Monday, March 13, 2017

Manzanillo north to Mazatlan

The first pangero out of Melaque Bay

When we left Santiago Bay on February 8th we were 
headed to Barra de Navidad, but the conditions were
good (no big surf) so we anchored off of the town of
Melaque (which we have dubbed "Canada South" 
because at least half of the population this time
of year are Canadians). We stayed for 
three nights and were the only boat most of those
three days. We got our laundry done, did some 
provisioning and had a few meals.
The Melaque anchorage is in the upper left, the entrance
to the Barra Lagoon is bottom right.

Loomba-Loomba anchored off of Melaque
On weekday mornings the fishermen "carpool"
over to Melaque (where many of them leave their pangas)
 from Barra. Dozens of pangas came flying into the
bay where they get bait and regroup before heading
out for a day of fishing.
The first pangero out of the bay.
The last pangas about ready to head out.
After the fishermen left the morning was very
quiet and peaceful.

Fishermen's cross out on the point
The Beverly Hill RV Park has been there for YEARS.
It is the oldest of four RV parks in Melaque.

A malecon to nowhere 

View from the malecon

Gathering fish for the seafood restaurants on the beach.
This is a very large fish pen in the middle of the bay.

In the evening and on weekends the locals all
head to the beach:

We had very good coconut shrimp at a beach palapa restaurant
one evening. Loomba-Loomba in the background.

This must have been a viewpoint from the malecon to nowhere.
It is now closed. This photo was taken from Loomba-Loomba
in the early evening when all the local families head to the
water after work. This family was enjoying a canoe paddle.
It's probably the first canoe we've seen in the Mexico beach villages.

Another large family in a small boat.

Melaque Town:
The Central Plaza in Melaque
Street scenes:

The Melaque Ice Cream Truck - music and everything!
Benjamin works at the lavenderia
where we took our laundry.
Taking a laundry bag in and getting
the laundry back clean and folded is
one of the perks of cruising:)
It costs less than going to a laundromat.
The Hawaii store caters to gringos. They have Costco blocks
of cheese, soy sauce, good wine, good yogurt, etc....and
this time they even had fresh raspberries.........
which didn't last long enough to take a picture!

Sunrise - Leaving Melaque headed to Barra de Navidad
The Barra Lagoon anchorage
The ocean-side beach of Barra de Navidad.
The marina and anchorage are in the lagoon
on the other side of this spit.

Carnival is coming!!!!
This is Maria who runs the Lavenderia Jardin where
we had more laundry done.
She is a sweetheart.

The French Baker.
We love getting quiche/croissants/baguettes/etc.
 delivered to the boat every day while in Barra.
Just put your order in by email or VHF radio the day before
 and Emeric will deliver it the next morning.
If you have any dreams of having a French Bakery
this would be a great place.
They are ready to retire and the business is for sale.

One of the best meat markets we've found in Mexico.

Valentines Day

Barra is really trying to clean up their town.

This is where many of the Barra/Melaque fishing fleet
pangas are tied up.......

......right next to where the cruisers tie up their dinghies.

Notice the piles of pop bottles and flags made out of black
plastic garbage bags. This is what we encounter out
on our passages. There were at least a dozen long lines and
pangas we had to work our way around coming up to
Barra from Santiago. 

There was a fairly strong wind storm on Valentines Day
which toppled this palm tree.

This Steve Jobs quote (along with some from Gandhi and
a few other people) was painted on a wall around the
central square in Barra de Navidad.
"Do not let the noise of the opinions
of others silence your inner voice."
From Barra we headed back to Tenacatita
 for another week or so. 

