01/31/2011, Barra de Navidad
This bubbling Mexican stew is called a Molcajete (pronounced Mocahetty) and is absolutely the best stew I've ever eaten (except of course Ian's Oxtail Stew). A Molcajete is actually the lava rock bowl which the stew is served in. They heat the bowl very very hot and put the stew which is not spicy hot but kind of tangy, and they put the Mexican cheese on top of the stew and serve it to you bubbling hot in the hot lava bowl. Comes with your choice of chicken, seafood, beef or pork. I just LOVE it.
Most of the restaurants here in Barra seem to serve it so I may just have to sample my way around town!
Barra is a laid back place and we are enjoying it. Yesterday there was a fund raiser in the town square and it was a Chili Cook Off. You bought tickets for Chili tasting at 5 pesos a ticket which is less than 50 cents. There were about 20 different booths with Chilli and Salsa which was also in a contest. We managed to taste about 5 places and then we were full. You got a small bowl for 1 ticket. During all of this there was raffle draws, live music and after the cook off there was local dancers from the village in their beautiful costumes. Still later there was a band and a dance. We didn't quite make it that late. But it was a very fun event and we hoped they raised lots of money for the local charities. It was very crowded so I'm sure that they did.
Today we took a long walk around the very posh golf course that is part of the Grand Bay hotel here in town. I don't golf and if I did, that would be a nice course to try but I believe I heard prices start around 2 hundred dollars to play and you have to hire a caddy, cart and tips so your probably looking at 3 hundred dollars to play. YIKES. At least it was free to walk around.
The picture of the dolphin is Chippy. He is missing a part of his fin which is where the name comes from. He visits the boats in the anchorage almost everyday.
Well after 2 weeks in Tenacatita we are moving on but we will be back on the northbound trip. We have had lots of fun playing. You don't really get to play everyday as an adult unless you are retired and out here cruising. Some days we played Baucci Ball other days Beach Vollyball and then there was Mexican Train Dominos as well as swimming and snorkling and body surfing, kayaking etc. Needless to say we enjoyed our time here.
But despite all this fun, it was time to move on. We pulled up the anchor which now has a colony of something growing on it, and headed out towards Barra. It's about 15 miles from the Tenacatita to Barra and we meandered along slowly as we wanted to make enough water to fill the tanks before we got there. Once in the lagoon we won't be making water as the quality is questionable. We saw a few whales on the way and Ian caught a fish which was a Jack Cravalli which we didn't keep as they are not the best tasting fish.
The lagoon in Barra is very protected and very shallow. We are anchored in 9 feet of water right now. It's very protected and quite calm. We had gotten used to the swells and now it seems weird to be so still on the boat. You would almost think you were ashore.
We will be here a few weeks. My dad and Kathy are coming down in a week and we have some day trips around this area planned and then a few days out in the boat. After that who knows.
I've posted a few photos in the gallery of Tenacatita if you want to have a look.
01/19/2011, Tenacatita Bay
We are anchored in front of the village of La Manzanilla which is also in the bay of Tenacatita. It's a place that Ian and I have spent 2 land based holidays in 2001 and 2003. We love it here! In our fantasy of living in Mexico one day this is the place we would no doubt choose. The village is built from the beach up into the surrounding hills with most houses overlooking the bay. The people here are very warm and seem to accept that their town has become a magnet for gringos who want to stay long term.
We spent some time yesterday visiting with people who we met here in 2003, Mike and Tracy who have since built themselves a beautiful home that they spend a part of each year living in. It was so fun to see them again and we hope in the next few weeks to see more of them.
I mentioned in my last blog our friend Al is also building a home here. And we visited with Helga who has 3 little houses that she rents out to tourists. That is where we have stayed in the past. She is a wonderful, warm person and makes you feel right at home when you are staying in her complex. The houses are all completely self contained and access to the beach.
This is a town that you feel safe walking in broad daylight and in the dark. It's got a little bit of a touristy feel but not like the bigger places where you are constantly being approached by the street/beach vendors. And for excitement, you can walk to the end of the main street and spend some time looking at the crocodiles. There is a chainlink fence stopping them from coming into town!
I could go on an on about this place but I will stop here and leave it to your imagination. If you do want any info on this place send me an email and I'll tell you what I can.
Our plan is to stay here another day or two and then go back to the main anchorage for a few more days before leaving for Barra. My dad and Kathy will be arriving in a few weeks and we need to get settled in Barra for a few days before they arrive. Really looking forward to their visit!
The pic is of me at our favourite breakfast place in La Manzanilla, updating the blog.
01/15/2011, Tenacatitia Bay
Well it's been close to a week and we are still here and still really loving it. We have been swimming or snorkling every day and doing a fair bit of socializing too. There are about 13 boats in the anchorage right now. Last night we had a dingy raft up where everyone ties their dingys together and we sit and gab and pass appetizers around. Great fun. Today there is a bachii (spelling??) ball game on the beach.
