The crew of the BlueJacket wishes you a warm "Ahoy" from Barra de Navidida!
We've actually been here for quite a while, floating in and out of the marina. This was supposed to have been our mini-vacation while sailing down the coast. I'm sure that many of you think that this entire trip is a vacation, but it's not. Sailing and maintaining a boat while underway is a lot of work, and the marina/resort at Barra de Navidad was going to provide a respite from that. Normally boats in the marina have access to a wonderful Grand Bay resort located on the same property.
Unfortunately we didn't count on the entire resort being booked for two weeks by a group of Jewish families from Mexico City and the marina guests not being allowed to use the facilities. Guards were stationed everywhere and made sure that only the chosen few were allowed in. Believe me, this did not make Sue happy as she had been looking forward to this for months. They bussed us to an older hotel of theirs that doesn't appear to be in use any more, but the water in the pool for the first 4 days wasn't fit to swim in. As a result we left the marina and headed to an anchorage (Cuastecomate that I've already written about) for a few days and we pulled back in on the day that they allowed us back into the resort.
The marina itself is very nice and the grounds of the resort are beautiful. The main attraction are all of the pools. On the ground level there are 3 large pools interconnected by water slides. I'll admit that the child in me has come back out and we've spent a lot of time slipping and sliding our way between pools. The biggest issue is the lack of shade around the pools. It seems that they don't understand that everyone doesn't want to lay in the sun for hours on end. There are other pools spread around the resort, including on that we called the "Secret Pool" because it's on the 10th level and it takes 3 elevators and walking across a bridge to get to it.
One of the decadent pleasures that we undertook on a regular basis was sampling the wares of the French Baker. Every day (other than Wednesdays) he takes his boat through the marina and the lagoon anchorage selling his baguettes, croissants, quiches and other delicacies. I have to say that his almond croissants are to die for, but you can't eat them too often!
The marina is separated from the town of Barra de Navidad by the channel which connects to a lagoon and it takes about 1/2 of an hour to drive around the lagoon. As a result there's a thriving water taxi service that runs 24 hours a day and shuttles you between the marina and Barra. It's 20 pesos per round trip (USD $1.60), so one can't complain about that. The thing that is probably moist disconcerting is that many of the water taxis don't have running lights and they fly between locations. You wonder why the port captain doesn't address this.
Barra is a nice little town with quite a few little shops and restaurants. One of our favorites ones was Mexico Lindo which had a stunning view out over the water and the food was even good. The image to the right is where we had lunch a couple of times. Wow!
The week before and after Easter is known as Semana Santa and the locals flock to the beaches. This made Barra and Malaque, which is a couple of miles NE of Barra on the same bay, very popular places. The sheer number people on the beaches was amazing, but it had a wonderful feeling of families playing together. Anyone who thinks that it's dangerous down here hasn't spent any time here!
If you look at the buildings in the background of the beach photo you'll see a bunch of destroyed hotels. This was due to hurricane Jova which struck here in 2011. It's interesting to note that the concrete monoliths suffered extreme damage but the smaller buildings with thatched roofs are back up and running.
I think that tomorrow we'll begin to move south again. One of the issues that we have is that as we head further south, there are fewer and fewer anchorages available and our jumps will get longer and longer. Our next 2 jumps are fairly short, but after that it gets long.
Garret update: I became facebook friends with his mom & according to her posts, it looks like he's in El Salvador.
Speaking of FaceBook. If you're a FB user, please "friend" my BlueJacket Sailing page. I publish daily updates with lots more detail than you get in these news letters.
-- Geoff & Sue
For the cruiser:
The marina charges USD $0.68/ft for 3-5 days, $65/ft for a week and I was able to get them down to $50/ft for 2+ weeks. There's also a $4/day power charge. The water is supposed to be potable, but we didn't take any on.
You can have them do laundry for $26 pesos/kilo. Drop it off next to the harbor master's office. They does a good job.
The Shawn & Heather guide suggest that you can walk 2.5 miles along the beach to Milaque. I don't suggest it as the beach is highly angled. Take the bus for $6 pesos.
Our favorite restaurant was Ambar which faces the lagoon. Very good Italian. As stated above, Mexico Lindo was good for lunch & had great views. Loco Loco is only open at night, but has good pizza.
There's a market downtown on Thursdays from 10-2.
The port captain is a long walk, but very easy to deal with & spoke OK English. You need to check in/out with him.
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