The Sail to Mazatlan – Part 1

It was a busy 10 days in Mazatlan, so just now catching up on our latest adventures.
The sail out of Topolo:
We waited for the slack high tide to cross the shallow channel, Anjuli was right behind us. We sailed all but 48 miles of the 206 total distance from the Topolobampo sea buoy. We calculated a 40 hour run averaging 5.0 – 5.5 knots to allow for entry in the daylight. The first day was extremely rolly with 6′ following seas (waves coming from behind the boat) and the light winds didn’t help. After changing sail configurations several times we gave up and sailed with a double reefed main and partially furled Yankee which slowed us down considerably but the banging, snapping sails and potential rigging damage worried us. We didn’t sleep that first night, the rolling was relentless. We couldn’t walk in the cabin nor stand in one spot without being thrown down onto the settee, using the head was darn near impossible! I couldn’t sit up in the cockpit without being tossed from side to side so I hunkered down in the cockpit well my entire watch. Waves pitched up behind us but never quite washed up over the stern. Tammy on Anjuli took a wave over the stern, drenching her with cold salt water.
The second day out we had great sailing. We shook out the sail reefs and scooted along at an average of 5.5 knots. The sea had smoothed out, it was warm and very comfortable in the cockpit. We had hearty meals that day making up for our lack of appetite the prior day.
Just before dusk, John hooked a fish just as he was putting out the hand line. We were excited, hoping that it was a white flesh fish as we had seen large dorsal finned fish swimming past the boat earlier in the day. Turned out to be a 10 pound skip jack tuna. Most people don’t care for the stronger tasting red meat fish, but eaten as sashimi, it’s delicious!

By nightfall the wind was beginning to die. We struggled to maintain 2.5 knots of boat speed and the boat began to roll. Just as I came off watch at 3:00 a.m., the wind totally died, we were drifting along with flat slapping sails. John started the engine and we motored the last 48 miles. Disappointed to run the engine but our calculations indicated that we would spend another night out as our arrival time was just after dark – 6:30 p.m.

We arrived at the channel entrance at 3:30 p.m with heavy shipping traffic, outbound fishing boats with helicopters on board, and tourist ferries following us. We motored in and started looking for our spot amongst all the abandoned sail and power boats. Just when we thought we found a good place, the waft of sewer stench blew over us. Argh!, what’s that smell?? They built a giant, 3 tank sewer treatment plant right at the shoreline! We continued to motor around a bit trying to avoid being directly downwind of the ghastly tanks. We dropped anchor in 25 feet, just east of old abandoned boats, and a little further away from the smell. We only had to close up and hide down below a couple of times.

But it was free anchorage, we had wifi at the shore if we held our breaths long enough. The dinghy dock was $3 per day, that included free tap water but not potable, and we had to jug it back to the boat. The facilities are run down, it was built in 1960s and the sea and wind have taken their toll on the structures. We had showers with 110V elements wired into the faucet head. I always checked to see if the black electrical tape was still attached to the exposed wires before I stepped in. Are these things even sold in the U.S.? As long as I kept the water flow down to just above trickle, the water temperature stayed fairly warm and sometimes hot. John’s shower was the opposite, lots of water flow but just above lukewarm. Can’t have everyththing you know.

Stayed tuned for Part 2 and pictures.


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