The other really great thing about here is the marine life has been great. There are humpback whales in the bay fairly often and you can see them jumping out of the water from the anchorage. A pod of dolphins came through the other day chasing fish for their dinner. And there is one dolphin in particular that comes through about once a day and his name is Chippy due to having a chunk of fin missing on his dorsal fin. He seems to pick one boat every time he comes in and just spends his time circling that boat and sometimes rubbing on the anchor chain. Very entertaining. Ian had dolphin envy as the first few days he didn't come near our boat. When he finally did, Ian was off fishing. He did get back towards the end of the time the dolphin was there.
We were in the little village of La Manzanilla the other day visiting with a friend from Vancouver, Al Vroom and his friend Judy. They are building a beautiful house there and I don't think it has any square corners as it's all rounded even the stairs going from one floor to the next wind around the house. It will be stunning when it is finished.
I'm at the hotel in the bay using their internet connection at 4 bucks an hour! We are thinking of buying the stick thing which you plug into your computer and where there is cell phone coverage, you can get internet. You can get packages for as low as 25 bucks a month. We figure we spend at least half of that a month on internet cafes.
Well better go see how the game is progressing on the beach.
01/10/2011, Tenacatita Bay
...you have a reef system happening under your boat. We have barnacles, a puffer fish, a crab and lots of little fish all right underneath of us. No need to go anywhere to snorkel it's all right here! We have a slight problem in our boot stripe (for those non boater types, this is the colour band along the bottom of the hull right where the water line is). This boot stripe is supposed to be above the water line. Well ours is just below it because we are just to darn heavy. So the problems begin when the sea life decides it's a nice smooth surface to take up residence. The part of the boat under the water has what is called bottom paint and it's full of nasty stuff like copper and things that sea life don't like to grow on. But the boot stripe is just regular paint. So ours grows a profusion of barnacles and about every 4 weeks we have to scrape them off and hope they don't come back (but they always do). The other day when we started to clean the stipe, a crab was walking along the stipe probably enjoying his dinner! Anyhow our solution is coming up one of these days. We are going to haul the boat and paint bottom paint on the boot stipe and even a few inches above. We'll paint it black so that from a distance it will still look like a boot stipe but those nasty little barnacles will not like it and they will go grow on someone else's boat or so we hope. In the meantime, we go into the water and scrape along the boat which really isn't so bad as it gives us a work out and some good swim time.
01/10/2011, Tenacatita Bay
We have finally arrived in the paradise we have been dreaming about for over 15 years. Although everything we have seen so far has been great, this is the best. We are in Tenacatita Bay. It's a destination that Ian and I have been to twice on land based holidays and it had a lot to do with fueling our desire to go cruising in Mexico. We are anchored in sheltered calm water which is warm warm warm. We have a great beach with a palapa restaurant/bar, a river that we can ride up and do a jungle tour, and there is a hotel at the very end of the beach where we can go and use their internet apparently although we haven't tried that yet maybe this afternoon. Within this same bay, there are several options for anchoring. There is what they call the 'Aquarium' right by the town of Tenacatitia, but that is at the moment a less desirable option because the land is in dispute and there are armed guards stoping you from going ashore. There is also a town called La Manzanilla which is a wonderful place built on the hillside at the end of the bay. We will probably go anchor there for a few days at some point. And there is also a small anchorage across from where we are that has a secluded and high class resort with a golf course. So something for everyone. WE LOVE IT!!! We just spent a couple of hours snorkeling this morning and it was pretty good. Lots of variety of fish and no jellies. I thought I saw a moray eel but it turned out to be a puffer backed into a crevice in a rock. There were lots of giant damselfish, butterfly fish, puffers and lots that I can't find in our book. Wonderful. We left La Cruz on Sun morning at 3am in order to round Corrientes in calm conditions. It's about 5 to 6 hours from La Cruz and we got there around 9 am and there was a good chop happening. Once around, the NW swell was running pretty good and there was a good breeze in the same direction. We had only intended on going as far as Ipala but as we were going by we decided the swell would be too big for a comfortable anchorage there and so we kept going with the next stop to be Chamela. We had thought since it is a big bay that we could get into it in the dark but when we got there, good sense prevailed and we decided to keep on going to Tenacatita where we would arrive in the daylight. It was way too dark to even approach the coast at night especially with the big swell that was running. So what was supposed to be an 8 hour trip turned into a 30 hour trip but that's okay cause what we missed coming down, we will see when we head north again. We plan on spending about 10 or 12 days here and then head down to Barra-de-Navidad which is only 14 miles away. We will be there for several weeks as my dad and his partner Kathy are coming down for a couple of weeks. We are going to go to get them in Puerto Vallarta (by bus) and then rent a car and drive back down to Barra. We will have the car for the whole time they are here and we can do day trips to various places around the area. Really looking forward to their visit. Dad will celebrate his 83rd birthday while they are here. Well I'd better wrap this up as there is lunch beckoning me from the palapa on the beach. Later... Posted via Ham radio.