Friday, February 15, 2013

Sneaking Through the Estuary

On the Pacific coast of Mexico where fresh water streams enter the ocean there is often a mangrove estuary.  Some of these are quite extensive.  While some have been "developed" for marinas or upscale waterfront housing many estuaries are left close to their natural state.  For instance, in Mazatlan, the whole marina complex there was an estuary.  Now the riparian zones are stone bulkheads for docks or landings. 

In Tenacatita the estuary is left fairly natural and can be an exciting dinghy trip for those who dare.  We heard rumors that a developer had chained off the river and posted armed guards to keep cruisers from getting in there.  We've learned to take information passed along with a grain of salt because everyone has their own opinion and their own experience. 
Tunnel through the estuary

The Tenacatita estuary starts right there in the bay.  Most of the local pangas are kept near the mouth of the river, the fishermen walking their boats over the sandy bar at high tide and tying them shore side within the river itself.  We joined Rick and Brenda from Dad's Dreams for a two dinghy excursion up the river, approaching just after high tide and motoring right over the bar with ease.  On board our dinghy was Connie, Scott, Ezrah, and Mary. 
Rick and Brenda Strickley

As we motored against the building current we saw lots of birds and passed by numerous pangas moored in their mangrove tunnels that their owners had carved out on the bank.  The river narrowed and we wound our way inland.  At a branch we saw some development so we took the left hand channel to continue up a very narrow stream.  Being just after high tide, the canopy was quite low making it difficult at times to get through the close mangrove.  The mangrove roots stood many feet high and were covered with wonderful little crabs.  The river wound it's way west and finally opened up in a fairly large body of water.  At the south end of this pond was a decrepit dock where we disembarked and found a locked fence.  No armed guards yet!
Note that the outboard is tipped up for the shallow water.

Connie looked right and found a little path that led right around the fence where it just stopped in the sparse woods.  We walked south over a sand berm and came out at Playa Tenacatita and a place they call "The Aquarium."  There we saw a guard.  "Buenos dias, Señor"  and he replied in kind.  No guns, no police action, just a beautiful beach with a few tourists lounging under beach umbrellas. 

Our ride back was a little more difficult as the current had picked up and the dinghy had much less steerage as it floated with the current instead of powering against it.  Connie took the port side oar and Mary the starboard with Ezrah fending off branches as we flew down the channel back towards Tenacatita.  At the bar, the tide had dropped so we portaged the dinghy over the beach and had a surf exit back to the boat. 
Net Fisherman

All in all a nice excursion and a good setup for an afternoon of napping, swimming, and reading.
Connie and Ezrah
Oh yea, and Connie cleaned the dirty bottom of Traveler.
Scrub it!

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