Isla Grande to Zihuatanejo

18 Apr

We had a good night at Isla Grande, although we did have to have a ‘jelly watch’ while we took it in turns to have a sea bath, every now and then a jellyfish would swim past the boat! Luckily no one managed to get stung! We’ve had to start having sea baths because our water makers have decided to break themselves, one of them went back in Mazatalan, then the other went more recently, we tried to cut and shut them into at least one and it worked for a while but it wasn’t enough! So now we’re having baths in the sea, then rinsing off under the little outside shower, it’s actually quite nice and I think I prefer it to the proper showers on Solent! Anyway we were once again spoilt with our view that evening, I personally won’t be getting bored of the sunsets out here anytime soon.

Zihuatanejo is literally down the road 10 miles away so we got a good lay in, before getting out of Isla Grande at 11am. Zihuatanejo is meant to be quite a cruiser friendly town with good anchorages, even though there is supposed to be crocodiles swimming around them, we might have to put together a ‘Croc watch’ for tonight’s communal bath!

You always get a vision in your minds eye about how you imagine somewheres going to look like, in most cases it’s not the same, as was Zihuatanejo as we came in, check out all the cliff side villas.

We went in one anchorage first, it was absolutely swamped in every kind of anchored boat possible, we gave that one a miss because it was just too busy, so we rounded the corner in the bay to the other anchorage, there was hardly anyone there…perfect! The first thing I spotted was these little beauty’s…. Beach bars

We got a ride into the town on Silver Linings dingy after getting things sorted, there’s a dingy landing area that the guide book tells us about, on the beach next to all the fishing , so that’s where we headed. Landing the dingy was one of the easier ones we have accomplished together. We went into town a little and I came across a little shop selling guitars, I’m so gutted I didn’t pack the ukulele in my bag before coming here, its the reason I got it in the first place! These guitars were a good price, but upon taking a closer look they were not worth the asking price, I could of got them down I’m sure, but Katie wasn’t keen on the idea that the only place we could keep it was in the bed…… I can’t see the problem to be honest! We got a bite to eat at a pretty cool place down the road, it was there when I tried my first Philly Cheese Steak, it’s a sub roll, in it are strips of steak, cheese and cooked onions and it had flavour of a beef stock, it was out of this world! We went to a few hardware shops, where Serena purchased the most peculiar thing you would find in a hardware store…. A dried bulls ball bag!!! Aparently people use them for putting their nuts in…excuse the pun! We found a few indoor food markets, fabric stores just general wandering around really!

 

We were walking along when i noticed these to chilling out watching the world go by!

After that we went to another little bar with a couple playing the sax and the piano, that was pretty cool! On the way back we went passed the little shop with the guitars, I failed on the one last try at convincing Katie, it was worth a shot!

The next day me and Katie stayed behind on the boat while the others went ashore, it’s nice to get some time on our own from time to time. We saw a huge catamaran out to sea flying it’s spinnaker, we watched it sail around out there for a while before they came into the anchorage next to us, Katie asked me why they were getting their spinnaker out while they are anchored, i promptly told her she must be wrong, no one would do that, but infact I was wrong because someone jumped in, the spinnaker went in the water, just as I was about to say that something’s going wrong over there, the kite went back up with someone attached to it

Later on that day we had a radio call from Élan from the guys on shore, he asked us if we could come and pick them up because someone’s cut their dingy, Katie and me got Solent’s dingy in the water and went over there completely not expecting what we would see! It wasn’t simply a cut how Élan explained it to us, we was expecting to see a little slice, but the whole length of one side of the dingy was slashed, it was really disheartening to see it in that state, we brought some puncture repair kits, luckily lee had a huge strip which was long enough to look useable, we spent the day with them on the beach trying to make some sence of the mess, they informed the port captain but what could anyone do really? We was gutted for them guys, but later that night we had them over on Solent to use the Internet and Élan got in contact with Walker Bay, the dingy manufacturer and explained what had happened. Then out came ‘Salad Fingers’ on the ipad! It was the first time Élan had seen an episode, you can tell what he’s thinking by looking at his face!

Walker Bay got back to Élan by the morning with an email telling him that they will get a new set of inflatable tubes out to them, half price! What a great outcome! We can’t wait to get out of Zihuatanejo now after what happened to the dingy, it’s such a shame because me and Katie really liked it there, the people were really nice and welcoming, a total contrast to what you might expect after hearing about the dingy. It wouldn’t stop us going back though. Because the port captain was informed about the incident, we had to check in/out with him before leaving, it wasn’t that difficult though and he wished us on our way as we were leaving through the bay.

