Blog Post 34 - Crossing the Sea of Cortez - La Paz to Mazatlan

Mon 4 Apr 2016 19:42

Blog Post 34 - Crossing the Sea of Cortez – La Paz to Mazatlán

2/28/16 – 3/01/16

23:16.10N – 106:27.88W




We were in Baja for 7 months and we are ready to move on. We made some amazing friends, ones that we will have for our lifetimes and La Paz will always have a place in our hearts. There are John and Cindy Orchanian and their daughter Journey from Namaste, Bill and Michelle Holstein and their daughters Jackie and Sarah from Adagio, Mark and Cindy Miller from Delta Swizzler, Andrew and his grandson Gregg from Windsong and too many more to mention here. These folks will be our friends for life. There is a very small percentage of the population that goes boating and an even smaller percent that goes cruising beyond their home shores and then a minuscule percent of that number that cruises far, far away from their homes. So when you meet fellow cruisers; you already have so much in common, you make friends very quickly. We have spent some amazing times with these folks and hope to cross their paths again. They say the hardest thing about cruising is saying goodbye to your friends.


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After a week of tearful good-bye’s and going away dinners, we finally left La Paz on Sunday 2/28/16. The most common way to cross the southern SofC when heading for Mazatlán or Puerto Vallarta is to go south from La Paz 50NM to Los Muertos (the Dead Cove) and wait for a good weather window to cross the sea. It is a straight shot, 190 miles due east to Mazatlán. The day started early at 6AM with an illuminating sunrise. As we headed south the days weather turned out perfectly for our boat at 10-15kt’s from behind, with flat seas. We rolled

Into Los Muertos right at sunset. We had picked a great weather window and did not need to wait in Los Muertos. We woke up at 4AM the next morning and were on our way by 5. By 9AM we were out of sight of land in both the front and back of us. There is something inspirational and freeing about that. It is just Jirig and I (Nico is asleep as usual), on a warm sunny day with flat seas and light wind. The music is on, we are drinking coffee and eating pastries and loving life.  We look back at one year ago and where we were (working all the time, stress, traffic, never seeing each other) and where we are today and we are stunned at the unbelievable changes in our lifestyle. We are truly living our dreams.


Crossing the Sea of Cortez (SofC) is a huge milestone for us. It will be our first ocean crossing (albeit a small one!), it will be just Jirig and I on watch for an overnight passage and it harkens of good things to come. Now we are marching towards Panama. We will not linger for weeks at a time in a marina. We will do 1-3 day stops all the way down the Pacific side of Mexico and Central America to Panama. Now we will see what we are made of.





It is an approximately 30 hour trip from Muertos to Mazatlán. I look at it as a day, a night, and a day. It is easier for me that way.  One of the big events of a passage like this is meal time. We eat well on this boat. I keep the boat stocked with all of our favorite meals and treats as well as snacks that can be eaten underway.


After our shakedown cruise in the Sea of Cortez, Jirig, Nico and I have really gelled as a team. We learned a lot about each other and our boat on that trip. We have gained a level of tolerance and respect for one another that was not there before. We learned to give each other space when needed, when not to question an order from the captain, what bad weather looks like and how our boat tolerates it and most importantly how to work as a team.


As we head to Mazatlán we all are lost in our thoughts. We are entering a whole new phase of our journey. We are excited to be cruising mainland Mexico. We have read and heard so much about it from fellow cruisers.

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The cruise across the Sea of Cortez was perfect. The weather cooperated and we even got a little push from the wind and the current. We were cruising at 6.5 – 7.5 knots which is pretty fast for this boat. We timed our arrival for mid-day but we we're making such good time we arrived at 9AM. As we approached the entranceway to Marina El Cid we were a bit confused. Our GPS said it was right ahead of us but you could not see it. As we got closer it looked like there must be a mistake. This was not a marina entrance, it was too small and narrow. How are we going to get through that? Not only was it a practically hidden and a really narrow entrance it was only about 50 yds. from the shore so you had swells that turned into breaking waves as we approached. It was pretty scary. Jirig navigated it just perfect. No sweat for him.

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The Marina El Cid was at the entrance to an estuary called El Sabalo. It was full of migrating birds, hundreds of iguanas and every sort of screeching bug you could think of. The marina itself reminded us of a small version of Cabo San Lucas. A 5 star resort, full of restaurants, pools and recreational activities surrounded it. But if you looked a little closer you realized it was more of a retirement community. There was not a kid in sight. Everyone was over 60. It was nice to be in a full service marina and the resort did have one of the best pools we had ever seen but we would not be staying here long. One of the negatives about the marina is that it was far away from the central part of town. In order to get out of there to go. Exploring you had to traverse the tourist zone that was packed full of mega hotels, restaurants, bars, stores and chachki stands selling tourist items. The one gem of Mazatlán is the old city. I spent most of my free time there. It was incredible. It was built by the Spanish in the 15th and 16th century. There were narrow streets, haciendas, central squares, restaurants, shops, churches and a magnificent cathedral. There are lots of plazuela’s, small neighborhood squares. There was one in particular, Plazuela Machado that was really special. It was surrounded by art galleries, restaurants and really cool little shops. I went there on one of my days out exploring alone. Sometimes I have to get out alone to explore. Jirig and Nico just are not patient enough to shop and explore old buildings.


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I met some Canadian women while I was taking pictures of some of the old buildings. We got to talking, I told them we were cruising to Panama blah, blah, blah and we were fast friends. They asked me if I would like to see the inside of a hacienda. Of course I said I would love to! They showed me the place they're renting for $1000 USD per month. Incredible. It was totally restored and truly a hidden sanctuary. These ladies were Canadian

And this was their 5th season wintering in Mexico. There are tons of Canadians in Mexico both cruisers and snowbirds.

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While we were in Mazatlán Jirig’s hard drive for his laptop died. It took a whole day and several cab rides to end up at a small computer store. Mexico is like that. One small errand can take a whole day to deal with.


We had seen everything we wanted to see in Mazatlán. It was time to move on. We said our final goodbyes to our friends Andrew and Gregg on Windsong and prepared the boat to sail.



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