Mazatlan to Chacala     

After a couple of days Greg got over his Turista.  He finally had to resort to antibiotics since it seemed to be getting worse.  Since the symptoms started to get better by the second dose, when I started to have the slightest cramping I also started antibiotics.  You probably don't want all the details, but I got off easy and Greg had a quick recovery after modern medicine intervened.

We were finally off to Isabela.  We left around 8pm and planned to motor through the night and get to the Island in the late morning.  It was uneventful except for the amazingly warm flat water.  Who can mind night watches in this weather?  well, come to think of it - after I haven't had much sleep, I can, I get cranky.  But if I've had a little sleep and can keep myself awake - the nights and stars are amazing!!!

So as we get closer, around 10 or 11 the next morning, we start to see the island up close and there is a moving haze flying around the island of frigate birds.  They continued this the entire time we were there - the outline of the island was constantly moving with flying birds.

The anchorage leaves a lot to be desired but we had gotten there at the start of a calm couple of days, so protection wasn't a big deal.  But the bottom...oh the bottom...shudder.  After 3 times anchoring and basically wrapping our chain around a rock instead of setting it - once Greg had to break out the scuba gear to free our chain from a crevice.  We finally just snagged a bit of pebbly stuff and decided to call it set.  Since it was calm, we though it would be fine, but I do remember getting up a number of times through the night.  After a snorking session and lots of motoring around sniffing out a good spot we realized there is really only 1 good spot just under Las Monas that has sand.  It's big enough for one boat.  And another boat was already in it.  Luckily the next morning we watched that boat up anchor and move on.  So we upped anchor and grabbed the sweet spot.  The snag a rock type of anchoring just doesn't settle well with us :-)

    This was taken before we moved to the sweet spot.  Shortly after this photo we moved more behind Las Monas to the sand.

  Isabela shore

  fish camp in the South Cove where we landed the dinghy.

  Iguana hanging out on a rock.  These guys were scurrying all over the island also.

The island was amazing.  Frigate birds would look down at you with curious eyes, but not move when you even walked within feet of their nests.  And you can't help but do that since they are nesting EVERYWHERE>  The trails literally walk under trees with 6-7 nesting frigate birds in them.  

  Frigate Bird  

The trail leads up a cliff to where the boobie birds nest.  

   Brown Boobie

    Isla Isabela from high on the hilltop.

  Playful Boobie.  This little guy kept hiding behind this pole and peeking around at us as we were walking toward him.  He never moved, as we walked by, he just stayed by his pole looking at us.

  Mama and baby boobie

  Adolescent Boobie

  Greg Boobie - In order to make the blue footed boobies more comfortable Greg tried walking like a boobie and quacking like a boobie.  It seemed to work!!!

   Gossiping Boobies

   Blue Footed Boobies.  Whenever I see their eyes, I sing the song " Look into my eyes" from Jungle Book, you know when the snake is hypnotizing the boy...  

   Zen Frigate.  There was about 5-6 Frigates in another section  who were also in this pose.  I didn't want to walk over to take their picture for fear of breaking their Zen moment.  But it really did look like they were meditating...

After more snorkling, we decided to head to San Blas where we anchored in Mantanchen Bay since it's usually cooler on the water and when we leave Matey on the boat, we feel more comfortable knowing she has a cool boat to hang in.

   Sunset in San Blas

  The first thing we did was check in with the port captain - took only 10 minutes...

  Serious fishing boats. Notice how they aren't tied up to a dock, just crammed against each other.  But makes a cool photo.

   Greg in the ruins

   Central Mercado

   Greg shopping

   Drinking coconuts

We spent a day and a half here hitching a ride into the city.  we were told that's just how things are done here by a couple of other cruisers.  But it is Greg and I we are talking about.  Neither of us had done that before so it took us walking for a couple of kilometers and the road shoulder narrowing to about the width of a foot before we built up the courage to lift our thumb.  It just felt weird.  Luckily we got lucky both ways and some nice guy took us in and later another nice fellow took us back.

The town was very cute, but very buggy.  We didn't have much of a problem with noseeums, but there were gnats and flies and those big moth things that are about 3 inches long.  They always seem to find my head to land on.  In Isabela a huge one came on the boat and after a lot of screaming from both of us, I grabbed the 409 and started squirting him.  At first he was stunned, but then he became super bug and was walking into the stream as I was spraying.  I finally came to my senses and grabbed a shoe.  I sure hope he wasn't protected under the bird sanctuary preservation, he sure was big enough.

Anyway, the shady side of our boat was constantly covered in little tiny flies.  So when the Norther was forecasted to give us a little window to get to Chacala, we took it with a couple of other boats.

Unfortunately it was a motoring trip, hardly a breath of wind and it was forecasted to be 15-20...

   Motor to Chacala

   Just as we were heading into the cove, we hooked a nice yellow fin tuna.  Here Greg is telling the fish how much he loves it...

  Here the fish is trying to get back at Greg...

But we made it in early to once again get the sweet spot.  We got tucked in close to the panga dock and set our bow and stern anchor.

This was the first anchorage where it was obvious the charts were way off and our charts didn't have a zoom to correct it close in.  Fortunately our guidebook gives significant waypoints and it was daylight.

   Where our GPS says we are....  Don't worry mom, we aren't really anchored on the land...  But in our tracking, you can see the little blip where we headed out to pull in our fish.

   Here's proof, we're the second boat from the right.


This place is great.  We are finally in a mode of realizing that we are really at all these wonderful places we've been reading about for years.  It's so hard to believe.  And they are as wonderful as we had imagined.  Chacala is about the coolest place we've been so far.  There is a Norther blowing out in the Sea, winds are up to 30 kts, we can see the whitecaps outside the cove.  But here inside the cove, we have a nice gentle land breeze blowing off the shore.  It's like we are in a protected oasis.  We've already walked literally everywhere in this little town which has one main cobble street and a couple of dirt side streets.

  Beautiful old house...

  Beautiful Chacala...

  Roosters and Chickens run free here.  I was prepared for all kinda drama when Matey saw this, but she couldn't care less.  She's so past birds...  She's on to fish now....

   relaxing with a Pacifico

  Christmas Spirit, still hard to believe it's less than a week away.

  All throughout town you see these huge gorgeous mansions right next to some of the poorest houses.

  The video arcade in Chacala...

   Pinata fun...

But it is very relaxing here, not sure yet how long we will stay...

   Pacifica resting in the sunset.