 

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Bahia Navidad to Isla Grande

16 Apr

It’s daybreak and time to leave for Isla Grande, i was on the bow enjoying the sunrise and waiting for the call to haul the anchor, watching Silver Lining I could see them bringing their anchor up then dropping it back in, wondering what they were playing at I watched them do this several times, we then got a radio call from Ashley advising us to take a bucket up front with me and to be prepared, it wasn’t long before I found out what she was going on about, as I hauled the anchor the chain was absolutely covered in black smelly mud! No wonder you couldn’t see the bottom in 6ft of water, the anchor was even worse, it acted like a shovel and brought me up a present, chucking buckets of water over it didn’t work, that gunk was stuck fast, I had to get the boat hook and get it off that way, I got covered, a perfect way to start the day! I suppose I can’t whinge too much, after all we are waking up to this everyday!

 

The tide was high when we left, which gave us a little more room to play with while getting out! It wasn’t long before we were truly on our way to Grande.

Offshore we started noticing things in the water that looked like partly submerged buoys, getting ready to steer clear of them, we gradually got close enough to see that they weren’t actually buoys or rubbish, but infact they were Turtles! All around us we were surrounded by huge Turtles, it’s funny because they poke their heads up to see what we are, then when they see us they quickly dunk their heads under, probably thinking that when they do that we cant see them, someone should tell them they leave their shells sticking out, so we can still see where they are! Mainly because the sea birds sit on top of them.

 

The sea has started to get a bit scummy the last few days, it’s just a sea foam, but I noticed in the scum there have always been little jelly fish, I think the scum may have something to do with these little guys and other things like algae decomposing on the surface, you can see it in the pictures sometimes, maybe I’m wrong.

A couple of hours and hundreds of Turtles later I was on watch, looking over the edge as far as I could see, they were millions of jellyfish hanging out, ‘Katie quick get the camera!’ Katie zoomed up with the camera in hand and managed to get some pretty cool shots of the little critters. I wouldn’t like to fall in with these around would you? Judging by the length of the tentacles I reckon they wouldn’t tickle! Also I don’t really fancy being urinated on by any of my shipmates!

 

We got 2 new fishing lures in Vallarta, one is a cedar plug and the other is a ‘Dorado catcher’, the fishings been that good out here that we have started to loose quite a few lures, so we desperately needed to get a few more! Eventually we got round to our night shift, me and Katie are on first, the lines have been out all day without much luck, but the sea temperature has shot up to 80 Fahrenheit so here’s hoping! Lee and Serena have gone to bed and the suns just setting, I quickly glance and the lines and see that the ‘Dorado catcher’ is taught and moving around out the back, I jump up higher to have a look, I see flashes of colour, not like the silver from Bonito, but green, yellow and blues, like a Dorado! I pulled it in and it was Dorado, a very sort after game fish, for it’s game qualities and food value, it’s supposedly the best! It was a good sized fish, we didn’t have any fresh meat left so we took it for the plate, while we were sorting the first fish out the line went again and to our surprise it was another Dorado! I couldn’t believe it. Katie breadcrumbed them and we had good old fish and chips the next night as we already had dinner before watch, it was pretty special!

 

The next morning me and Katie were on watch again and we had a bit of traffic, we were in between two big boats, one behind over to our starboard (right) and one infront of us over to our port (left), which leaves us in a bit of a predicament, if we move either way we will be crossing either one of their paths, after a while the tanker behind us changed her course so we were able to move offshore to get out the way of this boat who’s heading straight for us, we kept moving over and over, and so did the boat, what’s he playing at? He even can’t see us or someone’s not doing a proper watch! This boat finally came into decent enough view, we could see it was a Navy ship, great!

Then the radio started going, the were calling us in Spanish and broken English, so we basically ignored them and carried on trying to get out of their way, then Katie thought it would be a good idea to get the Spanish book and see what they were actually saying, rather then just guessing, it turns out they were calling the ‘white sailboat’ which is obviously us! Hence to say lee had a surprising wake up call, being told the Mexican Navy want to talk to him!

