Posted by: Sailing Camelot | January 21, 2011

Wed Jan 19 – Bahia De Navidad

Wed 19 – Bahia De Navidad

We’re up and running again by mid-morning, destination Bahia De Navidad. It’s just a little 15 miles hop, a two hours trip. I’m mentally waving goodbye to La Manzanilla vowing to return here, too. Soon, however, my attention is diverted to the three young humpback whales happily playing and splashing about, mindlessly breaching smack in the middle of the Bay entrance. They are about a quarter mile away from us. Tom is unfazed, slowing Camelot down for good measure while I wonder if my eyes can get any bigger, swallowing up my face… I’m not worried, I’m getting used to their frequent and ubiquitous presence, but they’re just fascinating, beautiful and intimidating animals and I am awestruck every time I see them.  Taking pictures is out of the question. I need a better camera and a zoom lens for this, another thing on my wish list…

We get to Bahia De Navidad a little earlier than anticipated thanks to a favorable current that pushed us, increasing our speed a full knot per hour to Tom’s utter delight. What’s with his speed fixation, anyway?

There are two towns, both with protected anchorages, at the opposite ends of the bay: Melaque to the north side, Barra De Navidad a mere two miles to the south end. We go for Melaque, as we know we’ll only stop for two days. The other anchorage is closer to Barra, the biggest and more attractive town, but it also requires a little finesse with tides and currents to enter, since it’s located in a shallow lagoon surrounded by sandbars… We’ll visit by dinghy later on, simple and effective way to zoom around without worrying too much about shallow waters.

As soon as we set up camp (figuratively speaking), we get to the nearest palapa beach bar for a well-deserved beer for the Captain and a Coke for me.  

Palapa Bar - Restaurant

A word on our means of transportation once in the anchorage: like all cruisers, we travel on our dinghy, a small inflatable boat with a hard fiberglass bottom, about 11 feet long, powered by a 15 hp outboard engine. It’s our car, for lack of a better comparison. It even has 2 wheels! The wheels are deployed for beach-landings. Landing your dinghy on a beach is no small feat. It requires careful watching and timing of the waves hitting the shore to ensure a smooth landing and to avoid getting soaked or tossed in the water, which is extremely embarrassing (not to mention uncomfortable), especially in front of crowded places…

Dinghies parked on the beach

Once the wheels gently touch the bottom, we jump out, raise the front and pull the dinghy further up the beach, where it stays parked while we relax. We have witnessed unsuccessful landings by other boaters a few times. It’s not pretty, so we do our best, but it’s only a matter of time before we, too, will possibly become the source of entertainment. This is why we never laugh at others’ misadventures and are always ready to lend a hand to approaching fellow cruisers. The successful landing alone is cause for celebration with a cold beer…

People-watching is a favorite pastime of ours, and there’s a lot to watch. Beach vendors laden with their goods stop by quite often and we engage them in conversation in our broken Spanish.

Senor Arturo sold me a beautiful Tortilla Basket

Must be hot walking with all those hammocks!

The palapa bar/restaurant owners or servers are always up for a chat and are clearly pleased when we formally introduce ourselves and ask for their names. There’s almost always people sitting at neighboring tables, and before I know it usually Tom is already striking up a conversation. So far we noticed a remarkable majority of Canadian tourists. There’s always an RV camp near the beach, usually exclusively occupied by Canadians escaping the clutch of winter at home. And who am I to blame them!

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