Blessed Lady

This is the cruising blog of the sailing yacht Mabrouka. The Favorites in the side bar allow those with discriminating taste to filter for just the stuff you want to read. Thanks for visiting, Roy.

13 September 2015
21 August 2015
21 August 2015
20 June 2015 | Marina Mazatlan, Mazatlan, Mexico
15 June 2015 | Marina Mazatlan, Mazatlan, Mexico
15 June 2015 | Marina Mazatlan, Mazatlan, Mexico
15 June 2015 | Mazatlan Marina, Mazatlan Mexico
13 April 2015 | Off Club Nautico, Mazatlan Commercial Harbor, Mazatlan, MX
15 February 2015 | Marina Mazatlan, Mazatlan, Mexico
13 February 2015 | Marina Mazatlan, Mazatlan, Mexico
25 January 2015
06 January 2015 | Mazatlan, MX
24 December 2014 | Marina Mazatlan, Mazatlan, Mexico
24 December 2014 | Mazatlan, MX
22 December 2014
21 December 2014
18 December 2014 | Playa Isla de la Piedra, Mazatlan, MX
18 December 2014 | Mazatlan, MX
15 December 2014 | Ensenada des los Muertos, Mexico

Yelapa Uptown

15 June 2015 | Marina Mazatlan, Mazatlan, Mexico
Roy / Sunny, hot and humid
Beach businessYelapa’s beach head is dominated, like virtually every Mexican coastal town I’ve ever seen that has a modicum of shoreside sand, with shady palapas erected out of bamboo or palm trunk pillars that support a lattice work of bamboo and assorted branches. These are thatched with ranked layers of palm fronds and fronted with ranks of Pacifico and Corona umbrellas. Dining furniture is unwaveringly comprised of flimsy white or green plastic patio chairs and tables, most often spread with red or green table cloths that are held vaguely down against the sea breeze by an array of salt, pepper, and picante sauce containers. Although the food is generally pretty good and the service typical Mexican cordial, it’s the shade and the cold drinks that are the primary attraction.

Paraglider landingAfter doing battle with the usual seaside parade of wizened indigenous women and parched old men (one claiming to be one of Edgar’s uncles, …that’s another blog topic of its own) hawking all sorts of trinkets and gewgaws, we levered ourselves out of this warm, but shady setting and braved the glaring sand to walk down the beach toward town. On the way we paused to watch as several paragliders maneuvered their colorful canopies into an upwind approach over the lush, green tropical slopes to land on the narrow nape of beach between the estuary and the bay. Trudging onward under the distant gaze of blue herons, snowy-white cranes, and buzzards with their scaley, red heads, we crossed a narrow rill of water escaping vigorously through the shore into the ocean. On the other side we found hand-painted signage to point us toward the town and the waterfall.

Which way do we go?The uneven, winding concrete steps tunneled upwards through a narrow, crevice-like passage that opened out past a dusky wooden door framed in red painted brick and onto a cement pathway that continued to climb in more gentle slopes and occasional steps up into town. Widening as it led us on, the path was bordered by lush hillside on the left and a jumble of rough buildings on the right. Helter-skelter as they were, the homes and businesses were mostly well maintained, often bragging the bright blues, yellows and greens I’ve come to expect of Mexican towns. Now and then the buildings were interspersed with a half-finished or abandoned structure, but the overall impression was of a town that was happy and at least modestly prosperous. Even the incomplete buildings seemed to speak of hope suspended, not abandoned.

Play landOn our first visit, Kevin and I wandered aimlessly through Yelapa, admiring the relaxed, Third World ambiance. After a stop for beers and a pee at a cool, verandaed restaurant/bar, we finally had to turn around to make our appointment with Edgar for the shuttle ride back to Mabrouka. The second time was aboard Andante, and Jared, Amanda, Nick and Heather, Kevin and I started in much the same way, with lunch and drinks in the shade of Domingo’s Pacifico umbrellas, but somehow we ended up with more time and could indulge in the walk up to the waterfall just above town.

It’s a cool stroll that climbs up a gentle slope along a paved path past a sparse procession of buildings in various dubious states of either construction or decay, …it’s hard to tell which. The chilly pool sat like a jewel enveloped in refreshing mists that drifted off the flowing cliff face, making the grey rock walls of the grotto glisten in the half-light. The small grotto was draped in dark green and brown curtains of looping vines, broad-leafed trees, tall palms, and quivering ferns and a patch of sunlight hovered overhead to highlight the modest white beard of water that tumbled down from the mountain.

