I waited nine months for this.
It is not what you think.
When I arrived in Melaque last April, I wanted to regularly head off on snorkeling expeditions. I have my own mask and fins. And the ocean was literally at my back gate.
But I kept putting it off -- all for good reasons. I had no one to snorkel with; only a fool snorkels solo. The local tours were not running during the summer. I had to wash my hair. (OK. Number three is a lousy reason, but I needed the rhythm of three.)
This week I ran out of excuses. My friend Roy is here; he loves the water. The local tours are in full swing. And the weather has been snorkel perfect: clear skies, warm water temperatures, slight breezes.
On Monday I stopped by to see my friend Nan (after all, she is on my Facebook list) of Sea to Sierra. She had good news for us. On Tuesday, she had an all-day snorkeling tour -- and she had just two slots left. The Snorkel Fates were running our numbers.
But it was not just a snorkel trip. It was a boat cruise (from Barra de Navidad to Tenacatita Bay -- complete with aquatic wildlife, a virtual Robin Leach-ish home tour of the rich and famous, and a parade of luxury resorts), a jungle river cruise (mangroves, not Disney), an afternoon at the beach, and a healthy chunk of time beneath the waves.
I love to snorkel. It is the best method I have found to overcome my ongoing concern of having my face under water.
Tuesday was no exception.
Let's start with the obvious. The Pacific coast of Mexico is not Hawaii or the Caribbean. The water is a bit murky. The coral is not colorful. The sand is not brilliant white.
What you get at Tenacatita Bay is subtle beauty. The plain sister who understands why a sentence including both topes and topiary may be witty.
The coral is brown with a patina of algae. As if Bertolt Brecht had taken up set design.
But it is a lively set. Angel Fish. Clown Fish. Rock Fish. Parrot Fish. Eels. Octopus.
Unlike the Las Vegas splashes of a St. Thomas reef, Tenacatita requires patience and persistence. The rewards are rich.
In its own eccentric way, it was one of the most rewarding snorkeling adventures I have experienced.
As much as I enjoyed the snorkeling, though, I had as much fun with our afternoon art the beach.
I am not a beach bum. After about a half-hour of swimming and sitting in the sun, I am usually ready to move on.
But Tuesday turned out to be the exception.
Tenacatita is little more than a strip of fish restaurants on a strand of sand. But what a strand of sand!
The sand feels sifted. Soft and light -- as if it was about to be added to a fine gateau. The surf is little more than a whispering rush. The water temperature perfect for swimming.
In short, it is a perfect spot to spend an afternoon or day at the beach. And I intend to do just that in the near future.
My friend Roy helped to make it such a great experience.
We ate a very leisurely lunch and talked about topics that only good friends can discuss. That was topped off by Nan's discussion of the Manila Galleon and its connection to Barra, the myth of hidden hacienda wealth, and the unsubstantiated stories of the San Patricio Battalion.
The bottom line is that the trip was easily worth its nine-month gestation period.