Monday, December 23, 2013


Crossing to MazatlanAfter sailing 2,000 miles in the past 3 months, Kathryn and I had yet to complete an overnight passage by ourselves. The 175 mile trip from the coast of Baja across the Sea of Cortez to Mazatlan was our first. We downloaded our weather data, practiced what we learned in our weather courses, and came up with a good forecast for our crossing. We sailed with our buddy boat (Bill & Sandy on Wavelength) and the trip was just about perfect. We had 12 - 17 knot winds and moderate waves on the beam that made for a very quick and pleasant trip.

Sunrise on the overnight crossing to Mazatlan

Our buddy  boat, Wavelength

I'm always a bit anxious entering a new port for the first time and the charts for the area weren't the best. The entrance channel was narrow, but plenty deep with minimal current, so no problema. The marina gave us good slips and we had access to all the facilities at El Cid resort. El Cid marina was an excellent place for our two week stay in Mazatlan.

El Cid breakwater

El Cid marina - Agave Azul & Wavelength

We spent several days exploring and especially enjoyed the older historic French and Spanish architecture. Near where the photo below was taken is Plaza Machado, known as the cultural center of Mazatlan. While we were in town, Teatro Angela Peralta hosted two performances and we had our choice of Dvorak's New World Symphony or a Flamenco dance company.  The New World Symphony was always a favorite when I was in band & orchestra in high school, but the Flamenco dancers won out, and it was excellent.

Restaurant research

Cathedral in old town

Kathryn did some research to find a Mexican restaurant for Thanksgiving dinner and the one she found was great. Below our waiter at Topolo's preparing the best salsa I've ever tasted; roasted roma and tomatillo tomatoes, roasted serrano chile, juice from the roasted tomatoes, red onion, cilantro, garlic, salt and pepper … yum!

Freshly made salsa

Thanksgiving at Topolo's

We walked almost the entire malecon.  Well not the entire malecon since it runs along the beach for for 21 kilometers, the longest in the world.  We'd heard about the cliff divers and eventually we found them.  If you pay, they will jump!  It wasn't mucho dinero and it was impressive.  It was so windy that day the diver was getting blown around just standing on the railing getting ready.

Mazatlan cliff diver

We see pangas everywhere we go in Mexico and they come in all shapes and sizes.  This photo was taken on a Sunday and they were all parked on the beach, but the smell of fish was strong as we walked by.

Pangas on Bahia Puerto Viejo

Not much graffiti in Mazatlan, just art painted on the walls

We decided to venture out from Mazatlan for a day with our friends on Wavelength so we rented a car and headed for three small towns in the foothills; Concordia, Copala and El Rosario.  The center of all the towns we visited was dominated by a church and all were 300 - 400 years old and beautiful.

San Sebastian church, Concordia

These towns were not serious tourist destinations, so we walked the length of town looking for breakfast. It was Monday, so the few restaurants in town were closed. We finally found a house that also served meals.  The family was eating their breakfast on one side of the room and we were on the other - cool.

Breakfast with Bill & Sandy

Our favorite stop was Copala. Both Concordia and Copala were silver mining towns that thrived until the mines stopped producing in the 1800s. The cobblestone street town was tiny, just one square next to the church with a population of just a few hundred.

San Jose church, Copala

Local transportation for the tourists

Even in the smallest towns, most of the children wear uniforms to school, and the kids don't seem to be too traumatized by their inability to express their clothing individuality.  This enterprising youngster approached us and laughingly asked us for some pesos.  Bill asked him why, and he just laughed again when he couldn't come up with an answer.  So Bill asked him to sing a song for his pesos … and after lots of encouragement from us and his two schoolmates, he did!

Sing for your pesos

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