What to expect

Rants, missives and occcasional updates about where Masquerade is located and what we are up to.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Back To The Baja

Masquerade is now anchored at Isla San Francisco, a small island about 45 miles north of La Paz.

We enjoyed our visit in Altata and met some nice people there. We met a family that owns one of the beach restaurants. Only the daughter, a young woman named Wendy spoke English, and my Spanish is really bad. She said that she would like to see the boat, and we told her we would happy to show it to her. The next afternoon I was swimming of the boat, cleaning some growth of the bottom, when Cindy told me we had company. I climbed back aboard to find 3 pretty young ladies in the cockpit. Wendy came out with two friends (Diana and Dulce), ferried out in a cousin's panga. We had a nice visit, with Wendy acting as interpreter. She invited us to join her and her family for dinner that evening. We accepted and met them that evening at the restaurant. They insisted that we pull the dinghy across the road and into the open-air restaurant (it has wheels) so that it would be safe. We then walked over to a brother's house where they had a BBQ going to make Carne Asada. We had dinner with around 17 extended family and friends. Wendy again had to act as interpreter as only one other person spoke a little English. We had a pleasant evening and the Spanish/English dictionary got a lot of use. We hope to get back this way soon.

We had a long passage across the Sea of Cortez. We wanted to sail and not motor so the crossing took at least an extra 24 hours. We had light winds and winds from the wrong direction most of the time. We went from drifting with the spinnaker in 4kn of wind to reefed sails and 25kn in about 2 hours. We did end up motoring some as it was taking a long time. From here we will probably visit La Paz then head to the northern part of the Gulf of California.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Off the Beaten Path

We finally left Mazatlan! After leaving the marina we spent 2 weeks in the Old Harbor. The anchorage there is close to the historical district of Mazatlan, and is walking distance to the plazas and Mercado. We met up with some friends the Northwest (V'Ger) that we had not seen in 2 years, and another boat we met in Ensenada (Momo). We hiked up the lighthouse, which is the highest lighthouse in the americas. Great view of the harbor and Mazatlan. We had a brief stop at Venados (Deer) Island, then headed north to Altata. Altata is a small town about 120 miles from Mazatlan. The town was first visited by cruisers in 2001, and is not listed in most cruising guides. Information has started to be passed around so now perhaps a dozen boats a year come in, compared to hundreds that go through Mazatlan. There are no good charts to the bay and it is very shallow with an entrance that can be scary, so having information from previous boats was very helpful. We were welcomed in by a pod of dolphins. We are the only cruising boat here and probably the only gringos as well. Everyone seems friendly, and I think we are a bit if a novelty. The Port Captain spoke english and was very friendly, he told me that Altata was a busy commercial port back in the 1800's but a hurricane hit in 1911 and altered the harbor, closing the old entrance and creating a new one 10 miles south of town. The new shallower entrance caused the commercial traffic to stop. We are anxious to get out and do a little exploring, also the water here in the estuary is around 76 degrees so we can do some swimming without being too cold.