Turtle Taxi Service
14 April 2012 | Mazatlan to La Paz
Once the epic surf at Matanchen Bay had run its course, we began trekking north again. We had some really fine sailing during the trip to Isla Isabella, arriving in time to enjoy a beautiful afternoon anchored near the rocky Los Monas islets. With the water there still near 80 degrees, we wondered if we were doing the right thing by heading towards the much colder water in the Sea of Cortez.
The passage to Mazatlan offered calm, flat seas, but no wind. The 12-13 hour motorboat ride came with some built-in entertainment, though. It was turtles...turtles...everywhere. For several hours there were always 2-3 sea turtles within sight of the boat. And at least ¾ of them had hitchhikers on their backs, just as you see in the photo here. I guess when your wings get tired, it's nice to be able to just sit back and enjoy the ride.
We anchored in the Stone Island anchorage just outside Mazatlan harbor. Weather conditions encouraged us to delay making the crossing to the Baja by one day. So we took time to play tourist, climbing up Isla Creston to the lighthouse which is billed as the highest lighthouse in the world. After shopping for a few supplies we couldn't resist finishing off the afternoon with the famous garlic shrimp pizza served at Benji's restaurant on the beach.
All that was left was to get a good night's sleep before attempting the passage of over 200 miles that lay ahead. Unfortunately, we had a very unpleasant surprise before the night was over. Jeff awoke to an unfamiliar squeaking sound and when he investigated, he discovered that our outboard motor had been stolen off the stern of the boat. We found out later that another boat had been boarded that night, but one of the crew woke up and came on deck, scaring the thieves away.
It was definitely a bummer. Without a motor for the dinghy, we'd be unable to do much in the way of diving or fishing and would be stranded on the boat when the wind was too strong to row to shore.
We put our disappointment aside, however, and set off on the 230 mile, 36 hour passage early that morning. It would have been nice to have wind so we could sail, but the sea was like a lake and the full moon made for a magical night passage. At 9 P.M. The next night, we anchored under that same full moon at Playa Bonanza. Weather conditions there were so nice that we stayed for three more days.
After leaving Bonanza, we took a slip at Marina La Paz and Jeff set about looking for a used outboard motor that we could use for our last couple of months down here. He did manage to find something that fit the bill. It's older and much heavier than our Nisson was, but it has plenty of get-up-and-go.
So we are all ready to leave La Paz and revisit some of our favorite spots in the Sea of Cortez.