In the cool grottoI guess our mid-March visit was not coincidental with the tourist season, because we were virtually the only visitors. Even so, a knick-knack concession had it’s tourist wares spread in hopeful display just down the trail and the small, pool-side bar offered ice-cold beers for refreshment as we sat on the flimsy white plastic lawn chairs to take our pleasure in the cool half-light of the rocky patio overlooking the water.

Yelapa certainly exhibits a more tropically exotic feeling than most of the places I’ve visited in Mexico so far, but it is perhaps indicative of the welcoming nature of what I expect to encounter all down the mainland Mexican coast. I would like to have stayed to enjoy the town for at least a couple of days, but the dubious anchorage is discouraging of that. Chacala boasts a lesser example of Yelapa’s welcoming atmosphere. It’s just a casual day or two’s motor-sail to the north, but with a much more welcoming anchorage. In any case, Yelapa should not be missed.

Partly, I think, it’s the moderately sized bay with its parenthesis of palapa-rimmed beach that makes up the idyllic scene that Yelapa typifies for me, but what gives it life is the content human activity. The fishermen are constantly charging through in their pangas, driving up on the sand to discharge the catch of the day to confederates on the beach, then hauling their boats out to trailer them home or heading back to sea for more fish. Then there’s the trickle of vendors trying to make their subsistence livings with hats piled on their heads, blankets slung over their shoulders, or trays overflowing with charms and bracelets to sell to their tourist benefactors.

These shore-side towns, universally modest, but filled with colorful, bustling, noisy life and buildings painted to match, do much to recommend visiting Mexico, whether by boat or any other means.
Vessel Name: Mabrouka
Vessel Make/Model: CT-41
Hailing Port: Seattle, WA
Crew: Roy Neyman
Mabrouka and I have been partners in crime since October 1998, hanging about in West Coast waters, first in San Diego, then in Seattle. All of that time we've lived together aboard. [...]
I've called this blog "Blessed Lady" because that's my preferred translation from Arabic for "Mabrouka". She's a 1980 CT-41, one of several clones of the original Bill Garden design Mariner ketches. At 50 feet from the tip of her mizzen boom to the tip of her bow sprit, she's 16 tons of [...]
Mabrouka's Photos - Main
Photos 1 to 10 of 10
On the streets of Freemont
Street art edited.
Elvis the stuffed cat is a memento of my daughters at the age of about 5.  The peace sign was a gift from good friend, Karyn Borcich.  Thanks to both!
This is Swan as I knew him, though in a more rugged environment than we ever shared.  We usually met at the coffee shop or at Voula
This is of Swan as I would also like to have known him, ...cigarettes, cameras and wine.
This is Steve hosting our Elliott Bay Design Group company picnic at his vacation home in Darington.
I never went fishing with Steve, although he let me try out his fly casting rig in the river by his house during one of the company picnics he hosted.  I
The winter slip on Lake Union
Temporary raft up with Molly Bella near my old slip at Stimson Marina
This album shares photos from mainland and Baja Mexico.
1 Photo | 3 Sub-Albums
Created 1 March 2015
The beginning of the South Pacific cruise, heading to San Diego and Mexico
1 Photo | 6 Sub-Albums
Created 15 August 2014
Killing time with local sailing and projects before heading south with the Coho Ho Ho cruiser's rally
56 Photos
Created 29 June 2014
Kathy and Karyn (with a "Y") used me as an excuse for a party. I was just fine with that!
25 Photos
Created 31 May 2014
On Lake Union where Mabrouka and I spent the winter
20 Photos
Created 31 May 2014
Shakedown cruise to Port Townsend
7 Photos
Created 25 May 2014
Gunkholing in the Seattle area, with me and Mabrouka getting our sea legs back under us.
50 Photos | 28 Sub-Albums
Created 14 April 2013
Custom made sailing skiff hand-built by NW School of Wooden Boatbuilding in Port Hadlock, WA
18 Photos
Created 21 March 2013
Pre-retirement cruising pics
27 Photos
Created 21 March 2013
Photos accompanying Projects blogs.
43 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
Created 12 March 2013