(November 18 – 20, 2017)
Bahía de los Muertos. It means Bay of the Dead, and it sounds ominous. Maybe it is. It’s a bay with surprises, mystery, and adventure everywhere you turn.
We arrived around dinner time the first night, and that was when we got our first surprise. After a fantastic upwind sail from Los Frailes to Muertos, we nosed into the harbor in 15 knots of wind. As we searched for the perfect spot to anchor, we saw ominous dark spots in the water – what could it be? We were in 20 feet of water – was it something dangerous? We proceeded cautiously, and then we got our first surprise: The water was so clear we could see each and every rock on the bottom! As our eyes adjusted, we began to see the waves of sand blanketing the bottom, and even some fish as they came to check out the newcomer to their cozy cove.
With the wind up, the evening was comfortably cool, and bugs nowhere in sight. We lowered the dinghy and made our way to shore for dinner at what we thought was the only restaurant in the bay. The food was fine, and the staff – as it’s been everywhere we’ve gone in Mexico – superior in hospitality. The layout of the restaurant was a bit strange – a wide open floor plan with a bar and small kitchen at one end – and after looking around we realized why. Around the corner, attached to the restaurant was a windowed office labeled “Bahía de Sueños Sales Office.” We were in what either is or was the “free breakfast” sales office for some kind of resort timeshare development. Other than the sales office, though, we didn’t see any signs of a resort in sight. That was the second surprise, and the first mystery.
The next morning, we wanted to get together with s/v Westy, and apparently Westy wanted to get together with us, because Aksel and his dad came rowing over around nine that morning to say hello. We made plans to meet at a restaurant on shore – a different one than we’d visited the previous evening, and which none of the websites or guidebooks said anything about – and began packing up. Less than an hour later, we were on the beach, dragging our SUPER HEAVY dinghy up the beach, and setting the anchor. We wandered up along the sandy arroyo to where we thought the restaurant was, and discovered a playground. We were told the restaurant was “right there,” but we didn’t see it anywhere, so the girls played on the play toy while Rich forged ahead to explore. After wandering through what appeared to be several private residences, he finally asked someone and got directions to the restaurant. We were in the wrong arroyo. So, we walked along the dirt path that ran parallel to the shore for several hundred yards, and as the next arroyo opened up in front of us, we saw the restaurant. What we didn’t know was that the restaurant itself was a magical mystery trove of secrets, toys, and treasures.
We spent that whole first day at the restaurant, snacking, relaxing, swimming (spoiler alert – a crazy pool was one of the surprises), and playing. We couldn’t believe what we’d stumbled on. Around lunchtime, Aksel and his family showed up, and so did Sassafras. I got involved in a great game of Carcassonne with the ladies of the Sassafras crew, along with April from Westy, and we played for over an hour until the skeeters came out and ruined our game. Sassafras headed back to their boat, but we opted to stay for late afternoon cocktails, and then dinner. After a great steak, and a $150 bill for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and drinks, we made our way back down the (correct) arroyo to our dinghy, in the unlit darkness. The sand was, by now, cold, but still silky smooth on our feet as we made our way to the beach. With the help of phone flashlights, we found our dinghy, and started the hunt for our boat.
You see, we didn’t think we’d spend the entire day – over 10 hours – at the restaurant. We figured we’d head in for lunch, a little relaxation, and then be back at the boat well before dinner. But with each new secret we discovered, we became less and less motivated to leave. Not anticipating that we’d stay until dark, we hadn’t turned on our anchor light. Or our cockpit light. Or any light. In fact, the only way we could figure to identify our boat was to search the horizon for a complete absence of light.
Luckily, Rich had used his special magic trick for always being able to find your boat in a big anchorage. So, proceeding cautiously and despite a lack of light, we were at our swim step in no time.
The next day, we got to the magical, wondrous, mysterious restaurant even earlier to enjoy all the treasures it had to offer. After breakfast and a quick swim, we played a family game of Ticket To Ride, and by the time we finished, it was time for lunch. All afternoon, the girls swam and played in the Cave of Wonders (as we’d taken to calling the restaurant), and the adults chatted and blogged.
‘Round about dinner time that day, a huge group of kids, and almost as many parents, swarmed the restaurant. There was a family living in the next town, Ventana, for six months during the winter, and the youngest in the family was turning six. So, what better place to have a birthday party that both the kids and parents would enjoy than at the Cave of Wonders? The mother of the birthday boy graciously invited our girls, as well as one other little 3-year-old girl staying at the nearby rental homes, to join the party, including the two piñatas, and cake. The girls had a complete blast, and were wiped at the end of the night.
During the party, I got to talking to the mom of the little 3-year-old staying in one of the houses nearby. The girl’s name was London, and her family was there for Thanksgiving week. Separately, Rich got talking to London’s dad. Our girls and London hit it right off, and her parents were fabulous, so we made plans to play on the beach together the next day.
This time, we had the foresight to bring out dinghy lights and turn the anchor light on, so our trip back to the boat in the dark was a little easier. Completely wiped from an amazing day, the girls went right to bed.