Welcome to the Chubby Chatterbox Newsletter, where I’ll be posting favorites from the Chubby Chatterbox archives. In addition, my complete thriller Return of the Mary Celeste will soon be serialized here for those who have asked for something beyond a regular post.

My novel is based on a true event, arguably the greatest maritime mystery of all time. In 1872 the crew and passengers of Boston brigantine Mary Celeste abandoned their seaworthy ship and its valuable cargo, vanishing in the middle of the Atlantic. Speculation over their fate has never abated. History records that after the Mary Celeste tragedy no one from that fateful voyage was ever seen again. History is about to be rewritten…

Return of the Mary Celeste

Prologue

Tragedy struck the brigantine Mary Celeste on the morning of November 25, 1872. The hourly log was later recovered from the deserted vessel; At 8 a.m. the last notation was made. By 9 a.m. no one remained aboard to chalk the next entry.

Something had terrified Captain Benjamin Briggs and his crew, prompting the seasoned skipper to make a decision certain to affect not only himself, his ship and crew, but his family as well—his wife and two year old daughter were aboard Mary Celeste. Much ink has been spilled in fanciful and scientific attempts to explain the calamity that engulfed this perfectly seaworthy ship, yet all that is known for certain is this: in a matter of minutes Captain Briggs became convinced that the only way to save their lives was by ordering everyone into a hastily launched lifeboat. By giving the order to abandon ship, he also launched the greatest of all maritime mysteries.

On December 5, 1872, a month after leaving New York Harbor, Mary Celeste was found drifting on a calm and empty sea. The ship was in fine condition, perfectly intact with valuable cargo safely stored in her hold, but the crew and passengers had vanished. None were ever seen again.

Until now….

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Puerto Vallarta Scrapbook

November 25, 2015

 

Our hotel in Puerto Vallarta was old and in need of repairs and didn’t look nearly as charming as it did in online photographs, but it was ideally situated on the Bay of Banderas, close to Old Town and The Malecon—a coastal promenade and walkway—yet far enough away from the fleets of buses filled with tourists. The ocean was close enough for us to hear the waves lapping the shore from our balcony at Las Palmas by the Sea. Unlike the high rise hotels in the city’s newer section, Las Palmas was patronized mostly by Mexican families and a scattering of Canadians; we encountered no fellow Americans. I enjoyed being immersed in these boisterous families, and even attempted to use my grade-school Spanish, with limited success.

 

 

 

 View from our balcony

           

Our son CJ hasn’t stretched his travel legs much, but last year he visited Puerto Vallarta. It was fun retracing his steps for once. He suggested we not miss the Malecon and its sculptures, vendors and people watching. On our first excursion we were surprised at how empty it was, but the next day several cruise ships arrived and thousands of tourists were everywhere. Boy Riding a Seahorse is one of PV’s most famous trademarks. No one could explain its meaning, or why the boy was naked except for a sombrero on his back. Lovely though the sculpture was, I couldn’t help thinking how uncomfortable it would feel to be naked on a giant scaly seahorse. Ouch!

 

 

Sea Horse on the Malecon

 

 

 

Chubby Chatterbox on the Malecon

 

 

 

Sculptures on the Malecon

 

 

Aside from the seahorse sculpture, the other famous landmark is The Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe with its iconic metal crown. We learned this is a church, not a cathedral because Puerto Vallarta doesn’t have a large enough population to warrant a bishop. It was ninety degrees on the day we visited and I appreciated the fans inside keeping the interior cool.

 

 

 

 

 

We passed many of these odd contraptions on the streets. They were strangely familiar, although I hadn’t seen one in years—pay phones.

 

 

 

 

Puerto Vallarta is situated between jungle-covered mountains...

 

 

 

And the sea. This was one of the better sunsets we enjoyed.

 

 

 

 

 

Next time I’ll share pictures of a celebrity we met. Hint: he’s out of this world!

 

 

HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!

