Saturday, March 8, 2014

La Cruz - Mazatlan - Seattle

From the north end of the malecon (boardwalk) in Mazatlan
Now that I am in Seattle with fast and reliable internet access I will attempt to catch up on our recent travels.

On the afternoon of February 22 we left Marina La Cruz. We had been there for 6 wonderful weeks and enjoyed it thoroughly. Best of all were the visitors who joined us there. First came my friend, Margaret, from Cape Cod and then my cousin, Frances, with her husband, Mike, from Iowa. What fun to share our Mexico experiences with friends and family! Another high point for me was twice weekly salsa dance classes with Hugo, a professional dancer from Cuba who is without a doubt the best dance teacher I have ever had the privilege of working with. Every Monday and Friday I took a beginner's class as a leader followed by an intermediate class as a follower. I've never before learned so much in such a short time and it was very hard to leave Hugo and my fellow students.

But that's what cruisers do; somebody is always leaving and you get used to saying good-bye. It is a small and tight knit community, though, and it is delightfully surprising how often we meet up with old friends in new locations. I've also learned that there are always great new friends and wonderful new experiences ahead of me wherever we go.

Banderas Bay is sailing heaven and the day that we left was no exception. With 15-18 knots of wind from the northwest, temperature in the low 80's, humpback whales splashing and breaching near our boat, and a kite boarding friend sailing out from shore to wish us "fair winds and following seas" we felt truly blessed and grateful for this life that we are living.

This was our view for the better part of two long boring days at sea.
The second day was hot, windless and boring. We both got sunburned and were relieved to finally reach our day's destination of Chacala. Mike put on his swim trunks and jumped in to clean the boat's water line. A local boy of about 9 or 10 came over on his stand up paddleboard and I enjoyed chatting with him in Spanglish. For dinner I prepared the fish that we had caught along the way and we spent a peaceful and relaxing evening on anchor.

The third day our goal was Isla Isabel and again the air was still and hot. It was a long slow day. When the afternoon wind finally did pick up it was dead on our nose and created a choppy sea that further slowed our progress. Close to the island Mike saw a young whale that swam toward us and under the boat. The whale moved about 300' away and put on quite a show for us, breaching repeatedly and splashing the water with his tail. I couldn't help but be a little nervous, though, wondering where his mother was. We didn't arrive at the island until after sunset but we had been in that cove before so we knew where the rocks were and were able to safely navigate and set our anchor.

The fourth day was the worst with a full day and night of beating into the wind and waves. It took us 29 long hours to reach Mazatlan, 5 hours later than we expected and at a very low tide. With our boat's 8'3" keel we are always very aware of water depth so we entered the channel slowly and cautiously and made it safely to our marina slip with about a foot of water to spare.
A glimpse of La Volante Frances Jane at Marina Mazatlan

Naps were the first order of business followed by a hearty lunch, re-connecting with old friends as well as making new ones, and planning the week to come. By no coincidence we had arrived in Mazatlan just in time for Carnival.

Carnival Sculpture on the malecon

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