Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Isla Isabela to PV

Tired of waiting in the rolly anchorage, we left Isabela early with our sights set on an overnight passage to Banderas Bay. The wind was too light for our spinnaker (although we tried to fly it), so we motored for about an hour, before the wind filled our sails. We had a glorious sail with plenty of wind all day pushing us along at 6 knots. Finally, at dusk, we were forced to motor once again.

This is the first passage where I grossly miscalculated our arrival time. As usual, I planned our departure time in order to arrive at our chosen anchorage by mid-morning. I SHOULD HAVE planned it so we arrived at the harbour entrance at mid-morning. Coupled with leaving early because of our impatience, we arrived at Punta Mita in the dark, left with the almost full moon to guide our way between the islands and rocks unseen. Although coming through the pass went smoothly, we used all the tools in our arsenal:
- radar
- gps
- laptop chartplotter
- night-vision binoculars
- guidebooks and charts

Most of the Mexican charts are "off" of their correct GPS positions by 1.5 - 2 miles, so relying solely on charts/gps/chartplotters can be tragic. The only reliable method is to use your eyes...and of course, daylight makes this much easier! We could have stood off until light, but the passage was well marked, and we had reliable GPS waypoints for the passage. It went smoothly, but it was somewhat discomforting that I could make such a silly error.

We were happy to drop the hook and rest at Punta Mita before covering the final distance to the anchorage at La Cruz in the morning. Now that we're in the anchorage, it's been raining here all day - only my 7th day of rain since leaving BC in August, so I'm definitely not complaining. In fact, I actually enjoyed it. I took advantage of the fresh water, and did a little boat scrubbing. The boat is looking pretty shabby these days, and we're both looking forward to spending a bit of time spitting and polishing! Hopefully the sun will be back tomorrow, as we make our way into town to track down my parents, who are in PV on holidays for a couple of weeks. We're looking forward to visiting with them!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Isla Isabela

This island, southwest of Mazatlan, is a national park, and a nesting reserve for frigatebirds and boobies. We've heard how fabulous it is from fellow cruisers, Mark and Vicki, so we had high expectations and we were not disappointed. We anchored close to the beach, and had to work hard to find a sandy patch to place our anchor inbetween the rocky bottom. I didn't sleep well here knowing that our anchor wasn't as well set as we normally like (we dive to check the anchor, now that we are usually in shallow, warm waters).
By late afternoon, we rowed ashore to the fishing village and hiked to the top of the small peak on the western edge of the island. We walked through amazing colonies of Frigatebirds, who nest at head height, in densely populated colonies. Once at the top, we were among the Boobies - both the Brown and the Blue-footed species - who next on the ground and had claimed this high territory as their turf. As the sun set, we watched their mating antics, and chatted with Holly and Grant, cruisers who had been here for almost a week and had good suggestions for hiking and swimming spots.

The following day we hiked the island with Pisces and with Chris and Rani on Ladybug (from Victoria).

Again, we were shocked a the number of nesting birds and their apparent fearlessness. We were able to walk right up to them, and in some cases, they had created their nest right on or beside the trails.
We swam and ate lunch near a research camp, where grad students studied the birds and were more than happy to answer our questions regarding the birds and their behaviour.
In the afternoon, John took a case of Tecate (think: lucky lager) to the shrimp boat and received a humongous bag of huge prawns. After delivering dinner-sized portions to every other boat in the anchorage, he cooked up a fabulous dorado and prawn stir-fry which Pisces shared with us. They were delicious, but I'm pretty sure they are caught by bottom-trawling, so until we find out for sure, we won't likely be eating too many more. We ended the evening saying our farewells to Jacob and Julia. We're now off in different directions, and not sure when we may meet again. New Zealand? Hawaii? Washington? PV? Thanks, you guys...it's been tons of fun!!