Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Mazatlan and the Passage to La Cruz

We stayed in Mazatlan a little over a week.
The more we are there the more we like it.
There are many excellent restaurants, a vibrant
arts/theater community, a wonderful colonial
 "Old Town", the best and most varied public
 transportation that we've seen in any town in Mexico, 
(I think I will do a future blog post about the various
 forms of public transportation that we have used),
one of the biggest shrimp fleets - thus a great
 "shrimp market", almost any yacht service you 
could need, big supermarkets within biking distance
from the marina, a wonderful dentist, and best of all: 
VERY friendly people.

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday "Gila" comes to the
marina with lots of fresh veggies, homemade tamales, and sometimes
fish or shrimp.
The Presidio
This is our new favorite restaurant in Mazatlan
The Presidio's version of a caprese salad
The "Machado". Mazatlan's central square.
Decorated for Christmas

Evening Street Scenes

View of Marina Fonatur and Marina Mazatlan
Bob Coffey and Jim riding the "ferry" across the entrance to
the Marina estuary.
We got a little detour because the Port Captain was on
board and wanted to see the entrance so he could decide
whether to close the port that day or not.
The swell can get huge right there making it dangerous to
come or go.
Our "fruit basket Christmas Tree"

Soriana is one of the major supermarkets in Mexico.
They were ready for the Christmas rush.

I don't know if these live trees will have any needles left by
the time Christmas rolls around.
Back at the Machado - dinner outside on the square

One mode of public transportation - the Red Truck

This is a Pulmonia. It's a very popular way to get around.
There is even a pulmonia monument on the malecon!
Leaving Marina Mazatlan.
On our way to La Cruz via San Blas.
The trip from Mazatlan south to Banderas Bay
is known for being riddled with shrimp boats
and long lines. The shrimp boats stay in fairly close 
in 130 - 150' of water and the pangero long liners
are usually deeper so you have to pick which one
you would rather deal with.
When we are doing an overnight passage we choose 
to deal with the shrimpers because they have bright lights
and they are bigger than the pangas so 
they are better radar targets.

This is a photo of our radar screen during my middle of the
night watch. This was the first shrimp fleet we encountered.
We were still north of San Blas.
We spent the second night in San Blas. This photo was
taken just south of San Blas. It shows the beginning of
a long line. There is one black flag on a buoy and a long
floating line extends out with coke bottle floats. It is impossible to
see until you are upon it. Almost everyone
we know (including us) has been caught
in one. Sometimes it frees itself, but sometimes it needs to
be cut. If it gets caught in the prop it's a real ordeal.
After rounding Punta de Mita the wind picked up and we
had a great sail to La Cruz.
A great way to end a passage!

We are now at the marina in La Cruz.
We are flying home tomorrow to
enjoy Christmas with Drew, Kelsey, RL and Simon!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

San Carlos to Mazatlan

We were ready to go on November 7th and left 
Bahia San Carlos at 12:30 in the afternoon.
After one of the best sails we have had crossing the Sea
we had to slow down so we wouldn't get into
San Juanico until dawn!
A great way to start the cruising season.
Only a few boats in the anchorage, warm water (81) and very
 clear water and air, fun get togethers with the
other boats, and good snorkeling.

After a hike over to La Ramada it was
haircut time before going for a swim.
Next stop: Isla Coronados
View from the cockpit at Isla Coronados.
After one night we moved on to Puerto Escondido.
We were anxious to get there because after we 
launched Jim discovered that the sea cock for the
incoming water to the head was broken and only the
hand pump lever was keeping the water out of the 
boat. We wanted to get it fixed before leaving
Loomba-Loomba in La Cruz when we head to 
Sailing from Isla Coronados to Puerto Escondido.
Lots has changed in Puerto Escondido. It is no longer
a government facility. The new owners are very efficient
and they are cleaning everything up. No one knows the
real scoop, but we are all hoping for the best.
Unfortunately, Carol's Mini Mart will be closing
as of December 15th because they just couldn't make
it through the summer. 
It was Saturday=Carnitas Taco Day at Carol's Mini Mart.
Good to see friends Connie, Elvin and Steve.

Excellent Carnitas Tacos with all the fixings.
Before Jim actually took the old sea cock 
off we went to talk to Javier, the new operations
manager and travel lift operator. He said to call 
him and let him know the measurements for the 
distance between the straps for our boat. He would
 stand by and be on call if Jim's plan of changing
 the sea cock in the water didn't work out
as planned. Fortunately the plan worked. 
Jim had carved a wood plug to fit the through hull,
dove down and hammered it in. He then slowly
and carefully broke the sea cock threads loose and
was able to unscrew it from the through hull
without loosening the through hull. The new
sea cock was screwed on and plug removed
and we were in business without an emergency
haul-out. Yay Jim, and thanks, Javier for 
being our back up. PE was the perfect place
to attempt this.
Super Moon rising over Puerto Escondido.
After a few days in Puerto Escondido we 
headed further south to Agua Verde.
This is the perfect time to be in the
Sea of Cortez. The water and air are still
warm and clear and there are very few 
boats around.
Sunrise in Agua Verde.

Snorkeling out at Roca Solitaria (Agua Verde).

Heading south again:
Ensenada de las Ballenas
We stopped here for lunch and a snorkle (thanks for the tip, Steve).
If you look closely you can see Loomba-Loomba in the middle of
the picture. Good snorkeling, sea caves and awe inspiring surroundings.

Snorkeling Ensenada de las Ballenas.
We were the ONLY boat in Los Gatos
though there was a kayak camp all set
up and waiting for the kayaks to arrive
Quite a fancy operation!
Kayak camp set up in Puerto Los Gatos.

Anchored in Puerto Los Gatos.

The Super Moon low tide in Los Gatos.

Beachcombing in Los Gatos.

View from the Cockpit - Los Gatos.

Sailing from Los Gatos to Isla San Francisco.

Friends enjoying the beach on Isla San Francisco.

Sunset - Isla San Francisco.

Enjoying a meal at one of the restaurants in
Ensenada de los Muertos while we waited
four days for a good weather window to cross
the Sea of Cortez over to Mazatlan.

Loomba-Loomba anchored in Los Muertos.

Waiting for Thanksgiving dinner to come out of the oven.

Not like home, but it tasted pretty good!

View of Bahia de los Muertos from the hill above the restaurant.
This is where the fishermen all launch their pangas in the morning.
Sunrise the morning we left Muertos.
We had another great crossing over to Mazatlan.
Comfortable and fast. 
We found this little guy on deck in the morning - poor guy must
have been upset - lots of ink also.
We saw a huge pod of spinner dolphins in the distance and
about thirty of them came over to swim with us for the
longest time. We have a good video, but it's too long
for the blog.
I made some bread before we left Muertos and this is what
was left when we got to Mazatlan.

We arrived on November 27th and we will 
be here for a week or so.