At last, we made it out of PTO PCO (that’s the short name form locally registered boats have painted on their hull) after 24 days. We spent much longer than intended (sounds familiar doesn’t it?) and our fond memories of this area are of the PEOPLE we met. They truly made up for the decrepitude of a city that has strongly been hit by the economic downturn of the last 3-4 years. So dire is the economy here, you can buy a condo for what is owed back in HOA fees on it and nothing else. Vacancy rate is very high!
One person helped us find propane and whole wheat flour during his lunch break. He refused to get paid but gratefully, we managed to treat him to some goodies before our departure. He took Mike to 4-5 different locations until Mike finally found what we needed. We were allowed to use a very large clean empty room at the marina to attend to all the sewing projects we needed done – we were even given the key to it for the weekend so we’d have complete access after hours. Others offered us rides to the US or to grocery stores. When the tokens to do laundry were not first accessible, we were given free ones to cover for the inconvenience.
The night watchman became very good friend with Nikki, caring very much for her and helping us catch her the one time she escaped off the dock. The person selling bags of ice, after knowing Mike for a while, befriended him and started giving him the larger bags of ice for the same price as the smaller ones… One of the helper on the “Sunset Cruise” party boat which left the dock every night at 6:30 pm, always made a point of yelling “Déjàlà!” and waiving to us in a very enthusiastic and friendly manner each time they passed by – it became quite a fun ritual.
For a grand finale, someone gave us two stainless steel hinges probably worth $50 new in the US to finish a project he had observed Mike work on, saying it was his parting gift to us… These are all small gestures but they make a huge difference at the end of the day and most people don’t seem to think of PTO PCO this way. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to have a good reputation across the border or in the boaters’ community, meaning more room for us when we return.
The only time we locked the boat was during our two day trip to Arizona otherwise we felt safe and secure enough to leave her open while gone for walks with puppy, eating out or shopping. We also found that prices for food and other items were some of the lowest we’ve seen in Mexico over the 11 months we’ve been here – some as low as ½ what we paid elsewhere.
In a nut shell, we would gladly go back even if the harbor’s water is not the cleanest (although it swiftly got better when the 170 or so trawlers went out for the shrimp season - from mid September to March), even if the electrolysis in the water is high and you better have good zincs on for they’ll quickly diminish, even if high humidity makes everything corrode extra rapidly, even if party boats have competing music for a couple of hours nearly every evening, and even if tides can be extreme. Easy access to the US and especially the kindness of the people made it all worthwhile. Thank you to everyone we encountered there.