We left Mazatlan in the afternoon for an overnight sail to Isla Isabel. The anchorage there is not very good for a long stay but it is ok for a few hours allowing for a quick trip ashore. The island is part of the National Park system and is also a World Heritage Site, it is nicknamed the “Galapagos of Mexico” because of its many nesting birds and iguanas. It has no permanent settlement but there is a research station and a few shacks on the beach. These are used by tourists who can book overnight stays. We spent about 2 hours hiking around the island. Thousands of birds; ie-frigates, blue-footed boobies, brown boobies, red-footed boobies, pelicans and many more species, lots of iguanas and tons of bird poop. You need to watch where you step as the Boobies nest right on the ground.
We carried on to San Blas and anchored in Matanchen Bay. This is a very pretty spot except for the Jejenes (Hay – Hay- Nays) AKA noseeums. These small biting bugs show up at sunset and sunrise, if you are not either inside with hatches closed or clothed in long sleeves and pants and covered in bug spray you are fair game for them. We were forewarned so didn’t get too many bites.
We stayed for 3 nights which gave us time to catch up on our sleep, tour San Blas and take in a “Jungle Tour” which is a 3-hour panga ride up the Rio Tovara estuary. It was very cool trip through the mangroves to see birds, fish, turtles, crocodiles, wild orchids and other flora and fauna.
San Blas was established in 1530 and for a very long time was a major shipping and naval center for New Spain. As is the case with many towns San Blas grew and then, as the industry moved to other centres, it has faded back to small town status. There remains a large fort and several churches that are centuries old.
From San Blas it was a short sail to Chacala. Another big beach, it is known for being a little rolly in the anchorage, so its best to set two anchors. One off the bow as the main anchor and another off of the stern so the boat is held facing into the waves. Just an overnight here and then on to La Cruz.
More to come in the next update.