Pacific Mexico,  Voyage

The old San Blas

Today we toured San Blas. It is one of the loveliest shore towns we have seen in Mexico, not counting our inland trips. It has nicely paved streets, straight sidewalks, and renovated buildings. And more renovation is happening – the whole town square is being refreshed.

The view from the top of the hill

We climbed first up a hill to the ruins of a Spanish fort and a church. You can see the whole town from there, the river, and the ocean. San Blas was founded by the Spaniards as the home port for their navy, supporting the military expeditions to Baja and Alta Californias. It was conveniently located with quick access to Baja and a convenient land connection with Guadalajara and Mexico City. It offered good access to freshwater and lumber for shipbuilding. From here, Junipero Serra, the Franciscan priest who established most of the missions in California, has departed.

However, it turned out that the port, located on the river, could only accommodate a few big ships. And most importantly, the Spaniards did not account for the hordes of mosquitos plaguing this area. The navy officers complained about the “bad air” and overall poor climate. Eventually, the fleet moved to other ports. The town stopped growing and retained the look and feel of the nineteenth century. The fort turned to ruins that we had toured.

On the way from the fort

On the way back from the fort, we stopped by a cemetery, our first such experience in Mexico. The graves are built differently here – they are little houses. Some are nicer than a lot of existing homes we see in town. The cemetery did not have any master plan. The graves were built next to each other, taking every in of land available. It was interesting to walk through it. We must visit one of those during Dia de Los Muertos.

From there we went to the town center. We found narrow cobblestone streets, lots of little restaurants, and many people getting by on bikes and motorbikes. Quite a busy town and seemed like quite a happy one. We stopped for a coffee and crepes, went to the waterfront, and back.
I am sure if not for the bugs, this place would be another touristy town with many hotels. But this way, it is just a lovely little town with a lot of charm.

We returned to the beach and had dinner at the same place as yesterday, thankful for them watching our dinghy. e got better at launching the dinghy into the surf and arrived drier than the day before.

And one last thing. When we anchored in Matanchen Bay, we noticed many small silvery fish hovering around our boat. I think they were hiding under the boat from the birds. Well, today, we ran the generator to replenish the batteries. At some point, the generator started acting up. I quickly turned it off and started investigating. It did not take too long to find one of those guys (see below) stuck in the water lines and blocking the water flow cooling the genset. Thankfully it stopped at the strainer and did not go further. Unfortunately for him, this was a terminal stop. Those are the surprises of cruising life.

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