Friday, December 10, 2010

Mantanchen Bay

We are currently anchored in Mantanchen Bay near the quaint, historic town of San Blas on the mainland coast of Mexico. The shore nearby is lined with palm trees and thatched roof palapa huts and restaurants. The scene is like that of a tropical travel brochure’s cover.

After leaving the marina at San Jose del Cabo we made a 45 hour crossing of the Sea of Cortez to the tiny island of Isla Isabel, south of Mazatlan. The passage included some great sailing and two very dark, moonless nights on the water. The winds were so favorable that we gave serious thought to having to slow “Blue Rodeo” down so as not to arrive before sunrise on the third morning. The island is surrounded by reefs and rocks and the anchoring there can be challenging, even in the light of day. A number of fishermen camp on the island and work the waters around it with their nets that hang suspended just below the surface, adding to the navigational hazards.

We spent two wonderful days at the island snorkeling in the crystal clear water and marveling at the constant air show being put on by millions of sea birds. Frigates and colorful-footed boobies inhabit the island and are unbothered by the few human visitors that venture there. Our hike ashore was quite a thrill as we were able to approach within just feet of birds as they sat guarding there eggs. The skies overhead were filled with diving, circling and swooping birds. The strange and exotics sounds heard made us feel like we’d come ashore in “Jurasic Park”. While at the Island, we watched the arrival of “Buena Vista” another cruising boat that was previously owned by our good friends Lee and Nancy from Ventura, California. It was great fun getting to know it’s new owners, Don and Debbie who are on their way across the Pacific to New Zealand.

Yesterday’ s 40 mile sail to the mainland was about as good as can be with clear skies, a warm wind a and nearly flat seas. Mark sailed the whole way shirtless in just a pair of board shorts. What a change from the sailing in British Columbia just a few months ago. While underway, our course slowly converged on another boat that seemed headed toward our destination. Even from a distance, Mark recognized the boat to be some exotic, high performance design so our competitive instincts to hold and a “race was on”. Mark spent the next few hours constantly adjusting the shape of our sails trying too eek out another 1/10th of a knot or two of boat speed. It was great fun but, alas, the mystery boat slowly gained ground on us and arrived ahead of us at the anchorage. Anne continued to express her disappointment , although somewhat in jest, at our performance. When we entered the anchorage and got a better look at our competitor, we were somewhat relieved to see that it was a new, cutting-edge design that was 5 to 10 feet longer that “Blue Rodeo”. We felt vindicated that we’d given her a run for her money.

After anchoring in Mantanchen Bay, we spotted “ Buena Vista” once again and invited Don and Debbie over for dinner. The evening concluded with good food and company followed by gentle rocking as we slipped into bed for the night.


  1. Greetings. Remember El Tiburon from MBYC? You two are looking well. We are at Costa Baja in La Paz for the holidays and will "cross to the other side" the first of the year. We plan on being in Tenacatita-Barra De Navdid for February, then PV for race week, and back over to the Sea in the spring. Hopefully our paths will cross. Sarah, Darrell, and Sparky

  2. Merry Christmas from the Cold and dark Pacific NW.
    You guys are not missing a thing here.

    Jim and Barb Griffith.