Monday, February 21, 2011

La Tovara Jungle Tour - Feb. 20, 2011

Sunday morning, we got up very early to take the La Tovara jungle tour through the mangroves with Tom and Susanne. We caught the first panga out so we would see the animals waking up. What a great trip. It is an 8 mile trip was misty as we left and felt like a jungle. There are over 300 species of birds in the area. We saw crocodiles, iguanas, turtles and tons of birds. We also went to the crocodile breeding center.  The tour took us to a fresh spring pool where we could have swam and snorkeled, but it was too early and we had heard the fences had holes that the crocs could get through. Not sure about that, but we decided not to take the chance.  Here are some of the pictures we took. I'll link an album to this later.


Bird Watching Huts




San Blas, Totally Mexico – Feb 18 – 22, 2011

San Blas feels like Mexico. The people only speak Spanish, most of the streets are dirt with some cobblestones, the center of town is a plaza in front of the church and the people are so friendly. We found great restaurants, bars and ice cream shops. Our first night here we met up with Norm and his wife Janet, who have lived in San Blas for the last 45 years. They took a group of cruisers to a street side restaurant that we wouldn’t have gone to unless it was recommended. Good choice.
Streets of San Blas

The Central Square with the New Church

Street Dinner with a bunch of Cruisers

The next morning we went to the town’s flea market. It was held on the airport runway. There were about 100 booths with everything from food, clothes, tools, toys to house plants. Rick bought a small tool for a spare and I got a few hair clips and thread.
Flea Market

House Plants at the Flea Market

Next we took a taxi up the hill to the fort for a great overview. This fort was built in 1770 to defend the town and there are a number of cannons still there.  On the hill behind the fort are the ruins of the Church of our Lady of the Rosary, built in 1769. The ruins once contained the bronze bells that inspired Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem  “ The Bells of San Blas”.
The Fort at the Top of the Hill

View from the Fort Looking toward the Marina and Ocean

The Fort

Church Ruins - Missing the Bells

Inside the Church

Back into town we stopped at a local bar, Billy Bob’s and found our friends Tom and Susanne. Tom had been looking for a boat he knew from the SF Bay area that was reported to be in San Blas somewhere. He found it in pieces at Billy Bob’s. The stern is a table. Tom brought a racing T-shirt with a picture of that boat on it and gave it to Billy Bob.
In Billy Bob's with 'La Sirena'

Sunday, February 20, 2011

South to San Blas – Feb. 17 -18, 2011

It was so foggy in Mazatlan on the morning we planned to leave that the red flag was flying and the port was closed. We waited until about 11:00, it cleared a little, so we took off with 2 other boats (Norte Rev and Yancy) following us south to San Blas. Luckily the fog lifted after a couple hours, just as we were crossing the Mazatlan Port entrance. We met up with one other boat off Stone Island (2 Pieces of 8) and we all sailed together through the night. There was a full moon and calm seas. If you have to cruise at night, this was a perfect night for it.

Foggy in Mazatlan

Near Mazatlan Port and Stone Island


Full Moon on the Sail

Ready to Cross the Bar Into the Estuary
We had planned to anchor in Matachen Bay, but as we were nearing San Blas we heard Tom and Susanne from ‘Be Gone’ on the radio saying they were going over the bar into the estuary to the marina. We decided to follow them in since it was a high tide and calm seas. We had heard it can be tricky getting in here. I’ve seen the YouTube video of boats being knocked down coming in here. I don’t want to go through that! We all made it fine and are at this little marina. Close enough to walk into town. 

The Estuary to San Blas Marina

The Boats in the Marina

Sights Around Mazatlan – Feb. 12 – 17, 2011

El Cid Hotel and Marina
The last 8 days we have been seeing the sights around Mazatlan. It’s a big city with 4 lane roads, lots of buses, cars, restaurants and tourist shops. Most people speak English so it doesn’t seem like Mexico as much as La Paz did. We are at the El Cid Marina and it is beautiful. Two big resort pools and a large hot tub where the cruisers hang out in the evenings. They have very nice restrooms and showers, laundry service, swim up pool bars and restaurants that will deliver to your boat!

The Marina

Looking out to the Ocean from our Mast

One of the Pools with the Hot Tub

Palapa on the beach at El Cid
Love the Pools here

The gang at Three Amigos
Saturday night we went to dinner at a little place called the Fat Fish that specializes in ribs. Go figure. We went with Scott and Joyce from ‘Life is Good’, Rick and Goldene from ‘Magic Places’ and Steve from ‘Liquid8’. After diner we stopped by another place called Three Amigos for drinks and listened to the live music. What a great time.

