Wednesday, November 7th
Today, Mazatlan. We were docked by the time I got up and showered. I had arranged to meet with Marcia and Debbie to go to Stone Island today. I had gotten information off of the Cruise Critic message board.
I probably should have warned the other ladies that going off on your own with me can be a bit of an adventure. I had the directions on how to get to the water taxi, so off we went. We followed the directions I was given – once you go through the marketplace at the pier, go out the exit that the taxi’s use and turn left. Walk about 2- 3 blocks (actually about 4) to where the road turns to the right. Then my directions said follow the chain link fence to the ticket booth.
When we got to this intersection we met a couple who said they had gone straight ahead down a dirt road and that was not right, so they were told to go left, but that was not right either. Since I’d been told to go right, that is what we did. We asked a guard at the port and he pointed the way were going and down around the corner. We walked and walked, in the heat and finally arrived at a little building where the men outside said “yes, this is the right place, but the water is too rough here.” This took awhile as we had very little Spanish and they had very little English.
Eventually one of the young men offered to walk us back to the other place where we would be able catch the water taxi. We were walking along and I felt a bit bad for the other ladies because of the wild goose chase and the heat. I was actually enjoying taking in the scenery –we walked past a school, could see some houses up on the hill, and even a bar up a very loooooong set of stairs – you would need a beer when you got up there!
After awhile we saw a couple of, well, you couldn’t call them tour buses, but they were pickups with benches in the back, full of tourists. Our new guide stopped and talked in Spanish to the female tour guide who translated that he wanted us to know we were safe with him and he was taking us to where we could catch the water taxi to Stone Island. I hadn’t been worried, but I thought it was very nice that he wanted to reassure us. It turns out that she is his girlfriend – he was probably very relieved to see her.
We got back to the intersection where we had met the couple. There was a sign painted on the wall (which was behind us when we turned the corner) pointing to the water taxi down the dirt road they had said they went down. Now they tell us that they did not feel the boats were safe which is why they didn’t want to go there. I’m sure the boats would have been the same at the other spot. They are basically big row boats with motors on the back. The locals take these taxis and it is a very short crossing to the Stone Island dock, for 15 pesos (or $1.50 for those of us with US dollars).
We crossed with about 6 locals and when we arrived they all walked across a sandy trail. I had been told that we could be picked up by pickups with benches in the back and taken to the restaurants for $1 per person. So we waited in the heat. One passed us by and finally someone stopped – they told us all we had to do was walk across the same way the locals had and we would be there. But the sign for restaurants pointed the other direction. Oh, well, we walked across and there was a beautiful, almost deserted beach. We started along and worked our way to the shore to put our feet in the water. Ohhhh, that felt so good!
We went a ways down the beach and stopped at Lety’s where the proprietor got us some lounge chairs and an umbrella. We put our things down and headed into the water for a much needed, cooling off, swim. Then a little sun and a cold beer, more swimming, more sun – well you get the picture. After awhile we decided we would get some lunch then head back to the ship kind of early. We went inside and found a table, ordered some Margaritas (very good Margaritas), and some food. Now you know, we are in Mexico, so there is a little wait for the food. We started talking with some of the large group at the table next to us and found out they were crew and entertainers from the ship. We knew we were at the right place if crew is there!
As we sailed off we could see the water taxi dock and even the beach we had spent the day at. This was the highlight of my port visits and soooo worth the trouble we had finding it. I probably shouldn’t have shared the secret in such a public place – the next time I go back it will probably be packed.
I almost forgot the resident restaurant dogs. These are not the mangy, starving Mexican dogs I’ve seen on my previous travels. Rocky turned down rice and tortillas – he only wanted meat – my dog at home would eat those! Heck, my cat would probably eat the rice. The other 2 didn’t show up until our plates were gone. All three of us are dog owners and it was making us miss our pups.
One of the entertainers we were talking with was Martin who played piano in the Schooner Bar each evening. Marcia, Debbie and I stopped in to listen for awhile. He is very entertaining – if you are sailing on the Vision of the Seas, make sure you stop in and say hello! And make sure you go to his tribute to Elton John – it was on Saturday night on our cruise and he was very good.
So that was it for another day! Tomorrow we are in Puerto Vallarta.