Madcap Sailing

31 December 2018 | Gold River Marina, Nova Scotia, Canada
06 August 2018 | Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia
26 May 2018 | Gold River Marina, Gold River, NS
18 May 2018 | Gold River Marina, Gold River, NS
24 March 2018 | boat in Gold River, NS and crew in Halifax
22 May 2017 | Whittaker Creek, Oriental, NC
15 May 2017 | Boat in Oriental, crew in New Orleans and Nova Scotia
26 April 2017 | Oriental, NC
26 April 2017 | Oriental, NC
20 April 2017 | Ocean Isle Marina, Ocean Beach, NC at Mile 335.6
17 April 2017 | Dewees Creek, near Charleston, NC
14 April 2017 | St Simons Island
12 April 2017 | Fernandina Beach, FL
11 April 2017 | St Augustine, FL
07 April 2017 | Vero Beach, Florida
03 April 2017 | Ft Pierce, FL
30 March 2017 | Ft Pierce, Florida

Carnaval and Painted Ladies

07 February 2016 | Isla Mujeres, Mexico
Beth /cooler - low 20's
It is Carnaval time here in Isla Mujeres, and as in most things Mexico, tracking down what is happening where is an inexact science.

We walked down to El Milagro this afternoon to meet David and Elizabeth, and the four of us headed for El Centro in search of the parade. We already knew that the start time of 3 pm was totally irrelevant, but we were hoping to find the floats gathering somewhere by 4. It may be that there was an actual parade somewhere, sometime, but we discovered the brightly costumed dancers and strutters a few at a time, with a stop for gelato along the way. (Tasty, but not like Tutti Fruitti in Placencia!)

Dance troupes are a major part of the festivities, and while a queen is crowned and late night parties on the square go on for each of the 4 nights, those dance routines that take place all over the island are what most of us see. As far as I have been able to discern, there are around 10 competing groups this year - made up of young men and women, each with distinct costumes, choreographed dances and music, and they perform each of the 4 days of Carnaval.

This is how it happens. We are strolling along the sidewalk, or standing among the waiting groups of locals and tourists. We hear very loud dance music coming closer, and soon we spot a pickup truck with huge speakers mounted on the back. Behind it is another truck loaded with brightly costumed and painted up dancers. They pile out of the truck, clear traffic out of the way, and dance their hearts out! After two or three numbers, one of the group passes a hat among the crowd - just like at our busker festivals in Canada - we drop in some coins, they pile back into the truck and go off to the next locale.

It was a little different on Sunday afternoon, because in addition to the "truck troupes" of mixed gender, we saw groups of girls and women dance/walking along the main street, some with choreographed routines, and some just "parading". I have added some pictures in the gallery - album titled Isla Mujeres.

Don't you just love the ladies in the picture above? I am sure those women have been doing this for years, probably starting as young girls, progressing perhaps to the more polished teenage dancers, and then strutting their stuff as they reached their "mature ages" - and some of them, very "mature"! Interestingly, I didn't spot any older men. Body shape appears to be totally unimportant, and indeed, most grown Mexican women are more round than slim.

These women strutted along - I just can't think of any better word - they wiggled their feathered bottoms, puffed out their substantial bosoms, and posed for pictures. They were so comfortable with themselves and I just loved them!

As for the truck troupes - usually there were a dozen or so teenagers - again of all body shapes and sizes, with boundless energy, smiles and costumes made of feathers and painted cardboard. We watched several in El Centro, another group in the lobby of El Milagro Marina, and yet another one the next day on the street outside Oscar's Pizza restaurant.

Jim and I haven't seen Carnaval in other places so I can't really compare, but I think this is a small and local variety. It isn't a show for the tourists - it's Isla Mujeres life.

It also happened to be Superbowl Sunday, so as we walked back toward El Paraiso Marina, we moved from Carnaval atmosphere to American Football frenzy. Most of the bars around town had special deals for beer and food and there was no lack of fans, but after the fun of tossing pesos into a hat for local dancers and applauding their efforts and costumes, the highly commercial football thing didn't quite compare for me.

As I walked home to Madcap at the end of the day, I was still smiling over those senoras and their feathers. Go dancers, Go!
Vessel Name: Madcap
Vessel Make/Model: Bayfield 36
Hailing Port: Halifax, Nova Scotia
Crew: James D Bissell (Jim) and Elizabeth Lusby (Beth)
About: Beth and Jim have spent several winters sailing southern waters on s/v Madcap. They love Halifax in the summer, but loved to spend the winters exploring warmer places - the Bahamas, Cuba, Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras.
The Madcap crew left Ottawa in 2007 to go sailing in the Bahamas. After a highly successful year, they returned to Canada, settled in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and in the fall of 2009 they left to do it again! Journey #3 (2010/11) took them back to the Bahamas and then on to Cuba for several weeks [...]
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