Crossing to Mazatlan on the Mainland

Crossing to the mainland is all about timing. It can be a tranquil thirty hours or a hair-raising, humbling experience. I am willing to wait for the former, however we were lucky and our schedule lined up perfectly for a mellow crossing. We pulled up anchor at 5:00am to snuck out of the anchorage while everyone else was asleep. There was very little wind but we raised the main and jib (wind was 30-40 degrees apparent), to give us a 0.1 or 0.2 knot boost, and settled into the passage making routine.

A bit over an hour into the passage

The seas were flat and throughout the morning about the most excitement came from the books we were reading. Perfect. A couple on C’est la vie, whom we met at Thanksgiving, were a few hours behind us and it was fun watching the AIS to see how fast they were gaining on us. We only ran a single engine while they pushed their monohull a bit harder so they were closing at about 0.3 knots.

Reading from my perch

Calm, so calm seas

The biggest excitement, and entertainment came in the afternoon when we had a special visit from a very playful pod of dolphins. I’m not sure what it is, but I don’t think there is anyone alive that doesn’t get jacked up seeing dolphins.

Best part of the passage!

Around 7:30pm (14.5 hours from Muertos) we crossed the half-way point

We did have a bit of excitement overnight, that goes to show what being tired can do to cognitive ability. Around 1:30 in the morning I recieved a radio call, “Strikhedonia, Strikhedonia, Strikhedonia sailing vessel Say-la-something.” They asked if I was awake and if could see them. Since I had been watching C’est la vie catch up with us all day/night long, and who was about two miles off our stern, I responded that we had them and that there was nothing to worry about. We were also tracking on AIS a cargo ship that was about five miles in front of us but also plenty far away. A few pleasantries and we signed off.

Something odd about the conversation stuck in the back of my mind but I went back to my podcast. A few minutes past before my mind connected the dots…there was a third boat in our proximity!
I began a search and finally spotted them, obstructed by the cargo ship.

They always say that accidents rarely occur because of a single mistake, it is a cascading series of mistakes that lead to disasters. In my case I made two poor assumptions (that I attribute to being tired):
1. Translating “Say-la-something” into “C’est la vie”
2. Thinking since they had my boat name they must have FULL AIS (the only targets were C’est la vie and the cargo ship) dismissing someone could have a receive only AIS

Thankfully without any course adjustments there was still more than a half mile between us when we crossed. A strong reminder that if something doesn’t seem right you have to immediately figure it out before it becomes serious or even deadly.

Sunrise on the second day of the passage

We had a bit of wind and were running ahead of schedule (lots of long lines and fishing bouys around Mazatlan so we wanted to arrive with full sunlight) so off went the engine and quiet sailing prevailed! At least for a few hours.

Mazatlan is sight!

With mellow swells and timing for a high tide arrival we slipped past the break water and into the harbor. Our last surprise was no response from Marina Mazatlan on the radio. Turns out they don’t work on Sundays. But nothing to fear, our friend Isabel on Jolly Dogs piped in and directed us to a nice slip across from them. Wonderful to have cruising friends looking out for you!

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