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We pulled into Mantanchen bay about sunset.  The view of the several mile long beach is greatly
appreciated by all after our close contact with crashing waves and cliffs at Isabella.  No need for the
anchor alarm here!  We had heard repeatedly about the no-see-ums that inhabited this area, but we
still launched the dinghy to take Duke to shore.  The ramadas (palapa's but with a flat roof instead of
cone shaped) all close by 5 pm because of the bugs... and this was a row of ramadas to make Hilton
proud.  We survived the beach landing and the bugs, but in some cases it was downhill from there.  
Kath & Maureen were soon scarred from hip to toe with bug bites and the unavoidable scratching that
followed.  We found 4 bug repellants that these bugs had no respect for, and no after bite
concoctions that were as effective as fingernails.  Mantanchen is a town, so to speak, that consists of
several vendors of "pan de platano".  We purchased many to decide whose was the best.  Imagine our
luck when we found the pan de elote (cornbread muffins).  David always opted for coconut or pina
muffins- Duke and the rest of us love the banana.  
Beach landings were quite often uneventful - except for the morning when D and M took Duke in
during a period of breaking waves.  While M had departed the dinghy and was looking behind D, she
noticed a fairly large swell coming in...  as the realization of the outcome dawned on her, she was only
able to start laughing instead of pulling the dinghy to shore....needless to say the captain (and sadly
Duke as well) got doused by the breaking wave.  On the departure from the beach on this same
morning, M watching the surf, suggested they wait a moment.  D was investigating a new theory
regarding waves and made the decision to go, no pussy footing around, just GO!  While M suggested
once again that waiting might be better, he shoved off, and this time M got well doused (and sadly
Duke as well, Duke decided pay backs weren't in his best interest).

THE MUTINY OF MANTANCHEN BAY

After a morning romp on the beach, the unsuspecting captain, navigator and first mate returned to the
vessel.  The navigator noticed that the junior officer on the ship had barricaded the boarding area and
had a suspicion that something rotten might be afoot.  Sure enough, as the landing vessel came within
range, it was pelted with enemy fire. Fortunately for the landing vessel, the mutineer had not planned
well, and only had 5 disposable shots (water balloons).  More good fortune lay in the fact that he was
not a particularly good shot, and 3 of his shots landed uselessly in the water and were retrieved to be
used as return fire.  Not to be daunted, the junior officer (and sole mutineer),  descended the
boarding ladder and began dousing the landing crew with the bailing bucket.  A tact that worked well
until the navigator said "damn the consequences" and ordered the captain to motor in closer!  The
bailing bucket was ripped from the mutineers hands and the landing craft proceeded to return fire.  
The only minor injury in the battle was poor Duke, who even though he was hiding under the bench in
the landing vessel, somehow took a water balloon in the chest and was very much dismayed by the
whole ordeal.  The junior officer is still being held in the bilge in leg irons pending the courts martial
hearing (a mere formality - he is guilty guilty guilty).

After 4 or 5  nights in the bay, we decided to head into the estuary where several friends had
anchored.  We feared the bugs might be worse, but in the end this really wasn't the case.  It made
evening visits to town a possibility (there was no transportation to town after 5 pm when we were in
the bay).  San Blas is a beautiful little town with lots of character (and sadly lots of mange ridden dogs
that hang around the town square).  Beautiful pottery by the Huichol Indians is available, as well as
numerous other items.  The resident gringo "mayors" are Norm and Jan Goldie who live in San Blas,
they left behind the hustle and bustle of NYC about 40 years ago to settle into this part of Mexico.  
Norm helps out the port captain by keeping tabs on the boats and guiding them into the estuary.  Jan is
a phenomenal water color artist and has beautiful paintings of the Huichols and wildlife.  It was a
pleasure to meet them and visit their house several times while in San Blas.  Duke especially enjoyed
the time he spent within their yard.  He was able to peacefully explore their beautiful gardens at his
leisure while the rest of the crew enjoyed pastries under the trees.


While in San Blas we took the panga ride up the river through the mangroves to
view the numerous species of birds, crocodiles and other wildlife.  While we
didn't spot any jaguar, ocelots, or coatimundi along the shore, we did see one
huge iguana and a couple of other smaller specimens.  We were also able to visit
the "cocodrilleria" (crocodile farm).  Once Duke had a look through the cyclone
fences at the occupants, he took to barking so M rapidly vacated the area so as
to avoid an altercation.  One of the caretakers was rattling off to her in spanish
as she contemplated tying Duke to the handrail on the stairs next to the panga.  
She thought he was suggesting that this was a good idea (although he seemed
rather distressed), then Kath & M caught the word "come" (as in eat) and
realized he was suggesting that tying Duke near the water might result in his
being a tasty bite for one of the crocs that reside outside of the fenced areas!
Since J & D weren't busy keeping Duke from becoming a cocodrillo snack, they
got to check out some of the other wildlife at the sanctuary, which included
cotamundi, racoon, wild pig, macaw and a friendly kitty.         - M