Returning from Yelapa December 31st 2002.

Konstantin and Linda left early in the morning so that they could get started on the long drive home. I hung around while my gear dried out some in the sun. I went for a walk up to another waterfall behind the village. This was the place where all the water for the town came from and there was an incredible tangle of plastic pipes running through the trees like jungle vines. Many of them were patched in multiple paces with tape and still squirting and dripping on the side of the trail. Fortunately the source of the water in the pipes was hidden and the waterfall itself was not obscured. Perhaps the water-vines started above the falls and was shunted around so as not to spoil the view. Or a main buried pipe from the pool under the falls was the source.

I packed up my gear and had a late lunch / early dinner at the restaurant run by Mimi, the woman who I talked to on the panga my first day here. At 3:00 PM I took the last panga out of town back to Boca. This time I took the public bus back to Puerto Vallarta, which cost several orders of magnitude less than the shuttle van I had taken from the airport in the other direction. The bus only went to the "centro" of town and I had to take another expensive taxi ride back to the airport.

My original plan involved getting home in time to paddle over to Angel Island and join the big BASK celebration for the new year on the island. As I flew into San Francisco the air was clear as a bell and I figured the party was in full swing. Unfortunately it took me much longer than I expected to get out of the airport and drive to Sausalito where I had planned to put my boat back together, pack all my camping gear into it again, and paddle across. I got to Dumphy Park at 11:30 PM, too late to get across before the new year. Also, Dumphy Park had new parking signs forbidding overnight parking! This used to be one of the two places on the bay where you could legally park while camping on Angel Island or Kirby Cove, and now they have taken it away from us. I drove home.

I figured I would miss out on the fireworks this year, but as I crossed the bridge over the Russian River to Monte Rio, a gaggle of teenaged boys fired of some obviously illegal, unsafe and insane, self launching fireworks out over the river. I stopped at the public parking area to enjoy the show for a while. Eventually I heard a siren and figured the jig was up. But the cop car roared on by without hassling my newfound friends. I went back past them to see what was going on and talked to an adult-type person in a yellow firemanís jacket. I asked him if this was the volunteer fire department or something but he replied suspiciously "Why do you want to know?" I shook his hand and thanked him, told him that "You guys (whoever you are) are the greatest". I assume the gaggle of teenaged boys were volunteers and this was a semi-sanctioned event.

All text and images Copyright © 2002 by Mike Higgins / contact