Apr 22, 2013

Barra de Navidad or Nuevo Venice?

I have left my heart in so many places.

Welcome to the very calm Navidad Lagoon!
Called Nativity Bar for it was discovered on December 25th, 1541…  on Christmas Day.  It probably should be called Nuevo Venice for most transportation is by water taxi (taxi aquatico) and businesses and houses line natural waterfront and canals.  
Bringing Nikki to the beach for morning walk
It is a very protected anchorage in a shallow lagoon surrounded by mangrove trees; Peaceful, beautiful, serene.  We are lucky to be here for we have had 20-35 knot winds every afternoon for 2-3 days.  Glad we are not at sea experiencing this low pressure system moving nearby. 

Businesses and homes built on the water
Kayaking towards clam pens in 1-3 feet of water
House on stilts at end of pens - Boats anchored behind (can see masts)
Close up of clam pens
We enter the channel very carefully for there is no room for error in this narrow shallow area.  We have good waypoints and all ends well.  The winds are anywhere from 20-27 knots at our back so at least the electric motor doesn’t have to push against it, saving us a lot of energy. 

We learn to do all of our errands in the morning and stay put in the afternoon with things we can do on the boat.  Early morning walks with Nikki bring us to a beautifully landscaped golf course, the small town of Colimilla, mangroves, etc.  Numerous birds can be heard at dusk and dawn.  The nights are completely quiet.

Chef Emery on Belen - delivering fresh baked French pastries
in the lagoon nearly every morning during high season
In early morning, a French Pastry Chef also comes around the anchorage with great pastries, quiches, breads, and pies for sale.  Delivered to the boat!!!  Now that’s what I call style and I could see staying here just a little bit longer to enjoy this new perk…  It would be easy to get fat on this diet…
Pelicans on bait tanks stored upside down on sticks
This anchorage usually sees upwards of 50 boats; there are only 2 other boats right now.  Most people have headed south or north of the hurricane area by now.  Hurricanes don’t usually start until June so we still have time.  Hurricanes also cannot build any major force until the water temperature reaches between 85 and 88 and since it is currently at 66°F, we feel we have some time before we have to head north.  We are keeping track of the weather patterns and assessing our journey accordingly each and every day.

Since the winds are so high, we kayak until about lunchtime and if we want to go out again, hire a water taxi to pick us up.  For $2 each (round trip) we can go to town for internet, food, sightseeing, etc.  A bargain when you think of the winds you have to fight to get to and fro.  At least this way we stay dry, safe, and it’s very quick.  These water taxi drivers are amazing.  Even in waves and 30 knot winds, they can safely idle next to your vessel without touching it so you can get in and not get a scratch on your boat.  They seem so nonchalant about it – they do an amazing job.
Morning fishing - notice how the homemade oars
Pulling up fishing net - usually from 100-200' long
In the small town most houses have so little land that folks utilize the sidewalks to grow plants, hang their hammocks, set-up a small table and chair, tie-up goats, or play kids games.  Everywhere you look someone is doing something; sweeping, cooking, singing, biking, feeding kids, etc…

We are constantly amazed by the shoddiness of the Mexican construction but everywhere we go they seem to use the same methods.  I guess they didn’t learn much from the last massive earthquake in Mexico City.  Instead they spend more time on finishing touches and colors, beauty over safety, attractiveness over how long it will stand the elements. 

On a long walk today I finally came across a carob tree.  The smell is unmistakable.  Long 18” round dark brown beans that have a great aroma once broken open. 

From here we listen to the SSB and are witnessing long distance the crossing of the Equator by many of our friends who left for the South Pacific.  They can now be called ‘Shellbacks’… 

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