Reflections by Kirk
15 February 2015 | Barra de Navidad
(Photo - Bahia Tenacatita)
The morning after Valentine's Day. Feeling a bit foggy in the head. We had probably the most romantic setting ever for the dia del amor. A sidewalk café on a pedestrian only thoroughfare. The night was warm and balmy. Dim lighting and a Mexican singer/guitarist singing songs of love only a few feet away from us. We were doing a kind of progressive dinner. The first stop was for cold beverages and a wonderful helping of guacamole. Somehow we ended up having two margaritas of very sneaky potency. Then, slowly, we wander the cobblestone streets hearing bits of music coming from different places and watching other couples strolling hand-in-hand. Every once in a while stepping to the side of the street to let a motorbike pass by and peeking into the venders spaces to look at colorful selections of blankets, rugs, pottery and such. A side street beckoned. The afternoon's rain still left the cobblestones with a glistening sheen, colored lights reflecting from the surface. The sidewalk tables of the café appeared to be full so we figured this must be a good place and found an empty table right in front of the guitarist. Excellent salads, another margarita, attentive staff, and beautiful music left us asking if we really wanted to wander off to another place for our next course. And we did not. Just stayed right there, had chocolate and brandy for dessert and continued listening to the music. Kris noticed a sign that looked like it must be the name of the café, Besame Mucho, which translates to "many kisses." We noticed that our waiter was becoming very attentive. Looking around to find that we were the only customers left, we decided that it must be time for us to leave as well. The walk back to the water taxi was slow and enjoyable. The boat ride back to the marina was wonderful. What a night! Truly romantic.
We have been kind of stuck in the same 15-mile stretch of coastline for a little over a month now and figure we should start back north towards Puerto Vallarta within a few days. Why are we stuck here? Because it is just so darn nice. I have described the town of Barra de Navidad previously. We are now back in Barra, as it is locally called, for the third time. Each time we discover something new and are getting to know the place a little better. We have our favorite seafood stand, our favorite meat market, and our favorite tienda for fresh produce. We known how to get the laundry done and know a few of the local restaurants. We are very comfortable here and can get just about everything we want. There is a slightly larger town not too far away with a real supermarket that we can take a $4.00 taxi ride to. The marina is very nice and we can use some of the associated resort facilities, like the pool and showers. But it is more expensive to stay in a marina than to be at anchor, so once we have restocked the boat with food and beverage, we take off for Tenacatita, 15 miles away, or maybe a three-hour trip from the time we untie the dock lines to anchor down. Tenacatita has its own charms. There are usually about 30 boats at anchor and this results in quite a lively little community. Every day there is some type of semi-organized activity on the beach or in the water. There is a nice palapa (open sided beach structure with sand floor) that serves very good food and very cold beer. People gather there after the bocce ball game, or dominoes, or swim to the beach activities and sit at long tables to talk, laugh and have fun.
Friday evenings are always the dingy raft-up. A spot in the anchorage is designated as the place to go and most of the people in the anchorage will meet in their dinghies and get tied together. Then the fun starts. Everyone brings a food item that is passed around all of the dinghies. You take some of what you want and eventually your empty dish of food makes it back to your dingy. The organizer, known as the Mayor of Tenacatita, will come up with some topic that everyone will need to get up and talk about like "Tell us about the last book you read" or "What did you do in your previous life." The raft-up is a much-anticipated weekly event. We can also take the dingy out and try to catch fish amongst the rocks, or take a short trip out to the "Aquarium" for some snorkeling. A bit of an adventure is to dingy up a "river" through the mangroves. This is not a long river, but at times it is not much more than eight feet across and the canopy of mangrove branches stretch clear across overhead. It is a tunnel of vegetation. Bright red crabs scramble on the branches, colorful and noisy birds roost, and we have even seen a crocodile lazing amongst the mangroves. The river ends in a lagoon that is pretty much just like a small lake. There is a sad part to this trip. Not long ago you could land the dingy at a dock in the lagoon and refresh yourself at one of several beach palapas before taking a short walk over brush covered sand dunes to a nice beach with more palapas. Apparently, a developer with a lot of "pull" acquired rights to all of this land, fenced it off and shut everything down. The way we heard it, one night authorities came in and told everyone to clear out by morning. There are now guards that will chase you off the beach and not allow people to investigate all of the closed-up buildings. Quite a shame as this was a place where local families would flock to on weekends. Now it all just sits there unused.
We are not alone in traveling the 15 miles between Barra de Navidad and Tenacatita. Quite a large number of boats do pretty much the same thing, only that's all they do for six months at a time. A few boats spend the entire season at one place or another. There is a lot to like about this area, but we are committed to moving on soon. There is at least one more place we plan to visit before spending some time in the Bay of Banderas, home to the city of Puerto Vallarta, a huge tourist destination. Guess we will have a chance to figure out why so many people go there.
We now have confirmation of friends coming to visit us in a few months. YEA!!!