They ordered us to kill the engine and to prepare for a boarding, they asked how many people are on board etc. We could then see the big Navy Frigate no further then 300 feet from the boat, start to lower their RIB (Rigid Inflatable) into the sea, fully loaded with camouflaged and balaclava clad blokes with fully automatic weapons, we had the fenders out over the side ready for them to come alongside. They finally made it over and about 7 of them poured over the side, falling over, banging their guns against the boat, it was quite amusing to be honest! There was one guy who must of been the radio man, he had the biggest radio I’ve seen, strapped to his back along with the longest arial, he almost had mine and Katie’s eye out with it a few times, it was getting caught in the curtains and everything, I couldn’t help thinking of Frank Spencer from ‘some mothers do ave em’ all through the experience, it was pleasant enough for everyone I think, they just wanted to see that we weren’t carrying any guns, drugs or people! They didn’t even check our passports, they seemed more interested in all the boat instruments and they forgot to bring some of the documents we were supposed to sign, so they had to get the dingy back to the ship to get them! But they made sure they took a ‘family style’ photo of us before they went! It was definitely an experience put it that way! Obviously it probably wasn’t a great idea to snap a load of photos off of them, so unfortunately we dont have any while they were on the boat.

 

It was 7pm by the time we made it to Isla Grande, if we didn’t get held up by the Navy we would of made it in better time, but the sun doesn’t set now until at least 8pm, Silver Lining ran into the Navy as well, so we went in and plotted some waypoints for them to get safely in if it got dark before they were in, but they too made it in with plenty of light, all’s well that ends well

 

Tenicatita to Bahia Navidad

14 Apr

When we got the engine starting problems out of the way, we were off! It’s starting to get really hot out here now, the water temperature is never under 25 degrees celsius, even jumping into the sea isn’t enough to cool you down anymore, even the anchor chain is warm when it comes out now…..don’t get me wrong though I’m not complaining!

It was a really short run at 14 miles, we were at Navidad before we knew it.

Getting into the anchorage there is a bit tricky, it’s really shallow and has a few sand bars chucked in for good measure, we found our way in without too much trouble, it was quite easy to see where the designated anchorage was, there were about 10 boats in there! We circled around for a while to try and find the best spot, everywhere was 6ft or less, that gives us a foot under our keel to play around with, its low tide though so it shouldn’t get any shallow. The anchor was dropped, as soon as it hit the water it was on the bottom in a flash, it then proceeded to drag straight away, so much so you could actually see us moving through the water! So up it came and we did another circuit of the anchorage before dropping it again, this one held! It’s the shallowest we’ve anchored in, but you can’t see the slightest bit of the bottom, God knows what’s down there to make it so unclear. In places like Isla San Francisco in the Sea of Cortez,we could see the bottom clear as day in 20 plus feet!

While we were anchoring I saw Silver Lining coming up through the bars in the distance, I could see a dingy next to them, I presumed it was the dingy that came over to us, asking if we wanted to go to their blender party on their boat later that evening, we found out later that the dingy was actually helping push them off the bar they run onto.

There’s a water taxi service, running you into shore from the anchorage, which sounds ideal, I’d rather jump in one of them then drop the dingy, take the cover off it, put the engine on it, then reversing that process when we get back! Over he came in his Panga and we jumped in, it cost a quid for the return ride into town, bargain compared to the 10 bucks a piece in Cabo San Lucas!

We had a little walk around the town, on the hunt for somewhere to eat, after not seeing much and begining to get hungry now we eventually bumped into a tout, he quickly told us the place to go, infact he even walked us there pretty much, without trying to sell us anything along the way! We arrived at this little place which was overlooking the bay, we even had the whole place to ourselves! The food, service and price were excellent!

Later on in the night we had some little guy come in with his guitar and mic, played a few songs, came over for a chat, went and played a few more tunes then came over, bearing gifts…a handful of his CDs he’s trying to flog to us!

After the meal me and Katie fancied going back to the boat, while the others stayed out. We grabbed the taxi back to the anchorage, it was pitch black except the water, the luminescents were glowing really brightly, the brightest we have ever seen, I think it was probably something to do with the way the taxi was hacking it! When me and Katie got back we just flunked out for the rest of the evening….bliss!

We’re off to Isla Grande tomorrow morning, early start with 226 miles to look forward to, which will be our furthest so far on this trip, sadly we miss the French pastry bloke who comes round the anchorage in his panga every morning.

