Travels from Dec. 26 - Jan. 1, in the next millennium
What does one do the day after Christmas, in an idealic location? The same thing we would do if we were living "on the hard" - call family we missed seeing on the 25th. Granted, we had to go find a phone. Granted, we had to subtract two hours from the local time to try not waking them too early (we still shook a few out anyway). Granted, we made the most of the dink trip and picked up some shower water too.
The phone service in Mexico has treated us well the entire voyage. We still are using the AT&T One-Rate Plan from TelMex phones. Rarely do we find a phone out of service or with flakey dialing. The sound quality has always been excellent. We just have to be concerned about finding one in the shade and away from the streets used by trucks and autos. A new watch-out-for happened on this call home - a bucket of wash water thrown into the street, through the front door of the hotel we were outside of. Some of the splash came our way. Maybe the noise of cars isn't so bad after all.
Water use and conservation is a unique balance. You all know we make our own drinking water - about 600 gallons to this point. The process requires waiting for the "product" water to become OK-to-drink from Nancy's very selective taste. However, the water up to that point is saved for a variety of uses. The first, saltiest water is used for washing dishes. The rest is used for washing clothes and in the solar shower. We used to use it for rinsing dishes. However, that was before we got to Mexico. So we get the maximum out of the water passing through our reverse-osmosis system.
Actually, we used to have a lot more of the pre-drinkable or working-water. With the advice from cruisers we meet, the 2 - 3 gallons of working-water has become 1/2 - 1 gallon. We have new flushing procedures, new start-up procedures and careful pre-filter cleaning cycles. While that is great for keeping the drinkable water levels high, it has created a shortage of working-water. So, we take two gallon jugs with us every time we go ashore. Most of the shore water is not drinkable for gringos - we consider it all that way. Therefore, we use chemical disinfectant in the shore water we use for showers and washing fruits and veggies - Micodyn. It is an iodine-based chemical and does put a brown tint into the water. But Micodyn is the product mentioned in many cruising books and by basically every cruiser we have asked. Some times the water has "foreign" material in it. Those times we filter it out with a coffee filter.
Actually the faucet water on shore isn't even drunk by most locals. Water trucks can be seen and heard in every town, now that we know the signal. The water is supplied in those water-cooler type of 5-gallon , plastic jugs we all know and love. The trucks are about half the size of a Sparklets truck, and without a fancy paint job. Yet they carry their precious comodity door to door. To call attention to their presence, they use a auto horn similar to those custom-car horns heard from teenager's souped up rods, singing out a little tune, sounding like trumpets. Anyway, every day they bring their pure water so the locals don't have to drink the faucet water either. Maybe the few gringos who DO drink the faucet water are the only ones behind the times.
Tuesday, Dec. 27 we went back to the anchorage in Melaque to fill the water tanks with our "sweet" water (it really does taste great). Nancy wanted another go at hoisting the anchor, so I became the helmsman. Nancy did fantastic - I didn't . . .
You know, sometimes too much thinking, too much education, too much confidence is dangerous. That was the case that day. First thing I did wrong was cut the corner out of the lagoon anchorage, into the channel. [Remember the instructions: "Aim for a point about 50' off the island, about 100 yds from it, turn into the anchorage."] I cut the corner! About 200 yards later I went aground. I tried to back off, but our 2-blade prop wasn't going to do it. However, with the helm over hard, the prop wash rotated Nanjo slowly around. When we were pointed the opposite direction, I shifted into forward and went out the way I came in. The rotation must have shaved off the mud mound Nanjo had stuck its keel in.
I turned Nanjo back into the channel, turning toward the deep, center. I continued on, another third of the way out of the lagoon. Nanjo stopped again. This time I was able to back off. I steered further toward the center of the channel. I touched again but didn't stop. Finally we got to the marina, where the marked channel begins. Oh, yeah. If Nancy hadn't come back to the helm and given me instructions to clear the shoals, I probably would still be there - like Bogie - a rope over my shoulder, tuggin' Nanjo through those mud flats. Let's hear one for Mom!
