Our time in Marina Mazatlan simply melted away - not surprising. Goethe would hate it here. Day after day of blue skies and sunshine with temperatures reaching the high 20s and cooling down enough at night to make snuggling in a duvet very pleasant. Each morning is still and birdsong can be heard all around as the mullet’s splash about in the marina fairways. The breeze picks up in the afternoon and dies off again in the evening. A vegetable truck and a fish monger come three times a week to offer us fresh produce and tasty shrimp at reasonable prices. We ride our bicycles about 2 miles to a Walmart grocery store which sells wine and beer at reasonable prices, not to mention many North American products we are used to having. A couple miles in the other direction is an enormous white sand beach that runs several miles. The waves roll along and the sunshine sparkles on the water. At the far end is a delectable seafood restaurant and a block farther a coffee shop that roasts its own beans. Back home our family and friends are enduring snow, rain, sleet, freezing temperatures and expensive produce. The living is so easy here, why would anyone leave? It is, after all, “an endless succession of sunny days”. Was Goethe right when he said that it “vexes the soul”? Perhaps.
|At the southern end of Mazatlan looking toward the "Gold Zone". The island where we initially anchored is to the right.|
Although I had a bad cold for several days and was more or less confined to the cockpit, we have had the opportunity to explore by bicycle and by kayak. Even though the roads are very busy in Mazatlan, often made of bricks or cobblestones and not in the greatest of repair, we have found the Mexican drivers very courteous and patient with cyclists.
|Fantastic papier mache sculptures on the malecon in preparation for Carnivale - note funky pulmonia taxi|
|Sharks being unloaded from a fishing panga in front of the malecon - hammerhead to the right|
We have ridden from one end of this city to the other on streets which wind through the old town as well as the extensive malecon which runs for miles along the beachfront of the city. We’ve kayaked in the massive lagoon system surrounding the marina area where we are docked. Exercise has not been a problem.
|Looking toward the beach in the old part of Mazatlan|
One day we rode our bikes up to Cerritos at the southern end of Mazatlan where we had a wonderful lunch in a lovely palapa.
|Aztec bowl - wow!|
On another day, we stopped at a BBQ fish shack right on the downtown beach and devoured a mesquite smoked red snapper while mariache bands serenaded the customers.
|Slow smoked snapper over mesquite charcoal|
|The musicians wander the beaches|
It hasn’t been all play. Doug has taken the opportunity at Marina Mazatlan's quiet docks to paint the forepeak deck – the beginning of a project to paint the entire deck as our gelcoat has become very thin. He’s dived on the boat to change the zinc on the prop. Both of us clean the boat to keep it looking good and comfortable to live on.
|Under the shade of the boat cover|
There are vexations. We are in a gringo enclave here and miss the local vibe of a Mexican town like La Paz. It's difficult to practise Spanish here. One can feel excluded from the Mexican culture – even the old town of Mazatlan seems “gringo-Ized”. It is not until you ride through the twisted streets around the central market that you get the sense of a Mexican neighbourhood. In La Paz I felt like I was absorbed by the community, here I feel like an affluent appendage. It is safe, bland and boring – a place where one could live out their days without any bother at all. (That's good, right?)
|Immaculate Conception Cathedral in downtown Mazatlan|
We stayed at Marina Mazatlan for a little over a week and then moved over to the El Cid marina nearby.
|Marina Mazatlan - Ka'sala is hidden between the yachts to the right|
Although less expensive, Marina Mazatlan does not have drinkable water and we needed to fill our tanks before continuing on. El Cid is more expensive, but the cost becomes negligible if we fill up with water and stay for a few nights, enjoying the resort facilities included in the price.
|At El Cid - Ka'sala just behind me|
|Marina complex at Mazatlan - El Cid just inside the entrance, Marina Mazatlan further along - lagoon area surrounds|
The marina at El Cid also has a different vibe. There seem to be more transient cruisers here and we have found our social life ramping up again. We have met a couple named John and Sue from Seattle aboard Valkyrie and spent some time with them enjoying their company.
|John and Sue (photo from their blog)|
We have also been reconnected with Anne and Dick aboard Full and By – a couple we originally met on our first cruise down here. There are boats coming and going and each one has a story to tell of where they have been, where they will go, their experiences, hopes and plans. We are gathering a great deal of information and finding it all very interesting.
The resort itself is gorgeous with lovely facilities.
|Ka'sala in front of activity pool|
|Cool pool with caves and water slide|
|Not only people like the hot tub at El Cid - the place is crawling with friendly and colourful iguanas|
Most importantly, however, we have had the chance to visit with our good family friends, Sid and Angie. They have been staying at another of the El Cid resorts and took us out to a lovely steak dinner in an enormous palapa restaurant.
Angie and I also had the chance to explore the market together and find out what exactly is in the bottom of a jug of tequila!
|Can you make out what is on the bottom? It is NOT a worm!|
Tomorrow we will cross the narrow entrance and leave for points south.
|Narrow entrance into the marinas|
We aren’t exactly sure where we will drop our anchor next – it is dependent on weather conditions – but we will go no farther than Punta de Mita, the southern point of Banderas Bay. We have friends coming down to this area from Comox the first week in February, so we will be in the area for a little while.