around and realize our good fortune. Here we were, sitting on a boat in Tenacatita on a full moon night with good friends.
More photos in gallery.