 

Puerto Vallarta to Tenacatita

12 Apr

We left Puerto Vallarta at 4pm as we have a night shift it didn’t really matter, we did want to leave earlier but there was too much to do before going! It was 75 miles away and was around a 13 hour cruise. Not a lot happened on the night shifts, except it being really dark, as we were motoring along we came into a smell of bonfire smoke, it’s pretty sketchy when you start smelling smoke on a boat, me and Kate quickly check over the boat and and came to the conclusion it must be a fire on the shore miles away and the smoke has wafted out to sea. It also got really foggy that night which again was a bit daunting, but we have the radar on our side to tell us where these guys are.

It was a long old night!

We had to travel through the night and the whole next day because we left Vallarta late, we managed to make it to Tenacatita by 5pm, we got out the sushi gear because we had some amazing smoked Marlin and sushi rice in the fridge, sushi’s always fun, it’s a social dinner, everyone has a go at making a roll and we see who makes the best roll! Katie usually amazes everyone by making the ones that have the rice outside….Show off! In our cruising guide it says there’s a mangrove run around the corner, mangroves are always fun in the dingy, so thats the plan for the morning!

The dingy came out the next morning and we went to pick up Ashley and Élan from Silver Lining, heading over to the entrance of the esturary we found out a bit too late that it’s really rough, before we had time to turn around we were already committed to surfing the dingy through the shallow water, it was a bit too shallow and we all got soaked by the waves crashing over the transom! At least it gave the locals on the beach something to giggle at! We managed to get really deep into the mangroves, to get some decent photos.

We spent most of the morning in the mangroves exploring before the water got too shallow and we had to turn back, we thought that the tide was going out, if that was the case then we will probably have to carry the dingy over the entrance, thankfully it wasn’t, but the boys had to get out as it was still shallow, as we were walking the dingy over the surf, Élan fell over in the current and I felt something nipping my ankles, so I cracked out the stupidest dance and ended up jumping into Katie’s arms for safety! I think the locals were thankful of the show we put on for them attempting to get out, if anything it put a smile on people’s faces!

We got Solent ready to leave for Bahia Navidad which is only 14 miles away, Lee went to start the engine, there was nothing there, just like the last problem something was wrong with the electrics again, but Lee managed to get it sorted without to much of a problem!

 

La Cruz to Puerto Vallarta

9 Apr

Needles to say after last night I woke up this morning with a thick head, lee banging on the door asking if we want to go to breakfast and Katie telling me it’s my own fault and that she has no sympathy! The last thing I fancied was a Mexican breakfast, Katie wasn’t up for it either so we stayed behind, I’ve found the best hangover cure on this trip, it’s jumping in the sea off the back and doing a few laps around the boat, if anything it wakes you up!

After the others came back from breakfast we hauled anchor and made our way to the marina, Katie has been to Vallarta before so we were trying to scope out the hotel she stayed in.

We got to the marina entrance and it was a bit hectic, with jet skis, pangas and para sailing boats bombing around overtaking us, which is a tad annoying, we had a space allocated for us so we knew where to go, it was a bit tigh but we made it in fine! We made it round this guy though!

The marina was part of a hotel complex called paradise village, and considering we had full access to everything it was reasonably priced! Behind the marina there’s a river lined with mangroves which is home to crocodiles apparently, so out came the dingy and we went in search for them!

We nearly ran aground a few times, it was then we realised we had came out into crocodile infested waters without any paddles, so if we ran aground someone had to jump in to push us off, luckily it didn’t come to that! We saw lots of Iguanas hanging around in the mangrove trees which looked quite amusing, this little guy was minding his own business, then we started sticking cameras in his face, he didn’t hang around that long! Can you spot him?

We could tell there was loads of crocs watching us, but we couldn’t see them in our inflatable dingy

We went past a little restaurant along the way, so when the dingy started hitting the bottom we thought it would be a good idea to turn back a grab a bite to eat, we landed the dingy and went in to this restaurant, there were quite a few people in it which was reassuring!

While we were sat down chatting amongst ourselves, we heard the biggest bang on the roof we were sat partly under, every one jumped out of their seats haha, we were only sat under coconut trees and bits were falling off them! After the meal we found the culprit! Couldn’t believe that something so small made the noise it did!

The other lot hired some scooters to go around town, me and Katie decided to just chill out around the boat, the wifi on the boat was really slow so we went into the hotel lobby to get better signal, while sat in there being the most unsociable couple there, heads buried in the iPad and iPhone downloading, we felt the ground moving backwards and forwards for around 20 seconds, through the middle of it we stopped what we were doing, looked at each other at the same time and realised we were having a small earthquake!!! I looked up and saw the chandeliers swinging around as we’re the plants scattered around us, we couldn’t believe it! It was the weirdest sensation, Katie only realised when she started feeling dizzy, that we were having an earthquake. It happened again at least another tremor, we instantly checked it out on the Internet, it seems there have been quite a few earthquakes happening around us, so I could of been the aftershock of numerous earthquakes! We didn’t feel scared at all but it was definately exciting!

