Well with Christmas over we hit the dock, (figuratively not literally) looking to take on food and water and give Maiatla a much needed bath. We were surprised to find a couple of cruising Canadian couples already here, one permanently the other, like us waiting for a weather window to cross the Gulf of Thuantepec. Amber and Jeff with their two young children of Rock Star were from Vancouver and were into their 3 season of meandering down the coast. They have been here three weeks already but the weather for a crossing had not been co-operating so here they have been stuck. Chris and Gerry of Misty Michael, a 50 foot aluminum trawler they had built in Ladysmith on Vancouver Island. They have been living down her here for the past seven years. Apparently they were not too impressed with Central American and returned to settle down here. As most cruiser who have “swallowed the anchor” they have developed a tight social circle of friends, and are entrenched in the local community. There nice people would prove to be very helpful in helping us find our way around town. We also met a couple of other cruisers from Victoria, Neil and Peggy aboard Night Sky and Jeff and Judy of Island Mistress out of South Dakoda. A grand bunch that we would while away the evenings playing Mexican train dominoes either up at the marina outside bar or aboard one boat or another.
I checked the weather and since the gulf was still blowing gale force or better and predicted to do so for the next week we decided to rent a car and make a road trip to Oaxaca and the Mayan temple ruins there. It was only 250 kilometers away but the road was reported to be very poor and winding. Well we should have listened to our inside voice and another cruiser, telling us not to do it. The drive was definitely and eye opener as we were treated to grand vistas and a just a peek into Mexican rural life. We were amazed to see that some of the Indians had built terraced homes on the cliff tops with shear drops just outside their back doors with corn fields planted on hillsides that would give a mountain goat pause. I could hardly imagine how they would water the rather dry looking stalks and I would love to have seen how they would harvest the crop when the time came.
The heat of the interior was oppressive but thankfully the car had air-conditioning. We would pull off the side of the road, jump out, Jan and Marina would snap a few pics before bolting back the comfort of the tiny compact with air cranked to the maximum. We passed through several small villages and one larger town with its main street full of venders selling anything and everything eatable or used to farm or run a house hold. We stopped to sample (at Marina’s insistence) roasted crickets laced with chili which had me scrambling to find my water bottle.
One of the highlights of the trip was being stopped in the jungle on a sharp curve by a two meter long Boa Constrictor that decided to slither across the road. Out came the cameras but surprisingly everyone stayed in the car while the creature took its merry time re-enter the bush. Well we never did make it to Oaxaca City. After hours of twisting and turning and grinding gears up steep mountain roads, we decided to abort our trip when we came across a sign. “Oaxaca 100 kilometers”. We had already spent six hours covering just 150 kilometers and by all accounts, the road was getting worse so after making a very careful “three point turn” on the cliff side we headed back. We were disappointed but the better part of valor is discretion so I think a slow retreat was in order.
After our little road trip we spent the better part of the week waiting for weather and playing tourist around Haultuco. The entire city was built as a resort community so it is very well laid out and getting around made easy by the scores of taxis racing about. For 25 paseos (About $2) a cabbie will happily take you anywhere in town. It’s probably Mexico’s best kept secret as it is nearly a perfect tourist resort with lots of great beaches, restaurants and things to do and the beat part ids the venders that are genially happy to see you come and don’t use the hard sell. They often wish you a good day as you decline to buy their wares, a pleasant change from most of Mexico. By the second week in port we had come to the conclusion that Marina was running out of time. The weather was not co-operating for crossing the Gulf so I had to make a decision to either cross under less favorable conditions so marina could accompany us, or wait. Wait it would be. (back to the discretion thing again) . So on January the 11th we put a rather disappointed but otherwise happy Marina on her flight home. We would come to miss her.
Oh did I mention that we had a mouse onboard? One day we found a half-eaten banana, then droppings on the counter-top. We bought a sticky pad and set a trap and baited it with a piece of banana. Marina (who absolutely freaks out at the mere thought of a mouse) woke me up at 3 am to say we had a hit, sure enough the guy was stuck to our trap and stuck good. He was big for a mouse, I mean a rat size mouse, sticky pad was almost too small for him. Any I put him in a plastic bag and tied a piece of chain to it and sent him swimming.
Next day I asked Marina to help me take up the trash, she readily agreed so I handed her on small gray bag which she clutched and swung like a purse as she sauntered up the dock. After she tossed her bag into the trash can I asked her if she was going to say goodbye? Goodbye to who she queried with a perplexed look upon her face. The mouse that you just dropped off, I replied with a big smirk. Needless to say how freaked out Marina was at having handled our little furry friend from the night before.
Well it was just Jan and I now so we had another decision to make. To grab the first weather window and head south or stay and play for a while. Since Jan was having some back pain and we really wanted some time alone to just chill out, we decided to head out and explore and dive along the coast and perhaps I would actually get a chance to do some writing. Not sure how it came about but before we knew it we had invited Melissa, our daughter to join us for a couple of weeks and as soon as she had her flight book, a good weather window opened up for the crossing. No matter, El Salvador wasn’t going anywhere and another weather window would surly open up after Melissa leaves. So it’s off to have fun in the sun, drink wine and be naked……most of the time.