Heading to Mazatlan!

So after I made the decision to head back to Canada for the summer, I had to figure out where to put the boat. I ended up deciding on Mazatlan, the place just North of Banderas Bay where I met Emma a few months ago.

To get there I had to head 160nm North, against the prevailing wind and current. Heading into the wind is a lot more tiring and slower than going with it – the boat heels over a lot more, there is spray everywhere and you often can’t even point at where you want to go.

But Mazatlan it was, for the following reasons.

  • Cheapest place to leave the boat, $0.24 a foot a day. Worked out to around $260 a month
  • Good services for leaving boats – there are a number of competing boat sitter services
  • Maybe the only Yanmar certified mechanic on the whole coast. I wanted my engine looked at as it’s been a while
  • Decent dodger/stainless guy, who is apparently cheaper than both the guys at La Paz and La Cruz. I’m fed up of getting hit in the face by waves!

I sat around for a week putting off the trip (I was NOT stoked on it AT ALL and feared I’d be running the motor for the whole way) and then finally left. After a 10nm trip to Punta Mita, I left early one morning.

And found that under cruising engine power, I was going just over three knots, even slower with the wind/waves. Wonderful.

This was due to quite a lot of barnacle growth on the bottom of the boat, which I hadn’t bothered to scrape for a few weeks, reckoning ‘it couldn’t be that bad.’ ‘Couldn’t be that bad’ turned out to be around 2 knots lost boat speed which moved the situation to ‘absolutely naffing terrible’ I managed to go faster occasionally if the wind piped up enough for me to motor-sail a bit.

Luckily, 70nm on the way was Isla Isabel, where we’d had such a good time before. I’d originally planned to stop there for a few hours sleep if possible – now the plan was to get there, nap for a couple of hours and then do an emergency scrape job with my tiny putty knife.

This bird came to laugh at me on the way

Now Isla Isabel is a tight anchorage, with rocks everywhere and a bottom consisting of random chunks of boulders and sand, so it’s kind of a pain to anchor even in daylight when you are the only boat there. Luckily the two days I was there before I didn’t see anyone at all there so it was probably going to be fine.

Or so I thought until I arrived at 2am and saw three (3) other boats already in the anchorage! What on earth were they doing there?! That made things a lot tricker, but thank goodness I had my radar as the night was pitch black *radar immediately goes on fritz and repeatedly crashes chart plotter* – PISS

In the end I felt my way in with the aid of my fancy 1600 lumins dive spotlight and anchored. I could hear surf breaking nearby but I wasn’t on the beach so I called it good and got to sleep at around 3:30am. And then woke up at 6am. Had a quick breakfast, and then went over the side with my crappy little putty knife. Two hours of scraping later and I had the 2/3 of the bottom kinda clear. I also managed to deeply lacerate my knuckles, which added a nice early morning tint of red to the surrounding water. As the light increased I could see all kinds of cool fish on the bottom and I really wished I could stay – but onwards I had to go, for the remaining 90 nm.

Luckily it turned out that my impromptu scraping job managed to add another 1 to 1.5 knots to my speed thank goodness – and then amazingly the wind came up on a perfect beam reach at 10 knots, meaning I had a wonderful 12 hours of sailing before it died again, some of it next to this other boat

I also managed to fix the radar – the N2K port on it was going nuts, crashing the N2K backbone so I unplugged it. Still got radar, just no MARPA. Not a huge deal.

On the way I saw a fair few sea turtles, including this one with a bird on it

However I also saw this dead turtle trapped in a drift net :(. Super bummed me out the rest of the day. The plastic bottles are the floats.

Later that afternoon some dolphins came to keep me company

I finally crawled into the anchorage near Mazatlan at 6 in the morning, dropped the anchor and passed out. To wake up at 7:30am to make sure I got in the narrow, crappy bar at the head of the channel before the wind picked up. Who needs sleep anyway?!

Anyway finally I was in safe and could happily pass out (not before at least 5 different people told me how tired I looked. Thanks guys!)




  1. Ah but you made it! Make sure you wash and thoroughly clean those knuckles! Barnacle gunk in them can keep them from healing.

Leave a Reply