Sunday, December 28, 2008

Barra de Navidad 12.28.08

We’ve had a wonderful time here in Barra de Navidad. We are anchored in the Barra lagoon and we’re in between the cities of Barra de Navidad and Colimilla. The city of Colimilla is only about 5 blocks long & 2 wide but has lots of great restaurants, an outboard service business that we had our dinghy serviced at, & Maria’s tienda, who services the cruisers with water & food deliveries. Barra is a bit bigger and has just about everything you may need – restaurants, laundry, internet, propane, hardware stores, medical, etc. You name it, you can probably find it in Barra. The city is about 13 blocks long and 8 blocks wide, but the main area that everyone spends time is only 6 x 5 blocks. Barra is a Mexican vacation spot and the majority of vacationers come in from the bigger city of Manzanillo. It’s a beautiful beach town with beaches as far as the eye can see, colorful umbrellas propped up everywhere, beautiful palm trees, dirt & cobblestone streets, & the traditional town square & beautiful church. We were here once before, staying with our friends Scott & Liz on Ocean Lady, but it’s always so nice to experience it again. The people here are wonderful – very friendly & helpful.

The lagoon is full of boats – the numbers keep going up & down but are hovering around 25-30 each day. We are anchored out near the edge of the boundary, which is working out perfectly as no one wants to anchor around us. Haha.. Living in the lagoon is good & bad. There is absolutely no swell so the boat sits nice & comfy…but! The fishing pangas scream by early in the morning, any time after 6am, which causes a nice wake that makes the boat roll around, there are water ski boats that pull skiers during the day, causing more rolling around, and finally….the water is not clean enough to swim in (for me) or make water in. Ahhh…the perpetual problem….no place is absolutely perfect. I guess we’ll just have to keep looking. Darn! But it’s great to have the town to visit and there is a hotel, called the Hotel Sands that is ‘cruiser friendly’ and allows us cruisers to enjoy the pool, bar, & internet. The dinghy landing, a seawall that the dinghies tie up to, is at the Sands Hotel as well.

Our typical day, if you can call any of this typical, begins with the morning net. On the VHF radio, the morning net begins at 9am. They begin by asking if there is any emergency or priority traffic, followed by a call for departures or arrivals. If there are any new boats, they tell everyone the name of their boat, the names of everyone on board, where they have come from & how long they’re planning on staying. After that begins general check-ins. Everyone says their boat name and is acknowledged by ‘net control’. Following that is a call for mail – anyone who can take flat stamped mail back to the U.S. or Canada, General Announcements, rides & crew, treasures of the bilge (a swap or sell of items), and finally local assistance where you can ask for help finding places and items. After the net, the ‘French Baker’ makes a stop at the boat, selling bread, pastries, quiches, etc. He comes on the net and says “Zis es ze Franch Baykeur, I am coming into ze lagoon”….it’s so funny to hear him. He has been here for years & has yummy stuff…almond pastry, chocolate croissant, baguette, quiches, etc. We don’t buy stuff from him often – bread mostly but every once in a while that chocolate croissant is calling my name! haha…

During this time, our generator is running, pumping juice back into the batteries & running the fridge & freezer. We have breakfast & do our daily chores and prepare to go into town. We go into The Sands Hotel & do whatever we need to, & most evenings head back to the boat before dark. Dinghying at night can be dangerous as there are lots of pangas, both fishing & water taxi, that zoom through the lagoon and often without lights. So we make every attempt to get back before dark…or be extremely careful when we’re out after dark.

Wireless internet is out in the lagoon, but before today, there was only one provider – called Low Maintenance, that charges 350 pesos for a month of service. It seemed pretty extreme of a price since we will only be here a week or so, so we decided to just take the laptop into town when we needed to check e-mails. Just today though another restaurant, Fortino’s, began offering daily passes so we will check that out when we go into town.

We’ve had such an action packed week – I can’t believe it’s going by so quickly! We arrived on Christmas day & took it very easy. We immediately took to the one day work, one day play philosophy and the following day, spent most of it at The Sands Hotel working on the computer – uploading photos, updating blogs, checking e-mail, etc. We were introduced to a new drink called a ‘Caesar’ which is much like a bloody mary but somehow much more potent. The Sands has 2 x 1 drink special from 2pm – 7pm every day which worked out well as I would order a drink, get two, give one to Marylyn and then vice versa! Soon enough, it was time to get some food in our belly so we went on the hunt for Pepe’s Mexican Food for some fantastic burritos & fries. We walked through the town a little and then headed back out to the boat.

The next day was our typical routine. There was another ‘beaders annonymous’ class at 10am, a book exchange, & a gamers table at The Sands Hotel and I had been working on a new bracelet so I attended. I was able to complete my 2nd bracelet and get some fabulous ideas for others. Michael stayed on the boat and did some projects, took a nap, you know…the usual. Haha… After several hours of beading & chatting, I hitched a ride back to the boat and had another mellow evening on board.

Sunday was another full day in at The Sands Hotel using their internet. If we haven’t said before, we have decided to get jobs over the summer this year while the boat is holed up in Mazatlan. It was a tough decision but we figure it’s the best time to reinvest in the market! And if we can find enough work to cover our expenses for the summer and have some $$ left over to fill the cruising kitty, even better. So we spent the entire day at The Sands on the internet, applying for jobs! I have to admit – it’s a long & painful process! Haha. We figure if we HAVE to go to work, we’ll try to find a new area to do it, and something that will be fun to do as well. We have been applying for jobs in Alaska as we have both never been there and they have a lot of seasonal positions available. We applied as Park Rangers, tour operators, etc. So wish us luck and help us out if you know any secrets of how to get hired!!

More to follow…


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