If only we'd possessed magical powers. On our recent trip to Puerto Vallarta we had cause to book ourselves on a trip aboard the catamaran geronimo. There we were, on the beach, stretched out under a palapa being served by liveried staff when the most charming young lad approached to tell us about the special promotion to Islas Mariettas. It sounded so good, boat, continental breakfast, lunch buffet, drinks, snorkeling with provided gear, kayaking with provided kayaks, beach time, ... ah, if only we'd posessed magical powers.
We arrived at the marina at the apponted time, after a bit of confusion over exactly which marina, but in time none the less; only to be met with a 15peso per person charge to get into the marina to ba able to gain access to the tour for which we had already paid. Sure 15pesos, big deal, but wouldn't you expect admission to the marina to be included in the price especially if you can't get to the boat without entering the marina????
Well so there we are, waiting for our boat, the catamaran geronimo, to arrive. There is a huge walrus on a stand giving kisses to whales I mean tourists while the photographer takes their picture (pictures available for a nominal fee when your tour returns). Oh and there is a macaw also, which you can hold and from whom you may receive a kiss while the photographer takes your photo (photo available for a nominal fee when your tour returns). And we are told we can get coffee, but no I'll just wait for the continental breakfast that's included in my tour fee, but oh, no one said that this is where you get the coffee and pastry portion of your continental breakfast and that only the fruit and juice portion is available on the boat. Lucky for them we had stopped at Starbucks and I had already had my venti. There'd a been hell to pay by gosh!
So we get all loaded up, fortunately there were only 25 or so on the boat, which we are told can handle 95. Oh my freaking gosh if there had been 95 people on tthe boat... But there wasn't, 25 is actually a comfortable number for the boat, room to move, get in the sun, out of the sun.
There was an announcement that on the day previous some tourist had plugged up the ladies room toilet so we all had to use the men's room, which has two stalls - the latch to the stall on the left was broken so the men were to use that one, and the women to use the one with the working door latch. Trust me by the end of the day it was only the stout of heart, mind, and sensibilities that could venture down those stairs. It was evil, evil I tell you.
OK, touchy feely announcements over and we are on our way. I was a gorgeous day, beautiful blue skies with big billowy white clouds. Sea not to rough, and it really was a lovely ride out to Islas Mariettas where we were to be provided with mask, snorkel and fins and if wanted we could hang with the guide to be shown all the treasures of the sea.
Islas Mariettas is a grouping of rock islands with huge openings that form caverns and grottos. It is a bird sanctuary and home to most prominiently Boobies/Boobys.
By the time we got there, almost 2 hours, the water was quite rough, and the visibility was so murky you couldn't see 10 feet below you. As we approached the islands crewmembers came around and offered if we wanted, for a fee, we could either scuba or hookah. Some went for it, but we didn't, I'm so glad now that we didn't. We were then distributed masks and snorkels, fins were reserved for the scubas and hookah'ers. We were offered the use of preserver vests if we wanted. No mention and no effort was made to disengage the 2 plastic kayaks from the stern of the boat. So we snorkeled, we paddeled, we tried to stay away from the surge that threatened to pull you into the rocky walls of the islands. It was great fun, and withing about 20 minutes all but the scuba/hookah users were back on board; where people promptly started to get motion sick, yours truely included. Luckily for me I was only nauseous, and not hurking into plastic cups like the woman across from me.
So with all participants back on the boat, beer and cocktails became available, and the lunch buffet was laid out - Roast chicken, tuna salad, tortilla chips, salsa, sliced bread, and cut tomatoes. With only 25 people on board it wasn't too bad, it was easy and orderly. More drinks were consumed, and we were on our way to the beach at Piedra Blanca, where we could enjoy the beach and swimming.
The geronimo pulls up close-ish to the beach and a small boat comes out to ferry you to the beach, or if you choose you can swim in. The surge at Piedra Blanca was life threatening unless you were tall and could hang out outside the break zone. The new uber fancy resort there denies access to all but a small strip of shadeless beach, and employs guards to ensure you do not rest under the shade of their trees, or even touch their containment wall.
After beach time it is back to the boat for more drinks, music, more drinks, and a bit of a drag performance by a member of the crew to the tune of 'Like a Virgen', and the return trip to the marina.
And the highlight of the day, we saw dolphins on the return trip after Piedra Blanca - the boat capitan stopped, redirected, and got us close so we could watch as they swam along and jumped and played.
It was a long day, not a horrible day, we had some fun, we didn't particularly enjoy all aspects of the day. We were brave, and stalwart, and we showed courage in the face of difficulty; besides life isn't always what you expect.
But, if you hear me say, I'm gonna get you a ticket for the boat, or I'm gonna put you on the boat, you'll know you need to run!
Now for some gratuitous phtos! Just cuz I really like these!