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I Remember When!!

Posted by mexicodan on March 15, 2010, 10:50 pm, in reply to "Re: Steven Rutherford"

I first heard of La Manzanilla in 1982, in Seattle, from my brother David,
about a little fishing village he had spent time in back in the 70's.
On this idyllic palm tree lined bay with the mesmerizing and
romantic name of Tenacatita.

I worked in Alaska and Seattle the following 3 years prior to starting
a wilderness sea kayaking company.
My brother and I took a bus down to La Manzanilla in '85 to check out
the village and the beach to the north for a base camp for sea kayaking trips on the bay.

At that time there was only one phone in town at the Hotel La Manzanilla
on the old main road into town. That's when I first met Steven Rutherford
who showed us the village, and assisted me in getting setup the following
winter ('86) for an experimental kayak tour, for clients flying into
Puerto Vallarta (no flights into Manzanillo) from the Northwest back then.

That winter we set up where Valentino's is now on property owned by Simone,
a local old timer and very colorful individual.

The bay was ideal and the sea kayaking to Tamarindo and Tenacatita was superb.
The night paddling and effervescence in the water was a unique experience,
and the thunder of the waves at night made it hard to sleep.

We asked Steven if anyone ever went into the lagoon, and he said not
to his knowledge. Me and my business partner Scott hacked our way
through the mangrove to cut a channel from the front pool to the back
pool of the lagoon. The area was overflowing with snowy egrets, ibises, boobies,
and 100's of nesting cormorants. The lagoon was magical and treat to paddle.
Back then we saw crocks, but there numbers were much lower due to open
poaching in the 80's.

Steven would stop by and make sure everything was going well.

One night we had a freak chubasco (60 mile per hour winds) came straight
into the bay that blew over our kitchen palapa and roughed us up in our tents.
Steven came by and invited all of our clients to spend the night as his
place until the storm blew over.

He helped buy fish at the coop, and offered his assistance when ever Scott
needed help with his Spanish.

The following year ('87) we moved further up the beach for more privacy
and a better put in location for the kayaks.
Simone came and built a new palapa for us and we set up our kitchen
right on the beach front.

We drove up and back in one day to pick up our clients each week to PV.

We would go into the village to Charlie's restaurant for our one
night to eat in the village.

Back then you could buy a ocean view lot for 8K.

That winter was a special treat for our clients because Steven was getting
married to Lupita. The wedding was grand and the whole village was there.
We drank Tequilla out of little clay cups and they roasted a whole cow.
Every hour they set off home made rockets that flew into the darkness
of the night in all directions. Music was played into the wee hours of
the morning and it was a special celebration for the Rutherford newlyweds.

Each winter we came back Steven would always help get us set up with supplies,
palapa's and connections in the village. Scott, my partner, said he could
have never made it without Steven's assistance each winter.

I had the great opportunity to watch the family grow with the births of
Marilyn and Steve Jr.

Each winter I so enjoyed showing up with gifts for the kids and special
goodies for Steven and Lupita.

I spent many evenings on the Rutherford front porch enjoying in depth
conversations about world events and the US with Steven and a Tequilla lemonade.
He was always questioning the American system in how it should be ran and
his ideas were innovative and refreshing.

The years went by and the kids grew up and I finally sold the business
and commissioned Steven to build our Villa Montana Adventure Outpost('95)
on an impossible hillside overlooking the village the bay and the lagoon.
At this time there were no homes up in the hills so it was a huge task
getting material up the hill and supplies, but he persevered.

Just as I was getting ready to fly down to see the finished product
La Manzanilla was hit with a 6. something earthquake that caused
a tidal surge to swirl in and out of La Manzanilla back 2 1/2 blocks,
flooding homes on the beach and and elsewhere.
My brother and I were afraid that our new home had fallen
down the hillside. When we finally got through on the phone
to Steven, he assured us everything was OK.

So over the years it was always fun to visit the family when I came in town
for vacation.

I will miss Steven, his smile, his jokes, his inquisitiveness and
great outlook on life.

Mi Amigo forever!


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