Mazatlan to La Paz
Waking up in Stone Island Harbor (Isla Piedra) just south of Old town Mazatlan, Deidre and I once again assessed the weather, our schedule, fuel and water and decided to fuel up and head across the Sea as soon as possible. The options for fuel were to either dinghy to shore and taxi in to town with all of our gas cans or motor sail 10 miles north to the marina district and fill the boat up there. With the fact that gaining 10 more miles of north would do nothing but help our sailing angle during the 230 mile crossing and feeling like taxiing with a bunch of gas cans sounded like a pain in the ass, the decision was easy to make.
When we finally reached the entry into the marina district, after missing it on our first approach and adding a couple of extra miles of motoring, while we were entering the extremely narrow channel, we found our passage blocked by a large rusty dredger at work. With no room to pass, I was lucky to have a catamaran with two auxiliary motors enabling a quick, smooth 360 degree turn on a dime to escape the potentially dangerous situation. As we were exiting, we noticed the workers were able to move the dredger to the side of the channel giving us just enough room to enter so we could get the needed fuel and water. Trying to move as efficiently as possible so we could begin our long passage, we quickly filled our water and fuel tanks and cast off from the fuel dock only to find our passage back out to the open ocean once again blocked by the behemoth dredging machine. After treading water in the tight river channel for a few minutes, we decided to help ourselves to an open slip in Marina El Cid, to mitigate the potential dangers that surrounded Cat2Fold. Being stuck in the marina for nearly 3 hours, we decided to make some lunch and work on a few boat projects that were slowly rearing their ugly heads.
At 3 pm, as we were told, the dredger moved over allowing us about 30 feet of room to extract our 24′ wide boat. Unnerving to say the least, with a pile of rocks to port and a hulking lump of rusting steel to starboard, Cat2Fold was able to squeak through without a scratch. As soon as we reached the safety of the open water, sails were raised, and we rocketed westward toward La Paz.
Reaching speeds of 10+ knots, smashing into seas of 4-5 feet, it quickly became apparent that we were going to have to slow the boat down. That moment of realization came exactly when our front trampoline dug into a wave and bounced MANY gallons of water over the central dodger directly onto Deidre, who just so happened to be standing with her foul weather gear down around her ankles, having just answered the call of nature. With our free-flying jib lowered, and our speed reduced to 7 knots, the crossing was much more relaxing. When the winds lightened even more through the night, we also made the decision to sail a faster angle with a few less miles to cover and aimed for Ensenada de Los Muertos (bay of the dead) instead of directly to La Paz. With the occasional aid of our trusty 9.9 hp Yamaha’s, we arrived in Muertos at 1:30 am. 206 nautical miles in 34.5 hours. Not too bad.