A tricky entrance
13 February 2017 | Yavaros, Sonora, Mexico
We waited out a few calm days at Santa Rosalia until the wind picked up from the north and sailed the 90 mile passage across to Guaymas in excellent time with a moderate to strong Northerly wind under a beautiful clear sky, arrived at around 4 in the afternoon. We had a pleasant few days in Guaymas and caught up with Wolf on Del Sur before taking the wind and making our way south. Again we had a fine wind and ended up at the rarely visited village of Yavaros. The coast along this side of the Sea of Cortez is very shallow and entering a bay can be a tad challenging without local knowledge. Although the entrance is marked it is poorly charted firstly and secondly the channel often changes after heavy rains and the buoys aren't necessarily moved to reflect the changes. You can forget the charts. So after a couple of attempts of trying to negotiate the entrance we were unwilling to make a further attempt as we had reached our limits. However we saw a punga not too far away and decided to ask the fishermen about the channel. They assured us that the channel was easy to find, and, yes, it was between the two entrance buoys and the depth was around 8 metres, not a problem, perhaps it was very narrow and we had just missed it ? They started up their outboard and showed us the way so we gave them a six pack of beer for their trouble and headed on in. However it wasn't 8 metres deep... but ended up being four. Four metres in depth is calm/smooth conditions is not too much of a worry for us (with our 2 metre draft) but conditions were not calm or smooth so it was difficult to clearly see the depth changes on the depth sounder and forward looking sonar. Luckily it didn't get any shallower (until further inside where the water was calmer but there was still enough water).
We firmly believe that we do not take any risks with what we do. We have our limits, we know our boat and we know our capabilities and we don't exceed them. To us it is not worth the risk, having said that though it may be that we are willing to accept a narrower margin of error than many modern sailors. I wouldn't say that either Frances or I get nervous in such situations but we are 100% focused on our situation and understand the consequences of any of our actions and I guess, in many respects, that is where prior experience is invaluable. Having said all of this though, Yavaros wasn't a particularly interesting stop, other than the bus trip into Huatobampo during which we passed through some rural villages.