three hulls, two people, one trip around the world…

Mazatlán – Mexico

At Mazatlán there is the old harbour and 7 miles further north the Marina District. In between there are a few islands whith good anchoring ground. Before we arrived in the bay, we had a little mishap with a fishing line. We saw a buoy with a black flag and a little further on a plastic bottle on the water. Between those two was probably a fishing line and we manoeuvred to avoid it. Only quite late did another plastic bottle appear, a good distance away. By then it was already too late to change course. Unfortunately, all three floats were connected and a line wrapped itself around our bow. The only thing left to do was to cut it! This far out and in 50 m water depth, it was probably an abandoned line system that had floated there from somewhere.

We anchored for 2 nights off the island of Lobos before heading to the marina “El Cid”. You have to be careful at what tide level you enter, the current also plays a role and the dredger that dredges the entrance every day. Mathias first scouted out the situation with the dinghy. Early in the morning proved to be a good time and the drive in and mooring were done without problems. The marina is right at the beginning of a channel/harbour system. Further back there is the Marina Mazatlán, further away from the centre and the main road.

The Marina El Cid offers everything one wishes for. It is part of a resort and you can use the two swimming pools and the restaurants. There is an fitness room and a bus stop right in front of the premises.

The bus goes directly to the old centre and there is a Soriana supermarket on the way. The showers are good and get warm after a while (at least in the ladies showers). Sailors’ paradise. Mazatlán offers one more special feature: Pulmonias. These are small open taxis that look like a bloated golf caddy, but with an internal combustion engine. They are actually only allowed to drive 40 km/h, but they keep up with the normal car traffic. The ride in these taxis is not expensive. We quickly found out that the ride between the marina and the centre should not cost more than 150 pesos. We usually took the bus into town and to the market and took a Pulmonia taxi on the way back.

Mazatlán has a lot to offer. In the pictures you can see the Catedral Basilica de la Inmaculada Concepcion, the central market and a square (Plazuela Machado) near the cultural centre, where there are nice little restaurants in the shade where you can have a bite to eat – as long as the pigeons don’t give you a treat from above, as happened to Mathias. The market offers a lot: handicrafts that seem rather touristy, fruit and vegetable stalls full to bursting, meat and fish stalls. There was even half a cow on one counter.

Twice we visited the restaurant in the marina. They have a buffet from 5 pm in the afternoon. Not only is the hot food very good and tasty, there is also a dessert buffet with various little cakes and other delicacies. I tell you, those were two delicious evenings, but we rolled back towards the boat each time. You shouldn’t do that too often. The second time, we wanted to get some exercise after dinner, but only made it as far as the rocking chairs in front of the harbour basin. That had to be enough motion to aid the digestion 😉

In the lobby of the resort, excursions to the surrounding area were offered. We booked one of them. Without much knowledge of Spanish, booking tours or organising them is not easy, so we preferred to use this service. We were supposed to visit a tequila distillery and a small town with a saddlery in the countryside.

On the way, the tour bus drove past a local cemetery. There were mausoleums that looked like small holiday homes and were far better maintained than the houses in the surrounding villages. At the cemeteries, families meet for celebrations and spend a lot of time together. So the cemeteries are rather meeting places for the living and the dead than places of mourning and rest for the dead.

The second curiosity was a farm for fighting cocks. Whole fields dotted with small triangular huts. A rooster lived in each hut. Obviously the spacing was big enough, because no one was fighting in the field. If you want to choose three roosters here, you choose 6 and let them compete against each other. The winners are taken away.

What is one to make of that? At least they are not shredded…..

Our first stop on the tour was one we didn’t know what to make of either. A farm where horses were taught to dance. The animals are housed in small stables. They are put under the shower once a day and have to perform dance moves there. More advanced horses are ridden to dance. Cruelty to animals? Or no worse than riding horses in small stalls? I don’t know much about keeping horses, but I usually think that all horses that can’t get a similar run as the horses of our neighbour in Alvesen are somehow poorly off. Anyway, the horses don’t dance to the music, but start moving on command. They are not on this farm all the time, but only visit it for a few years for training. We left the farm with mixed feelings.

The tequila distillery was not allowed to call it’s product “Tequila”. Some copyright dispute. We couldn’t quite understand why. Our tour guide spoke English but with a Spanish accent and at a Spanish speaking rate. Every fifth word was “amigo”. You couldn’t follow everything because he was talking non-stop. So anyway, on the (non-) tequila farm, blue agaves are grown until they are ready to be harvested at about 8 years old and an alcoholic drink is made from them. The farm belongs to the Osuna family, and the drink is then called “Los Osuna” instead of Tequila and bears the addition “100% Agave Azul”. There are actually only 3 varieties: “Blanco”, “Reposado” and “Anejo”. Blanco is very fresh tequila, Reposado was in wooden barrels for a few months and Alejo was in wooden barrels for years and has taken on the taste of the wood. Then there are a few varieties that are diluted with other flavours. They have less alcohol content, there are for example vanilla, lime and cinnamon. At the end of the tour, we could try the tequila. As it was still morning, I preferred to try the vanilla tequila with less alcohol content. But it still tasted of alcohol – not to our taste.

Next stop was La Noria, a small town in Sinaloa, the state around Mazatlán. Here we visited a saddlery where, apart from saddles and bags, mainly sandals were made. In a restaurant in town, we had lunch, fajitas with either beef or chicken. We were allowed to make the salsa ourselves in a mortar. The food was good, but I still can’t get excited about Mexican cuisine. Maybe that’s because instead of beans and bread, I prefer rice and fruit in an Asian-European fusion cooking style. South American fruit salsas have enriched our cuisine, though.

The tour took place on Mathias’ birthday. Mathias and our son Lukas have the same birthday, so until the end of November no one thinks about Christmas or Advent.

Mathias also had a round birthday. We had his cake later, however, as we sailed to the other side of the Gulf of California the day after the tour. Action again! 🙂 Now Mathias and I appear the same age again and can moan together about being old enough for the first Senior Citizen discounts.

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