Eclairs, ruins and fallsAnn
After our benign crossing of the Tuhuanapec we spent a week at marina Chiapis. The Marina is on the verge of opening, so the docks are in place, the water and electrical lines are in place, but there is no electricity and the water is intermittent. While things are under construction we can use of the slips, for free. Once things get going this will be a nice marina. Enrique is welcoming and enthusiastic. He hopes Tapachula (the city nearby) will become a tourist destination, and the Marina a boater's haven.
The anchorage less traveledAnn
We spent ten days in the Huatulco area. We arrived two day before a weather window to cross the Tehuantepec. Well, that was too soon, so we decided to hang out in some of the outer anchorages until just before the next weather window. We can always go into the Huatulco anchorage or marina later. Sometime later never happened. We spent four days in La India a tranquil spot behind a reef. Every day from 10 to 2 tour boats arrived and spouted out their passengers who snorkeled and played on the beach. So Serendipity and Taking Flight had the white beach to ourselves each morning and the late afternoon. We would swim ashore and sit at the water's edge. Kara has perfected her snorkeling, not by studying the reefs, but by shell hunting in the surf. Hotspur, who have Jim, Meri, Tim (age 17) and Carolyn (a delightful age 12) joined us for a day.
What happened to our anchor?Ann
03/06/2012, Bahia Organo
I don't want to brag about our anchoring skills, but I will. Dave and I are very good, I might even say masters at setting the hook. We use hand signals instead of yelling, and have never had a serious problem with dragging. So what has been happening? We were pulling up the hook in Puerto Angel and immediately the windless strained. Hugh, thank God for Serendipity, dove down and found our chain wrapped around a little anchor that was tied to something under the sand. I'm so glad we have a hooka!
Okay we were going to skip Alcapolco, or spend a night at in the anchorage, but once again we succumbed to peer pressure, and tied up at the marina. I'm so glad we did. The marina is under construction, so we are in a brand new slip, built for 100' yachts. You could put two boat between Serendipity and us. They didn't charge us for the first night, because we came in at 4:30. They are building condos to go with the marina, and of course built the pool first. We got permission for Kara to use the pool, and then they agreed that her extended family should act as lifeguard. Lynn and Howard are the self-proclaimed grandparents, and Anne and Hugh stepped in as Aunt and Uncle. Dave and I are left to act as parents. The pool is incredible, with fountains and shallow lounge areas. There are no showers in this new marina, but I feel better after soaking in the pool. Across the street is a supermarket that reminds me of the old Larry's markets in Seattle. The produce is fresh and beautiful. I found hummus, which Kara devoured. The only sightseeing we really wanted to do was to see the cliff divers that I remember from Wide World of Sports. This is a family tradition, where fathers teach their sons. They dive from 105' above, and depending on the tide land in 12 to 20 feet of water. They jump after the water has retreated, so they will land when the basin is full. The young divers climb the rock face to the top of the cliff, a feat in itself. We went our second night, and watched these men dive into the black water highlighted by foam. The next day Hugh, Anne and I returned, and in many ways it seems harder in the day. Then you can see the sharp rocks, and the height is more apparent. We walked around the cathedral and city square, which held a surprise. The cathedral is square on the outside, but round on the inside. No corners for dark spirits to lurk. The square was alive with Valentine's balloons and flowers. What a nice surprise to find in Alcapolco.
Inland to MoreliaAnn
I love taking inland trips, but we don't do it very often. It goes back to the cheap cruiser mentality. Things are less expensive once you leave the coast, but suddenly we have to pay for transportation and housing. This last trip was wonderful, and since we went first class a budget buster. For cruisers who want to make this trip, know you can save money at each step, but you wont have a tour guide who lived in Chicago for twelve years, or hotel run by a woman who lived in LA for sixteen years. In other words, we paid for English, not just comfort. We left Flight in a marina - we could have saved that money by having another boat watch Flight - and gathered our bag and backpacks for the four hour bus ride. I have waxed poetic about Mexican buses in the past, but those were second class buses. This time we took a double-decker first class bus. Each seat had a screen linked to 20 movies, plus music and games. The seat in front had a padded board that came down, so we could recline 5 degrees off supine. Kara and Dave moved to the front of the bus, and got the bird's eye view. Kara stood most of the trip, "surfing" along the highway. Our hotel was the first pick for TripAdvisor and Lonely Planet - Casanda Rosa. The building was built in 1640's, and has been lovingly redone. Maria greeted us saying "Mi casa es su casa", and she lived up to the these words. Maria arranged for Jesus to drive us for two tours - the Monarch butterfly sanctuary and to the artesian towns in the area. Morelia was a colonial city, and the city shows its history. The buildings are stone, the sidewalks narrow, and the stone roads barely wide enough for two cars. I became enamored with the doors in Morelia, they were ten feet tall and carved wood. It was a delight when a door was open, for then the courtyard inside was revealed. Tiny garden bathed in sunlight. I've always had a thing for secret gardens, so the tall walls hiding all these secret gardens touched my imagination. Howard kept saying "This is like Madrid. I could be back in Madrid." We spent Sunday walking around. They close off the main boulevard (Morelas) for bikes and pedestrians only in the morning. Every Morelian kid is there on their bikes, skates or push car - strangely no scooters, but I wish we had brought Kara's. It was wonderful to walk from the cathedral to the aqueduct, and have plenty of room. We stopped at the Museo de Dulce (Candy Museum), and learned how Morelia is the center for Mexican candy. The indigenous and melatto women kept the recipes for candy making and passed the secrets down. Eventually the nuns were told, and made chocolate to appease the monks. The first Mexican candy factories were in Morelia, and the mother or wife began to make a fruit leather - a bit gooier than the US version. I know I have botched this history, but I was self translating the Spanish, so I think I did pretty well. We also spent time at the Mercado de Dulce, which not only featured the local sweets, but the regional crafts. This was Superbowl Sunday, so we gathered in the evening for pizza (the best I've had in Mexico, and better than most I've had in the US) to watch the big game. Howard arranged a pool, and succeeded in losing. Hugh and Anne were the big winners, with Dave next. The rest of us were losers. Jesus drove us to the butterflies, which has their own blog entry, and then to the Platzchuaro and the neighboring towns. Each town specializes in a different craft, depending on the natural resources. I got all the town names mixed up, so I won't even try. The ceramic town is built on a huge clay deposit. The basket town is near the grasses that grow near the lake. The wood carving town is of course a wooded area. Santa Cruz de Cobre (the one we didn't visit, but I know the name) makes copper items. We visited the archeological site of Tzintzuntzan, where the royal family lived, and made decrees. Jesus was a wealth of information. He talked about his family, and the choices they made to move back to Mexico from Chicago. He talked about the elections next year, and Calderone. He shared his thoughts on the drug cartels, and why Michoacan is a central part of the drug trade. Jesus' incites were a great bonus for our trip.
02/05/2012, Morelia, michoacan
I travel for those moments when my body stops and my heart fills, when my brain cannot categorize all that I see and my soul takes over to hold the moment. I will relive yesterday over and over again, because my heart and soul were nourished.
Taking Flight Adventures