Page:Our Sister Republic - Mexico.djvu/43

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Despite the many delays all the party was safely on board the boats just after sunrise. The air was still and the sky clear, and in a short time the heat became almost insupportable. Then, little black-eyed Mexican boys, spry and agile as cats, crept around each boat hanging out gaily striped awnings, and rich colored blankets, to shield us from the blazing rays of the tropic sun, and we lay down in the boats, at full length, and watched with a wondering interest, the shifting of the glorious panorama before us. The great mountain chain, which forms a semi-circle around the inland side of the Laguna de Cayutlan, is clothed in magnificent vegetation, from the waters edge to its summit; all the wealth of the tropics is lavished on the picture. The long lines of palm trees on the heights, cutting sharply against the blue sky, seem to have been set there by some cunning hand, to make it perfect in all its artistic details.

The Laguna de Cayutlan runs nearly east and west for thirty miles, parallel with and but a short distance from the sea, and at this season is from four to ten feet in depth, and one to six miles wide. It would float a steamer the year round.

Within the charmed circle in which we floated, all was peaceful and still; there was hardly breeze enough to puff out the sails which our boatmen spread to lighten their labors, and the surface of the Lacuna was like glass, while at the same time we could hear the hollow booming of the ocean waves, and the dull incessant roar of the surf, breaking on the beach just beyond the line of palm-trees, which bounded the view upon the south.

Our rowers, five in each boat, nearly naked, or entirely so, worked well. I never saw better rowers. They appeared to be all of pure Indian blood—the