Friday, April 1, 2011

Isla Isabel to Mazatlan

The Honcho departed Isla Isabel in the late afternoon heading in a northerly direction toward Mazatlan on starboard tack. Almost as soon as we cleared the island the wind piped up to about 20 knots so we put a reef in the main and had a nice sail for about 40 miles. Around midnight we were about 3 miles off the beach just north of Teacapan and tacked to port.  This put us on on a course of due west and we got a taste of punching into the short, steep waves common to this area... a fairly bumpy ride. By 0100 the wind had settled down a bit and shifted so we were able to tack once again an sail a course nearly directly toward Mazatlan. Just before the moon rose at about 0330, the wind died completely and we motored the last 35 miles to the city, coming to anchor in the lee of Isla Piedra with about ten feet of water under our keel. The distance traveled from Isabel was about 90 miles. This is a well protected anchorage and we secured the boat and slept for a few hours.

Later that day we went ashore in the dinghy and walked down the beach a mile or so, looking at dozens of deserted beachfront palapa restaurants. We finally found one that looked open and wandered in. I asked why all the palapas were deserted and the waiter said this beach used to be very busy until a few weeks ago, when the cruise ships stopped calling at Mazatlan. There has apparently been enough drug cartel related violence to cause them to suspend calling at this port until they get a better handle on security here. Mexicans say its America's fault, because if the demand for drugs in the US didn't exist, Mexico wouldn't have a drug war on its hands. Either way, the mahi mahi tacos were excellent, the service good and the Pacificos were frosty. Speaking of frosty, we've been in temperatures that ranged from the 70's to 90's day and night for the last three months. Here the highs are in the mid 70's and low last night was 51. We've had to bundle up in fleece at night for the first time since leaving Long Beach.

The next day we went out to Isla de los Chivos and hiked to the top of the island. The views of the city and surrounding countryside were beautiful. Chivo is Spanish for kid, or young goat, and we got lots of pictures of the feral goats that live on this craggy little island.

After a couple of days in the peaceful tranquility of the anchorage, we got the anchor up and sailed around the west side of the city and took a berth in Marina Mazatlan, where we'll stay a couple weeks and explore the city and surrounding area.

The volcanic rocks around Isla Isabel. This one is called Isleo Mona Mayor

Looking east from the top of Isla de los Chivos toward Isla Cardones

A deeply laden purse seiner enters the harbor.

It looks like the goat is in the tree but he's not.

A 'chivo' surveys the rocky path below.
This little guy seemed happy to pose for the camera.
Itty bitty chivo hooves

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