We stayed out in the bay off Melaque until Dec. 30. The "regular" helmsperson was back at her station as we returned to the lagoon. We had come in before breakfast, with the high tide. We also chose this time because Reliance was scheduled to depart the lagoon and head south on that same tide. But we didn't pass Reliance on the way in and saw her, still at anchor, in the lagoon. We anchored close behind her, expecting her to weigh anchor soon. Also the anchorage had many new boats and room was getting tight.
When we had passed the marina, we were amazed at their newest floating resident, a massive power cruiser WITH A HELICOPTER ON IT. It was very impressive.
Soon Reliance told us they had changed their plans and would stay for New Years. Actually, they invited us over for an All-American roast beef and mash potatoes dinner to start the celebration off. Another group dinner had been organized by cruisers at one of the palapa restaurants in the lagoon. We didn't participate since we wanted to see the town celebrate New Year's Eve.
Nancy brought cauliflower with yellow and red bell peppers (for color) and apple crisp (sugar-free) as our contributibutions to the feast on Reliance. Carl and Karin tried, one last time, to talk us in to going south with them to Z-town. We had fun and shared memories. After dinner, we dinked over to the marina and left our dinks beside Amazing Grace. We became guests of Amazing and Flica, thereby being able to partake in the free float-boat taxi to Barra. The town was beginning to come alive.
It was sort of strange - right across from the palapa bar we went to, the town's church sits. As we came to the church, we saw an over-flow crowd attending mass. The church was filled, the street was filled. I think a lot of people must have been caught up in the doomsday predictions. There was some serious praying going on. The bar played "oldies" and the mass went on.
The bar was named Sunset. It sat right above the beach, overlooking Bahia de la Navidad and we watched the last sunset of the Second Millennium.
As twilight passed to dusk, the crowd grew. About 50-50 gringos to locals. The gringos had party hats and semi-costumes, the locals were dressed up. The bar had a dance floor, occupied throughout the evening. A few pool tables sat in the back, able to be used free. The drinks flowed, the noise level increased steadily and people had fun. Somewhere during the evening, an inflated balloon became stuck to my head. Why is it this seems to happen just to me?
Around 10:30 our group decided we should start back to get the water taxi to the marina. The Grand Bay Hotel was going to have a big fireworks display.
We got about two blocks down the street before hearing some good music coming from a second-floor bar. Up we went. A round of drinks later, we resumed our return to the water taxi dock.
The water taxi driver was crazy! No running lights. No lights on the channel markers. But he ripped out of the shallows into the channel and finally into the marina at water-ski speed. He received many tips for the wild ride.
We pulled up to G-dock in the marina. The Party Dock here, the party dock at Emery Cove. The dock boxes had snacks parked on them. We had each brought our own bottles. Our "champaign" was Lucky's Sugar-Free Black Cherry soda, discovered for me by my sister, Doc. Lisa. Our glasses were the shipboard, plastic wine glasses given to us at our Bon Voyage party at Emery Cove. The partying continued.
G-dock residents have either cable or satelite TV. Throughout the rest of the evening/morning we received reports about the lack of "bad things" occurring throughout the world.
At midnight, the fireworks began. They exploded right over our heads! The display was top quality pyrotechnic patterns, groups and duration. There would be a pause for a few minutes, the smoke would clear and then there would be another burst. Boats' horns blew, we blew our noise makers. The band playing for The Hotel's party ($200 per) played the music, we sang the chorus.
We laughed and hugged and kissed and drank and partied, the first hour and a half of the Third Millennium, in the place on Earth we had wanted to be for The Event. The World hadn't stopped. Things didn't crash. The sky hadn't fallen. People had fun . . . and didn't even think a second about the passing of the most important millennium witnessed by mankind . . . didn't wonder what new, wonderful things were in the future . . .
But we did complain when got our butts wet, riding home on the dew soaked pontoons of the dink.
Crew of Nanjo