Saturday, November 8, 2014

Arrival in Chiapas!

The boys arrived to Puerto Madero in Chiapas, Mexico (2:00am!) day before yesterday...they are doing their happy dance! It's been a long voyage south since leaving Zihuatanejo last Friday. Lots and LOTS of waiting around, but all in all a great run south. 
They spotted some bat rays en route to Chiapas, and snapped a few nuggets for me! Glad I wasn't swimming in those waters. Talk about heebie jeebies!!
One of the many shrimp boats they passed...
Fresh sashimi "mexican style" that Rafé prepared... Good thing our fish freezer is stocked!                                              
At 7am the next morning, they were boarded by the local Mexican Maritime Policia with their faithful Belgian Shepard. Yes, the dog is the drug enforcement czar. He sniffed out every nook & cranny of the boat. The visit takes about 15-20 minutes or so, and in some cases the pooch wears booties to avoid scuffing your boat. This is SOP (standard operating procedure) when arriving in various ports and completely normal.                                                                Nothing to be alarmed at... MOM!
Marina Chiapas is a new and attractive marina located next to the tiny seaside town of Puerto Madero and the new cruise ship terminal at Puerto Chiapas.  They are all situated around the same estuary about 18 miles (30 min.) from the city of Tapachula (pop 500,000). This is a very handy marina for cruisers in many ways.  It is an excellent beginning or end point for crossing the Gulf of Tehuantepec.  It is also 10 minutes from Tapachula’s international airport.  Supermarket provisioning is a short cab ride away, but you might have to "share" a cab with the locals...ridin' dirty again. The big city of Tapachula has luxury (that would depend on how you define the word "luxury")  bus service that will take you anywhere in Mexico or Central America. Arriba!
Now, as for Brad & Danny (Rafé flew home already)..they decided to check out the town via rental car. They had an interesting afternoon looking into "some kind of an adventure", but Brad wouldn't tell me what it is... he's saving it for when we head back in a week. That stinker! This is all the evidence I have...a photo of a sweet retriever and some Toucans in the trees. 
Maybe they went to a chocolate plantation?? But without us?! Nah...
Chiapas does border Guatemala (it's a 5 mile drive) and there are loads of coffee, banana and chocolate plantations around. Or maybe he's planning something crazy like this?
Hmmm.. There's also some Aztec ruins so I'm betting that's going to be our adventure next weekend...

The concrete docks in the marina are in good condition, there is no surge whatsoever, it is almost below the hurricane belt, and the huge lightning rods on the nearby coffee factory likely protect the boats from lightning strikes during the rainy season (summer).  However, there is little tidal exchange of water in and out of the marina, so when cruising boats discharge their toilets or holding tanks overboard, the water can get pretty scummy. I'd prefer to call this.. MC NASTY!!!! 

I think we may need to download this app STAT!
Because this port sits next to Mexico’s border with Guatemala, it is a very tightly controlled port.  When arriving in the estuary you must hail the Port Captain to let him know you are coming in.  If you are staying at the marina and wish to go out for a day cruise, you must hail the Port Captain both on the way out and again on the way in.  If you don’t hail him, he will likely hail you.

Yesterday Danny drove Brad to the airport (he was finally coming home!!) in their rental car ("nothing parties like a rental!") so that they could return it there. per the "TMD" (typical Mexican dealio) they got a flat tire. I couldn't help but laugh! They had both been working their butts off on the boat... in the hot sun & just when you think everything is running smoothly...POP goes the tire. (At least there wasn't a weasel involved!) 

Danny to the rescue...

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