Our stopover in Puerto Escondido was supposed to last for two days, just long enough to fill our tanks and buy groceries for the next month long leg to La Paz. Two days ended up being nine days as a nasty norther blew through, bringing winds that were clocked at 39 knots in the harbor (see video below). As these things go though, we were able to make the most of our time there as we sat and watched our hard earned money slip into the hands of Marina Fonatur (for those unfamiliar, imagine Darth Vader and the evil Sith Lord Emperor if they’d gone into building docks instead of Death Stars).
No, we didn’t soak in the hot showers, because the water heater had been broken since October, and the shower we did take was damn near slushy. A degree or two colder and we’d still be there, cryogenically frozen, upright and cubed a la Han Solo, hoping that the summer sun would thaw us out before Fonatur the Hut seized our ship and put us on display in their main office to impress their friends. And yes, we did watch Star Wars while we were there.
We mostly sat and stared at millionaires spraying off their fishing boats, hoses leaking like sieves and landscaped palms on dead end roads soaking up drip irrigation. We would ask if there was water for us, just a mere 30 gallons to top off our tank, and they would point to a spigot. Of course the spigots they pointed to never actually produced any water. Then some days they would tell us that there simply was no water. Then the next day they would point to the same spigot and agree to sell us the unpotable hose water for a higher price than the purified bottled water downstairs. Not only was their water undrinkable and non-existent, it was outrageously priced as well!
They saved the best for the last day though, and this is when I knew they were messing with me: we were walking up the dock and the guy’s got a hose in his hand at that very moment, spraying down the concrete patio. Even though we’ve already filled our tanks with bottled water at this point, I just wanted a laugh. I say “Is there any water for our boat?” Beautiful crystal clear water is running down his hand and his pantlegs, gushing from the hose and pooling and then running off into the ocean, and he looks me in the eyes, puts up a finger as if asking me to wait while he consults the higher ups, and he says “maybe, let me check.”
Let’s see, what else…no toilet paper, no soap, one cleat for the dinghy dock that services 40 moorings. Hey but
at least they were cheap right? Actually, they charge more for their services than any other marina in Mexico, with prices comparable to what you would pay in the States.
As bad as our experience with Fonatur was, we did make some great friends with the folks at the Hidden Port Yacht Club. They are fighting the good fight to bring sanity back to that great little harbor and it looks like things should be headed in the right direction soon enough. After nine days of being cooped up in the library, we certainly were excited to sail the hell on out of there and back to the sanity of the sea.
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