Thursday, 27 April 2017

Mazatlan to La Paz

A view of Club Nautico marina from the El Faro lighthouse.
This was my first time to Mazatlan.  I was captivated by this vibrant city.  We spent the first couple of nights at Club Nautico anchored near the sewage treatment plant and then moved a few miles north into the Marina area.  My friends Kim and Jan on Remember Me have made El Cid Marina their home base for the last four years so I finally had a chance to visit with them in Mexico.
One of my first jobs was to locate a new mast top wind indicator.  The frigate birds had been very persistant trying to land on the mast during our night passage to Mazatlan and eventually one of them managed to break off the front of the arrow and the anti bird spike....
Riding in a pulmonia, Mazatlans unique taxis, part golf cart
part volkswagen bug, along the Malecon.

The windex, missing its pointy bits!

 The windex repair view
 Every place in Mexico where lots of boats gather there is a cruisers net in the mornings on the VHF radio.  You are able to get information about events and gain local assistance and knowledge.  One of the things Mazatlan is missing is a well stocked chandelry, however one shout out on the net and I was able to find a brand new windex.  Once again it was a trip up the mast but the mission was successful and we were once again able to tell from which direction the wind was coming.
Enjoying the El Cid Marina facilities with Jan and Anne

One of El Cids pools, I am not sure why Kim and Jan enjoy it
here so much............
 I was able to spend time with Kim and Jan and enjoy the El Cid Marina amenities and we also had a lovely evening out in Mazatlan, one of my best meals yet!  All too soon it was time to get going, Maggies time with me was running out and we had 212 miles to get to playa Bonanza on the Baja peninsula.  The weather forecast was for light winds from the north, which was what we needed as the prevailing wind here at this time of year is from the north and that was the direction we were headed, so light wind was good.  Turned out it was really light and of the 48 hour trip 47.5 was spent with the engine on.  The good part was that the crossing was easy just kind of noisy.

Dolphin statue on the Malecon

Mazatlan Market

When I say the wind was light I mean really light.......
we are 100 miles from land in any direction in this photo.
It was hot and I went for a swim.

Headed to La Paz from Playa Bonanza, Maggie had a plane
to catch. 

We were joined by the crew of Searover II and Seadra for
Maggies last supper in Mexico this trip. They all colour
coordinated by accident!
Thank you Maggie for your help getting Kialoa back to the Baja!

Sunday, 23 April 2017

San Blas, Isla Isabela, Mazatlan

Maggie enjoying La Tovara
 Maggie and I had a few days to enjoy San Blas, which is a lovely town in spite of its notoriety for biting bugs.  Mosquitoes and jejenes, which are tiny biters that make you extremely itchy, are part of the landscape there and bug spray and long sleeves are a must at dawn and dusk, during the day it is not quite so bad.....
We enjoyed the panga trip winding up the river through the mangroves to see the birds, crocodiles, iguanas and fish that all call this area home.  This time we stopped at the headwater spring called La Tovara, where they have fenced the crocodiles out and you can swim with the very friendly fish!
A fish coming to check out my toes

Gary and Karina having their union blessed on a magic
rock by the "unofficial"guide at the old spanish fort in San Blas.
He was happy to accept donations!
 Seadra and Searover II caught up with us in San Blas and we spent a day with them and did a little provisioning for the 140 mile journey to Mazatalan and left in the early morning.  First stop was Isla Isabela, 40 nautical miles away. Kialoas second visit to this amazing place.  We started out with calm weather and motoring, looking out for long lines, eventually the wind did come up, from exactly the direction we were headed and it turned into a bit of slog trying to get there before dark.....
The sun set just before Maggie and I arrived at the anchorage and we were rewarded with a green flash over the pacific.  I have been on the lookout for a while and was very excited by my first ever, however I soon had to attend to the business of anchoring in the very tricky anchorage at Isla Isabela in the gathering dark.  We made it just in time, followed closely by Seadra, Searover had been there for a while already as they manage to go to weather much better!
Leaving San Blas in very calm conditions.

A young frigate surveying its domain, Isla Isabela

Looking out at the anchorage, Isla Isabela

A young booby and its parent, Isla Isabela

Maggie and Karina enjoying the view, Isla Isabela
After two nights at Isla Isabela it was time to head for Mazatlan, a place that Kialoa had not been to before.  It was a 100 nm journey to Mazatlan, with no stops and as there was a prediction for some strong north winds to come we needed to make tracks.  Another early morning departure under motor did eventually turn into some fun upwind sailing and Kialoa was handling it very well keeping up with the bigger boats with no problem!  As night approached we did lose the wind and Searover II headed off towards La Paz and Seadra and Kialoa started motoring for Mazatlan.  We arrived at dawn and anchored inside the breakwater in an area known as Club Nautico, where we then had a quiet day and recovered from the overnight passage. This anchorage is quiet and peaceful except when the charter boats with the bands go by but has the disadvantage of being right by the sewage treatment plant so is blessed with some interesting aromas on occasion.  We also experienced some fog....the first in a very long time!
Fog in Mazatlan, it felt more like Oregon than Mexico!

Saturday, 1 April 2017

New Crew

Maggie enjoying a cup of tea
I arrived in La Cruz two days before Maggie arrived by plane to Puerto Vallarta.  Its about a 1 hour easy bus ride to the airport.  The Puerto Vallarta area like most of Mexico has got public transit totally sorted out.  It is generally easy and cheap to get around.  Sometimes the transport is a little rickety and sometimes the drivers are a little aggressive but I have only been on one bus that had an accident so far and that was only a fender bender!
As I was coming into La Cruz I had an overcharging problem with my batteries and the day I arrived my dinghy engine quit.  So a couple of major issues to deal with.  So Maggie ended up spending more days in La Cruz than either of us really wanted to.  It did mean I got to spend more time with my Auntie who was in nearby Sayulita which was lovely.
I managed to sort out the overcharging problem with a switch installation so I can now just shut off the alternator when necessary.  Thanks to Gary on Searover II for guidance with this project.  The dinghy motor remains unresolved.  We have had to rely on the kindness of friends for rides or paddle.  Kialoas abundance of dinghys has come in handy (I have had to bear quite a bit of teasing about how many dinghys I have on my little boat!) as the rowing dinghy has been pressed into service as well as the swimming to shore with a dry bag method.  We finally left La Cruz and started heading northwards, first stop Punta de Mita, a big 9 mile hop.  It was an upwind sail to get there and took 4 hours of beating, but we were rewarded with a young humpback whale surfacing within 3 meters of the boat!  Exciting and just a little scary as even though it was smaller than Kialoa it was not that much smaller.

A meet up of Bluewater Cruising Association boats in LaCruz
There were 10 boats represented and 3 others in the bay that
were not able to attend.  Talk about an organization that is
meeting its mandate of getting people on boats to head out
Next day we headed for Chacala, some 30 nm this time.  Once again spotting whales but not nearly so close.  I called my Auntie as we were passing by Sayulita and she was heading to Chacala by car!  So a wonderful coincidence turned into a fun dinner at the beach palapa in Chacala!
Maggie and I upped anchor the next morning and motored most of the way to our next stop, Mantanchen bay.  Got a little sailing in at the end and spotted whales again.  A quiet night in Mantanchen and then around the corner the 3 miles to San Blas, which is a very shallow bar and channel up to the Marina.....not the best thing to do on a falling tide but I managed not to go aground and only got a few more grey hairs before we were safely tied up at the Marina.

On the way to town, Chacala.

Kialoa at anchor Chacala

Dinner with my lovely Auntie.  
San Blas sunset