Friday, November 26, 2010
Cabo to Banderas Bay
The Islas Tres Marias consists of four islands: Tiny San Juanito is the northwesternmost, then ranging to the southeast are Maria Madre, Maria Magdalena and Maria Cleofas. Only Maria Madre, the largest of the group is inhabited. It is there that the Mexican government has located a penal colony housing around 1200 prisoners and staff. Sailing past it, I was reminded of that old Steve McQueen movie, Papillon, in which the protagonist was sentenced to life on Devils Island. From a distance all the islands look drab and forbidding. There are a couple of bright notes though, the Mexican government prohibits people from venturing near them so they have become a de facto nature preserve, which I believe the government has now formailzed. Second, conditions for prisoners there are apparently fairly good. They are allowed more freedom than we might expect and can even have family stay with them at times. The Mexican government abolished the death penalty many years ago, although the Mexican drug cartels have not.
Once past the islands, we continued southeast toward Bahia Banderas, arriving at the entrance to this large and beautiful bay around 2100 on a night when the moon did not rise until around 2130. So we slowed down and waited for some moonlight before entering the bay, being careful to avoid some uncharted rocks in the area. Navigational charts are notoriously inaccurate for Bahia Banderas, and even with our state of the art navigational equipment, I was amused to see that where we anchored is a quarter mile inland on the chart. At any rate, after a passage of about 300 miles, taking two and a half days, we groped our way into a snug anchorage in the lee of Punta Mita around midnight without knocking any of those uncharted rocks out of the ocean.
Posted by Leif at 7:02 PM