Updated on March 1, 2018
Beholden to the weather once again
Our plan was to jump up the coast of Mexico north of La Cruz in a relaxed fashion, stopping at Chacala and spending a few days at Isla Isabel, before arriving at Mazatlan and awaiting a good window to push across the Sea of Cortez. Isla Isabel is a national park, and is consistently described as a highlight by cruisers along this stretch of coast. Unfortunately, the wind had other plans. We debated for a long time about whether or not we wanted to risk anchoring in the lee of the little island as a cold front blew in from the north, but ultimately we decided not to risk it. The holding at Isla Isabel is nowhere described as good, and the fear of dragging anchor outweighed our desire to sneak up on blue-footed boobies and snap photos. Instead, we pushed on to the north, arriving at the entrance to El Cid marina towards the end of an ebb tide and biting our nails as we saw 10 foot depths and fought a strong current to end up safely tied to the dock.
By Wednesday morning, we were pretty much all the way thrilled with our decision. Holy cow, was it windy out there! We’ve been freezing our butts off, as well; we don’t seem to have a thermometer anywhere on the boat, but it’s clearly in the low sixties, if not colder. Fortunately, there’s a huge jacuzzi at the marina, and all the hot water you could want flowing in the showers. We comforted ourselves with the thought of upcoming marine life in the Sea, let go our our disappointment in not seeing Isabel, and settled in to enjoy Mazatlan.
We spent a day downtown, walking around the old town, relaxing in the plazas and strolling the Malecon. I’ve been to Mazatlan once before, but all I remember from that trip was the resort hotel on the beach; we were pleasantly surprised to find the old streets being rejuvinated, with construction and restoration everywhere. According to our taxi drivers and waiters, Mazatlan is enjoying a new influx of capital, including a wave of expats; even more influentially, the locals claim that the cartels have been pushed out. Whatever is going on, we found the city to be a great mix of visitor-friendly amenities and real Mexico.
We checked out the cathedral; we ate lunch in a sidewalk cafe in Plazuela Machado; we visited the Museo de Arte. We stared out at the whitecaps on the water and were happy to be on land. We stocked up on fruits and veggies at the Mercado Central.
The marinas are located north of the city, and we were happy to be in an easy spot to prep for our next overnight. Our last-minute plan to head directly north from Chacala meant a long passage sustained by chips and granola bars; I didn’t have time to prep up on passage food, and the seas were pretty rough. This time around, there will be curry and poke bowls and muffins. Having good food at our fingertips makes a huge difference with our passage experience! We’ve got a full moon, and the winds look good; hopefully we’re all set for what might be our final overnight passage.