San Blas - Prairie SeaShell Sea Stories
Having said goodbye to Isla Isabella and the boobies and frigates, we headed for San Blas where we took refuge in a very protected estuary right in front of the town.
San Blas channel marker
Our guide books tell us to call Capt Norm for guidance into the estuary, however, we couldn't reach him so we slowly made our way in, and anchored beside s/v Pepe who we had met in Mazatlan. Our first attempt at anchoring found us bumping the bottom, so I backed up and we found another spot, less than 200ft from the last channel marker.
We had heard reports of a storm brewing, so wanted to be tucked in away from the blow. Fortunately the storm didn't materialize and we were able to spend our time here touring the area.
Our first excursion was on a jungle tour up the Rio Tovara through the mangroves to a fresh water spring and crocodile hatchery. In the company of the folks from several other boats, s/v Pepe, Auspice, Bold Lady & Amy Michelle, we took a guided panga ride through the mangroves.
Cormorant drying his wings in the sun
Forgotten what this one was called, something like an oyster catcher. I need a bird ID book
Our panga driver/tour guide spoke English very well, and was very observant. We saw green herons, great blue herons, white egrets, snowy egrets, cormorants drying their wings in the sun, pale orange spoonbills, yellow breasted tropical king birds, turtles and crocodiles.
This spoon bill looks like he is staring at us, but apparently he is nocturnal, so I think he really is asleep.
Giant White Egret (garza)
He also toured us by the movie set for a film called Cabeza de Vaca, the story of a sailor who was shipwrecked on the shores of the west coast of Florida and walked all the way to Mexico City.
First stop of the trip was at the crocodile hatchery which also houses a few local occupants. In particular, we watched a wild coatamundi desperately trying to get into the cage with the captive coatamundi.
Not sure if it was the lure of the easy lunch of tasty fruits and vegetables, or if he had his heart set on a particular female inside, but it was quite comical to watch his attempts. The captive ones on the other hand seemed to have no intention at all of trying to escape.
On our way out of the park, we treated ourselves to a sugared coconut ball, ( aka a big macaroon) and Don made a new friend who wanted to share. We enjoyed a quick lunch, then took a refreshing dip in the fresh water springs, which thankfully, has been fenced off to keep any lurking crocodiles from enjoying a lunch of fresh gringos!
After the Jungle Trip, we walked down to Mantachen Beach and had supper at Ramada Mantachen, a palapa on the beach, where Ismael lets cruisers tie up their dingy's for free. Irene & Yiorgio from s/v Argo joined us for a while and and we all feasted on BBQ'd sea bass (Cabrillo).
It was difficult deciding what we were going to have for dinner. Ismael brought us a huge tray of whole fish so we could choose our dinner. One of the choices was parrot fish - was glad no one opted for that one, they are much to pretty to eat, would much rather enjoy their sparkling colors in the water.
The next day, we again dingyed across the estuary to the dingy dock, spoke to the boy at the dingy dock and paid him our $20 pesos ($2.00) to park there for the day.
Today we were off to explore the Fort at San Basilio. Although San Blas is just another typical Mexican village nowadays, in it's heyday, in the 1800's, it was a bustling military headquarters and port. When the port was closed to commercial traffic, poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow kept San Blas on the map by writing The Bells of San Blas, and the bells still toel from Our Lady of the Rosary Church on the main square in town.
On the way back from the fort, we stopped in town for another fish delicacy. This time we also had a choice of fish, but they were already smoked - Lisa (a variety we had never heard of, but was recommended) or marlin. We went for the Lisa which was cooked with a mild mayo/chili sauce. I also picked out the tree I'd like to have planted in my backyard.
Next day we were going to try to get to some nearby waterfalls, however, there was only one bus per day leaving at 1:00 and we couldn't get any confirmation if it really came back the same day. Tried a taxi, but it was far too expensive, so spent the day in town, strolled thru the little museum, stopped at the internet cafe and of course had lunch at McDonalds. Although we did have burgers, they were definitely not the Golden Arches variety.
San Blas has been fun, and very interesting. The only drawback is that I already have about 50 or 60 pica de jejenes (sand fly bites), and not sure how many more I can tolerate. Guess I should have had some Avon Skin So Soft, I'm told it works quite well as a bug repellent.
Tomorrow we will head to the next bay south, Chacala.
San Blas Photo Album coming soon.
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