Thursday, November 24, 2016

Panama-Mexico Wrap Up

Sorry to have taken a break from blogging and leaving you all hanging in the middle of us preparing the boat for storage at Puerto Chiapas.  Here's the wrap up of our six week Panama-to-Mexico journey.

We finished with the boat with enough time to take a short land trip back to our favorite town in Mexico, San Cristobal de Las Casas. We rented a car this time to cut down on travel time, a five-plus hour drive versus a 10-plus hour bus ride. We found a great Airbnb, a spacious apartment with a rooftop terrace right in the center of town, $100 for three nights! We enjoyed the cool weather, walking around town, eating delicious food, good wine, good coffee, local hot chocolate and wandering around the handicraft market. It was a really nice way to end our trip and I used it as an opportunity to recover some from my birthday failure earlier in the month with Renee.

Renee proved her mettle once again while we were taking a short hike along a river just outside of town. We were standing on a little platform overlooking the river above where it entered a cave, about 12 feet above the water and Renee reached for her phone to take a picture. The phone fell out of her pocket and into the river where it sunk rapidly. I figured the phone was a goner and started to console Renee, but before I got any words out, she had stripped to her underwear and was wading in the cold water trying to recover the phone. I believed her efforts to futile and was beginning to get honestly concerned about hypothermia when she ducked under the water and came up clutching the phone in its waterproof case. Amazing! 

We drove back from San Cristóbal on Thursday, November 17 to take care of a few loose ends on Intermezzo, including removing the damaged port propeller so I can repair it back home. On Friday morning, we boarded our flights back to the US, Renee heading to California and me to the DC area for the Thanksgiving holidays.

On reflection, I really enjoyed this segment of our journey. It got off to a rocky start with so many boat issues to deal with while adjusting back to life at sea, but cruising the remote islands of northern Panama was fantastic. The weather was much cooler than I expected, there were virtually no mosquitos, the scenery was amazing and I enjoyed the peaceful isolation. Once we got north of the monsoon trough, the sailing became much more enjoyable and the weather was fantastic. Renee and I both enjoyed the multiple day passages north to Mexico and we both felt a bit sorry the trip was over as we entered the channel to Puerto Chiapas as the boat  and life on the water felt like home again. Getting the boat ready for storage again was again a rocky process for me (I realize now I don't deal with land-sea transitions very well!), but our short trip to San Cristóbal smoothed things out.

I'm glad to be with friends and family for the holidays, but not sure as to whether I'm back home here or away from home on Intermezzo. I'm grateful for it all, regardless.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Intermezzo being hauled out for dry storage at Puerto Chiapas

Heading from Tapachula to the cool mountains of San Cristóbal de las Casas

San Cristobal from the rooftop terrace of our Airbnb

Women from the village of Chumala in their traditional clothes

The wine bar Vino Bacca in San Cristóbal. A glass of a delicious Reserve Carmenere from Chile for $2.75! Warm, friendly, youthful energy, too!

Renee enjoying the wine bar

This place has the best hot chocolate made from local cocoa. We had cups after dinner every night. The friendly guy behind the counter remembered us from our previous visit in February.

The cave at El Arcotete, just outside of San Cristóbal.  Much cooler temperature than at the boat!

The platform from which Renee dropped her phone and the river from which she subsequently recovered it.