The trip across the Gulf of California was a pleasant one. Our dolphin friends returned to our bow to escort us for part of the way, but other than that it was pretty uneventful. The autopilot worked marvelously for the entirety of the passage and the wind was fair, if a bit gentle. We averaged a good 6 knots per hour.
When we got to Mazatlan we had to anchor outside the marina in the lee of “Dear Island” while we waited for the workers who were dredging the channel to take a break. This was El Tiburon’s first visit to mainland Mexico and from here it was clear just how special Baja had been. The waters in Mazatlan were a mucky brownish green, instead of the clear blue of Baja, and in the air above the buildings hung a pale cloud of similar color.
When we finally got into the marina it was a bustling place with a resort, charter boats coming in and out, and loud music blaring from the booze cruises. As we pulled up to the fuel dock in marina El Cid we were delighted to see Windsong, the Skookum 53 belonging to our friends Laurent and Maja, tied up on the other side. Kitty jumped off our boat and ran to theirs looking for her friends Touline and Mocha, the two puppies that live aboard.
We spent a few days in Marina Mazatlan, just a short dinghy trip away from El Cid. While Marina Palmira in La Paz had clear waters with vibrant schools of fish swimming around all day, the water in this marina was muddy and brown, but also extremely phosphorescent. This luminous property was discovered when someone hawked a loogie off the dock and noticed with awe that each rippling concentric circle glowed a radio-active green. Soon we were all hawking loogies together and enjoying the light show.
Later, when we took our dinghy over to El Cid we saw that our wake glowed brilliantly behind us. Perhaps the dinghy pilot that night (who shall remain nameless) had been entranced by the phosphorescence when he lost control of the tiller and sent one of us overboard while soaking the rest of us. Nobody was hurt, immediately at least, but I understand the effects of radiation exposure can often take a long time to manifest.
The next day we decided to leave Mazatlan and head for Isla Isabella, a small island on the way to Puerto Vallarta often called the “Mexican Galapagos” on account of its wildlife.