On our supposedly last night in Vallarta the guys went to a new restaurant across the water, didn’t eat anything but just drank….a lot, me and Katie received a radio call to come over and join the party, the engine wasn’t on the dingy though, but Élan told us to splash theirs and come over, so we did, we arrived at the dock tied the dingy up and joined the party! They told the waiters that it was Katie’s birthday so out came the fireworks…..they weren’t real ones but one of the waiters does an incredible impression of a firework, it was pretty funny, then out came the pudding with a little sparkler in it, all the waiters formed up in a line to give the birthday girl a kiss, but sneakily they kept on re-forming to get more kisses, the cheeky sods!

 

Anyway it was someone else’s turn to have thick heads the following morning, so we ended up staying another night, because we were in for a long run when we leave Vallarta, so maybe it wasn’t a good idea to go hungover!

Chacala to La Cruz

8 Apr

Bit of a bumpy night last night at anchorage but no where near as bad as Ensenada Grande, although when Silver Lining went to haul their anchor, they saw a float wrapped around it, but they managed to get it free and we were up and out of the bay for 8am, La Cruz is just around the corner from Puerto Vallarta, its apparently quite boat friendly, we’re hopefully going to fill the tanks back up with diesel in a marina there!

Leaving Chacala at sunrise

When we made it to La Cruz we went straight to the fuel dock in the marina there, the marina was very expensive and for that reason we will be anchoring in the anchorage outside it. Anyway when we got onto the dock, there was another boat being filled up so we had to wait, while waiting completely out of the blue we could hear this ‘Hellooo, Hellooo, Hellooo!’ what the? Some lady was rowing her little dingy towards us, she was asking if we were such and such off a cruisers forum…. When we told her we aren’t the people she’s looking for, she proceeded to describe the boat, and that they told her they were on their way to La Cruz that day, then the penny dropped, this crazy woman must be talking about Silver Lining! This lady carried on chatting to us and it turns out shes like one of the main posters on this cruisers forum, just as we were going she told unto come into town for a beer later, kindly she told us we could leave the dingy next to her boat….. So that we did!

This self proclaimed hippy lady took us under her wing that day and gave us the guided tour of the little town La Cruz, she told us where to get shopping from, boat parts and where the best free Internet is! After all that listening we asked the most important question, wheres the best place to get fed and watered? Within a second we were being led to a place called Ana Bananas, this place caters fro cruisers, serving cheap food, beers and Margaritas, they also have live music on, which is always interesting!

The drinks were flowing, as we’re the stories and it was turning out to be a good night! The wifi was pretty fast and I was able to update my phone and download a load of videos and pictures of little Jim which is always a treat! The band came on playing covers of classic rock covers, they were pretty tight to be honest!

Then my mobile phone got jacked by this lot when I weren’t looking! Weirdos

When we started making a move after last orders were called we all got a free beer, which is rather kind, and we were told to write our boat names on the wall, this wall was plastered with people’s names etc but I think we got the prime location, above the bar!

Thanks to Zeehag we had a brilliant night, unfortunately we’re leaving tomorrow morning for Puerto Vallarta, only 6 miles away, we’re checking into a marina there which Is always nice, we can just step off the boat without having to splash the dingy to get any where!

Mazatalan to Chacala

6 Apr

Again we have another big trip to get down to a little town called Chacala, we had a few options on this one, we could either go to Isla Isabel, which is meant to be like the Galapagos island of Mexico, there’s tonnes of wildlife there, but it’s too dangerous to anchor as its surrounded by rocks, plus there’s lots of fishing lines and pots all over the place, so after a discussion, it was decided we shouldnt go there, which is a massive shame, but it’s the right decision! Instead we have 145 miles to Chacala, but we don’t need to leave until 9am, if we leave then we can get though the night and get to Chacala first thing in the morning, which is a brilliant idea, as we have the day and night to recover, perfect!

Now we’re on the mainland, we’re starting to see more traffic, huge cargo ships are starting to show up around us more, I think their all going up to the Mexican ports and probably America. It means we need to be more aware of our surroundings, a tanker coming in your direction at 15-20 knots, can be on you in 15 minutes from miles away if your not paying too much attention!

