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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Marina Chahue

Nakia is tied to the dock in Bahia Huatulco waiting for a weather window to cross the Golfo de Tehuantepec (T'pec). The idea is to wait for a forecasted period of calm, lasting long enough to cross the gulf into Guatemalan waters. The area is notorious for the high winds that blow down from Bahia de Campeche in the north. One tactic boats use is to cut straight across the gulf as fast as they can. Since we are a slow boat we will hug the shoreline so that if the wind comes up, we won't have the heavy seas that build up farther off shore.

For now we sit and watch the weather. When the T'pec is blowing, the bays around Huatulco range from uncomfortable to untenable, and most boats elect to wait in the marina. This is unfortunate since the marina is expensive (.60 USD/day or .35 USD/month) with no amenities other than electricity and potable water. To take the bite out of the cost Enrique, the marina manager, gives in and out privileges so you visit the bays and come back to the marina as much as you want. He keeps track of your nights and will add them up to give you the monthly rate if you stay long enough. There is no internet at all in the marina, but you can take your laptop to the Villa Blanca hotel for "free" wireless (which ended up costing us 100p for three beers and two limonadas) or to The Lighthouse cafe which we haven't tried yet (so we don't know how much their beers are). There is no self-service laundry in the marina, but there is a pickup/dropoff service for 20p/kilo which is very expensive for Mexico. The marina bathrooms range from basic - with one toilet and sink for each gender, to primitive - with an open air outdoor shower "room" which has two shower heads (cold water only) inside a set of chest high swinging doors. John showers with me and then patiently stands guard outside while I finish up my longer shower process!

The surge in the marina is about the same as that at the Pier 39 or Monterey Bay marinas, though we haven't yet experienced a full T'pec gale which is supposed to be a fender squisher. Right now there's a large power boat on the end tie that we're nervous walking by because his fenders sound like they could blow at any minute.

The town of La Crucecita is about a 25 minute walk or a 16p taxi ride from the marina. Created by a Mexican government agency called FONATUR to serve the people working for the purpose built resort area, John has dubbed it MexiDisney. It has bit of a surreal quality to it with some areas very slightly resembling U.S. suburbia. The streets are wide, paved, and straight, with lots of green belt areas. There's a Super Che grocery store between the marina and town which reminded us of a micro Safeway, complete with an aisle of international/imported foods for the tourists staying in condos. We're looking forward to finding the local mercado for fruit and vegetable provisioning.

The best part of Marina Chahue is Enrique. We haven't needed his services yet but we are told that he makes weekly propane/fuel runs. There's no Pemex dock in the marina but you can jerry jug to the one on the darsena from the anchorage in the cruise ship harbor. Enrique also watches the weather in the T'pec for us, as does the Port Captain's office. We heard from another marina tenant that the marina is for sale, and until then the current owners aren't interested in making any improvements. So Enrique does his best to make your stay as pleasant as possible.

We came back after six nights in Oaxaca to find a film of dirt on every surface down below in the boat. Apparently they're grading the parking lot area in preparation for paving so it's dirtier than usual. We were going to wash the boat today, but a water main on our dock is broken so the water has been turned off all day. Hopefully it will be back on tomorrow.

We're looking forward to getting out of here and getting on our way again!

Linda and John

{GMST}15|45.814|N|096|07.312|W|March 2008|Marina Chahue{GEND}