Welcome to the Jungle
December 4, 2016
The Tropic of Cancer runs just north of Mazatlan, so we are officially in the tropics! This was definitely evident when we headed to our next destination – San Blas. San Blas is a small village about 45 miles from Isla Isabel, so it was an all day sailing trip for us to get there.
We had a nice (and interesting sail) to our destination. As we were leaving Isla Isabel, we hooked up on a really nice Sierra (my favorite fish, as you might remember). We were super excited as we got him close to the boat when he suddenly spit the hook. Mike was a bit aggravated, as he really doesn’t like the fish to beat him. I was just sad that I wasn’t going to get my yummy Sierra for dinner.
As we got closer to San Blas, the shallow shoal areas extended miles offshore, meaning that in places we were in only about 30 feet of water where we would normally expect it to be hundreds of feet deep so far offshore. We were hoping to catch something good in the shallow water, but we kept hooking up on these really big Jack Crevalles. They are beautiful fish and put up a fight but no good to eat. Finally, the line zinged and we were pretty sure it was something other than a Jack Crevalle. Jackpot – we pulled in another Sierra! So, we redeemed ourselves with the fishing. After hooking a few more Jack Crevalles, which took some time and substantial effort from Mike to reel in, we pulled the lines in before we reached the harbor entrance.
We had read that there was a bar that crossed the entrance to the San Blas harbor, but with the swell and position of the sun, it wasn’t something we were able to see as we approached the entrance. The sand bars shift and change the depth frequently. We also didn’t know if it was high or low tide, so we were crossing our fingers that we wouldn’t have a problem with the entrance.
As we approached, Adios was just ahead of us. Dale radioed us to let us know that it was quite shallow ahead and to approach cautiously. Mike was on deck putting the sail cover on, and I was at the helm. I slowed the boat down as much as I could while maintaining some steerage. I slowly watched the depth sounder drop and held my breath as I saw it dip below one foot under the keel. Then it quickly shot back up to three feet and then six. Whew. We were over the bar and headed to the marina.
San Blas has a pretty small marina (maybe only 10 or so boats at the docks), but there was a lively bunch of people that all greeted us when we arrived. After putting the boat away, a group was headed into town for some dinner, so we joined in. There are really only a few restaurants around the town square, but lots of food carts with tacos, hamburgers and hot dogs. (Yes, hot dogs are big in every Mexican town we’ve been to, usually wrapped in bacon!) So, we had hamburgers and hot dogs and let the other boaters give us a quick tour of the San Blas square.
The church in the San Blas square…
The next day several boats wanted to go on the Jungle Tour! There is an estuary that runs through the San Blas area, and you can rent panga boats to take you on a tour to see the crocodiles, iguanas and birds. We rented a couple of boats and were on our way through the jungle.
A green iguana in the tree..
There is also an animal sanctuary on the tour that we stopped at. I’m usually not a fan of animals in cages, but they had done a nice job and explained that they were trying to do conservation of animals that were endangered. There were crocodiles, parrots, jaguars and some other various animals.
That night was the night of the US presidential election, which of course we were interested in watching. San Blas isn’t a big town, so in the afternoon we started scoping out where we could actually watch the TV coverage. We found a small bar called the San Blas Social Club which had satellite TV service and could get the US news stations. So, we made a plan to come back into town that night to watch the election results.
That night we camped out at the bar with some local Mexicans, Canadians, Australians, a Kiwi and one other American. The bartenders said they hadn’t had that many people in the bar since the Super Bowl! Everyone was interested in what was happening in the US, regardless of what country they were from. And, like at least half the Americans back home, the bar turned into a state of shock when the results started to come in.
Our Canadian friends starting buying us all tequila shots to get through the rest of the evening. I can’t say it helped much. We later mused that the election of Trump might be like one of those American tragedies in history where people later ask you, do you remember where you where when…? Well, when Trump got elected we were at a bar in San Blas with a very international crowd of shocked onlookers doing tequila shots to drown their sorrows.
We decided we couldn’t take the news the next morning and decided to depart San Blas and go back off the grid for a while. So, we departed en route to Chacala! But, more on that next time.
p.s. The election shock eventually did wear off, and we have hope for the future of our country. Regardless of who is in the White House, we have the best system on earth that should continue to be a beacon of hope of the rest of the world.