Cabo to Puerto Vallarta 2005

Sunset on the Sea of Cortez

Beach at Mazatlan

Mazatlan's historic district

Mazatlan's lighthouse

Thanksgiving Dinner

Isla Isabella

Mantachen Bay

Cathedral in San Blas

View of San Blas from
the fort

San Blas Plaza

Paradise Village
Nuevo Vallarta

View of marina from the yacht club

Chili cook off






We left Cabo headed for Mazatlan on Tuesday, November 15, around 10 in the evening. We had planned to leave on Wednesday morning, but there was a nice breeze so we decided to take off.

We had a light breeze at the beginning, so we decided to run the engine and motor sail. Around 4:30 in the morning, the winds began to pick up so we turned off the engine. The winds began to build, so we double reefed the main sail and furled in the jib. We had 30 to 35 knot winds for the rest of the trip.

The trip to Mazatlan was a total of 190 miles which we covered in 30 hours. We averaged 6.5 knots which is excellent considering that we have only a 28-foot waterline. It was a boisterous and challenging sail; but, as usual, we felt very comfortable with the boat's performance.

We arrived at Mazatlan at 4 in the morning on Wednesday, November 17, while it was still dark. We did not want to enter the harbor in the dark, so we anchored behind Los Venitos Island and slept for a couple of hours.

Later in the morning we pulled into our slip at Marina Mazatlan. This marina is located a few miles north of the city of Mazatlan. On Thanksgiving Day we attended a Catholic Mass in the morning, and later the priest came by to bless our boat as well as others. Then at 3 o'clock we went to the parking lot where large Corona tents had been set up, and tables had been set and decorated. We had a traditional dinner consisting of turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans and carrots, and cranberry sauce that had strawberries and grapes on top. The dessert was a whipped pumpkin pie that was really delicious. The evening ended with a fireworks display.

We spent a couple of days exploring Mazatlan. One day we went to the historic district where the government is renovating many buildings. One building was an apartment where the writer Herman Melville stayed in 1844. We also went to the Mercado or central market to do some shopping.

On November 27 we left Mazatlan headed south for Isla Isabella. It was an overnight sail, so I got some sleep and then came up for my watch at 11 p.m. I couldn't believe the number of fishing boats off our port side. Steve said that they had been heading north the whole time he had been on watch. There appeared to be one line of boats moving north closer in toward shore and then another line heading south a little farther out. The problem for us was that in order to stay out of their way,  we were being forced farther off our course. We decided that we had to find a gap in the boats so that we could cut through both lines and get back on course. We finally saw our opening so we turned toward shore making our way behind a shrimp boat. At one point, the captain turned his spotlight on us--I think just to make sure that we were far enough behind his nets. We were able to move through both lines and come back on our original course. At this point the fishing boats were headed out and away from us, so we were able to relax for awhile.

We arrived at Isla Isabella around 7 in the morning. We pulled into the preferred anchorage at the south end of the island, but there was a swell and small fishing boats called pangas were everywhere. We discussed it and decided that it was just not calm enough to drop the anchor. We were disappointed that we couldn't go ashore since this island is a bird sanctuary, and we had hoped go for a hike.

We proceeded on to Mantachen Bay, which is just south of San Blas, and arrived around 4:30 in the afternoon. We decided to stay aboard and relax and then check in with the Port Captain in San Blas in the morning. The next morning Norm Goldie helped us to check in over the radio. He and his wife Jan have lived in San Blas for about 40 years. We then took our dinghy ashore to Ishmael's Ramada to have lunch. We had planned to go into San Blas, but we had forgotten our shoes so we just spent the afternoon on the beach. The next day we went into town and stopped in at Norm and Jan's house, and they treated us to coffee and wonderful pastries. We left and went to see the town square and to have lunch at Fabian's where they cook chicken on a large outdoor grill. We had a delicious meal of grilled chicken with rice and potatoes.

We spent some time on the plaza, and then we walked up to the cathedral. This is the church that Henry W. Longfellow wrote about in "The Bells of San Blas." Just up the hill from the church is the fort. The fort was built to protect the harbor, but now the bay has filled in from the river silt and the land has been developed.

On November 29 we left early in the morning headed for Punta Mita, which is only a few miles from Puerto Vallarta. It was a fairly calm day, and we were thrilled to see sea turtles heading south for most of the day. I believe that we had to have seen at least 50 turtles, and many were very close to the boat. Sometimes you could see a seagull perched on a turtle's back.

We arrived at Punta Mita around 2:30 in the afternoon, and we dropped the anchor in about 30 feet of water. Punta Mita is really just a point of land with a beautiful golf course on shore. We spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing and enjoying the beautiful afternoon.

The next morning we got underway before sunrise, and we headed in to Nuevo Vallarta. The entrance is difficult to see so we wanted to be sure to enter after sunrise. We made our way in through the breakwaters and were escorted to our slip. We went to check in with the Port Captain, and then we headed straight for the pool where we spent the rest of the day relaxing--it was wonderful!

We took a bus into Puerto Vallarta the next day where we walked the streets looking in shops. There is a river, and you have to walk across a wood and rope bridge in order to get to the flea market on the other side. We ended up walking quite a way, but we were able to catch a bus back to Paradise Village later in the day.

On Saturday, December 10, the Puerta Vallarta Yacht Club hosted a chili-cooking contest. There were approximately 15 entrants including a couple from Albuquerque. They made green chili stew, and it was absolutely delicious. It had been awhile since we had had New Mexico food. Unfortunately, they did not win the competition.

We left for Albuquerque on December 12 for the holidays so I am not sure when the next posting will be. I hope to have a new page ready sometime early in February.