As we pass out of Mexican waters today into internal waters and on down into
Central America, it is time to reflect on the last 3 to 4 months in the
Mexican Pacific waters, like I always do on projects and years, take a look
back what it meant and my feelings, so bare with me.
The initial planning and cruise down the outside Baja Peninsula with Steve
and Ed in early January we had planned and prepared for months both in boat
and in mind, and it turned out to be the calmest and mellow passage of the
whole time in Mexico. But it is all timing as we met people 3 weeks behind
us who had a hell of a time with the storms and took weeks to get down the
coast. But this run I enjoyed mainly because it gave us the opportunity to
run the boat well, and drop into the small coastal villages doing many day
sails and then explore in the afternoon.
The rest of January was spent in the Sea of Cortez and La Paz. La Paz has
evolved since the last time I visited 10 years ago, it has lost some of it's
spark, yet maintains a nice small town feel and good community linked by the
water front. It is an easy location for cruisers and place people get stuck
in for good reason, it has good supplies, good access to states, and within
20 miles you have the best cruising on the Mexican coast around the local
Islands off La Paz like Partida and Isla San Francisco. These are calm
anchorages with clear water, and you can do short hops between different
great anchorages, (just watch out for those Westerly and then the Northern
wind waves). If I were in the US long term I would consider getting a boat
down in La Paz and just flying down and going out around these islands, the
boat does not have to be big, and strong as everything is close and
protected, and it is warm so you can sail and swim all year round.
The best anchorages we found were Ensenada Grande, Isla San Francisco (both
in the Sea of Cortez) and Tenacatita Bay ( on the main land), these were
calm, and great diving and landings. Out side of the Sea of Cortez I would
not consider Mexico a good cruising ground, it is more of exploring
adventure ground, but the mainland while great locations, it is not easy
relaxing cruising as the passages are long, many over night runs, and
locations rolly when you arrive.
But we have enjoyed the mainland for the culture as it is much more real
than Baja, and each place has it's own flavor, and fun. Certainly my
understanding and feelings on Mexico have significantly evolved on this
trip, mainly due to mainland stops like Mazatlan, Z wot and Manzanillo.
The annual cruising path of going to the "Gold Coast" south of PV basically
Tenacatita Bay for the first half of the season and then going back north to
Sea of Cortez for the second half makes sense for the long term Mexico
destination cruisers the ones who come down here for 8 months a year, and it
makes a lot of sense. It is close to USA, it is easy to get things and if
you know what to expect and locations you can get to the good destinations
quickly and easily.
Is Mexico safe was a question I was asked as there is the impression it is
about to explode due to the drug scene. Firstly the last two Governments
have made huge progress in the development of Mexico and it's standard of
living, from when I first visited many years ago and from others have said
compared to 20 years ago. The whole infra structure is developing fast the
ability to do business and prosper is happening and this is reflected in the
amount of Universities and higher education now available down here which
are respected. Relative to drug issue this is the gangs, and we as cruisers
are not effected as long as you stay out of it, the government is increasing
the patrols and presence of police, army and Navy and it was not un common
to see Navy patrol boats at sea circling us, we were boarded by the Navy
once so far (very pleasant people ), and when an event is on they increase
the security and make it very visible. I have no issue with this as it build
confidence in that things are happening and should deter some of activities.
Do I think Mexico is about to explode NO, it will crack down, with the help
of US, and people will not tolerate it.
The weather this year was an exception we had a lot of things thrown at us:
Westerly and South Easterly winds in Sea of Cortez, Weather bombs in PV, and
massive trough systems which have not been seen before, causing rain (we
were rained on many times this last few months, this is un heard of. Then
the Tsunami to top it off Which hit on low tide and caused surge issues we
have seen damage to docks since), these caused rolly seas and big swells
compared to normal years.
Do not think you will sail Mexico if you want get to destinations you need
to motor, we have covered 2500+ miles and we have used 400 hours on the
engine, we have motor sailed a lot but we would not have got to destinations
in reasonable time.
The best sail was coming into Banderas Bay, just fantastic we have had some
The people of Mexico could not have been more helpful, and fun, boy do they
know how to party and have their values sorted relative to family. In many
of the towns we found big drives to become more clean, La Paz was an example
and so was Z wot with the water and bay clean up, this can only help evolve
this place as a destination.
I still cannot get over the amount of Canadians who come down here, both
cruising and just on extended holidays, the population of Canada must drop
Would I do my boat up in Mexico, no get you major jobs done before you come
down here, at the very least make sure you have the parts. While you can get
work done, the good people are in great demand, jobs like Canvas etc yes
that can done down here. But one of the things I am very pleased with is the
Gijima (our boat) we spent a lot of time, effort and money to make sure the
systems worked and functionally worked for what we wanted to do, and this
took years of cruising to Catalina and other places to sort out. But it has
meant that I have had time to enjoy cruising and not working on the boat in
every location and all the time. Yes I am doing regular maintenance and have
a constant list of improvements and routines to do, but this becomes on your
parts of this lifestyle and the time dedicated to boat is proportional to
cruising, I see many people just working on the boat and also been stressed
about if they will make it to the next port, it is not worth it, get the
Would I do Mexico again no because I have done it, and certainly it is not
an ideal place to cruise that can be seen by the current group of boats we
travelling with all been out here for years and have come back to do Mexico
and are now saying lets go back to the cruising grounds of the South Pacific
But if you have not visited Mexico you must, and if you based in US and want
a ground that can be used 6 to 8 months year then yes Mexico works. I also
see Mexico development there is a lot of investment and money been spent in
development, this economy and standard of living in Mexico is on the rise
due significantly to the government policies which enable this and breaking
down the old barriers.
I have a lot of fond memories here and I look at how the boys have grown up
here, their confidence and understanding, now we look forward to new waters
and new adventures.