Wednesday, December 25, 2013


Finally, we will share our trials and joys at being back in Mazatlan. We had a textbook perfect first 12 hours on our crossing from Bonanza towards Mazatlan. The winds were a constant blow off our beam, monitor was working well and life was good. We expected a bit of increase in the winds but nothing too exciting. We reefed down before dark as a routine safety measure and prepared for our night watches. All went well until around midnight when the winds really started cranking at around 25 – 28. The seas became 6-8 ft with a 6 second interval. In short, it was nasty. We felt like we were in a Maytag washer. The heavy rain cells that were forming looked like huge globs of fat on the radar. We ended up fully reefed with the stay sail helping to balance the boat. The foresail was furled.  That strategy worked beautifully as Talos settled down and maintained 6 kts with monitor on the helm. We realized during the crossing that our house battery bank was not maintaining a charge, dropping down to 9 volts. OUCH! The end result was that we arrived in Mazatlan at first light and immediately started planning on how to replace the batteries without having to modify our battery bank vault. Paul determined the age of the AGMs to be 9 years so we certainly got full service from them. In hind site we should have replaced them last year……

The marina at El Cid welcomed us like old friends. We had lots of visitors to the boat once we docked. It seemed that most cruisers had returned within the last week or so. Mazatlan is booming with new construction including some new restaurants which are now some of our favorites. The cruise ships are coming back into port. There is a new elegant fashion mall north of town which has a mega cinema and a “Liverpool” dept store. It reminds me of Nordstroms. We walked over for our morning exercise and a coffee only to find the facility was still closed but due to open in an hour or so. The perimeter was heavily guarded with men and assault rifles. I used to find this a bit unnerving, but now it seems so normal…just life in Mazatlan…….Anyway, the Starbucks was posting their hours as 10AM open. Since it was 10:30 I was a bit confused and asked the young man with the machine gun standing close by if he could confirm the hours for me. He confirmed that they should be open. I suggested that maybe he could use his weapon to nudge the lock. He laughed and laughed and said “no, there would be BIG TROUBLE” if he were to do this. Oh well…I think Starbucks has changed their gun policy.

We have discovered some new galleries and a new bakery/butcher/organic market type food court in old town. It holds lots of promise for future development. We were able to get some nice looking steaks for the BBQ for our trip to Bandaras Bay.

So, back to the battery problem. Paul finally found some batteries in Phoenix AZ. We decided it was smart to replace the starter battery as well. Paul rented a car from AVIS and made plans to drive north. Once word was out that he had wheels and heading north the cruisers started coming forth with wish list items and pesos. It is hard to buy boat stuff here, so any one going north presents the cruising community with an opportunity for stocking up. He will be home tomorrow and has stated that he will be glad to get back on the boat. I don’t think he is a Ford Focus kind of guy.

During Paul’s absence I was busy socializing. I was able to go to a small village outside of town called Callita for breakfast with a group of friends. One couple has a motorcycle and side car that they rode. The village was all dressed up with colorful homes and lots of greenery. There is a world famous breeder of game cocks in the village. We walked to the ranchito to take a look at the roosters. There were big dogs camped out within the pasture keeping the coyotes away. On another day, I was able to go with one of the ladies to the “Golden Zone” on a shopping trip. Without the boys we had lots of fun going in all the jewelry stores and shopping around the galleries.

Paul called mid trip with word from the road….he had a blowout on the rental car tire and was delayed until he could get a tire the next day. Thankfully it happened on the US highway where they have shoulders.

Ok…Paul returned safely, the batteries are installed and life is fully charged. The head security guy for the marina helped him get the batteries from the car into the boat. He took our bead batteries and the questionable starter battery and was happy for the option. He is using the deep cycle AGM starter in his car.

Our friends Mark and Emma have joined us here in Mazatlan for a sail along the coast south to Bandaras Bay. We are scheduled to leave today at 2pm. The plan will be to arrive at Isla Isabelle at first light. If conditions are calm we will spend the day at the island. From there we progress to Chacala and then finally into Bandaras Bay. Stay tuned!

