Back in Vancouver for Christmas

We had a great time with our inland trip to Copper Canyon and now its time to get boating again. At least for a little while. We left Topolobampo and did a 128 nautical miles overnight sail along with Salish Dragon to Altata. Altata is located at the head of a 15-mile-long, shallow, inlet which requires a bar crossing. This does not mean you have to walk to the other side of the room to order your drink, but rather, you must time your entry into the channel with the tides so that the water flowing out is not pushing up against a tide rising and trying to get in. This results in steep and dangerous waves we would prefer to avoid.

Obligitory name sign

We anchored right off the public launching ramp and dock, it was a convenient spot to say the least. It is a cute town that is trying to attract more tourists but just hasn’t got there yet. Ton’s of restaurants and a nice Malecon but hardly anyone there. We spoke with Charlie at his restaurant, very good by the way, he is trying to get the word out to more cruisers to come to his town to check it out. Apparently, they don’t see very many of us up that way.

Altata is know for their unique shrimp fishing fleet. They use small boats, usually equipped with sails and set up throughout the bay. They basically let the wind drift them sideways through the bay dragging nets from poles extended off the bow and stern of the boat. Both, interesting to see and navigate through as there can be several hundred out at a time

Sail powered shrimp boat

After a couple of days, it was time for the 120 nautical mile overnighter to Mazatlan.  On December 15 we arrived in Mazatlan at the El Cid Resort and enjoyed 5 days of hanging around the pool, shopping trips to Sam’s Club, Walmart, Galleria Mall and exploring old town Mazatlan.  It was fun catching up with cruising friends we had not seen since last season and meeting some new ones.

December 20th, we flew back to Vancouver to spend Christmas with the family. We were only back for 10 days so we packed a ton of visiting in each day. It was a whirlwind trip but fun all the same.

Lights at Lafarge Lake

December 30 saw us flying back to Mazatlan. I have decided airlines are crazy. We could fly from Mazatlan to Vancouver direct but in order to get from Vancouver to Mazatlan at a reasonable price we had to fly from Vancouver to Seattle to LA then to Mazatlan. Starting with a 6am flight which meant being at the airport at 4am. Not what I call a fun day, but all luggage was accounted for so not too bad.

We rang in the New Year at the resort. They had a big party with a live band, dancing and full plated dinner so a group of a dozen of us cruisers booked tickets and had a fun night.  We managed to stay up past midnight to ring in the New Year and enjoy the fireworks.

Dancing show at New Years eve party

A couple of days later a group of us took a local tour to the quaint little town of El Quelite. It included stops along the way to a tequila factory, rooster farm (bred as fighting birds ☹) and a leather factory. We had lunch in a cool open restaurant with trees growing all through it, live roosters and dogs  walking about. Its fun to see something a little different that the usual tourist destinations.

Blue Agave plants before they are tequila
Cooking tortillas
Rooster in the restaurant but not on the menu
El Quelite church

Now we are on the move again. Currently we are anchored in Chacala. It’s a beach town stop on our way to Banderas Bay.  We almost had to skip coming into Chacala. Just at daybreak, 30 miles out from the bay, we encountered long line fishing lines. There were miles and miles of floats that were spaced out every 100 metres or so, difficult to see in the swell. The floats are connected to nets that are weighted down and the floats are also connected by a line between each one. I think we spent about three hours zig zagging trying to find an end. Twice we came across a panga with fishermen who actually cut the line and pulled in their nets so we could pass through.  We thanked them with a cold cerveza. Many boats get caught up in these types of nets and I’m sure its only a matter of time before we do too. They are impossible to see at night. All you can do is wait for daylight and get in the water with a knife to cut the net away.  Quite often the fishermen are nearby and will come and help get you free because they want minimal damage done to their nets as well.

Helpful fishermen
Chacala from the boat
Lava rocks at the far end of the beach
Stray Cat at anchor
Chacala street

We’ve got Megan, Martin and Lukas coming for a 10-day visit arriving on the weekend. We will split our time between La Cruz and Paradise Village.  Should be fun.

Stay tuned.

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