The curse of Mazatlan, Galapagos of Mexico & close encounters with Whales, Turtles and Boobies.

When we got to Marina Mazatlan we were amazed to see so many boats left unattended for a long time. We didn't know why until we tried to leave.. It was time to head out Mazatlan to make our way to Puerto Vallarta to meet my sister and boyfriend who were flying down for Christmas from Switzerland.. The day we decided to leave, both Cyrille and I got ill. Cyrille with montezuma's revenge and I with a cold.. (weird huh). 2 days later after recovering from our various maladies we try to leave again.. No luck, this time the channel was blocked for dredging.. we had to wait 3 hrs for the channel to open and it was fast approaching low tide and we needed 2 feet of water to get over the entrance bar…

PC090403 Waiting on Gilligan's island for the channel to open..

PC090406Finally the channel opened up but it was still a battle to get through with all the dredging gear blocking up half the channel..

PC090405Finally light at the end of the tunnel! This was like the scene from Midnight Express where the guy is walking down a narrow hall to an open door to escape from Turkish prison. The curse of Mazatlan almost got us, but we prevailed!!

Next stop was the "Galapagos of Mexico", or Isla Isabela which was a 90nm overnight sail from Mazatlan.

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As were approached the island we saw thousands of turtles swimming along in the ocean.. one even snagged our fishing line, luckily it broke the line but we lost our favourite squid looking lure, drat! Now down to one lure ๐Ÿ™

PC110456Anchored at Isla Isabela (Stops in the middle). We used a trip line because the holding is pure rock with hardly any sand.. I didn't sleep too well the first night…

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Like the Galapagos islands off Equador, Isla Isabela is isolated in the Pacific Ocean and relatively free of natural prediators. Many of the birds allow visitors to approach without fear of being harmed. It's incredible how many birds there were on the island.

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Blue footed boobies. Two of them bowing to each other and they kept doing it again and again everytime they saw each other. Maybe they had goldfish memory spans..

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Tonnes of iguanas roaming around including mexican milk snakes which Cyrille almost stepped on.

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The Las Monas rocks off Isla Isabela. The snorkelling around the rocks was amazing..I captured some of it with my camcorder Great snorkelling at Islas Monas

PC120469Leaving Isla Isabela for Bahia de Matachen some 45 miles south east.

  Fishes2They say that the fishing around Isla Isabela is good, but this was ridiculous. We caught 4 fish in the space of 2 hours with our tuna cedar lure. 3 tuna and 1 mahi mahi! We had to stop fishing because we ran out of fridge space! Cyrille cooked up some amazing Tuna tacos which we had for lunch and dinner for a couple of days. I marinated the Mahi Mahi in indian spices and made a curry, which turned out surprising well given the limited ingredients we had.

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Beautiful sunset in Bahia de Matachen.

100_0085Next stop was 30 miles further south where we anchored off Isla la Pena in Bahia de Jaltemba. Beautiful spot, we had whole anchorage to ourselves. Next day we were off early to Puerto Vallarta..

One the way we saw 7 sets of whales, one of which was only 2 feet from the bow. I captured some video of the whale encounters here Close encounters with whales

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Approaching Puerto Vallarta Harbor and Marina! The Vallarta Marina which used to be one of the best marinas in Mexico turned out to be rundown and neglected. Wouldn't recommend it. The only bonus point was that it was very close to the city and nightlife. Since we are two single guys that was pretty important.. party pictures coming soon!

Crossing the Sea of Cortez

Crossed the Sea of Cortez from Ensenada De Los Muertos to Mazatlan, some 190 nm. It took us 31 hrs leaving leaving Los Muertos at 5am on fri, and got into Marina Mazatlan at 11am on Saturday. We sailed most of the way, in 10-12 knots of breeze just aft of the beam which made for some great sailing. Stops was averaging between 6.5 and 7.5 knots the whole way with full main, genny and the windvane steering. On Sat morning the wind died and we motored the last couple of hours into the the marina entrance. The entrance to the channel is narrow especially with the dredger off to one side. We had a 2 knot ebb tide and 8 feet of water at the bar, which meant if we had come in two hours later with less than 1 feet above low water we wouldn't have been able to get in!

StopsinMazatlan Stops in Marina Mazatlan

  Fish On the leg from La Paz to Ensenada De Los Muertos we caught another nice Dorado just as the sun was setting.. Our squid looking lure did the trick again..

 

PC060400 Cyrille managed to make 3 amazing meals from that one fish.. Can't beat the taste of fresh fish!

Checked out the local nightlife in Mazatlan on Sat night. Joe's Oyster bar took most of our Dineros. Fiestaland with it's colorful lit castle was pretty amazing to see, but didn't end up checking out the clubs. Last night we checked out the old town, which was really pretty. Reminded me of Oaxaca.

Tomorrow heading to Banderas Bay via Isla Isabela and some nice anchorages..

Sudden Stops Necessary called out 4 times in Latitude 38 magazine!

Sudden Stops Necessary and crew were called out 4 times in the Baja Haha XVII recap in the December issue of Latitude 38! Here are the excerpts:

 

Haha1 If I had known that we had Paul Allen, the Microsoft cofounder on our boat I would have washed the dishes!?!  Looks like Carl needs to change his name to Paul, since this is his only claim to fame so far ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

Haha2Ben and Carl's shark story is finally told! I think Carl is still blushing from Ben's scolding.. It would explain the red face ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

Haha3 Sudden Stops Necessary called out as "Soul Sailors", one of only 3 boats out of the 155 finishers to sail all three legs!

 

Haha4 Sudden Stops Necessary mentioned as the 1st place winner in the Desperado division.. Must mean we are the most desperate, or something..

The full article can be found by downloading the December issue of Lat 38 here: http://www.latitude38.com/eBooks/2010/L38201012.pdf