La Paz To Pacific Mexico

La Paz To Pacific Mexico 2013

There are now 3New Slideshow/Movies.

1. San Blas/Ruins and Chacala 2. Jungle Tour, La Tovara and 3. Isla Isabel, Pacific Mexico. Isla Isabel is a collection of photos and movies with which we have endeavoured to capture the essence of this spectacular World Heritage Site. The Jungle Tour and San Blas/Ruins and Chacala is our first taste of mainland Pacific Mexico.

25th December - Merry Christmas! We went shopping yesterday as Craig really wanted a ham for Christmas. We found one which was 3.5kg, cured & boneless and small enough to fit into our BBQ oven. We will be having Christmas lunch today with Lady Carolina, Exodus and Dazzler.

It was a very enjoyable day with lots of food, wine and good company.

22nd December - Yesterday we motored 9nm to La Cruz de Huanacaxtle (also known as La Cruz) which is further inside Banderas Bay. There is a large, open anchorage in front of the town which is popular for cruisers who do not want or need to be in the nearby marina. We are currently anchored here with about 40 other boats.

Welcome to the Mexican Riveria! Palapa restaurants line the beach at Punta de Mita.

19th December - Just arrived Punta de Mita, Banderas Bay. There are a couple of surf breaks around the point.

14th December - After a very enjoyable visit to San Blas we departed forChacala, approx 23nm. We thought we had survived the no-see-ums and really didn't see many mosquitoes. However, as we motored out of the bay we realised we had a horde of no-see-ums hiding in the cockpit. They particularly liked the dark blue cockpit cushions, black carpets, the anchor box, rags, cockpit floor and a pair of wet black socks. The next 1/2 hour was spent getting rid of them.

Chacala - We dropped anchor in the bay and this time we also put out our stern anchor to hold our bow into the swell. This makes for a comfortable nights sleep as the Pacific swell rolls in. I am sure we are going to get plenty of practice putting out stern anchors.

Chacala is delightful. It is tropical and green with lush vegetation and coconut palms lining the golden sand beach.

It's green! A welcome change after the Baja desert.

The Pacific swell rolls in on a calm day.

After checking in with the Port Captain we spent the day strolling around the village and along the beach. We stopped at one of the Palapa Restaurants on the beach and Craig ordered an Octopus Cocktail. He was surprised when he got exactly what he asked for.

Tender chunks of octopus in a cocktail!

Friday 13th - La Tovara Jungle Tour - Steve & Tim organised a panga for our party of 10 to take us on the tour, stop at the La Tovara Spring and visit the Crocodile Refuge.

This crocodile was the biggest one we saw.

La Tovara Spring - we enjoyed lunch and a swim here

We caught the local bus into San Blas and after a quick stock up on fresh produce……..

it was time for ice-cream and/or a cold beer. Ice-cream to the left, cold beers to the right.

After relaxing for a while we walked the short distance to see the ruins of San Blas.

A brief history of San Blas is as follows:

1530 Arrival of Spanish Conquistadors

1768 San Blas officially founded and became the Pacific Naval port of New Spain to support their quest to occupy Alta California. San Blas became a center for ship building and resupplying. The Contaduria, sits on top of the hill Cerro de San Basilio and overlooks the ocean. It was built as both an armed fort and accounting office.

1769 Templo de la Virgen del Rosario church was built. It was in service until 1872.

1810 The Spanish-Mexican war for independence began and the fort was overtaken. After the war San Blas port activities were located further south and today San Blas is a friendly & relaxed village close to good surfing beaches.

Templo de la Virgen del Rosario church

The fort on top of the hill has a commanding view of the Pacific Ocean

The original fort and accounting office was built in 1770, named La Contaduria.

Enlarged photographs show some of the early history of San Blas.

One of the enlarged photographs on display showing the people of San Blas.

Thursday 12th - We departed Isla Isabel at 0600 hours and headed forEnsenada de Matanchen, approx 42nm away on mainland Mexico. Our reason for going there is to do the Jungle Tour and visit the historic town of San Blas. Steve has been here before and he said the only reason he would go back is if Exodus and us wanted to do the Jungle Tour. Dan has sworn never to return! The problem is that this area is known for itsprolificmosquitoes and jejenes, especially at dawn and dusk. Steve said the main problem area is around the beach and once we get into the jungle we can change our clothes and even go swimming at La Tovara Springs.

However he has given us strict survival instructions which are as follows:

Anchor way out in the middle of the bay; keep all hatches and portlights locked; use 100% DEET; wear long pants and long sleeve tops secured with elastic bands around ankles and wrists. When we return to the boat (which must occur well before dusk when the insects begin their feeding frenzy) we must jump into the water with all our clothes on and leave those clothes in a sealed bag in the cockpit before entering the cabin below. Failure to do this may result in an infestation that could take weeks to get rid of. So apart from that…..I can't wait!

Isla Isabelis a volcanic island lying 18 miles off the mainland. It has been nicknamed "Galapagos of Mexico" due to its enormous number of nesting birds and resident iguanas. It is a national park and in 2003 was deemed a World Heritage Site. The anchorage has a rocky bottom with boulders and has a reputation for being an 'anchor eater' having eaten more anchors than any other anchorage in Pacific Mexico. We will tie a trip line to our Rocna anchor to assist us with retrieval if it gets fouled.

