Monday, December 23, 2013

Bahia Asuncion


After our relaxing days in Bahia Tortugas, it was nice to pull into Bahia Asuncion after only one long day out.
This came out pretty good for an over-the-shoulder shot

Earlier in the day, we’d realized that Thanksgiving was just around the corner. Our next planned leg would be a 3 day/2 night jump and we didn’t want to be at sea for Thanksgiving. We decided to stay through and leave on Friday.

We dropped the dinghy and went to town to see what sort of options we could find for Thanksgiving, internet, groceries, and gas. We found a food stand marked tamales and stood around watching until someone else ordered.

It turned out they were selling cups of fresh corn with butter, mayonnaise, cheese, and a spritz of lime. We got some—because, why not?—and took it back to the boat for dinner.
I don't advise building card houses on a boat at anchor. Meira did it though!

The next day, after cockpit showers,

we walked through town again pointing out the colorful houses and the lazy dogs, one melted across the sidewalk like warm chocolate. We found the internet café but it was closed for lunch so we moseyed on down the way, past the bicycle repairman, past a man watering his garden with a hose in an upturned shell—a homemade  sprinkler. We bought some ice cream bars and sat on a low wall to eat them and watch the town.

The internet café was open by the time we moseyed back so we went in and hooked up to internet as slow-moving as the lazy dogs. While Bryan and I tried to take care of business, Meira sat drawing ponderous turtles and somnambulant snails. We paid for an hour, but stayed for 2. When I was paying for our second hour, I asked the proprietor, in Spanish, of course, for directions to a restaurant. He told me there was a good one close by. I asked what it was called. “It doesn’t have a name,” he said. “That’s the best kind of restaurant,” I said. “What color is it?” “It doesn’t have a color.” Now I was quite confused. But he insisted that it was one street down, by the beach, in front of the hotel and said something about windows and maybe an awning. I was expecting a little food hut with a window in the front, but followed his directions and found a large, yes nameless and colorless, restaurant with windows all around and a thatched roof. Ahhh, that makes sense!

Hannah succumbs to post-prandial somnolence

We were the only people inside, but the food was good and the we interacted a bit with the cheerful staff. The girls walked back on the beach and Bryan and I took the road. We met at Splitpea and rowed back for the night.



We woke to a lazy Thanksgiving morning. Bryan and I went into town and picked up some provisions, some small fishing lures (all we had was for big fish), and some special Thanksgiving breakfast cereal. We searched the town for fresh milk, but none of the stores had any. We pulled out a box of rice milk and ate all the cocoa crispies we could hold.
We’d talked about buying  some meat for Thanksgiving dinner, but Bryan went out trolling in the dinghy for a bit and caught a couple of mystery fish for our dinner (we found out later they were Bonito).


We made a list of side dishes and Meira carefully allotted one of our limited supply of cooking implements to each.

Hannah made mashed potatoes.

Meira fried up some sweet potato fries.

Bryan grilled the fish, and I made gravy and pumpkin pie. The shelf-stable cream didn’t whip in the heat, but I didn’t hear any complaints.


Friday, we decided to stay just one more day. We were glad we did! First, some friendly fishermen stopped by with a bucket of lobster.

They’d come by the day before, but we think they had to ask permission before giving away some of the catch.

From what we can gather, all the pescadores (fishermen) here are part of fishing cooperatives, so they aren’t allowed to sell fish or lobster. And our fishing licenses only cover fish, not shellfish. But apparently there’s a loophole in the rule that allows them to give away lobster. Well, then…thank you! They passed over 6 good sized lobster and then gave us a lobster prep demonstration, whacking away with a big knife on the thwarts of their panga. They passed over the cleaned lobster too, refusing any offer of trade. “Por su familia!” “For your family!” We chatted for a few minutes, once again humbled and blessed by the generosity of the local people. We appreciated the lobster, yes (we appreciated it for a couple of meals, in fact) but the friendly interaction was gift enough.

In the afternoon, when Bryan and I were rowing to shore for…something…I forget. We ran into a fisherman from CA who asked us to drop his car keys by his truck on the beach. No problem. When we came back, he handed us a couple of pounds of fresh caught, cleaned, fileted yellowtail. With no refrigeration on the boat, 7 lobsters and 2 lbs of fish, we had quite the task ahead of us to make use of it all. We managed.

Just before sunset, another sailboat pulled into the bay and dropped anchor. We called over on our VHF radio, but before they could answer, we heard from Valus Valeo, a large ketch just visible on the southern horizon. As they too came in for the night, we switched over to a chatting channel and let our girls get acquainted with their 2 girls.

The family sounded so friendly—other kids!, girls at that!—we popped some brownies in the oven and invited ourselves over for an impromptu welcome party.


We eventually spoke with the other yacht too. Both crews planned to leave the next day for a one-day run to Punta Abreojos (it means “open your eyes” in Spanish and the reefs and rocks in the area make it clear why). The anchorage there is close to a whale reserve and, though still early in the migration, the other boats were hoping to catch a ride into the lagoon for a whale-watching trip. We decided to tag along—why not?

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