On the first Sunday morning in June we left Banderas Bay. We motored across the bay to Punta Mita, rounded the corner, made a right in to the Pacific, raised the sails, killed the engine, and headed north. Although exhausting, passages are very special to us. The wind reminds us it is there by filling our sails. The water rushes beneath our hull and sometimes splashes on to the deck. The sun beats down on to us from above. The best seat in the house was on the cabin top in the wind and in the shade of the main sail.
At around 8:30pm (PV time) we saw the moonrise in the east and then the sunset in the west. By 9:30pm it felt as light out at night as it was in the day, the moon’s light offering us excellent visibility. During our dinner in the cockpit we were surrounded by a pod of dolphins that had come over to play in our bow. We were speeding along at 6 knots. Even though it was night, we could see them easily through the clear blue water. In fact, the moon was so bright that at one point that it was keeping me awake as it was shining on to my face through one of our port holes.
Around midnight we were approaching Isla Isabella. The island was surrounded by small lanterns hanging on fishing pangas. Fishermen were out to set their long lines for the night. Although we preferred not to, we had to turn on the motor but did so only after the boat speed dropped to 1.5 knots and we were drifting down on a panga. We engaged the autopilot. Although the autopilot did not work for us that morning or the following afternoon, it did work for us that night and for the next ten hours.
We safely passed Isla Isabella and by 10 the next morning we were able to sail again. It was a beautiful day with 10 knots of wind. The windvane drove the boat beautifully while we relaxed and read books with a frequent scan of the horizon. By the time we could see the islands off of Mazatlan we had entered a current. The boat was barely heeling over and we were zipping along at 7.8 knots sailing close hauled. As we neared the island the wind waves grew from the west and there was swell from the south. And just as we were about to pull a fish on board the wind piped up from 12 knots to 18 knots. Time to reef! Time to pull in the fish! Eeek, what do we do first! We had already pulled the fish almost all the way in and identified it as a bonita. The dark stripes on the side told us that this fish was inedible (click here for our past experience eating a bonita). Get the pliers! I handed Conor the pliers and he expertly lets the fish free. We reef the jib, and Conor goes on deck to reef the main while I steer. No passage is worth it’s salt without just a little excitement!
We scoot behind Isla de Venados (Deer Island), decide not to anchor, and head back out to the ocean side of Pajaro Island and back in to Marina El Cid. The first hook of the entrance is rolly but spring tides are in effect and the depth in the channel read north of 20 feet (almost double normal depths). I was especially glad that we made it in safely when I heard that another boat went on the rocks when trying to enter the channel recently.
Marina El Cid was happy to have us. It is the low season for tourists here so although the office was closed, the security guards recognized us from our February stay, got us a slip right away and jumped to help us tie up. We were tied up in our slip by 9:45pm, put the boat away, had dinner, and went straight to bed!