November 23, 2016
When we pulled into the marina in Topolobampo, there was a beautiful 68 foot motor yacht in the slip adjacent to us named Kya. We saw the owners of Kya with their adorable dog Penny on the dock and introduced ourselves. We found out they were from Australia and their names were… Mike and Katie. Really.
We only briefly got to meet Kya, so we were pleasantly surprised when we pulled into Mazatlan and Kya was tied up at the end of our dock! Mike & Katie had rented a car in Mazatlan and invited us to head into town to explore with them.
Mazatlan has some absolutely beautiful beaches and incredible views.
Although there are the usual resorts and tourist traps in Mazatlan, the Old Town area of Mazatlan is really cool. There is some really unique old architecture and the traditional square with a beautiful iglesia (church) that you find in every Mexican town. We really enjoyed Old Town and had a fantastic meal in the square.
The two Katies…
After lunch we headed to an amazing indoor market. There were stalls with everything you could imagine from produce, nuts, jams, to chicken, beef and fish. It was like a hundred mini grocery and butcher shops, each with their own specialties. We came across the fish market stalls and found smoked marlin! We had heard from several people over the summer how great smoked marlin was and now we finally found it. We got a huge chunk to share, and it was delicious.
The awesome market in Mazatlan…
After our fun time in Mazatlan, we headed to Isla Isabel. But, first we had to get out of Mazatlan harbor!
So, the entrance to Mazatlan harbor is incredibly narrow and takes a sharp turn right inside the entrance. It is also really shallow, so there is a dredger which is constantly dredging the entrance so that boats can actually get out.
When we exited our slip at the marina, the wind was blowing a good 15-20 knots, so our first challenge was getting out of the slip. Adagio does not turn well in reverse. So, in tight conditions with wind blowing, it sometimes is a 10 point turn to finally get the bow to come around as the wind is trying to blow it in the opposite direction. Thankfully, Mike is very competent and capable and always gets us out of those sticky situations, even if it does take a few tries and lots of stares from concerned boaters on the dock.
So, we made it out of the slip and headed for the harbor entrance. We were told that the dredger stopped at 2pm and it was almost 4pm. We saw a sailboat coming in right as we were about to get to the sharp turn and were barely able to get to the side to let it by. Since they got through, we thought there would be no problems with the dredger. Ugh. We were wrong.
Right as we got to the sharp turn (where there was absolutely no turning around) we saw the dredger working RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE CHANNEL. I was signaling to the guy that we had no choice and had to go through. He looked unconcerned, unlike me.
We somehow squeeze between the dredger and the rocks with about 1 foot on each side. At the same time, we were watching the depth sounder drop to about 1.5 feet under the keel. I think I finally stopped holding my breath when I saw it jump back up over 3 feet. But, then we looked ahead to the breaking waves just outside the breakwater and had now had about 30 knots of wind on our nose. Mike pushed the engine hard to get past the breaking waves into the open ocean. At this point, I was shaking with too much adrenaline. Somehow we didn’t hit the dredger, the rocks, go aground or get pushed back from the breaking waves. Whew! I never want to do that again.
So, we were finally on our way for an overnight sail to Isla Isabel where we were going to meet up with Adios and Kya to explore the island that is known as the “Galapagos of Mexico.” But, more on that next time…