Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Heading South to Matanchen Bay

One of the many Shrimpers
 We had "semi-eventful" 131 nautical mile sail south from Mazatlan to Matanchen Bay. Our trip began with a lovely sunset and we kept an alert nightwatch for the numerous shrimpers reeling in their catch. In the wee hours as the sun rose, Spark took his walk around the deck, and we enjoyed a dolphin performance with our morning coffee.

Don't look down Spark, just pee!
 All very serene, until a few miles east of Matanchen Bay when we had to gingerly maneuver around dozens of fishing long-lines that threatened to snare El Tiburon. Darrell did a good job of alternating sailing and motoring through them, and only once did we have to use our boat hook to release a line in order to preserve the fisherman's livelihood. More kudos to Darrell, his handiwork on the mast continued to hold securely. However, the straps at the top of the headsail failed and suddenly we had a mass of white dacron bellowing across the deck and over the rails. After hours of skirting shrimpers and panga fishing lines, dodging frolicking whales, and hauling in the heavy damp foresail we arrived safely to our destination in time for a nap, lunch at a local palapa, and a stunning sunset.

Matanchen Bay Sunset
Matanchen Bay is located on an estuary that lies a few miles from the town of San Blas. The village is lined with several palapa restaurants, and is home to dozens of panga fishermen. In my mind, estuaries in Mexico, while lush and beautiful, are equated with crocodiles( didn't see any) and swarms of jejenes or "no-see-ums" (felt them).

An early morning panga fisherman using a handline
 After two peaceful days filled with bug screens and thick morning fog, we pulled up our hook and headed further south in search of clear blue water and warm skies. This is getting to be a recurring theme isn't it?

Morning fog, yes FOG

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