We’ve been to all the big stores in Mazatlan by bus. We’ve been to WalMart, Home Depot, Soriana, Mega and the Central Market. We even went to the Alameda Shopping Center. I think we have all the provisions we need for a while.

The Alameda Shopping Center
Had to shop at WalMart


Ron, Betty, Pam and Rick at The Fish Market
Tuesday morning ‘Wisp’ pulled in to the marina. We’d heard they left La Paz for Mazatlan right after we did, but they got stuck in Los Frailes by the northerns. We went out to lunch at the Fish Market for the best fish and chips ever!

Pam's Seared Tuna, Yummm
Wednesday was our last night in Mazatlan and we went to dinner with Scott and Joyce and Rick and Goldene. We went to The Seafarer at a small marina. The restaurant was beautiful and the food was good, but ours was cold when we got it. Mine was seared tuna, so it was OK cold. Rick sent his back and they brought him a new plate. Much better.  A great last night in Mazatlan.

Rick's new plate of Salmon

Friday, February 11, 2011

Shopping in Mazatlan – Feb. 11, 2011

In the Market
Today we rode the bus into the Central Shopping area with a guy we met, Steve on ‘Liquid8’. We ended up at the Mercado, and didn’t buy anything, but found lots of good looking stuff! We had lunch at a great Beach Burger Restaurant that wasn’t on the beach but had great burgers! Next, we hopped another bus and stopped by the Mega store to do some grocery shopping on the way home. One more bus and we made it back to the marina.

The Meat Counter

A Great Lunch Spot

Picked up the Christmas Present - Mazatlan – Feb. 10, 2011

The Package!
In December, our friends Dena and Dale were in Mazatlan and left some books for me in the Mazatlan  Marina mail room. They wrapped them in Christmas paper with a card addressed to Hotel California. Every time one of our boater friends came to Mazatlan we heard there was a package waiting for us. When we got to our slip, the first thing we heard was there was a package for us at the other Marina. Another boat named ‘Hotel California’ in the El Cid Marina said he had been told about the package 30 times. The next morning on the net someone told us about the package. We rushed down there our first morning to pick it up. There are no secrets in the boating community. I have my books and loving them.  Thanks Dena and Dale! Hope to see you soon.

On Our Way To Mazatlan!

When I got back to La Paz, I brought a sore throat and ear infection with me.  I went to a great doctor who prescribed some medicine. I was better in a week and the visit only cost $40. Now we were ready to go to Mazatlan, but a strong northerner blew in and lasted another week. The strongest one La Paz has had this year! The wind finally stopped blowing on Saturday, Feb. 5. Sunday morning we left in the dark at 5:50am to head for Muertos to meet up with Bruce and Judy of ‘Juce’.
Leaving La Paz

Rick Bruce and Judy watching the game
 This was Superbowl Sunday and we wanted to watch the game at the 1535 Restaurant on the beach.  This was also election day in Baja Sur. No alcohol is sold or served on election days! The restaurant told us Casa Suenos was having a superbowl party and since it was a private resort, they would be serving alcohol. Guess where we went? I love that resort. 

Our boat in the anchorage

1535 Restaurant
We spent Monday at the 1535 Restaurant having lunch and playing dominos. Then it was time to say good-bye to Bruce and Judy, we would leave the next morning for Mazatlan and they would head back to La Paz. I’m sure we will meet up again. That is the thing about cruising, you meet great friends, say good bye and then meet again in another place.

Sunrise leaving Muertos

Tuesday, Feb. 8 we sent off on the long trip across the sea, 189 miles and 31 hours. The weather was great, flat seas and just a little wind. There were two boats ahead of us on the crossing, so we weren’t alone. About 2 in the morning we hit the fog bank and couldn’t see anything. Good thing we have radar and the trip on the chartplotter. The fog cleared about 8am. The sun came out, dolphins swam with us for about 20 minutes and we saw 4 whales. What a good trip. When we arrived in Mazatlan, the harbor was closed for dredging. Since we were low on fuel, we had to shut off the engine and float around for 2 hours waiting to enter. We plan to go in to get fuel, find our slip at Marina El Cid, clean up and explore some of Mazatlan. We should be here about a week.

Sunset in the Sea

Coming out of the fog

Dolphins at the bow

Lots of Dolphins