March 15, time to move! We spent some time in the morning contacting several friends in the area our friend Bill had gone missing in to keep an eye out for him in the water or on a shoreline perhaps. Then we held on to faint hopes and headed out to continue our adventure.
We had read that there is an actual coral reef at Cuastecomate but again not a good place to stay the night. Coral is very uncommon along Pacific Mexico so we definitely wanted to check it out. We decided to stop for lunch and a snorkel on our way to Melaque, our next overnight stop. We anchored off the reef in the swell and noticed right away that the water was not really clear. We dove in anyway and got a few glimpses of the coral but that was about it, damned red tide. Oh well! You never know until you try! Onward to Melaque!
Each Mexican town has a patron saint and Melaque’s is St Patrick. The town is known for big St. Patrick’s Day celebrations including parades and fireworks. COVID put a stop to the festivities for a couple of years but maybe they will have something this year? We sailed the 6 miles from Cuastecomate to Melaque in 15 knots in no time, fun! It made up for the disappointing snorkel for sure. The bay was big and calm. There were a handful of other boats, none that we recognized though. We got Pomp ready to go and I took a picture of the town map from the guide book. Pasargada had said we had to check out “The Hawaii Store”. It was on our map, time to explore!
The beach landing was not easy, no rocks but there was surf. We both decided launching the dinghy after dark would be a bad idea. We went into town and checked out where the festivities might be. It was all closed down until nightfall. I guess the fireworks are the main attraction so that made sense. Bummer for us though. We found the Hawaii Store and they had Triscuits! Everywhere in Mexico there are Ritz and saltines. We have been missing our Triscuits. As a matter of fact our friends that came to see Yelapa with us had packed some Triscuits in their luggage and brought them all the way to Banderas Bay. Those went away too fast. Way too fast. Triscuits! We bought four boxes leaving one box on the shelf for someone else to find. They also had pepperoncini, baked beans, and Spam! Yes, we like Spam – dice it, fry it, add to scrambled eggs, pasta sauce, burritos, you name it. There seem to be two types of people when it comes to Spam; those who think it is disgusting and those who think it is delicious. There aren’t many people in between.
We decided to walk the beach rather than through town back to the dinghy. Along the way, Bill assisted in launching a panga by rolling it on one gallon plastic water jugs. Then we came across a nicely dressed drunk man who was napping on the beach. Obviously his nap had started at low tide because now the waves were lapping at his designer leather shoes. We helped move him up the beach and into the shade where his nap promptly continued, likely until the fireworks start. We decided to watch the festivities from Saca-G.
March 16, another beautiful morning! We were sipping coffee, watching the beach activities starting up for the day when Bill noticed a man struggling in his kayak. As we watched, it seemed to be getting lower in the water. The man was trying to get to the sea wall but the sinking kayak was too heavy and sluggish. The next thing we knew, the man was out of the kayak, no life vest, trying to swim it to the wall, a good 200 yards away. It looked like he might not make it! We launched Pomp in record time and zoomed over to help. He was exhausted and very thankful. He had rented the kayak off the beach and the vendor had failed to put the plug in. It worked fine, of course, for about a half hour. It was just long enough for him to paddle about a mile off the beach. Then, “the damn thing sunk!” We took the kayak and the man back to the beach. We were feeling good about all of the help we were able to give during our one day stay in Melaque.
Next stop, Barra de Navidad, a one-hour sail across to the south end of the bay. We had reserved a slip in the marina and we were moored up by lunch time. Bill went into the marina office to pay for our slip and he got directions to the Port Captain to complete our check in. We gathered our papers and some money and a credit card then hailed a water taxi. He took us through what looked like a suburban neighborhood with waterways and canals rather than streets. The taxi driver told us where to get off and then we were at the mercy of Google Maps. We took a couple of wrong turns but eventually found the Port Captain’s building one block over and diagonal across from where Google had it. Close enough for government! We went to the big gate which was locked. We could see people inside so it was not closed yet, hmmmmm. An elderly woman who looked like she might speak English was walking by so we asked if she knew how to get in. We explained that the gate was locked. She shrugged, reached her hand inside the gate and pulled up on the lock. “There you go!” she said smiling and went on her way. Better that she did that than us, we thought. Inside, the Port Captain, an efficient woman, stamped us in for 3/16 and stamped us out for 3/18 so that we did not have to go through the same process again in 2 days. How nice!
We decided to walk through town on the way back to the marina. The town was very nice with many shops and restaurants. Bill found a place that was selling, among a million other things, conch shells suitable for using as a horn. We picked out a medium sized one and looked forward to saluting the sun’s setting with our new conch horn! We passed by a wall mural that depicted the town’s history from natives to present day, very interesting! By the time we got back, we were more than ready to hit the pools. They were multi-level and each level was connected with a slide. The lowest level ended at the swim up bar. Our kids would LOVE this place! We stayed until the sun was setting and we were hungry.
March 17, St Patrick’s Day! We spent the first half of the day working on our sunshade project. There was an area with smooth tile out of the way of people and big enough to spread out. We finished cutting the material and we were able to complete the seam tape on the smaller forward shade. We felt good about our progress and we were ready to celebrate! We changed into our St Paddy’s Day attire and went looking for the party. There was none! Even the restaurant was empty. We thought there were other establishments up the hill. We walked up the nice new asphalt road but it was completely dark, not a building or dwelling to be had. We walked to the end of the road where there was a nice view of the town below. Well, I guess we are making our own party! We got back to the boat and Kalewa hailed us. They had been in town looking for some festivities which they failed to find as well. We had them over and we started the celebration which turned into a dance party which ended at 2am. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!!!!!