Pacific Mexico,  Voyage

Back to Baja California

After our two-day stay at Isla Isabela, we continued on our trek north. Our goal was to get across the Sea of Cortez, to Baja California, and start exploring the cruising grounds that everyone was talking about. We decided to make our crossing shorter by going first to Mazatlan – a big port city on the western mainland coast of Mexico.

We arrived at Mazatlan after a good day of sailing and stopped at a Stone Island anchorage just south of the main harbor entrance. In Mazatlan, there is a big commercial port with a busy entrance, and further north, there are marinas in a separate, smaller harbor. The commercial entrance offers an anchorage for small boats, but it is along a busy channel with all the freighters and cruise ships coming in and going out. The anchorage we picked is outside of all that and somehow outside of the city. It was a good first stop, but it was hard to go into the town from there. We just rested and decided to move to the marina as a weather change was approaching.

The entrance to the marina harbor is somewhat tricky. It is narrow and shallow and a dog-leg shaped, with a sharp turn in the middle of it. You have party boats coming and going, and there is barely room for two boats to pass. Due to the depths, we had to arrive at a high tide, and we had to watch the swell, as with bigger waves, the entrance can become dangerous. We managed to get in and docked at El Cid, a nice little marina attached to a small resort. We could use the pools and learn our Spanish number words by listening to the daily bingo games. What fun!

Marina El Cid at sunset
Marina El Cid at sunset

The only problem was that the same weather that made us leave the anchorage made the Port Captain close the entrance to the marina a day after our arrival. The swells got bigger and breaking waves started forming in the entrance. So we got locked in here, waiting for the swells to diminish and the entrance to be opened again.

Well, we had time to explore. Mazatlán turned out to be a very nice city. When you approach it, it appears very industrial. But when you go to the Old Town and walk the streets, it is very pleasant. The city is well maintained, there are nice sidewalks, nice buildings and overall good atmosphere. Transportation is great, with a multitude of little open-top cars/golf carts driving people around. There is a local name for them – pulmonias. They are relatively cheap and easy to catch. There is a very long Malecon – a Mexican boardwalk – along the shore with a multitude of creative and amusing sculptures on display from the last Carnival event. Mazatlán is famous for its Carnival, probably the biggest such event in North America. And the food! Mazatlán is now the second place after Ensenada where we just experience fantastic cuisine. It seems that there are no bad restaurants here!

After several days of waiting and us asking and prodding, the Port Captain finally agreed that the conditions had improved enough and changed the status entrance to ‘open’. We were free to go.

We still had to wait a few hours for the tide to go up and eventually left in the afternoon. Our original plan was to sail the whole day, then night, and arrive mid-day the following day. But with this late departure, we looked at an after-sunset arrival at our destination in Bahia los Muertos. Oh, well! The most important was that we were going.

The passage was uneventful but somewhat tiring. We motored most of the way as the winds were too weak to sail at any reasonable speed. Motoring always makes us more tired as we sit and listen for hours to the constant noise of the engine. The sea state was more than we expected at the beginning, but then gradually improved. In the end, we had really smooth waters. We arrived just with whatever was remaining of the daylight and anchored in the dark. Thankfully, Bahia los Muertos is big and open, with room for many boats and no obstructions. We just dropped the anchor slightly outside of all the other boats there and called it a day.

We woke up in the beautiful Bahia de los Muertos. I’m not sure why it is named that way. Maybe the afterlife is supposed to look like that. The combination of blue water, golden sand, and red/brown hills is just stunning. We see 20 ft to the bottom, and the colors of water go through all shades of blue. We have been waiting for that for a while!

It is interesting that the local developers are attempting to rename this bay to Bahia de los Sueños – the Bay of Dreams. It just confirms that it is beautiful, whichever way you want to name it.

We went ashore and found the only restaurant on the beach. Turns out we arrived on Mexico’s Mother’s Day, and the place was full, all tables reserved. All mothers seemed to be celebrating. We only got a small table because another group freed up a part of theirs for us. An interesting thing was there were no men at those tables. Only women – mothers, grandmothers, and daughters. Mexicans certainly celebrate their mothers differently than us.

Well, after 3 months break, we are back at Baja California again. But this time, on the right side of it, namely the east side. We are ready to explore it more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *