Recently a tour bus in Puerto Vallarta was robbed by masked gunmen. No one was hurt, just relieved of their valuables. A friend forwarded me a link to the news with the admonishment to be careful while I’m down here. My response was to thank her for the heads up, as I needed the reminder to not be complacent. We’ve been in Mexico for four months now, and so far our biggest crime prevention measure is to hoist our dinghy out of the water and lock it to the boat at night. Which I might be tempted to do just about anywhere now, considering how easily mobile a dinghy can be. Yes, we lock the boat when we are off of it, but often the companionway door is locked while a hatch big enough to climb through sits open so the breeze can blow in. We wander around small towns after dark to visit our favorite taco stands, take buses into non tourist areas, and wonder up and down local streets looking at shops or searching out some particular business.
I suppose we could be robbed at some point, but so far I’ve been no less worried about it here than back home. I pay attention to my bags, keep a good grip on the camera when I have it out, and be careful to not flash too much cash (pretty easy in my case…) Just as there are places not to go in most cities in the US, there are areas to avoid here. The problem is just not being as aware of them, but with common sense I don’t think they are hard to avoid. I spoke with one boat that hailed a harbor master in a port not in any of the guide books about entering the harbor. The harbor master asked them why then wanted to come there, and told them there was nothing there. They, as I would do, chose to sail to the next port.
Despite the recent robbery, we are having a wonderful time in Mexico, and have never felt unsafe. The people have been friendly and helpful, even when my broken attempts to speak Spanish don’t convey the correct message. But I still try, and I’m getting a bit better at it although I still have a long way to go. I can sometimes communicate more than an order of beer and tacos. The places we’ve frequented multiple times have seemed to enjoy having us return to their businesses.
And speaking of returning, we are entering a new phase of our cruise. Retracing our steps. I had to think about it, and realized this won’t be the first time we’ve anchored in the same place twice. When we sailed from La Paz to Mazatlan we stopped at an anchorage we had used on our way from Cabo to La Paz. But this is the first time we are stopping in towns we have visited, and will be seeking out places we shopped or ate. While everyone raves about the French baker in Barra (except for Ben on Jace) with good reason, we found a local bakery with croissants almost as good at a quarter of the price we’ll be swinging by. I’m looking forward to a walk on the empty beaches at Chamela. We’ll stop by a place that let use their internet all afternoon for a couple cheap beers and some nachos – in fact that is probably where I’ll upload this.
And of course we can hardly wait to get back “home” to La Cruz where we have many favorites, none more so than the Huanacaxtle Bar and Cafe and their 10 peso happy hour draft beer, free plates of Jicama, friendly service and Karaoke parties. As mentioned before it will be a bit bittersweet without our close friends that have sailed south, but we’ll toast them, renew old acquaintances and make new friends. And after that, back to La Paz where we will have the mouthwatering Shack Burger we have been craving since we left.
Mixed in with the familiar will be some new stops, a couple anchorages on our way north that we skipped on the way down, and hopefully a visit to San Blas on our way up to La Paz before we cross the Sea of Cortez back to the Baja side. And finally, up into the Sea of Cortez for the summer with countless bays and anchorages to explore. We’ve heard tell of clear waters, that you almost live in to help with the heat. Even with some hardships we are hoping for a summer of of new experiences, sights and locations. We thought long and hard about the Sea for the summer and in the end decided that after we had sailed such a long ways from Seattle to a renowned cruising ground we shouldn’t pass it by. Plus I’m cheap and we had only made it two chapters into our guide book for the sea and I don’t feel like I’ve gotten my monies worth out of it just yet.