 

 

 

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Comments

27 Comments
That is one beautiful place. I missed your blog while you were gone. Happy Thanksgiving.
By: Rick Watson on November 25, 2015
cool sculptures. laughed at the pay phone. sometimes the older hotels have much more 'real' experience and character than the modern places.
By: TexWisGirl on November 25, 2015
I didn't know pay phones still existed! Naked on a sea horse. No thanks. The dolphin one is cool. Great shots. And sounds like the hotel's location and clientele worked in your favor.
By: Alex J. Cavanaugh on November 25, 2015
The pay phone seems so 1970s to me, but sometimes I swear we need to go back to home phones and throw these dang cell phones in the trash. Have fun, and Happy Thanksgiving!
By: Terri@Coloring Outside the Lines on November 25, 2015
I LOVE those sculpures; those Flamenco dancers. But the statue of the tourist in the Hawaiian shirt is unbelievably realistic!
By: Mitchell is Moving on November 25, 2015
It has changed over the years as most things do. Yet it still has its own unique charm. Hope you enjoyed some tequila during your stay and were able to keep montezuma's revenge at bay.
By: Daniel LaFrance on November 25, 2015
Perhaps you should try being naked on the seahorse statue. You never know what it feels like till you do it. Love, Janie
By: Janie Junebug on November 25, 2015
Happy Thanksgiving to you & Mrs. C!!
By: fishducky on November 25, 2015
Puerta Vallarta has always seemed like a great place to visit but I've never managed to get there, so thanks for your photos and commentary! I mean, gracias.
By: Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma on November 25, 2015
Now that is a nice place to vacation!
By: messymimi on November 25, 2015
I've never been there so enjoyed the pictures. Loved the flamenco dancer sculpture a lot. Gorgeous sunset.
By: Bouncin Barb on November 25, 2015
A very Happy Thanksgiving to you and Mrs. C. And a thanks to you for sharing your travel adventure photos. Delightful!
By: Tom Cochrun on November 25, 2015
We can make a good tour for ourselves if we get off the beaten track. Have a good Thanksgiving.
By: red on November 25, 2015
Ninety degrees? Dang we got nine inches of snow. Nice pictures. If I ever went to Mexico I'd go to one of those resort towns; everywhere else sounds horrible. So who's the celebrity? Neil Armstrong? Bill Shatner? Alf?
By: PT Dilloway on November 25, 2015
Nice pictures! Happy Thanksgiving to you and Mrs. C.
By: Pixel Peeper on November 25, 2015
Looks beautiful and like you had a great time. But, one thing bothers, did that sea horse mind being molested?
By: Al Penwasser on November 25, 2015
I am glad you-all had a good time. Even if we were well enough to travel, news about all of the kidnapping down in Mexico would make us very reluctant to go without well-armed escorts. By the way, my eyesight has improved, but it still has a long way to go.
By: Jerry E. Beuterbaugh on November 25, 2015
That's beautiful! The view from your balcony, the sunset, and the sculpture(s). The dolphins were almost upstaged by those parasailors in the background.
By: Val on November 25, 2015
Looks like paradise ... and it sure looks like you're having a good time. What a great place to celebrate Thanksgiving!
By: Tom Sightings on November 25, 2015
what a lovely vacation you two had! We have gone to PV several times since 1991 and it has changed and grown- just like a lot of places! The Malecon is one of our favorite places to stroll along- my favorite one is of the flamenco dancers! Have a lovely Thanksgiving!
By: Kathe W. on November 25, 2015
What a beautiful trip! I've never been to Puerto Vallarta but I've been to some of the Gulfside towns. Happy Thanksgiving - be safe and God bless.
By: Cherdo on November 25, 2015
Oh boy! you certainly stirred up some memories with this post! I'd love to return there one day! :)
By: Ken on November 26, 2015
Yeah, that boy can't be too comfortable. That's my first thought upon seeing The Sea Horse on the Malecon. Glorious photos, though. I hope you and yours had a terrific Thanksgiving, Stephen.
By: Robyn Engel on November 26, 2015
I don't get to blog land as much these days being back at work but when I do I enjoy visiting your blog. Your trip looked lovely. We stayed in a lovely resort about 6 years ago outside of Peurto Vallerto called Grand Pladium. It was situated on a cliff and was stunning. I loved that area of Mexico.
By: Beckie on November 27, 2015
I've never been to Puerto Vallarta. Cozumel was always our Mexico destination. and you did well avoiding american tourists since they can be unpleasant to be around.
By: ellen abbott on November 29, 2015
I loved Puerto Vallarta when we first went there back in the 1970's but once we lived in Mexico we used to avoid it. Too many norteamericano tourists!
By: Catalyst on November 30, 2015
Ninety degrees sounds so nice right now. It's barely in the teens here. I wish I hadn't read these posts backwards. I already know who the celebrity is. My bad.
By: Michael Offutt on November 30, 2015

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