Loading Map

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Isabela to San Blas

We're anchored in the river estuary of San Blas for the first time ever. We've always avoided this stop because it's known for terrible no-see-ums, but we were low on provisions and decided to brave it anyway. We departed Isla Isabela at sunrise Tuesday and had a very gentle downwind sail all the way here. I guess I should mention that we covered 41 nautical miles in nine and a half hours. Our previous trip from Mazatlan to Isabela was 89 nm in 18 hours, which includes the hour and a half that we drifted waiting for the sun to rise.

We enjoyed our stay at Isabela and after a morning nap we took advantage of some of the clearest water in Mexico to go for a snorkel. We swam over to the area in between two striking rock formations which jut out of the water and found good numbers of all the usual suspects. The most notable aspect of the snorkel was how much bigger than normal the fish were. Even the Moorish Idols were good-sized.

Above water the bird life was fantastic. The island was covered in a dense thicket of some kind of sturdy leafy bush on which birds perched. Blue-footed boobies took cover in the shade of the thicket at the top of the beach. But most of the birds soared overhead, probably keeping cool in the thermals since they didn't appear to be doing any fishing. A couple of male frigates had inflated their red pouches and I saw a juvenile practice plucking a nesting stick from the water's surface. But I think we were too early for the actual nesting season.

Our stay was made more comfortable by the deployment of our rocker stopper and by the knowledge that our anchor was firmly buried in a sandy part of the bottom. It's a forbidding looking anchorage with waves breaking on rocks to either side and the alternative anchorage, while calmer, has an even rockier bottom which has been known to "swallow" anchors. Two boats arrived later in the afternoon but after taking a look at both anchorages they elected to continue on their separate ways, one to Mazatlan and one to San Blas. We're happy that we decided to give it a try since it turned out to be much nicer than its initial imposing impression.

Unfortunately I don't think we can say the same about San Blas. Thanks to coordinates from another boat we had a safe crossing of the bar entrance and are anchored in a shallow river across from the marina. But the mangroves are host to no-see-ums which bite day and night whether you are imprisoned below in your heavily screened boat, or sitting in the town square. Panga fishermen roar up and down the river all day and all night, so it isn't what you could call peaceful. We will spend another night here to make our exit on a high tide tomorrow morning, bound for Chacala, about 20 miles away.

John has been fishing on our passages but has only come up with black skipjack in the very warm waters (around 85 degrees). He often has them up to the boat and off the hook before Ziggy has a chance to get out to the cockpit to see what's going on. Poor Z is then left sniffing the air, wondering what happened to his dinner.


{GMST}21|32.566|N|105|17.721|W|San Blas|San Blas{GEND}