The most amazing thing happened on both mine and Katie’s watches, there isn’t any moon light to help us see around the boat, but when there’s no moon the luminescents are so much brighter, as Solent is elegantly gliding through the water, it looks like there’s lights mounted underneath the water, like the pimped out cars you see with the neon lights, anyway Katie was sat down and in the distance she saw a big green glow in the water, it was gradually getting closer and closer to the side of the boat, it scared Katie a little because she thought it was a freak wave heading towards the boat, to the point where she quickly held on! But as she studied the strange glow she started making out shapes, it was only a pod of dolphins swimming towards the boat being lit up by the luminescents! So when I went up for my watch with Katie, she was so excited telling me about what she had just witnessed, I had only just woken up from a 3am alarm and wasn’t any where as excited as Katie was, but as the hours slowly ticked by I noticed something at the front of the boat, it took a few seconds to realise that what I was looking at was a green dolphin shaped glow, I could see every movement they made, as they traveled through the water they left a glowing trail behind them, we even saw one of the dolphins turn sharply to grab a fish and eat it, if I was to describe it to you, I would say it was like something that you would see in the film Avatar, Katie also likens the experience to a fairy tale! After seeing this we’ve decided to definately try and step up our amateur photography skills, because if we could of captured that on camera it would definately be a keeper!

8 am came, me and Katie had just come off our shifts so we were still asleep when I heard the anchor go down, may as well stay in bed for a while longer then. When we finally arose we thought it would be a good thing to check out Chacala town, surprise surprise their having another beach party, the sounds of trumpets and singing reassured that! Trying to land the dingy on the beach when you have hundreds of kids in the water is pretty tricky, but we managed to get in without some sort of bloodbath!

We had lunch on the beach at a little beach hut, the food was good and the beer was super cold, but there was a mariachi band at the table next to us, this wasn’t any old mariachi though, this was a supersize mariachi, with lots of trumpets, trombones and drums, we literally couldn’t hear ourselves next to one another so we decided to get a move on, we walked around a few little stalls selling the usual tat, then found some fresh oysters, 12 for 80 pesos, which is less then 4 quid. We then started feeling the night shifts and planned on getting back to Solent for a swim in the 76 degree sea!

We made the most of the exercise, the walk around town and swim provided, we’re going to be leaving for La Cruz tomorrow morning, at first light, which isn’t that bad at the moment, 8am

 

Ensenada de Los Muertos to Mazatalan

4 Apr

BEEP….BEEP….BEEP…..BEEP! 3.45am the alarms going off, that means we have to get up and set off for our 190 mile crossing to the mainland…… Great! We’ve got Solent underway for 4.15am and are making good progress, managed to dodge a few pots getting out of the bay in the dark!

Luckily the weathers good enough to make the passage a….bit of a pleasure you could say, the thing with over nighters is you just have to face the fact your in it for long run, get as much sleep as you can during the day and not clock watch, the latter is a challenge when Katie’s asking every 10 minutes what the time is! I’ll let her off though as long as I can get away with publishing photos of her looking like this!

During the afternoon we saw a load of dolphins a few hundred feet away from the boat, they looked like the average dolphins we see out here, just swimming around on the surface, until Katie screamed out ‘WOW LOOK LEWIS!’ After quickly looking over at where Katie was pointing I saw a dolphin jumping at least 10 feet out of the water doing the best acrobatics! A few others followed suit and we had a wild dolphin show, just put on for us. Sadly we didn’t get any pics of them because no one wanted to go down, grab the camera and miss any of it!

Every 10 minutes or so I check the fishing lines incase we have something, having a casual glance over them I noticed half the bungee cord just flapping in the wind…… Something had taken the Tuna lure and half the bungee with it! Out here I attach the lures to the 200lb line, then attach that line to a bungee cord, the idea is that the bungee will dampen the fight of the fish, obviously the fish that was fighting on this one was a big’un and won the fight! A typical tale of ‘The one that got away!’ you could say.

