Bridgie's Babble - Sept. 2008
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Believe it or not, this is going to be a brief babble. It's taken me all this time (since
our visit in April) to decide if I even want to write about the place.

Yelapa is a secluded cove 15 miles from downtown Puerto Vallarta  in Banderas
Bay. Until recently it was only accessible by boat. We understand that there is now
road access but we haven't verified it because, honestly, who would want to go
there?
Now, maybe it was the time of year or a reflection of the recent local economy that
left us so very disappointed in the place. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me
explain.
John had vacationed in Yelapa  with his family while in high school. He had great
memories of a remote and untouched paradise; the tropical vegetation, monkeys
swinging from the trees, swimming with  manta rays that had 12' wing spans in
100'+ water  visibility. Granted, that was a few years ago and things change.
With the winds blowing in our favor we decided to make a trip across the bay and
spend a few days in paradise. We had a great sail in the company of Tim and
Paula of s/v Hooligan. We had been advised that mooring balls had been installed
in Yelapa and that anchoring was no longer an option. That was OK because from
what we had heard the anchorage was very deep and rocky until you were on the
beach. Along the way we did see many giant manta rays and a couple of whales so
it looked promising.
The Hooligans arrived at the anchorage first and were greeted by men in various
pangas. They were hustling for the business of renting out their specific mooring
balls. The prices started off at $30.00 a night but quickly a bidding war ensued
between the owners of the balls. Tim and Paula chose a ball and negotiated a price
of $20.00. Then they radioed us and advised of the "deal" they'd made. Now it
was our turn. We were approached and hustled in the same way. We selected a
ball, negotiated a price of $15.00, and paid the "owner" after he assisted in getting
us set on the mooring. Less than 1/2 hour later we were approached by a man in a
different panga who came to collect his fee for using his mooring ball. This was
quite confusing! He claimed that we had paid the wrong guy...this was his ball and
the other had no right to sell us a night on it. Hum....well, I just told him to go
collect his money from the "crook" and sent him on his way.  We had no intentions
of  moving or paying again.
By now it's afternoon and quite warm. A glance at the water was enough to assure
us we were not going swimming in it. It was filthy! Not only was it murky looking,
there was a constant scum on the surface and lots of trash floating around. We
thought  perhaps the debris would move on an outgoing tide would  and make
things better over time, so we waited and waited and waited.... Meanwhile, night
starts to fall and there's a stench that could be compared to  raw sewerage wafting
over the anchorage. It gets worse and worse. Finally, Tim and Paula advise us that
they can no longer stand it.  Just after 10:00 PM they raise the anchor and head
across the bay and back into "fresher" air. John and I stayed the night but were out
of there at daybreak.
Needless to say,  the progress that occurred in Yelapa over the last 30 years  left
us very disappointed. We won't be going back any time soon.
Yelapa does have a tropical look from a distance
Looking off the stern of our boat you can be sure there
was NO WAY we were going swimming!
All of these pangas want your business..except who owns
which mooring balls? Check out water quality!