Wild Bill comes to Barra

By friend Bill some how managed to talk his wife into letting him play hookie from school (he is a high school physics teacher) and come down for a visit. It was going to be an action packed trip as I wanted to give him the full Barra area experience. What better way to start than to watch the sunset from the rooftop of Alondra followed up with kick ass al pastor tacos!

The next morning we were pulled up anchor and were on our way to Tenacatita – but not before a bit of drama… This seemed to be the season of boats running aground getting into the Barra lagoon, nearly every day someone needed help getting unstuck or waited for high tide to lift them off the bottom. In my case, I tried to cut the corner to get to the dredged channel, when the water got less than 2 feet beneath the keels I stopped the boat. I saved myself embarrassment by adjusting course and slowing making my way to the channel. Bill was no doubt questioning his choice in captain already…

The next day we connected with my friends Nancy and Mike on S/V Shanti. They also had guests visiting and together we took our dinghies up the estuary and over to the “aquarium” for some snorkeling and lunch. The current and slightly reduced visibility didn’t hamper our fun snorkeling the reef, however coming out of the water Bill realized that his phone was in his pocket, duh! He drowned his sorrows with a couple cheap margaritas and coconut shrimp.

On the trip back Mike mentioned they wanted to drift through the estuary to look for birds and animals. About five minutes in I got concerned that we haven’t seen them and we doubled back, good thing we did because they couldn’t get their dinghy started. We gave them a tow, which in the narrow, twisty estuary was quite a challenge. I bunch of times I banged into tree branches while trying to maneuver the two boats. About a third of the way back Mike gave the engine another try and thankfully got it running. We ditched the towing bridle and continued on our way. I should include that his dinghy wasn’t the only one with bad behavior – mine was not streaming any cooling water (I was keeping an eye on the temperature with the cover off and running low rpms), I suppose that was not enough to worry about so halfway back I realized that raw fuel is squirting into the case. Thank god there was no spark or fire… After reattaching the fuel line the trip was uneventful. Whew, enough adventure for one day!

That night we were invited over the Moon Drifter where Ralph and Helen were hosting a happy hour. We were joined by S/V Harmony, S/V Pincoya, and S/V Cassidy. A great mix of food was brought and Ralph grilled up some chicken kabobs. But the highlight of the evening was the mandolin playing by (eck, I can’t remember). Oh and the sunset conch blowing, which went on and on and on.

The next day we recovered with a low key morning followed by some kayaking around the shore line. We plopped down the kayak on the “dog” beach and hiked up the trail that S/V Shanti and S/V Gia were carving into the hill side. After taking on scratches and a few bug bites we retreated to the beach where we were joined by Deana (S/V NellieJo) who brought Freddie onto shore for a bathroom break and to stretch his legs. Plans were made for them to join us for dinner which made for a wonderful evening with good food (Deana always brings amazing dishes) and great conversations.

The next morning we pulled up anchor and moved on, the plan was to anchor early in La Manzanillo before the afternoon winds (and waves) picked up. Everything was going as planned – anchored, kayaked into shore, enjoyed a leisurely coffee, walked around town a bit, headed over the the crocodile reserve, walked along the rickety bridges, joked about falling in with the crocs, until about 3/4 of the way around the boardwalk I notice the wind has started to blow. Oh boy. We somewhat quickly finished our visit and headed for the beach. Getting there we can see nearly constant 3 foot rollers and Strikhedonia rocking fore and aft. Ugh, we rushed to the kayak and got it in the water. Trying my best to keep it from capsizing, I pushed us off and told Bill to paddle hard while I jumped in. We manage to escape the breaking waves but it was still a wet, challenging trip. Feeling relieved to be aboard we powered up the engines and raised the anchor. Bill was given the full experience this day with wind in the low twenties and banging into the waves! Everything turned calm upon reaching the point where we turned into Bahia de Navidad as we were now downwind with following seas.

We spent the night anchored in Melaque, which gave us the opportunity to dinghy to shore where Bill found some gifts for Nora (his four year old daughter) and we scored some ice cream for our efforts. I say well deserved.

The next morning we motored back in to the Barra lagoon and find a spot to squeeze in among the mass of boats. Bill’s last few days, we spent enjoying the farmer’s market, morning coffees at La Bruja, breakfast from the French Baker, tacos, and swimming at the Isla Grand hotel pool. Great times!

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