Puerto Aventuras and Bahia de la Ascension
22 January 2018 | Puerto Aventuras
For this portion of the trip south we decided to do day hops. 30 -50 miles starting at 0730 and anchor down or tied up by three - four. Puerto Aventuras was our next stop and we arrived around 1500 with building winds and seas. I was a little anxious about entering the harbor because it wasn't very wide with rocks on one side, a coral reef on the other with wind and waves behind. Sailors know that making an entrance for the first time in a following see with limited bail out options can be a little unnerving. I called the harbor master, Gerry, by phone and he was most eager to help and guide us in. "Just line up the yellow range markers and once inside turn right", he told us. It turned out to be a piece of cake, no problemo.
Puerto Aventuras is a gated community with a public marina and private docks in a man made canal system similar to Fort Lauderdale. We tied up in the public side and settled in for the night. This guy, Gerry turned out to be the nicest guy, the most helpful and accommodating. "Just tell me what you need and I'll take care of it". He helped us rent a car so we could explore Mayan ruins of Coba and Tulum, Sent us in the right direction to refill our propane tank and boy what an experience that was. Nothing like the good ole USA. This was a big operation with people lined up in cars, motorcycles and scooters. Picture two people on a small scooter with one of those large cylindrical tanks across the scooter. I can just see the local police and Addison or anywhere USA going bezurk.
18 pesos to fill our tank, that's just less than one dollar US. Wow!! The next day we rented a golf cart to fill our gas tank for the dinghy and generator and took a drive through the private sections of the community. Condos, 3,000 square feet for $390k USD, sweet, private homes from $1 to $5 or more million USD. It is quite a beautiful place with just about everything you might need or want. It's the closest Alice and I have come to thinking about a possible retirement location, truly it was special. We bolted Aventuras around 0730 the next day after having a very quite late night dinner the evening before. We headed south to Bahia de la Ascencion some 40 or so miles south.
We've been here two days and today was quite a surprise. The cruising guides depict this area as being remote with only small Mayan fishing villages with few if any services. No way Jose!! We sailed from Cay Celubera to Punta Allen this morning and to our surprise, expecting to once again be alone, there were pongas, small fishing runabouts, speeding around everywhere. Do you remember the Pink Panther movie with the car chase, the guys in the donkey outfit and the police while two elderly gentlemen sat and watched?, that was us this morning. Around the corner came two more, then three more then in the other direction four more all going full speed, all with passengers with their orange life jackets. What-the-a-heck is going on? Alice and I were cracking up! So we had to discover what these boats were doing.
We launched our dinghy and off we went. We went around an island where most seemed headed. There was a dock and next to the dock a very small entrance into the mangroves. Almost out of nowhere three boats full of tourists disappeared into the mangroves. Not to be left behind we went in followed by three boats going much faster, we pulled over waved and followed. It turns out these boats are all part of an Eco Tour company offering tours of mangroves, searches for crocodiles, bird watching and the like. We had stumbled into a really active program of more than 20 boats each carrying 10 to 15 people. We followed them into the mangroves to a landing where everyone got out and apparently either went to the beach or to a luncheon. Totally unexpected and amazing. We went back out and found a dock to tie up the dink and walked back toward the landing. We wandered into the village of Punta Allen or Alem as on the signs, found a grocery store to buy a few beers and a very small rustic restaurant that had one very large langosta they would cook for us. We sat under a corrugated steel roof held up by crooked wooden polls, next to a dirt road having two ladies who didn't speak English prepare our lobster. Another surprise. Our first taste of lobster served with rice, black beans, tacos, lime and veggies. Just what we wanted. They also served two bowls of dipping sauce, way too hot for us.
We wandered around some more still amazed that in this tiny remote village there are so may tourists walking around on their Eco Tours. Go figure.
We're back on LB, watching for squalls, sitting on anchor in 8 feet of water about ½ mile off shore. It's time for a glass of wine, a good book and maybe a movie tonight.