Friday, December 29, 2017

touring costalegre -- the wrecks

"We never get to the Tate -- or the opera -- or the theater unless you are in town."

So, said my London friends earlier this year. And I suppose it is true for all of us. We seldom visit the sights in our own town unless we have guests. Several of my New York friends have never been to the Statue of Liberty.

I am no different. Even though I live here permanently, I have a limited litany in an even more limited venue.

Walking. Reading. Writing. Restaurant-hopping.

On my daily walk, I pass the dock in Barra de Navidad where the local boat owners pitch their wares as persistently as Bangkok bar shills. I greet them, and walk on by. If my neighbor, Jaime, is there, I tell him: "Mañana."

Well, mañana finally arrived along with Robin on his visit earlier this month. Last January, Jaime took my family on a two-hour boat trip. They are still talking about it.

The big draw for local boat trips is the wreck of the Los Llanitos -- a medium-sized ship whose captain decided it was a brilliant idea to head out to sea just as the hurricane with the highest recorded winds was about to hit the Mexican coast. And he was sailing right into it.

Of course, he didn't sail anywhere of his choosing. Hurricane Patricia decided the ship needed to dock. In a large rock outcropping just south of our bay.

And there the ship rests. Plans to refloat it were quickly abandoned. Instead, a salvage operation began.

Jaime has a dramatist's eye for introducing the wreck to his passengers. He approaches the ship at an angle -- giving the impression it is looming out of the rock like some modern Lost Dutchman.

When I was there in January, the ship looked intact. The salvage work performed this past year has greatly altered its appearance. There is a gaping hole in both sides, and the aft deck is now more askew than Kevin Spacey's acting career.

But the wreck was only half of our trip. Barra de Navidad rests on the shore of a vast lagoon. No boat trip is complete without a quick turn around it.

Some people think the marina at the Grand Bay hotel (what passes for luxury on this part of the coast) is the star of the lagoon. I love boats. But, for me, there are more interesting stars.

The lagoon is home to many species of birds. For some reason, I usually see only two on these boat trips. Pelicans. And this tricolored heron.

There are at least two fish/shrimp farms in the lagoon. Large netted areas where the "crop" is raised to harvesting size.

Los Llanitos is not the only hurricane-wrecked ship on the tour. An earlier hurricane sank this fishing boat within sight of the dock. Maybe it is left there as a reminder that the sea is not always the benevolent provider of beach holidays.

Robin enjoyed the trip. I enjoyed the trip. In two more weeks, my family will be here. And we will enjoy a similar trip -- maybe this time heading north to La Manzanilla.

Anything to break my routine.

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