Thursday, May 22, 2008
This morning we decided to take the dogs for a different walk than our usual beach foray. About half-mile from our house is the Yucalpeten Marina, so we headed out to see what was happening.
The Yucalpeten harbor is about four miles west of Progreso and is shaped like a three leaf clover. In this harbor you will find the large local fishing fleet, fish packing companies (that export fish and octopus worldwide), the Navy base, two condo complexes and eight recreational boat marinas. The private boats you see at these marinas include powerboats and sailboats that range in size from dinghies to 70-foot yachts.
This is a major economic center for the area and the harbor was built in 1968 not only as a central point for the fishing business, but also as a safe haven for boats during a hurricane. Last year when hurricane Dean was working it's way up from the south we heard that about 400 extra boats had headed into Yucalpeten to wait it out.
The catch mainly consists of sea bass, grouper, red snapper and octopus. The octopus fishing was especially poor this year and many of the fishermen had to go on Mexico's version of unemployment. Here, that means about $300 pesos (about $30.00 U.S.) per week and in order to get it recipients have to perform civic work such as street cleaning and garbage pick-up.
Yes, we eat a lot more fish than we used to. Unfortunately, one cannot buy directly at the marina. The fish can only be sold to licensed brokers who then sell to the markets. However, we are frequently visited by an amigo on a scooter who sells us wonderful fillets for between $40 and $50 pesos a kilo (2.2 lbs) that we suspect come from the marina. That's less than $2.00 per pound U.S. and it is always flavorful and fresh.
We continued the walk into the private marinas and came upon a sight that will please our neighbors in Chelem and Chuburna: a long awaited bridge across the harbor that will eliminate a long drive into Progreso skirting the harbor. (Click to enlarge for best effect)
The trek took about 1 hour and 10 minutes and we were all overheated by the time we returned home. This next shot is entitled "Three Heads in a Bucket":