Thursday, January 28, 2010

Leaving Barra 1.28.10

Just a week, that's all we gave ourselves in Barra lagoon. As with every stop, Barra lagoon is both good and bad. Being in Barra lagoon is lovely - you're anchored in 4' of water, the boat is as still as being in a marina (when the wind doesn't blow!), there is so much to do, see, explore, eat, & enjoy!'s a lagoon. That means dirty water. No diving off the boat and swimming around, you can't make water in the lagoon (some have.we won't, the water is too icky), and to 'do' anything, you must dinghy into town or shore. Last season wi-fi service was offered in the lagoon which was great as you could just log in any 'ol time you wished. This season both services are down which means to do any internetting we have to pack up the laptops (yes, laptops.plural! We fight over the laptop if we only take one!), put them inside their waterproof cases, make sure to take all info - passwords, notes, e-mail addresses, etc with us, load ourselves & the laptops on our backs into the dinghy and go into town. There are two convenient spots for picking up wi-fi: Fortino's Restaurant and The Sands Hotel, each with their own detractors as well. Fortino's is an amazing spot to work and all last season we did all of our interviews there via Skype! But we know the operators too well and end up chatting with them during the work time, haha. And The Sands Hotel is where most cruisers go to pickup internet as they have nice tables & chairs, a bar that serves mean 2-for-1 drinks, and it's poolside! The con for there is that there are lots of cruisers there..lots of talking, lots of Skyping, and the mosquitos are horrible there! One morning I went into The Sands early hoping to miss the crowd and was literally driven away by the mosquitoes as I didn't wear any repellant. It's a tough life!! :-)

Since wi-fi is such a cruiser necessity and Fortino's Restaurant is more than willing to provide the service, Michael and I went on the lookout for the equipment needed for setting up their own wi-fi service into the lagoon. By the time we left Barra, we were able to get many of the pieces donated by the folks who offered service the previous year and only have one main part missing that will make the system functional. Joe & Deb from Pacific Jade (yeah, we finally caught up with them!!) were planning a trip into a town just South of Barra de Navidad called Cihuatlan by bus so we joined them and scoured the couple computer electronics stores for this part but were not able to find it. We may have to bring it down with us next season. The trip into Cihuatlan was a lot of fun, we always have fun with Joe & Deb, and they were successful in finding what they were looking for - a generator for the boat! Theirs was beginning to die and they needed to find something to replace it. We wandered the town, partook in the always fun 'ask for directions' game whereby you go to one business and ask for what you're looking for (using your BEST Spanish you've been practicing and still receive the look like you have 3 heads!), find out they don't have it, and then you ask them where else in town you might try. They proceed to tell you how many blocks to walk, the general direction, and even landmarks to look for. So you walk the mile to the next business and the fun begins again. This continues..and continues..until you find what you're looking for (hallelujah!), you get plum wore out from walking, or finally give up! Because it's almost impossible to find someone who will tell you they don't know where you can try. I think sometimes it's a game they play with us! 'Let's see how many places we can get them to walk'! haha. While walking to one of the other stores we were suggested, we stumbled upon an 'Elektra' store and, amazingly, they had a 3000kw generator for 5000 pesos! That's a killer price! We told the gal we would be back, walked to the other end of town (just in case there was a better one there!), stopped for lunch at an amazing eatery called "Tena" that had some of the tastiest pork I've ever had, and made our way back to Elektra. The generator was loaded up into the back of a taxi and we made our way back to Barra. Another fun day.

Michael wasn't feeling so hot during our time in Barra as well and he ended up visiting the doctor in town. Another infection, similar to what I had in San Blas but not as advanced, it appears. It's been a weird season aboard Ahea Kali!

During one of his 'down' days, I went for a hike with Pamela from S/V Precious Metal & her best friend Laura through the golf course in Colimilla to the ocean side and on to an incredible private beach I was shown last season. The waves have been pounding this beach because of the high winds & swell that has been in the area which left the beach beautifully carved with high, steep sand berms that were interesting to traverse! The sand was such a clean caramel color and was coarse on our feet - so the soles of our feet were rewarded with a massage and pumice stone-type cleaning as well. The beach met up to a large rocky hill that upon closer inspection had steps carved into the rock. Up and over the large rock we went until we were on the other side to the private beach sheltered from the battering waves, littered with beach glass, shells & driftwood, and even a long tube where the waves came all the way through. It was a beautiful sunny day and we found a couple groups who had found the beach as well from the Hotel. And in that crazy 'it's a small world' system, we asked one of the ladies in one of the groups if she would mind taking our photo and upon chatting with her, learned she was from B.C., Canada.just a few miles from where both Pamela & Laura lived and they even knew some of the same people! Crazy.

We did the 'circuit' while in Barra - Pipi's burritos (the best, biggest burritos in town for some crazy cost of 35 pesos or so), Mexico Lindo (another great restaurant), went up to the top of the Alondra Hotel for cocktails & sunset among friends, wandered through the streets looking at all of the changes, spent plenty of time at the Hotel Sands' pool & bar, and even found a few new places! And you can't come to Barra lagoon without enjoying the fresh baked specialties of the 'French Baker' who motors out in a panga every morning and visits every boat in both the marina and lagoon and sells scrumptious baguettes, croissants, pies, & quiches. My favorite is the almond croissant but the ginger chocolate orange pie is a close second. :-) It's no wonder I don't lose weight out here! Haha.

The big fishing tournament was in town again this year and we went to the final weigh-in that was held at The Grand Bay Hotel & Marina. This is a huge fishing tournament, bringing in anglers from all over the West coast, and they go after the big fish - marlin, dorado, & sailfish. The event is held on a beautiful grassy overlook of the marina & lagoon entrance. Tents & structures are erected and items are advertised or sold to all of those in attendance. Like last year, beer & tequila were sold - beer, margaritas, a shot of tequila, or an alcoholic beverage sold in a can called 'Pisto Listo' were only 20 pesos. I went for the Pisto Listo, why not?! It had a snazzy name and when I asked the gal selling it what it was, she read to me, in Spanish, exactly what was advertised on the can - a beverage with tequila and a grapefruit flavored soda. Sounds good! And they were. ;-) We ran into Jaime, the marina manager from Marina Mazatlan who told us they took 1st place in Marlin and the other two classes were also won by Mazatlan anglers. Woohoo! You may remember our story from last year.but this year was much more mellow - and our liver thanked us! Michael wasn't feeling good so after seeing all of the anglers bring in their catch, we headed back to the boat.

After 8 days in the lagoon, we were beginning to run out of water. We hold 215 gallons of water on Ahea Kali that is used for everything - showers, cooking, cleaning, & the toilet. When we arrived in the lagoon our water tanks were close to full but we managed to get pretty low in those 8 days - to less than 100 gallons. So it's time to get back out to fresh water! Back to Tenacatita we go. I can use some more swim time, bocce ball, & relaxing! Though, I'll be honest, I've been 'working' on stuff that will help us when we're in Alaska this summer. Oh, how I suffer! :-)

Only 30 boats were in Barra lagoon when we left!
More to follow!


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