Tuesday, April 26, 2011
It is a two day trip from Bandaras Bay to Mazatlan. There are several anchorages along the way so you can make it a leasurly trip if you have the time. We on the other hand did not. We have an appointment to have our boat hauled out (more on that later in the blog) so we have to get up there quickly.
Luckly we did take a 2 day trip north of Bandaras Bay, up the coast a few weeks ago. We wanted to see the town of San Blas (remember the famous Longfellow poem, The Bells of San Blas). San Blas is about a third of the way from La Cruz to Mazatlan. It is a 10 hour motor there from La Cruz. We arrive and anchor to see a magnificant sunset. The cruising guide warns of the prolific Jejenes (hay-hay-nays) tiny, no-see-ums that come out at sunset and for little guys sure can bite. We are far enough out that they are not too bad.
We see that our friends Mark and Emily, on Groovy are there so we contact them on the radio and make plans to take the bus into town the next day.
The next day we have a great time exploring this nice Mexican town. We see the old church, the new bell, visit the square and have a nice lunch. Then a bus ride back for beers at the beach Palapa. We know when it is time to leave the plapa as the Jejenes come out in force.
We have a nice eveing on the boat, and head off to bed at about 11. As it is hot we have all the screens up and doors and hatches open. We have also raised our dingy out of the water and secured it to the boat. As we have been warned of motor thefts in the area. Well, the next morning we awoke to a missing motor. We don't know how they could have been so quiet as to not wake us. We are understandably upset, and decide to cut our visit short and head back to La Cruz. Our friends on Groovy are also creeped out by the theft and also leave. I want to say that this is the only bad thing that has happened to us while we were in Mexico. While there is no excuse for them taking our motor, we should have had it locked. Most people here make about 10-20 dollars per day, and in the remote fishing villages I am sure it is less. I guess we look like rich gringos and cannot resist the easy access to the free motors.
We are glad to get back to La Cruz. Luckly the marine store here had the exact same motor in stock so we were able to purchase a new one. We were having problems with the old one so we can only hope that it stopped working all together for the new "owner".
As I mentioned we have a short time line to get to Mazatlan. We leave La Cruz at 10pm on April 11th. We motor all night and arrive at Isla Isabel at about 12pm. This remote island is called the Galapagos of Mexico due to its enormous number of nesting birds and resident iguanas. This island is also free of natural preditors so the birds do not have any fear. You can walk freely around the birds. There are many various birds including, Blue Footed Boobies, frigate birds,and other boobies.
Our plan was to have the afternoon to explore the island and then head out at dusk, sail through the night to arrive in Mazatlan in the late morning. Well, it was very rolly, and it would be very difficult to get the dingy down and the motor on, and we really needed a nap, as we did not sleep well on our trip. So we decided just to sleep for a few hours and explore the island next year. Also, we were slowly being surrounded by fishing nets. So after a short nap we were underway again by 4pm.
Arriving in Mazatlan ahead of schedule we wait outside of the harbor until light. We are greeted by Larry and Danice from Ladara Star. Larry is a retired dentist from Springfield that Mel knew. They have been very helpful with our plans through-out Mexico and especially during our stay in Mazatlan.
Every few years you need to haul your boat out of the water for various reasons, mainly to repaint the bottom of the boat. Little critters and plant life like to attach themselves to the bottom of boats. It is a special paint you use that keeps them from attaching. Even then you need to have your bottom cleaned every few months or so to remove the growth and barnacles.
The haul-out process is a little complicated as you must be at a boat yard that has a very large travel lift (see photo of Mazu in the "sling" ). After they get you out of the water the boat is then place in various jack stands. They are then free to sand off the old paint and apply the new. It is also an opportunity to give all your fittings, prop, and rudder a good inspection. To get into your boat they place a ladder for you. Many people decide to stay on their boat during the haul out. We decide to rent a hotel. We rent a room in a small hotel on the beach. As we have not watched any tv for a long time. We find a few english channels and get our fill. They also have a couple movie channels with many are english with spainish sub-titles. It is fun to watch these as it helps with our spanish.
The boat is out of the water for 6 days.
We are then need to plan for our crossing from Mazatlan to La Paz on the Baja side. It is this time of the year that cruisers start to migrate to the Sea of Cortez to get out of the hurricane areas of the mainland coast of Mexico. We have been listening to the weather reports and all predictions indicate a several day period of calm weather. We decide to take the favorable forcasts and cut our time short in Mazatlan and make the crossing.
The crossing from Mazatlan to La Paz is about 200 miles across the lower part of the Sea of Cortz. Unlike the other overnight passages Mel and I have done on our own this is not a coastal passage. We will be out of site of land for a portion of the trip. We need to plan our speed and when we leave so that we arrive on the other side in daylight. We leave Mazatlan at about 12pm. on Good Friday.
As I have explained in a previous blog, there is no stopping along the way so we have a watch schedule. We do 4 hours on 4 hours off, 24 hours a day while underway.
We are very happy that the weather reports were correct, the seas are nearly flat. We also have good wind so we are able to sail about half of the time. We are able to sleep well and I can easly cook our meals. It is rare now for us to get seasick and it is not an issue on this trip.
I set out our fishing lines but have no luck.
We arrive safe and sound in La Paz at about 12pm on Easter Sunday. In previous blogs I have written about La Paz, one of our favorite places. While we are here we will have our water maker upgraded to make more water per hour. We will also provision for our 6-8 weeks in the Sea of Cortez, where stores and towns are fewer and smaller.
When we leave here I may not be able to update the blog very often. I will try to when ever I can, even if I can't post pictures.
Pictures in this blog:
New church in San Blas with new bell tower
Old bell tower
Sunset over San Blas in Matanchen Bay
Elaine, Mel and Mazu in Mazatlan
In the sling
old bottom paint
new bottom paint
Friday, April 8, 2011
In La Cruz de Huanacaxtle and in the Puerto Vallarta area you will see some stunning examples of Huichol Art. Our guide book writes:
"The Huichol (ooh-ee-chol) are and indigenous group of people living deep in the Sierra Madre Occidental mountains in the states of Nayarit, (La Cruz is here)Jalisco, Zacatecas, and Durango. The Huichol are one of only a few tribes people remaining in North America. Because their settlements are so remote and inaccessible, their way of life and their religious beliefs have changed little over the centuries. The Huichol have an intimate and complex bond between their physical life and the spiritual life of their gods and the environment around them. Once each year the Huichol make a pilgrimage to their sacred land, Wirikuta, where they harvest the peyote cactus. It is with peyote that the Huichol are able to communicate with all of their gods. The Huichol create stunningly colorful works of art through the use of beads and yarn in order to honor and please their gods, as well as to reflect their own experiences, beliefs, myths, and ceremonies."
I took a short class today on this bead art from a "famous" local artist. I had previously purchased one of his works. He told us that the art was at first made with seeds of various natural and dyed colors. Both men and women are trained in the art. He has works on display in Mexico City, including a volkswagen covered in Huichol art. The Photo is of 2 sides of a jaguar head, and a coconut shell covered inside. The outside is carved with figures of animals and birds.