Across the Sea of Cortez to Mazatlan
30 November 2010 | Mazatlan, Mx
Hola from Marina Mazatlan
Plans are subject to change, no difference here either. We had intended to make a more leisurely run to Mazatlan via an East Cape anchorage or two but the latest weather reports we received on Sunday, 11/28 indicated a nasty northerly coming down the Sea of Cortez starting Monday night and continuing through Wednesday. Not wanting to run that gauntlet we elected to leave Cabo asap, which we did at about 1400 hrs, Sunday 11/28 and headed straight across the Sea to Mazatlan. We arrived last night, Monday, 11/29 at about 2200 hrs. We also didn't want to make night approaches to unfamiliar anchorages, but we did and thankfully are safe in a slip at Marina Mazatlan.
I'll have to talk about the sailing conditions a little bit here; we had about everything and it was great! We left Cabo with about 25 kts of wind from behind coming over the cape so pretty flat seas. We were making 7-8 knots under just the main so didn't bother to put anything else up; why bother? That's hull speed on this boat! That lasted several hours then died as expected and we motor sailed until we started to pick up some pressure coming down the Sea and had a great moon light sail on a beam reach, just about as good as it gets, and warm too! The sailing went like that through the day with the wind increasing until we had a steady 22-23 kts. The seas continued to build out of the north. That gave us quartering seas, that is with the waves reaching the boat at it's stern quarter on an angle, which kind of cork screws you around and is lots of fun to steer through.....We made good time and kept a steady course of about 74 degrees magnetic with a reefed main most of the day. It's hard to be exact as to times, because we have not been keeping regular watches. Our auto pilot failed on the leg down from Bahia Santa Maria and we have been hand steering, which can be quite a chore. We each take it as long as we can then ask for relief, usually one or two hours is about all you can handle. It's tough, but sure keeps you in touch with what the boat is doing. With one person steering and one asleep in the cockpit to assist as needed. We were all tired when we got in and that was another event in itself. With all that wind and wave action taking us to land we had to figure out how to get the sail in and under control before trying to enter into a little harbor entrance in the dark, which none of us were familiar with. We reviewed all the charts and pilot books and made the decision to take the boat behind the little island just off shore called Isla Pajaros to get into the lea of the island to be able to turn up into it to drop the sail then to motor back out and around to find the entrance. As it turned out that was a good call, because finding that entrance was tricky. It turned out that two of its three lights were out, it is quite a small breakwater and when you get into it the channel is very narrow and shallow on the shore side. The GPS chart is of little help as it shows that you are already on land; not comforting. Anyway, we made it and were welcomed at the dock by our friends from Oceanside who came down last month: Lee and Cathy on Sirocco and Mike and Bob on So Inclined. (check out their blogs) We were greeted with margaritas on the rocks aboard Sirocco and they were well received.
Today was spent, you guessed it, cleaning up the boat again, and laundry. Marisa really likes the new clothes washer device (photos to follow). It was really windy today and while sunny, it was unseasonably cool here today. We were glad that we made it in last night; it looks like "Victory at Sea" out there with a 30-35 knot northerly coming down as expected. This is a nice marina, clean and quiets unlike the rollicking tourist marina at Cabo and about 1/3 the price. There is a great little cantina almost at the head of our dock, we had smoked marlin tacos for lunch! Tomorrow we are going with the group to tour the Pacifico brewery which is here in Mazatlan. Then, it will be back to the boat and into that auto pilot problem and a few other repair and maintenance issues. Cruising: doing boat maintenance in exotic places.