We got a very comfortable first class bus to Manzanillo, then up the coast a bit to a small town called Melaque on the sandy beaches of the Bahia de Navidad. Thanks to Lonely Planet we found a very lovely family-owned hotel called Hotel Bahia, very close to the beach.
We arrived in this magical small sea side town to watch a spectacular display of sea birds feeding on shoal of small fish. The slow moving pelican was the most abundant, swooping, spotting a fish and diving. A few seagulls were spotting the pelicans & landing right next to the pelicans beaks as they emerged, trying to steal the silver morsel out of the pelicans long beak, mostly it seemed to no avail. In all of it people were swimming, fishermen were casting nets from the shore. It’s most magical to be in the water watching the pelicans, with such tiny eyes, taking off & flying 5to20′ overhead, turning diving, just before entering the water punching their heads forward & then the head popping up. Sometimes a little fish is in the side of the beak, & then it is sw. I can only guess the little fish were trying to escape from bigger fish & coming closer to the shore. The fishermen were mostly after the larger fish. Periodically the water shimmered as the small fish skipped across the surface of the water, alerting the circling birds. The scrum of birds moved, and with precision diving groups of 3 pelicans all dove together.
We are staying at a lovely “Hotel Bahia”, owner built & run, with a communal kitchen.
Melaque was packed with Canadian retirees snowbirding for the winter – and had a very easy and safe atmosphere ! We got pulled into a street/birthday party in honor of the hotel owner’s 24 year old daughter, complete with Mariachi singer. The owner and his wife, a stone mason, had built literrally built the their hotel from the ground up, and had a lovely bright open architecture.
The beach was glorious, with a very gentle slope and gentle waves, and diving pelicans and other sea birds all mixed up with local fisherman, Mexican families and children, and foreign (mostly Canadian) tourists. Great except for almost getting tangled in fishing lines one or twice, almost being pooped upon by the seabirds, and a Canadian woman we had met being stung by a stingray – but luckily there was a plant growing nearby which is THE local cure, and thanks to the quick work of young Rafael at the hotel she soon had her foot soaking and hot compresses and shots of tequila and got over it all very quickly. I did go out and buy a pair of beach shoes though before I was brave enough to go swimming again!