Short Stop on Isla Isabel, the Galapagos of Mexico

We departed Mazatlán around 6:30pm for our 100nm overnight passage to Isla Isabel, which has been called the Galapagos of Mexico. The passage was mostly motorsailing, which isn’t a bad thing since visiting Isla Isabel is only suitable in calm weather due to poor holding over a rocking bottom with patches of sand. We did manage a few hours with the motor off, worth it even though it required lots of sail adjustments and changes.

With a full moon to guide us we should have struck out to the numerous shrimp boats, but evidently not, as we had to make a number of course changes to accommodate them turning towards our track. What a bunch of jack holes.

Helping us spot fishing buoys, the moon shone brightly

Sunrises do not get much more fantastic to this. Damn.

As we approached the island we could make out a couple of boats in the eastern anchorage. We had wanted to be closer to the fishing camp so we cruised on past making way around the southern point.

East anchorage near the pillars

Southern anchorage entrance

There were two other boats already anchored so we did our best to find an acceptable spot. Dropped the anchor, backed down and found we were near the submerged rock marked in our cruising guide. Up she came and after more motoring we squeezed closer to the other boats and found a bit of sand at the edge of the rocks to stick the anchor. Anxious to get ashore we prep’d for some hiking by loading up water (it was hot) and some snacks. Off we headed in the dinghy to the beach landing by the fishing camp.

Fishing village on southern side of the island

Map of the island

Off we went to explore the north end of the island. It was not obvious how to find the trails so we skirted behind the fishing camp and around a salt pond. That led us to rows of outhouses and eventually up a hill where we located the “orange” trail. Maybe it was early in the cruising season. Maybe no one hikes to the north end from the south end. But it was a lot of bushwhacking through overgrown brush, swiping away spider webs, and backtracking after losing the trail. Just the kind of adventure I love.

After returning to the boat famished, we had some lunch and set in for some relaxation time. There was some snorkeling, floating, cocktailing, and fishing to fill out the remainder of the day. I have to come clean on the fishing. I caught an okay fish, got it back to the boat and was attempting to cut the gills when swoosh off it slipped in the water. Damn it to hell. Dinner lost we had to revert to our previously caught supply.

Interesting geology, another great place to watch the sunset

The next morning wanted to see the sunrise from the radio tower where a lot of blue footed boobies nest. We didn’t quite make it in time but still managed to be impressed with the views, and more so, the vast number of nesting boobies who would let you get within a few feet. The biggest treat was a momma sitting on her day old hatchling who stood up to scare us away. Seeing this little guy up close and so tiny was a special moment. However, I didn’t stick around long since I was worried the momma would fly away and leave the little one.

What would a hike be without more excitement? Rather than take the easy red path that we took up I decided to follow the full red trail loop. It started easy enough, following the ridgeline, but at time went on the grass and bushes filled in and it became hopping over waist deep vegetation, hoping snakes weren’t hiding under our feet. Definitely a challenging route with zero trail. We finally came into view of the research buildings and a small trail eventually developed as we got close to the buildings.

Back to the boat we readied to depart and by 10:00 we were on our way. The next day we all kind of looked at each other and asked, “Why did we rush off?” I mean it was super amazing. We had time. The weather was good. Hell, before leaving Mazatlán I had said that we should ever leave fun for fun – but that is exactly what we did. That was really dumb.

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