From Altata to Mazatlan

Had a fairly uneventful trip from Altata down to Mazatlan, motoring (with some motor sailing) the entire 135 nm in about 26 hours. Because we upped anchor in Altata at about 7:00 am on Monday, so as to make the bar crossing at high slack tide at 9:40 am, we had some time to burn, otherwise we would arrive in Mazatlan in the dark of night. Always wanting to enter new harbors in daylight, we cut the motor back to 1400 rpms and kept the speed under 6 knots as we motored slowly south all day and night long.

There were a few issues during the night. Of most concern was the fact that the Raymarine E80 radar kept cutting out. It would just spontaneously shut down, requiring us to reboot the chartplotters and wait one or two minutes for it to warm up again. The problem became really noticeable as we were trying to make out the entrance to the Mazatlan marina channel and it cut out just at the wrong time. Other than that, my only personal issue was as I had the 3am to 6am watch coming into Mazatlan.

We were still about 15 miles out to sea, a goodly distance, and while I was diddling with the radar, not really paying much attention to where the boat was going, I looked up and saw that I was passing a lone, unlit panga, in the middle of the night, about 15 feet off the port side of the boat! There was a guy in it and he appeared to be struggling to get his motor started and I could just barely make out the light from a feeble flashlight. He had probably been trying to get my attention in the few minutes before we passed with the flashlight, but jeez ... that was close. I shone my spotlight on him as we passed and felt both sorry and angry at him ... the first because he apparently couldn't afford a proper light of some kind, and the second because we almost collided and, like I said, he was 15 miles out to sea and really should not have been out there in an unlit boat at night.

We made the channel early Tuesday morning and tried to raise Marina El Cid, where we had a reservation, on the radio at 7:30 am, but were informed by some folks that the marina office did not open until 8:30. So we motored slowly around to and from Marina Mazatlan, further up the channel, until we pre-emptively decided to take an open end-tie at Marina El Cid at 8:00 am. It was probably a good thing, because the end-tie became our slip for the next nine days!

Once the office opened, we checked in, and returned to the boat. PK went out to check out the grounds, and I took a nap since I had the last watch and had only slept a few hours the previous night.

The hotel/marina, which is different than the "main" El Cid hotel on the strip, is quite nice, with two large swimming pools, a restaurant and a number of bars. There was free wi-fi, which I managed after a stretch to get on the boat, the bathrooms and showers were clean, if a little far away, there was on-premises laundry service, and they also had a free shuttle to the "main" hotel which we used quite a few times to cut down on our taxi costs.

But probably the best thing of all at the El Cid marina is that they staggered the happy hours in their bars so that one went from 3 till 4, another from 4 till 5, and the main bar from 6 till 8 pm. So apart from our on-board supply, one could usually get a pretty good deal (like 2 Coronas for $2.50, etc) on drinks throughout the afternoon and early evening!

Getting to Mazatlan