Early afternoon found us approaching Bahia Chamela, and the islands just offshore. We nestled up in a windless nook against one of the islands and scoped out the shore-side scenery: cliffs and sporadic cacti dusted white with salt deposits. It could almost be a winter desert landscape, covered in a light snow. But no, its 80 degrees out and we planned to take advantage of the tropical clime. With the anchor down we dove in and washed off the difficult miles of the last day.
After the sun set, we enjoyed the relative calm of being at anchor over a nice dinner down in the cabin. With all of us preparing to turn in for the night, Jade, our on board shaman, went up on deck and told us the phosphorescence was as bright as he’s ever seen. We followed him up and instantly saw he wasn’t lying. Any movement at all lit up the water all around. We scooped up some water in our hands and watched it drip molten green through our fingers. Only one thing to do at that point: go for a swim! I won’t feign bravery, hopping into the dark abyss took some talking myself into, but the rewards were surreal: a swim through opaque black water, surrounded by a glowing halo. Every stroke would leave a bright green comet trail in front of my face. We stayed in as long as we dared before hauling ourselves back onto the boat, dripping neon as we went.
Toweling off, it occurred to me how much surrender this voyage requires. You have to submit to chance, knowing that both rough and amazing moments are inevitable, but never getting to choose which come when. This applies to life in general as well, but it has taken this trip to really realize it.
The next day was a rest day spent on shore. It was a Sunday as it turns out, and the beach was filled with Mexican tourists and locals enjoying their weekend – and our dinghy. Our trusty Sea Horse (the dinghy) seemed to be a hit on the beach with families, youngsters and teens alike. Check it out:
We took the opportunity to buy some fresh fruit and chat up those around us. In mentioning our next plans to stop at the next bay south, we received some foreboding news. What used to be a peaceful and thriving scene on the beach there is no longer. Apparently some ethically-starved business man snatched up the titles to all the beach-front property by bribing government officials and then staged a middle of the night coup, extracting the current business owners and residents at gunpoint. Word is that now the place looks like a ghost town with armed sentries posted all over. We were warned to be careful, or better, skip it all together. Our itinerary called for a stop in the protected bay, and to be honest curiosity came into play as well. We decided to enjoy another day in Chamela and then head for Tenacatita despite the adamant warnings.