After 2 nights at sea we all realise that we can make Isla Isabel by mid afternoon if we motor sail. We all start our engines and straight-line it to the anchorage. Exodus arrive first and Tim is already in the water diving down to check his anchor. Tim can free dive and hold his breath for 2 minutes. When we arrive he swims over and confirms that our anchor is good and that it won't get fouled on any rocks. Dazzler is next, followed by Lady Carolina with Tim diving on their anchors as well. We are all very grateful and impressed with our "Valet Anchoring Service". Thanks Tim!

We were all up early and keen to get on to the island. It was amazing! It is a photographer's paradise. The birds have no natural predators and are used to people walking around them and approaching them without fear of being harmed. The Pacific Mexico Guidebook says that the birds known to nest here include magnificent frigate birds, blue -footed boobies, brown boobies, red-footed boobies, white-tailed tropic birds, Heerman's gulls, sooty terns, and brown noddies.

Dan snapped this shot of Craig. That is a magnificent frigate bird above his head.

Bluey making friends along the way.

Iguanas don't mind visitors either.

I loved this island and the way everything is unspoilt by man. We were very fortunate to have favourable weather conditions as many cruisers are unable to stop here if weather conditions don't allow it or if the fear of losing an anchor is too great. We have spent 4 nights here and enjoyed time on the island and also in the water snorkelling and diving.

Passage from La Paz, (Baja Sur) to Ensenada de Matanchen, (Mainland of Mexico) via Isla Isabel Approx 356nm

This will be the first passage we have done where we are 'buddy boating' with other boats. There will be 4 of us departing La Paz and travelling together. We agree that we will all depart La Paz on Thursday and meet at Playa Bonanza, Isla Espiritu Santo which is 21nm from La Paz. We will anchor out for the night and then on Friday we will start the passage across the Sea. The forecast is favourable with winds from the NorthWest moderate to strong on Friday and we can expect around 15 knots for Saturday and Sunday. We are expecting it to be a 2-3 night passage but hopefully it will be longer with a stopover at Isla Isabel.

0900 Hours - Its Friday and we depart Playa Bonanza. 4 vessels all in a line and within the first hour we have 1 big Ferry that wants to squeeze in between Exodus and us. Steve from Lady Carolina called him on Channel 16 and he said that he could see all of us and that we should maintain course and speed.

When you are this close, you need to be communicating with the Captain of the big ship.

Night Passages - We always do our night watches as 3 hours on and 3 hours off starting at 1800 hours (6pm). Then if we feel tired during the day we will have a rest whilst the other keeps lookout. Dan on Dazzler is a solo sailor and he will be having 20 minute naps and then wake up and have a look around. On Lady Carolina, Carolina will sleep until around 2200 hours (11pm) and then do her shift for as long as she can before handing over to Steve. On Exodus, Tim and Deanne have a 6 hour rotation for 24 hours. 4 different boats and 4 different watch systems. Its all about what works for you.

4th December

Tim's birthday was a good excuse for all the 'Summer in the Northern Sea' cruisers to get together and help him celebrate. It was also a reunion and a farewell as many of us go our separate ways.

Deanne and Tim from Exodus and Susan from Maitairoa

Paul and Carol from Unleashed (left) are also heading over to the mainland.

La Paz

At the dock - Servicing our Spectra Watermaker

One of the most important jobs whilst at the dock has been to service our Spectra Watermaker. We called Bill from Ocean Quest who is the watermaker expert in La Paz and it was decided we needed a new membrane. When we removed the old membrane it showed a date of 2001 which means it has never been replaced since it was installed. We were surprised to see there was black oil inside it and signs of rust. Bill explained to us that the oil has come from 4 stroke dinghy outboards which disperses oil through the water around marinas and the rust has come from one of the original fittings which had started to rust. All fittings were cleaned up or replaced and our Spectra Watermaker system now looks like new. Thanks Bill! Now, we just have to put it all back together. It will be a very important piece of equipment when travelling back across the Pacific next year.

Putting the watermaker back together

We have also learnt a lot about how to maintain it, what to do and what not to do.

The main points are: Use/Flush or Pickle. Use it daily if possible or give it a good run within 3 days, or pickle it. Do not ever put chlorine into the system. Flush through with the pure water you have made. Pre-Filters - Use the proper Spectra filters and not the paper ones. We just added a 20 micron prefilter before the 5 micron prefilter which will ensure the 5 micron prefilter doesn't get blocked too quickly. Rinse filters in pure water. No chlorine ever. Bill showed us what the chemicals do to the plastic fittings and they are very damaging. Avoid whale poo and sea lion poo as it will foul your membrane. If you must use your water maker in a crowded anchorage/marina then do so during the last 2 hours it of an incoming tide. Rule 1. Do not listen to everyone else especially if you have a Spectra WaterMaker. If in any doubt, contact Spectra or RTFM - read the fine manual.

We are now getting readings of 155ppm which is excellent quality water and also our output is now approx 30 litres/hour. All good.

True Blue V 2016