Janet enjoying a dip in the El Cid swimming pool.
Paul found a place near the bar.
We made several trips into the center of town to visit some
of our favorite places.  This is the shrimp ladies who
line both sides of the street selling freshly caught shrimp.
We also stopped by the old Mercado Pino.
An of course any trip to Mazatlan must include a stop
by Plazuela Machado.
Janet perfected her salsa making technique. These are
jalapeno peppers and tomatoes roasting on the BBQ.
While Paul was off to the US to get batteries, Janet went
to a small village near Mazatlan for breakfast with
some of the other cruisers.
The cock ranch.
Our friends Mark and Emma enjoying a juice at the street
side juice stand near the old Mercado.
Another visit to the old Mercado.
We stopped by the Angela Peralta Theatre.
Janet and Emma enjoying the view from the malacon.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Playa Bonanza, Isla Espiritu Santa

After a short motor sail around the south end of the island and through the San Lorenzo Channel we arrived at Playa Bonanza.  The wind was flat and there was virtually no swell coming into the bay.  We had found the paradise we were looking for.

Playa Bonanza has a crescent shaped white sand beach that wraps around the bay for a good 2 or 3 miles.  Including us and sv Enchante there were a total of only 3 boats on our end of the bay and we could see two power boats way over on the other side of the bay.

Once anchor down and set, we made plans with Al and Lindy for a hike on the island.  The plan was to follow the arroyo across the island back to Bahia San Gabrielle.  We set out with high expectations but managed to get only about 3/4 of the way there before we all said enough.  It was hot and we had forgotten our water on the boat.  It was a beautiful walk though with some amazing views of the island landscape.

Al and Paul took off in the dinghy to check out the snorkeling off the reef on the far side of the bay.  Unfortunately, Paul's mask was leaking so much he wasn't able to enjoy himself.  They had a great run in the dinghy though and a good swim off the reef.

Our second night there we had dinner aboard sv Enchante and traded some videos.  It was good to get to know each other better.

On our third day, sv Enchante pulled anchor and headed up and around the island to some of the anchorages we had been to last year.  We had been keeping a close eye on the weather and it looked as if a good three or four day window for making our crossing of the sea had opened up.  After that, the long range forecast was for a big honking norther to kick up.  Not wanting to get caught up in that and concerned that the norther might keep us pinned down for awhile we decided to pull anchor as well and at noon did just that and were under way for a 42 hour crossing of the sea to Mazatlan.

sv Enchante as she sails off in search of yet
undiscovered destinations.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Isla Espiritu Santa

After leaving La Paz we headed directly out to Isla Espiritu Santa, one of Mexico's national parks and only about 12 miles from the city.  Our first stop was Bahia San Gabrielle, a wonderful bay with white sand beaches on the south west side of the island.

We were a bit rusty on our anchoring technique, but got the hook down and set on our first attempt.  The waters of the bay shallow rapidly so we found a spot well off shore but with only about 6 feet under our keel.  All looked good for a planned couple of nights stay.

Shortly after our arrival a call came in over the radio from our friends Al and Lindy on sv Enchante who were anchored across the bay.  We made plans for a happy hour rendezvous later that afternoon. We spent the rest of the day just hanging out and relaxing.

It was very peaceful with very little wind and calm flat waters when we went to sleep later that night.  That all changed at about 2 AM when the wind kicked up and the swell came funneling into the bay.  It made for a very uncomfortable and largely sleepless night.  The following morning we woke up to more of the same and discovered that at least one of the boats in the anchorage had pulled up and left in the middle of the night apparently not able to deal with the conditions.

By about 10 AM we were anchor up as well and headed around the island to Playa Bonanza where we hoped we would find more settled conditions.  sv Enchante led the way.  So much for a planned couple of days just hanging out and relaxing.