The Official Magazine of the Bluewater Cruising Association

Made it to Mazatlan!

Judy Thompson

Valiant 40
January 16th, 2015

If You Want Something Done Right, Learn How, and Then Do It Yourself!

We figured we would likely have to wait in La Paz through much of October for hurricane season to end, so we planned to have some soft spots in the deck fixed and the exterior woodwork refinished. The estimate was for the work to take two weeks; we gave it three and planned to head for Mazatlan mid-late October. The deck work went sideways pretty quickly – we noticed cracks even before the finishing work was done. We discovered they had used the wrong materials and it had to be ripped up and redone. The ripping up was probably a bigger job than the initial project. Thanks to Rob and Kim at Cross Marine Works for stepping in and teaching our Mexican help (and us) how to do the job properly. The woodwork went well, with the exception that one of the combings just didn’t want to take the Cetol and it had to be redone a few times. It does look pretty nice, though.

Curiositas' newly refinished bright work.

Curiositas’ newly refinished bright work.

In the meantime, we were busy getting the sails, running rigging, canvas, etc. back up after having it all off for hurricane season, and stocking up on spare bits and pieces, having heard that the mainland chandleries are not as good as those in La Paz. As we had had quite a bit of maintenance work done on the mechanical systems in September, we planned to stop on Espiritu Santo and check things out. If all went well, we would make the crossing to Mazatlan. In testing out the watermaker, the high pressure pump hose blew out, spewing salt water all over the engine room. We headed back to La Paz…

A couple of days later, Bill Lee, the ‘Watermaker Guy’, has us fixed up, but we had to wait for a 3 day northerly (blowing 30 knots) to go through. Finally, November 27, we were on our way again, no stops planned, straight to Mazatlan. A bit of the northerly was still blowing and we had excellent sailing for the first 24 hours or so, often going over 7 knots. The wind slowed after that, which was good because we did not want to arrive in Mazatlan during the night anyways. We sailed all the way, except the last couple of hours. Out one little hiccup in an otherwise perfect crossing was running aground in the mouth of the channel! Luckily it is a sandy bottom and we managed to back off it and moved closer to the middle of the channel. During the next week, several other boats went aground in the same spot and this week they have started dredging the channel. Apparently, it has not been dredged in over a year.

Squid lying on mesh fabric

Wayne and Judy have had squid on the deck before, but never on top of the dodger!



While Mazatlan has a big industrial harbour, the marinas are located in an estuary on the north end of the city. It is a city of 500,000 people, but without a car, mostly what we see is the extensive tourist / hotel section. The malecon and main beach is 10 km long so you can understand why this became a tourist destination. We don’t actually see tons of tourists, however; not sure if this is because they stay within the resort hotels or if the warnings about drug crime in the area have taken their toll.

Curiositas - Malecon

Mazatlan’s malecon, fronting the beach, is 10-kilometres long.

The first night we were here we took in the Festival of Lights, a fantastic fireworks display going off from various points all along the malecon. This was part of the weekend marathon, half marathon, and 10k races’ celebrations.

The old town area has some fabulous architecture and restaurants and a huge market full of fresh everything that I found simply overwhelming. We also took in the ‘Artwalk’ (first Friday of each month), where a number of galleries and shops open in the evening to display their works.

Artwalk - Catrina statues.

Artwalk – Catrina statues.

Transportation is pretty easy in Mazatlan (especially if you have a kind friend with a truck). Lots of buses (7 – 10 pesos) and taxis, but unique (I think) to Mazatlan are the polmonias (souped-up cute golf carts with big stereo systems) and red trucks (I call them party cars because they fit 8 people sitting in the back and also have big stereo systems).

Party trucks accommodate up to 8 passengers in the back.

Party trucks accommodate up to 8 passengers in the back.

As we were only planning to spend about a week in Mazatlan, we decided to stay at the El Cid Resort Marina. We were pleasantly surprised when we pulled in to find our friends Jan and Kim on Remember Me just across the dock from us! Last we had heard, they were heading south but they like it so much in Mazatlan they decided to stay another season. They have a morning VHF net here and through this, we discovered a number of other boats we had met in La Paz were also in town. Trish and Jim on Falcon VII came through last week and generously arranged a Bluewater Cruising Association night out, so it was fun to meet some of our fellow Canadian cruisers.

There are two nice pools at El Cid and a little ferry takes you across the channel to a beach. We took our kayaks out a couple of times to explore the estuary and the other marinas and saw big iguanas sitting in the bushes, lots of birds, and really nice houses. Unfortunately, forgot to take the camera.

Nice as it is here, we do have plans to make our way south, so on December 7 we made our way back through the channel, heading to Isla Isabela. A couple of hours out, we noticed the system was over-charging. Not wanting to burn out the batteries, we decided to head back to Mazatlan to have it attended to. Unfortunately, there was a negative tide during the day, but if we wanted to get back in before dark, we had no choice. Kim and Jan very kindly agreed to greet us in their dinghy and guide us through with the aid of a lead-on-a-line depth sounder. Thanks, guys!

Jan and Kim guide Curiositas back into the Mazatlan Harbour.

Jan and Kim guide Curiositas back into the Mazatlan Harbour.

So we have now had the alternator overhauled and all appears to be good to go. During the next few weeks we plan stops at Isla Isabela (dubbed the Mexican Galapagos), Matachen (San Blas), Chacala, and then La Cruz.



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