Thursday, May 1, 2014

Punta Allen Mexico

Before we left, I daydreamed about lush deserted islands, drenched in sun and sugar white sand beaches, friendly untouched native people, that I was going to magically communicate with, piles and piles of cheap fresh fruit, pineapples, mango, oranges, and bananas that tasted better than anything I had ever ate, affectionate exotic animals, schools of colourful tropical fish, and birds, birds everywhere, all of course with a lovely song and plumage that would make any vain woman jealous. It was a sad day when I realized the fact, that I was naive in my thinking and that I am not akin to Christopher Columbus. Happily, though, I did find my nirvana. 

We had a perfect 53 nautical mile sail from Puerto Aventurous along Mexico’s east Caribbean coast to Punta Allen, now how’s that for a Mexican name “Allen”. Punta Allen, located in the Bahia de la Ascencion is a small remote fishing village and is considered one of the best lobstering grounds in Mexico. Sadly, it is April and the season is July to March so as I write this I haven’t gobbled up any lobsters here yet, but there is still hope. 

Instead of using traps, the fishermen create artificial habitats out of concrete, When the lobster reaches the desired size, the fisherman gaff them by hand, leaving the smaller and females with eggs behind. At one time not long ago Punta Allen shipped 65 tons of lobster tails annually to the US. While carefully using this harvesting method they were able to maintain the fisheries. We did learn while we were here that the lobster fisheries is now floundering because the fishermen can do boat, eco, and dolphin tours for tourists, make a more profitable living and work less. 

Bahia de la Ascencion, is also popular with sport fisherman who love to catch the bone fish that inhabit these waters. While doing a walk about we met two Canadian couples from Calgary here on a remote sports fishing vacation, we were assured that this is a top notch world class area for fishing. We were also surprised and interested to learn that often they fly fish here. While in search of an elusive bank machine or business that used visa we met Captain Miguel Encalada the lodge manager for Grand Slam Fly Fishing Paradise in Mexico. We learnt that Punta Allen hosts large tournaments and yes drawing clientele from all over the world. We wandered the lodge enjoyed cold cervasa, checked out the fly tying area and pictures of the fish posted everywhere. 

So why is this my nirvana? We are the only boat anchored in this large beautiful bay, there are few lights or sounds except beautiful sunrises, sunsets and stars, lots and lots of stars, If I could only learn how to take a picture of a night sky to share my view with you,  sigh… On our boat at anchor we have seen and been visited by dolphins, a sting ray, jumped not 20 feet away, and another large stingray guided below the surface in full view and best of all last night as we sat and enjoyed the stars we could see luminescent movement in the water and realized it was fish swimming around the boat, it was remarkable seeing the large flashes of light that outlined the fish, showing their movement, and our amazement that there were so many. 

                                                        A Friendly Guide
                                                       Osprey With A Fish
                                                             Angel Fish

We are using the Captain Freya Rauscher guide to Belize and Mexico’s Caribbean Coast. This has been a great asset, but as I think I have mentioned before very out of date. She spoke of being able to ask the Navy guards to allow you to walk up the 72 foot lighthouse for a panoramic view, alas, it has long been abandoned but we spent a great time hiking in the area. Marc braved the no trespassing wall and climbed the lighthouse for a fantastic view. 

We are anchored out from a large mangrove that protects a lagoon so we have spent some of our time here exploring its tangled maze. We watched a large angel fish swim at the edge of the mangrove with its dorsal fin out of the water, something I didn’t know a fish would do other than sharks or dolphins, but I learn something new each day. A native guide saw us in the dingy taking pictures of birds so insisted that we follow him and took us only a few feet away from an osprey sitting in a tree fishing for his dinner. 

The village is small and an easy hour or two walkabout will let you capture just about everything that you want to see. There is a quaint open church, a few authentic pallidar type restaurants, some small stores to pick up minimal essentials, the people are friendly, the houses modest, and of course I love everything about it. Seriously, If you don’t want aloneness, this sleepy little fishing village is not your place. From the outdated guide that we are using for cruising Mexico we can see that this village has just started to be caught in the tourist wave that has been everywhere we have traveled in Mexico, but happily this is the closest we have come to my pre cruising day dreams.   

                                                       House Punta Allan
Check Out The Hydro
                                                            Store Punta Allen

 Beauty Parlor

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