Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Barra and Brita

(continuing the thread from the last post, where we sailed in to Tenacatita Bay in the pre-dawn hours...)

After a few brief hours of sleep following our hair-raising passage, we were awakened by the gentle sound of an inflatable dinghy bumping against our topsides. Roger and Tobe of La Palapa had graciously volunteered to pick up my good friend Brita and her pal Kyle from their laguna-side hotel, and on the trip back, they took the "jungle river" tour, so our guests were well entertained while we slept.

It was great to have Brita and Kyle visit us; Brita and I have worked together at VentureArchetypes for three years now, but she recently found a new job, so I was looking forward to a few days on the boat together. We lazed about in the very undeveloped Tenacatita Bay for the day...Naomi jogged, Brita and Kyle swam, I did "boat chores", and then we all got together at a beach palapa for shrimps and beers, then reconvened later on La Palapa (the boat) for lamb skewers and margaritas.

The next day we had no wind, so we motored over to Barra de Navidad. The anchorage is in a protected lagoon, and the entrance is very narrow and shallow-- each day, one or two sailboats get stuck. We made it safely by following a series of waypoints that a dock neighbor had copied for us in La Cruz.

Barra was a real treat, and a highlight of the trip thus far. It has a rich maritime history, as well as very colorful streets and houses (as Tobe put it, "it's like they have a different color pallette here") and nice beaches and great restaurants.

The lagoon was neat, too, and makes for an exceptionally calm anchorage. We took our dinghy in and tied up at the Sands bar. For the next two days, we lounged at the beach or at the Sands' pool, and ate voraciously.

We celebrated New Years here, but this is a problem-- since we're all sailors, we are used to waking before dawn, and in bed pretty early. We found a great rooftop bar and ate rib eyes, but first Naomi conked out, then Tobe, Roger and I ran out of steam and retired to our boats. Only Brita and Kyle were able to stay out partying past midnight (though I did enjoy sitting by myself on the cabin top of Hurulu and watching the fireworks...)

Early the next morning, Naomi and I dinghied into town and picked up pan au chocolate and almond croissants for breakfast on the boats. After another day of relaxing (and recuperating from NYE) around town and around the pool at the Sands Hotel, we carefully threaded our way back out the narrow channel and set sail for Manzanillo.

We treated our guests Kyle and Brita to a few hours of actual sailing on the 25 mile passage, but the winds were very light, so eventually we had to fire up the diesel and motor the rest of the way. Manzanillo is off the beaten tourist track, but it's a handsome bay ringed by cliff-set houses and is a major shipping port. We motored around a punta and dropped anchor in "Hadas", just off the marina.

The rest of the afternoon was spent poolside at the large 5-start Moorish style resort. One of the perks of sailing is that many resorts, for a small fee (or even for free), will let you tie up your dinghy and use their facilities (pools, showers, WiFi, etc.). I don't know exactly why they let ruffian 'yatistas' like us mooch off them so, but perhaps the visual landscape of some anchored sailboats enhances the vista? Who knows, but it's certainly nice.

In the evening we celebrated Kyle's birthday on board La Palapa with champagne and a chocolate cake made by Tobe (she is quite the cook) and retired early.

The next day saw Kyle and Brita depart for a 5-hour bus ride back to the airport, and Naomi and I set off on the long journey to Ixtapa/Zihuatenejo. Not too much to report on this leg of the passage-- it was 3 long hot days of mostly motoring that began early--weighing anchor at 4 am-- and ending late at night in rolly anchorages. The only highlights were being escorted out of one bay in darkness with a pod of dolphins, whose phosphorescence lit up around the boat, and the autopilot and sunshade ("poor man's Bimini") working flawlessly.

After a stop in Isla Grande, where Roger fired up his "hookah"-- basically a floating air compressor that allowed us to dive under the boats and scrub their bottoms-- we made it yesterday afternoon to Zihuatenejo.

This is a charming town and I'm sure I'll have more to report once we've explored it. But it also marks a turning's our last stop, our most southerly destination before we point Hurulu's nose north and make our way back home. This realization hit us just moments after dropping the anchor, and it's both gratifying and a little bit melancholy to reach this juncture, but all good things...


Dee Dee said...

Holy hair! Going for the pony tail again?

Andrea said...

Wow. Amazing. I can't believe it's already the half way point. I love living vicariously through you and will be sad when it's over!

Nathan Beckord, CFA said...

re: Hair...yeah, I'm going for "mad scientist look" or alternatively, as Brita put it, "captain jack sparrow" look...(basically too lazy to cut it)