Just before sun down me and Katie were treated to the acrobatic dolphins again, showing off their talent. Then the night shift came and went without much excitement, other then a few tankers going up the coast, until I swapped over with lee, that was when I noticed the broken depth reader showing the last depth it read as 45 feet, I showed lee and was told not to worry as its probably just playing up again, thats probably it, the charts aren’t showing anything around here and were still 20 miles off the coast, I went down and just out of curiosity I turned on the back up depth reader, S#%T!!! That was reading a worse reading of 20-15 feet! I monitored it for a few minutes before shouting up to lee, lee pulled back on the throttle incase the charts are wrong and were running into rocks or something, something’s not right here, we’re out in the middle of the ocean, miles from any known marks but the depth is telling us we only have 6-10 feet of water under our keel! We radioed Silver Lining and asked them what their depth was, Élan claimed his was the same! What are the odds of that? Two separate boats reading a shallow depth, our conclusion was that it there must be a massive kelp field down there, or even a huge shoal of fish, ill tell you what is was though…… It’s was scary!

Coming into Mazatalan, mainland Mexico, it was a different sight to the ones we’ve been used to!

We got anchored up pretty quickly in the bay next to the port, apparently there’s a pizza place called ‘Benji’s pizza’ around here somewhere, well up for that! There seems to be a party happening down the beach as well, what with the music booming at 10am. There’s rows and rows of palm leaved roofs over there that look quite appealing too! But for now, we need to catch up on sleep!

That didn’t really happen! Too many of these guys bombing around, with girls screaming, right next to the boat making her rock and roll!

We went over to the beach in the dingy and it was absolutely packed full of Mexicans! Which is kinda cool because it’s usually the other way round! But it was a bit sketchy leaving the dingy, so we landed it and even got some help pulling it up by some beach patrol guys! We didn’t fancy leaving it unattended for too long, there were a few beady eyes checking it out! We went to the closest ‘hut’ for lunch/dinner, it was quite funny the way they have written out their menu, the first page is in English, the second was Spanglish and the third was completely in Spanish, it’s as if the person who wrote it just couldn’t be bothered by the end of it. It was mainly fish dishes on the menu so we both opted for the Lobster Thermidor, but it weren’t that good to be honest, maybe it’s best not to try and be fancy, but to go for the more simpler food the locals eat?

The next day we had heard a few stories of things going missing off peoples boats in the last few nights around here! We also heard that the cruise ships had stopped coming here in the last year, I don’t know how true these accusations are but it still makes you wonder! So the next day everyone went into town while me and Katie stayed behind to keep an eye on the boats, but by staying behind Katie could make this naughty little Easter cake!

 

 

Playa Bonanza to Ensenada de Los Muertos

2 Apr

We’re up at first light to get to Muertos 50 miles away in good time! On this passage we will be passing Isla Cerralvo, again we’re not going to chance getting caught up inside with the winds and current! On the way we had beam seas, which mean we had the waves hitting the side of the boat, which makes it really uncomfortable, I even started feeling a bit green! We’ve been spoilt with the sea around Espirtu Santo, now the slightest bit of wave and im feeling rough! It was pretty uneventful on the way down other then catching 3 bonito in the morning! They all went back because we’re not that keen on it and we would rather eat out at Muertos!

We arrived in Muertos at 3pm and swiftly got some beers out and kicked back, we’re going to be relaxing as much as possible as we have an overnight to Mazatalan after this! We had dinner at the 1535 restaurant, which serves pretty good Mexican food and cold beer! This is what happens after a few cold ones!

And we even went the next morning for breakfast, Mexican breakfast isn’t as good as their dinners, plus this place was swarming with flies which got pretty annoying to say the least! So we’ve got the whole day ahead of us to kill, surprise surprise, it’s a fiesta again, I swear they have these holidays every week! They definately know how to have a good time over here, along the whole beach here in Muertos all the locals have come to camp for the weekend, with everything but the kitchen sink! We bumped into a group of American blokes, had a chat, they told us about the hotel at the overside of the beach, that they have cold beer and an outside shower to cool down under! Off we went along the beach to hunt down this hotel, we eventually found it and we’re instantly made to feel at home! It was like stepping inside someone’s house it had a load of old gear in it, like old juke boxes, gramaphones, old American petrol pumps and an incredible train set on the whole of the top floor!

The waiter was a really friendly guy, he told us we could use the pools, towels, posh loungers and nice big sofas, it’s crazy in Mexico there really is a limited amount of rules and regulations over here, you can basically do what you want without someone telling you not to! Nothing like at home! Can you think of a better way to relax before a gruelling overnighter? We certainly can’t!

