Beach walks, bikinis and balmy weather are all but a memory now as we discover Patagonia in rather bracing climates, not to mention the complete change of scenery! However for three months we soaked it all up in the Mexican, “off-the-beaten-path” village of Sayulita.
Part of how we make this lifestyle work for us is that we will settle down and actually live in a reasonably cheap area of the world – where we can access organic produce – for a few months to recharge our batteries and the bank account before heading back out into the big, wide world. All the moving around can get a little draining and also takes quite a lot of planning. This is also a lovely way to become part of a community rather than just being tourists.
Sayulita is most definitely a small, hippie, surfing village located on the Pacific coast of Mexico. A unique quality about the place is that the tribe called the Huichol are still residents in this region and have been for thousands of years. Their artwork is very eye catching and inspired by their complex cosmology. They use brilliant, vivid colours that make it stand out around town.
Despite the fact that is was warm, by Sayulita standards we were actually in their winter. It was an added bonus that we were in town at the same time of year whales like to hang out in the area too. The waters here serve as a playground for humpbacks and other whales as they make their journey south. Most days we’d spot them out at sea and sometimes we’d catch them breaching. We liked to go to a particular exercise class that had the best view in Sayulita for whale watching which could get a little distracting yet was a good incentive to get up and going in the morning.
Wanting to get even nearer to these massive aquatic creatures, we went on a boat trip that brought us up very close to the mammals. Even though it’s a known fact, we were still awestruck by the size of the whales when they were a mere 10 metres away.
I’m very often impressed and amazed at the wonderful things things that get organised in these relatively remote towns around the world in order to nurture the environment and animals. In Sayulita, the harvesting of turtle eggs and taking of turtles for food has been supplanted by the care taking of turtles – primarily of their nests and eggs. One evening as we walked on the beach we had the unique and fascinating experience of seeing (and even helped) dozens of baby turtles to be released into the ocean. They need some assistance but eventually scamper to their homes in the surf. To my eyes they seemed far too tiny and frail to survive their natural habitat of the roaring ocean.
I mentioned that Sayulita is a surf town. Our idea was that we might spend some of our time here learning to surf, but it didn’t go so well. For whatever reason, my gut feeling was not a good one and this was only legitimised after Michael came back one morning from body surfing on a particularly rough day. He’d lost a fin, the leash on his board had been ripped off and the next day he woke with an excruciating perforated and infected ear drum that took a month and four lots of antibiotics to go. So that was enough of a sign for me that I’d skip it and settle for long morning swims.
We replaced the surfing with learning Spanish which is a work in progress but a fun one that keeps us entertained as we travel around South America.
Mirroring the whales leaving the Nayarit waters and heading for a cooler climate at the beginning of April, we made our way to Patagonia where we have been for the past 3 weeks. Plenty of adventures to tell, coming your way soon but for now I’ve got to get on with climbing some mountains and walking on glaciers….nos vemos pronto (catch you soon).