Wednesday, February 18, 2009

La Ventanilla

It had been my intent to follow in the tyre-tracks of Julio and Tenoch and seek out the legendary beach from Y Tu Mamá Tambien - La Boca del Cielo. Down in Chiapas there is a collection of huts beside the Pacific that goes by the name of Boca del Cielo (Heaven's Mouth) but somehow I don't think they used it for the location.

Anyway, Mazunte has been perfect enough for me. What a spot.

This morning I walked 2km west out of the village towards La Ventanilla. For much of the way the only sounds were intermittent, scratchy bird calls and that of little lizards slaloming through the dead leaves at the tarmac's edge. And then you hear the ocean, like the roar of a jet reverse-thrusting down a distant runway.

Here roughly 25 local families have formed a cooperative to protect the wildlife of their mangrove-bounded lagoon, which sits just behind a mile long stretch of beautiful and completely empty beach. Too rough to swim or surf here, my guide informed me.

The lagartotes are the big draw. These Acutus crocs are the largest of three species in the region, sometimes attaining a length of 6m. (The others are the Crocodylus Moreletti aka De Pantano crocs, and the yet more compact caiman.)

I saw a caballo gingerly wading through the tanin-tinted waters and asked the obvious question. No, these crocs are rather anglo in their attitude to horsemeat. Their favourite meal is dog however. And pisote when they can get it.

There are two main species of mangrove here, white and red. The white mangrove helps regulate salinity and the red variety emits the inky black tanin stain into the water. We spotted several turtles keeping KV on a half-submerged tree trunk, and one crocodile which had been doing a passable impression of a floating log itelf, then made a less than elegant facsimile of a snorkeler's dive the moment its snout made contact with the fibreglass hull of the lancha.

I was rowed to the far end of the lagoon, stopping for iguana, heron and grey toucan photo ops and then led around a small visitor centre which is also home to Itti, an aggressive little coati (pisote) who paw-swiped at my lens, and a dainty little male fox with no name. The cooperative also keeps one big female crocodile called Susanna who subsists on a diet of poultry, and a pool full of snappy crios (yearlings) that have to make do with chicken nuggets. 10x zoom lens or not, I felt brave when I stepped up close to Susanna to get a shot of her ponderous eye.

Under the trees close to where the boat was tied up there was a sad looking burro who looked as if the falling coconuts had really shot his nerves...

Anyway, I'm now in a world-class dump called Pochutla waiting for the 20:00 bus to Tuxtla. You hardly see any girl over 14 here not carrying a young baby.

There are rumours of yet another paro tomorrow, but once I'm in Chiapas and near the border I should be able to make alternative plans more easily than it has proved up here on the coast. I plan to watch the last 3 episodes of Generation Kill on tonight's journey.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sounds a little like the mangrove lagoons on the way to La Avillana...nice. I look forward to pictures.