Tenacatita Update:
The estuary (jungle cruise) going from the anchorage
( JAL104) to Playa Tenacatita is still open after
the work parties last year did some major cutting
back of the mangroves. More pangas are coming
and going and more cruisers are taking their
dinghies up. Last year we did a blog post showing
the destruction after the land grab in 2010.
The beach was open to the public,
but no one could re-build until the dispute
was settled in court. There was one restaurant and
a Raicilla distillery open on the road.
This year there are tables with umbrellas on
the beach, with waiters and menus. You order
and a kid on a motor scooter hustles up
to the restaurant up the road, your order is
prepared and delivered by motor scooter in
an ice chest. They have cold beer and refrescos
on ice at the beach. Talk about entrepreneurship!
After walking into Rebelcito for some fresh produce
we ate lunch at Chito's and got a ride back
to the Tenacatita beach from a Canadian who
has been going to Tenacatita for 35 years. He
actually had a house there that was burned
to the ground during the land grab.
Apparently part of the dispute has been
settled. The road and the beach are actually
government land and cannot be closed to
the public. Everything inland from the road
and west of the road is still in dispute. Apparently
it should be decided within the next year.
Our new Canadian friend continued to live
on his property during the winter after the land
grab. The first couple of years he was delivered
to the beach by panga and camped.
The last few years he has been able to drive
in and has a trailer and camping gear.
He would like to rebuild if the land dispute
is favorable.
So that's the latest scoop.
The palapa restaurant by
the anchorage is still going strong and we
think they have the best food of any
beach palapa restaurant we've been to.
This is for you Roger King!
Rollo del Mar

Coconut shrimp

A game of Bunnock (bones) on the beach with Dodger Too
 and Lotus
Heading up the estuary. This is the dock where people board
pangas to go up the estuary or out to the bay.

We took the dinghy up.

An unusual bird nest
Montezuma Oropendola
Thanks, Susy!

Fish camp where we left the dinghy to walk to Tenacatita
Beach and Rebelcito

From Tenacatita we did a straight 24 hour passage
to Punta de Mita. It wasn't our worst 

rounding of Cabo Corrientes,
but certainly not the best.
Our radar reflector actually fell off of
the spreaders and shattered into many
pieces in the middle of the night
as we were banging into confused seas.
We spent a day and a night anchored off of
Punta de Mita before we did the 54 mile
(all day) trip to Matanchen Bay.

San Blas - the anchorage is in Matanchen Bay and
the marina is up the estuary on the left.
Matanchen Sunset
On our way up the estuary to the marina.
While we were waiting at the fuel dock we spotted this guy
paddling his panga across with his horse up in the bow.
L-L tied up at the very small San Blas marina.
Notice all the sandbars at low tide. You have to
know what you are doing to get in here!

Despite the jejenes (no see-ums) at dawn and dusk
and no hot water in the showers, we
really like this little marina.
It's small enough that you get to know everyone,
the staff is very helpful and friendly, there is
an excellent restaurant, there is a lavenderia a few
blocks away, and its just a short walk to the central
square and market. 
Just be sure to burn mosquito coils, screen all
hatches and ports, and have plenty of bug repellant:
A necessary threesome in the marina - screens, bug repellant,
and mosquito coils.
The town isn't so bad, but the marina is right on the
estuary so you need to duck and cover at dawn and dusk.

L-L is just a few steps from the excellent restaurant.
The first day we split a gigantic burger.

The next time we ate there Jim had the seafood
quesadilla on a tortilla grande. It was humongous
and delicious. (I had the shrimp tacos which
were also delicious, but 1/3 the size).
San Blas Street Scenes:

We had a great time in San Blas. We had a visit
with some friends who live there (if you ever
need a place to stay in San Blas look up 
their Casa Roxanna Bungalows -it's one of the best),
we caught up with some cruising friends we had 
not seen for a couple of years, and we made
some new friends.

We left San Blas on Sunday, March 12 at dawn

Heading out the estuary
and arrived in Mazatlan at dawn on
Monday March 13.

We will be leaving Loomba-Loomba in Marina 
Mazatlan while we do an inland trip to
Guadalajara, San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato,
Leon, Tonala and Tlaquepaque with my brother
and sister in law.