Marina Chahue, La Crucecita, Jamming, and Santa Cruz

After our busy time in Acapulco, and our adventure getting from there to here, it's nice to be having a relatively peaceful time in Huatulco. Huatulco is actually the name of the region of Oaxaca that we are in, and includes the nine bays and the surrounding inland area. The actual bay of Huatulco is the main one where cruise ships come in, and the town there is called Santa Cruz. We are about 2 miles from there in one of the immediate side bays, called Chahue (pronounced chah-WAY), where the marina is located. Slightly inland from us, about 1.5 miles away, is the cute town of La Crucecita. Of the nine bays, six of them are developed, having some resort hotels lining their shores. The other three are completely primitive without even roads leading to them.

Although the Bay of Santa Cruz was visited when Sir Francis Drake, Thomas Cavendish, and the Spanish Galleons roamed her seas, the rest of the area, including the marina, the town of La Crucecita, and all of the resorts in the various bays, were created from nothing in the 1980's when FONATUR, the Mexican Tourist Development Agency, elected to develop Huatulco. Unlike Cabo San Lucas, which is an over-development nightmare, and Ixtapa, while pretty, is imposing with its huge 40-story hotels, in Huatulco FONATUR decided to do a better job. There are relatively few hotels, perhaps 5 or 6 per bay, and they are all ergonomically designed to grace the landscape and never exceed 4 stories in height. In addition, the whole region has been declared a National Park, and so over 70% of the land in the region is protected from any development of any kind.

The result is that Huatulco and its surrounding bays are amongst the nicest places we have been in Mexico. The whole area is kept very clean and there is no trash to be seen on the streets, beaches, and in the towns. There are reportedly several state of the art sewage treatment plants, so the water in all of the bays is very nice to swim in, often with 30' or more visibility. Right now the water temperature is 85 and the air temperature during the days is in the mid to high 80's, so it is very lovely to be here.

We spent the first few days here just resting up and making short walks up to the main boulevard, about 1/4 mile away, to some restaurants to use the free wi-fi internet available there. At the first restaurant we visited, the Lighthouse, the proprieter Luis and the waiter Jorge struck up a conversation with us. Turns out they're both musicians (guitar players), and we had an impromptu session right there, me and Jorge trading songs as the sun set and we sipped our beers.

A few days later, we made a provision run to the nearby Super Che supermarket, where we loaded up on beer, canned foods, paper towels, and other bulky items that we'd been running short of. We returned them to the boat via cheap taxi, then walked back into the town of La Crucecita, where we strolled the Zocalo, and had dinner at a nice little restaurant called Agave. The town is festive and very active at the sunset hour as the natives and the tourists all intermingle on the streets around the Zocalo in the evening coolness.

There were a number of boats in the Marina that we recognized and/or have gotten to know better. The day we got here, NOKIA was leaving to make the Tehuantepec crossing. A few days later, BOOMERANG headed north. On the dock, we met Jim from Renaissance, Don and Marie from FREEZING RAIN, and the whole crew of ASTOR, a big wooden schooner we had first seen in La Cruz. Some mega-yachts have stopped here, fueling up for their deliveries north after the long passage of the Gulf of Tehuantepec. One nice crew we visited with was on VENTURE MORE: Capt Alan, Oscar (both Delaware), Sergio (Cabo), Eric (NY), and "Capn Cuz" (Georgia) gave us nice tips on the Canal crossing, while we swapped stories and I and Alan play guitars. The folks we hung around with most, though, were George, Melinda, and young son Joshua on catamaran SOUTHERN BELLE. George & Melinda are originally from New Orleans and Shreveport, respectively.

Of course, as soon as we arrived, I started putting out the word to get a jam together, and was happily surprised when a few days later, a catamaran named CARPE VITA, with Mike and Mary onboard, took an end-tie, and then Bill, who is an excellent guitar player and with whom I'd jammed way back in La Cruz, arrived on MITA KUULUU with his wife Jean.

The night that MITA KUULUU arrived, we all got together over on CARPE VITA for a jam session. Mary whipped out a fiddle and also played harmonica and mandolin, Bill brought a small amp and his guitar, I brought my bass and a small amp, and George joined us on yet another guitar. We had a real nice time with everyone alternately fronting and backing songs, sipping beers, wine, and cocktails, and singing along with the music.

That was a fun night!