Monday, December 8, 2008

Mantanchen Bay 12.8.08

We have had an action packed couple of days here in Mantanchen Bay! We arrived here right at sunset on Sunday evening and anchored in the dark just beside Lady Hawke. It is a very large bay and we were lucky, there were only 2 other boats when we came in. We were exhausted after a 17 hour trip so after anchoring we set the anchor alarm, scarfed down some food, & hit the sack. There’s something about those longer passages that just takes it out of you. The passage was uneventful – there were some big swells at first, but about ½ way through the trip, the seas mellowed out and by the time we were anchoring, it was a smooth as glass. We saw whales & dolphins and even a turtle. We dodged a few fishing vessels and were lucky as Lady Hawke was 2-3 miles ahead of us so they would contact us if they saw anything. We lost sight of 4-P.A.C.K. as they were headed to Isla Isabella but stayed in radio contact until we all anchored.

The next morning we slept in a bit & were putting everything away from the passage and observing our surroundings. It is spectacular – a huge bay that is rimmed with coconut palm trees everywhere. Everything is so green and lush I feel as if I’m looking at a post card from the South Pacific. There are palapas dotted along the long & inviting beach. As we were admiring our new home Pacific Jade came sailing into the anchorage. They set the hook and we all went into town. We beached our dinghies at a restaurant called “Ismael’s” which is cruiser-friendly. What that means is we can leave our dinghies outside the restaurant, secured to the business and he will watch them for us. They can also arrange to dispose of trash (a constant cruiser issue), send out for laundry, get block ice, etc., anything to help the cruisers. In return, the cruisers frequent the establishment, partaking in the ‘bucket of beers’ – 10 beers for 70 pesos (or about $6.50). Anyway, we beached the dinghy & parked them in front of Ismael’s and then walked to the corner of town where you can catch a bus, walk, or hitchhike into San Blas, about 9 miles away. We were in luck, a pickup truck slowed down for a speed bump and we asked if he would take us to San Blas – he said Sure! All six of us! Woohoo! We’re pretty sure he was related to Mario Andretti but he got us there safe & sound. In town we tried to pay him for the ride but he refused.

Both Lady Hawke & Pacific Jade have been to San Blas/Mantanchen Bay before so we were treated to a personal tour! We walked through town and took in the sights. San Blas is a beautiful town with about anything you need. It is a smaller town, no mega stores here, but lots of stores to check out. The town square was very cute and was all decorated with Christmas trees & lights. In 2003 & 2004 San Blas was hit with hurricanes and is still recuperating from the damage. They are building a new church and it is close to finished. We walked to Mc Donald’s (NOT the chain!) for lunch and enjoyed lunch with two other boats – Indian Summer & Frejea. The girls, Marylyn, Deborah, & I took off to go shopping while the boys all walked over to the Port Captain’s office to check in & out of the port. Us girls walked from shop to shop checking out the wares. The bead & wood work was amazing. They had handmade dishes for condiments that were in every shape you could imagine – turtles, frogs, owls, fish, etc. I watched as one of the women was making one and asked her if I could take her picture, but she denied. We are in the state of Nayarit and the native people are called “Huichol” and are known for their bead work, paintings, & woodwork. I wish I had enough $$ to get one of everything! Haha.

After the boys visited the Port Captain, they made their way to our rendezvous point, the San Blas Social Club, otherwise known as the bar. When we found them they were enjoying the special – a beer and shot of tequila for 40 pesos. We found an internet café in town that we checked out – it had some of the wildest internet stations, they looked like old video game machines (think donkey kong or Ms. Pac Man) that had the insides ripped out & replaced with a monitor & computer. The keyboard & mouse were where the old controls used to be located. Internet was incredibly inexpensive – 1 pesos for about 6 minutes of internet time. What a deal! The internet café was packed, but by young kids, probably 12 years old. They were all chatting with friends all over Mexico. It was fun to watch them as they watched us to figure out what we were doing! Haha. Of course once they found we were just checking e-mails, I think they were disappointed. Back at the bar, we sat & chatted for a while but it was getting dark & we needed to get back to the boats, plus we were getting eaten alive by the ‘no-see-ums’ or ‘jujunes’ that inhabit this area. Most people relate Mantanchen Bay or San Blas with No-see-um’s and many simply stay away. It’s a shame as the town is so beautiful but I’ll admit, the no-see-um’s are maddening! They seem to come out every evening just at sunset & hang around & bite the hell out of your legs between your knees & ankles. We jumped into a taxi and started back to the bay. I enjoy talking (can you tell?!) and began asking the taxi driver about the area and what celebration they were getting ready for as you could see them sprucing up the area. They are getting ready for the celebration for the Virgin of Guadalupe that is on the 11th & 12th. We won’t be in San Blas for it, but it sounds like a great fiesta! I had been told by several cruisers to make sure & get some banana bread while in San Blas and I also asked the Taxi driver where the best was in town. It just so happens we were driving right by it so we stopped & bought some loaves of both Banana & Coconut bread and eventually made it back to the bay where our boats were hanging out. Dinner & ½ a movie and we were out like a light!


Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home