February 21, 2018 (Part 2)
A fleet of pangas is moored in the cove, at least 140 at a quick glance, and more are pulled up onto the beach. Puerto Angel, Mexico: palm trees, thatched roofs, people fishing from the rocky headland cliffs. A chapel painted white with blue trim matches the color scheme of many of the boats. Its white cross and bell tower stand out against the green vegetation, looking somehow Greek (rather than Mexican) to my untrained eye.
Heidi showed me how to furl the headsails and put the sail covers on as we were coming into the anchorage. This involves clipping into the lifeline and climbing out onto the bowsprit; interesting and a bit scary, too. It made me feel very nautical. Heidi knows what she is doing, climbing around out there, and hauling the heavy anchor chain by hand. She’s a bad-ass. Peter got “captainy” after we were at anchor, solving a wee issue with the staysail sheet being caught under the anchor chain. We are all tired from our three-day passage with the four-on/four-off watch schedule.
A local guy in a panga went by just after we’d anchored, put his hand on his heart and said, “mi casa es su casa.” Showing up in a foreign harbor on the very distinctive BERTIE, I imagine we get quite a different reception than the typical bleach-bottle gin-and-tonic yachties!
I swabbed the decks, Heidi is cooking dinner, and Peter is in the cabin using the internet. The sun set a while ago, and dusk is fast overtaking Puerto Angel. Pangas are heading out to do some night fishing — without lights, as usual. Fifty-five pelicans just flew into town. A big kettle of Black and Turkey Vultures were circling earlier, in the heat of the afternoon. An evening chorus of songbirds calls out raucously from the palm thicket right above the beach. The light here is beautiful and the air is so much cleaner than it was in Acapulco. I wish I had a local guide and more than a few stray moments snatched away from chores so I could go ashore and do some serious birding, photography, and writing. Alas, this is a part of shipboard life. I feel a bit like Stephen Maturin, the naturalist/surgeon from Patrick O’Brian’s novels, gazing longingly at an inaccessible shore filled with unexplored, inestimable wonders.
We will leave here in the morning, heading further down the coast to Huatulco, in search of a more sheltered anchorage. BERTIE is rocking and rolling here due to a heavy swell, and wakes from the panga traffic. We’ll need to find a more sheltered spot for our bottom-cleaning task.
In the meantime, we’ll enjoy a good night’s sleep at anchor, after our two nights on watch out at sea. I’m glad I’m not the captain or first mate, since they’ll have to keep one ear and one eye open all night, just in case the anchor drags, we get boarded by pirates, or any other emergencies crop up.