On our way from Acapulco to Marina Chahue (in Bahia Chahue, one of the nine Bahias de Huatulco) we considered anchoring at Puerto Angel, some 24 miles north of Bahia Chahue. But we arrived outside of Puerto Angel in the middle of the night and decided to continue on to the marina.
Curious about our decision, we took a second class bus to Puerto Angel for the day, and found that it has much to recommend it as a sailboat anchorage. It is a just fine, sleepy little beach town, with a smattering of just fine enramadas on the beach that will feed you just fine fish in one of five ways (all with rice) accompanied by a cold beer. The bay is pretty and didn't appear to be shockingly rolly. But holy panga did it look crowded with fishing pangas and tourist pangas!
|Puerto Angel - aka Bahias de las Pangas|
We had a nice day, a just fine lunch and came away just fine with not having tried to anchor there.
The town within walking distance of Marina Chahue is called La Crucecita (little cross). It's only been in existence since the Bahias de Huatulco were developed for tourism about 25 years ago. Despite being so young the town manages to have a certain amount of charm. It also has some pretty good restaurants - including several Italian restaurants in a part of town referred to as "Little Italy" (take that, New York).
|Mama Mia's Ristorante in (of course!) La Crucecita's Little Italy|
There's also a pretty church: La Parrochia de Nuestra Senora Guadalupe. The tourist literature talks only about the ceiling portrait of the Virgin of Guadalupe (largest in the world, some say). And the ceiling is lovely.
|Virgin of Guadalupe|
But what is more interesting to us is the Capilla de Nuestra Senora del Perpetuo Socorro (Chapel of Our Lady of Perpetual Help), in which the virgin is displayed in a strikingly Eastern Orthodox style.
|The Helpful Virgin|
We saw no information about how this chapel came to be in La Crucecita, Mexico. An Eastern European family immigrated to the area? A sister city in Eastern Europe? A priest raised in Eastern Europe that pined for the art of his homeland? Your turn to guess - or, if anyone actually has some information about this chapel, please let us know, will you?
Once Bob joined us, we extended the range of our tourist activities:
The commercial port for the Bahias de Huatulco is in the town of Santa Cruz, which is often just called "Huatulco". That's where the cruise ships come in.
Near the cruise ship dock is a chapel just waiting for that destination wedding.
|A Way To Get Married At The Beach Without Blowing Sand|
The chapel comes equipped with a legend (which seems to have also been borrowed by the town of La Crucecita). At the heart of the legend is the following: Before the Spanish conquest the indigenous people in the area that is now the State of Oaxaca incorporated a cross, representing the four cardinal points, into their religious practices. In 1587 the English pirate Thomas Cavendish showed up in what is now called Bahia de Santa Cruz and was offended by this non-Christian use of the cross symbol. Even a pirate can have a misdirected conscience, apparently. He ordered his men to destroy the offending cross. Now the legend begins: Cavendish's men were unable to either burn or tear down the cross. The Catholic Church concluded that this was because the cross had really been brought to the area by St. Thomas (the doubting guy) shortly after the death of Jesus of Nazareth. Like all good 16th Century religious, the Pope of the day decided the best use of this miraculous cross would be to part it out - and apparently bits of it can be found throughout The Christian World. All that's left in Santa Cruz is the story.
The commercial port at Santa Cruz also includes a fuel dock, where in the past sailboats in need bought fuel -- hopefully using lots of extra fenders:
|If The Hose Can Reach A Panga . . .|
Having heard about this fuel dock, we filled both tank and jerry jugs (thanks again, Frank!) before leaving Acapulco. Recently we heard that the Marina Chahue fuel dock has finally opened for business so the Santa Cruz fueling option can be avoided.
The main square of Santa Cruz is a hopping place on Saturday mornings, with a farmer's market and (because it's Mexico) music and dance.
|Plenty of "Aye Yei Yei" Going On!|
|And Plenty of Flirtation, Too|
One dancer on the sidelines that Saturday was quite an attraction. When his parents finally hauled him away a group of young girls gave him a big round of applause!
|That Boy Is Rockin It!|
Another day we sailed off to visit Playa Jicaral which we had been told was a wonderful place to snorkel. And we are sure it is. But it also proved to be too far for sailing, lunch, snorkeling and return sailing before dark. We diverted instead to nearby Bahia Maguey.
This bay has a nice snorkeling area with lots of colorful fish and coral. But it also has heavy tourist boat traffic. Note To Selves: Don't plan on snorkeling without having the dinghy available to ferry swimmers to and from the snorkel site. Or go to one of the undeveloped bays that will hopefully have less traffic. Maybe even Playa Jicaral - ?
And finally, the weather reports about the Golfo de Tehuantepec looked so bad for so long that we decided to take a trip into the interior to the city of Oaxaca. Next post!