After spending the day there me and Kate left Serena and lee to it and went back to the dingy, we were to meet them later at the hotel for dinner, so we took the dingy back to Solent to turn the anchor light on etc, picked up Ashley and Élan from Silver Lining and headed back to the hotel! We all met up again for a few drinks, me Katie and Ashley went for a little walk, we were told theres a stable up the hill! We managed to find the horses maybe Emily you should apply for a job here!

We also found this little chapel on the top of the hill over looking the bay

The cracking view from the chapel!

We stayed in Muertos for a day, and what a day that was! This is our last stop in the Sea of Cortez, the next stop will be Mazatalan mainland Mexico! We’ve got good forecasts for the crossing so we should be in for a good 190 miles! The only thing I’m not looking forward to is the 3.45am alarm!

Ensenada Grande to Partida………then Bonanza

1 Apr

It was probably the worst night on anchor we have ever had, that night at Ensenada Grande! We can’t believe how much it changed from being like a pane of glass, to being like a washing machine! I had to get up a few times during the night to secure stuff in the cockpit, the dingy was swinging around like a pendulum as was the boat, so huffing and puffing I had to get out of bed! Unfortunately we had a casualty that night…..my favourite yellow shorts were to be never found again, they must of blown away!

It was looking like it wasn’t such a good idea, putting the lobster pot so close to the rocks because now we have to drop the dingy, take it over to where the waves are viciously pounding the rocks, hey we might be lucky and have a few lobster in the pot, if their not smashed to pieces! Anyway it wasn’t that bad and we retrieved the empty pot and went to tell the others the bad news!

So the plan was to get out of here as the forecast is telling us that the seas aren’t going to change direction anytime soon, the reason it was a rough night is because the seas swung around and all the swell was coming straight in at us, the reason you go to an anchorage is to get some sort of shelter from that. The only decent looking place around here in terms of shelter is Partida, the place we had came from only 3 days ago, I was secretly pleased with this idea as I loved Partida, I personally put it down to being the best anchorage so far!

As soon as it was possible we were out of there, only having to endure a little passage, me and Katie are so looking forward to getting some decent shut eye after anchoring up, but before we do that, we need to see our first decent pair of mexican boobies!

Booby watching

 

Let me explain, a Booby is a sea bird closely related to the Gannet, they fly around diving for fish at speed from quite high, but the peculiar thing about them is they have baby Blue feet! Apparently the name Booby comes from the Spanish word ‘Bubie’ this means Dunce, it’s said, back in the day they got this name from landing on sailing ships opening themselves up to being captured easily. So anyway on our way down Katie really want to get a shot of one, unfortunately that didn’t happen because we couldn’t get the boat close enough to the cliff to get a decent picture of the only Booby there. I’m sure there will be plenty more along the way!

 

We made it to Partida within the hour ready for lunch time, just before settling down for lunch and a nice chilled out day another boat came into the bay, it was already a bit tight but perhaps he’s going to the other side of the bay, nope he’s heading over towards us! Right this big 50 footer is right next to us and he’s getting ready to drop anchor, before we all could believe what our eyes were seeing, his anchor was down a stones throw away, if the wind or tide swung us around at different angles we were sure to be bouncing off each other! I thought that the wind or tide would swing boats around to face the same way, until we anchored in La Paz and saw every single boat pointing a different way to the next one, so it does happen! Lee shouted over that if he’s actually anchoring there then he’s too close! The bloke was European and was just saying it will be ok, lee went on to explain about what I just said about the boats in La Paz, but the man weren’t having any of it, he was saying it wouldn’t happen and everything will be fine! He then proceeded to finish up anchoring and went below deck….. For ages! We tried calling him on the VHF with no reply, we tried shouting him but still no reply, lee even got the fog horn out and let that rip but we still had no reply! This is starting to become a joke now! lee got the dingy down and motored over there, even though you could of probably jumped from one boat to the other, there was a long discussion, lee came back with the news that he will move later, we can’t afford to have another sleepless night worrying about that idiot, so we decided to just move on! Bonanza here we come!

We made it to Bonanza by 5.30 ready for a good nights sleep, after all the excitement of today I think we probably will achieve that! Ashley and Élan from Silver Lining told us that they were going over to the beach for one last walk along a Sea of Cortez beach, me and Kate fancied a bit of that too so we jumped in with them! Among all the shells and stuff on Bonanzas beach we came across this little guy, Katie tried saving him but it was too late!

Tomorrow we have a tough old passage of 50 miles to Ensenada de Los Muertos! 50 miles! That’s going to be tough, we’ve been used to morning hops and even seeing two places in one day!