Saturday, January 28, 2012


The Mexican mainland coast south of Puerto Vallarta and Bandares Bay is called the Costalegre, which can translate as the happy or light-hearted coast.  Our experience, exactly, since we have found the living - and the sailing - to be easy here. The water is warm, the winds are light and steady, the days sunny and hot, and the evenings cool. There are a chain of good anchorages, close enough together so that the passage from one to the next is an easy daysail. The seas have been calm, allowing us to set the spinnaker and make long downwind stretches under sail. Once at anchor, we swim off the stern, and enjoy gentle evenings and mornings.

Most of our anchorages have been adjacent to small Mexican towns, but we had one memorable anchorage off the community of Careyes, where our crew member Doug has family. Careyes was built by Italians, and mimics resorts along Italy's coast, with homes and hotels hanging off the steep shore. We anchored among tall rock outcrops, and rowed to shore through the surf to enjoy lavish hospitality.

In this calm, sunny stretch of ocean, we have had clear views of whales, sea turtles, and a range of dolphins and fish. Mac had one memorable tug of war when he caught a big fish. It took him twenty minutes of hard work to reel the fish in so that we could identify it as a Crevalle Jack - not good for eating, but a beautiful fish nonetheless. We have high hopes that we will catch something we can eat soon!

A week out of Bandaras Bay, we pulled into Barra Navidad, where Doug - very reluctantly - jumped ship and returned to Seattle. He was great crew, and also lucky, as the Costalegre has easily been the most pleasant, scenic, and warmest stretch of sailing in all of our travels on Indigo.

Note - there are new photos posted on Flickr. Click on the link to the right that says "Photos from Indigo's Crew".

Friday, January 20, 2012

El Otro Lado....

We have crossed over from the Baja Peninsula to the Pacific Coast of Mexico. The crossing from San Jose del Cabo to Mazatlan - about 160 miles - was easy with great stargazing early in the night passage, and a moon rising about midnight that resembled an orange section.  The light just before dawn, near Mazatlan, illuminated the sails so gently.

After a few days moored in Mazatlan, our longtime friend and sailing companion, Doug Bayley joined us. Reunited, we sailed south and east to San Blas, the historic home port of the Spanish Pacific fleet. These days, San Blas is a small, but vibrant coastal fishing town, but once it was the starting point for Spanish exploration that ranged as far north as Sitka, in what is now Alaska.

While tied up in San Blas, we hiked up the high hill where the Spaniards built their fort and garrison. The photo above is the interior of the church that was part of the garrison. It was first built in 1769; the stonework stands nearly untouched.

This mainland coast of Mexico is dramatically different than the Sea of Cortez.  Vegetation is lush; the vegetation along the shore is jungle, with palms and mangles. We are moving south quickly, now located at La Cruz in Bandares Bay,  and ready to set sail towards Barra Navidad.  We are in expedition mode with a great crew of three.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Perfect Crew

We have just finished up a week of travel with the perfect crew. We might be biased, and we might have made this claim before. Regardless, our son Sam and his wife Kate seem like the perfect crew on Indigo. They are continually cheerful and enthusiastic, they fit in the rather small forward veeberth, and they are undaunted by wind and heavy seas.

With them, we sailed from La Paz on New Year's Eve, traveling to Ensenada Grande on Isla Partida.  Fair weather and light winds made great conditions for hiking to the high, eastern ridge of the island.

Calm mornings allowed kayaking in the shallow water, which was an amazing green color.

The true mettle of all four crew members was tested by our passage down the East Cape of the Baja Peninsula, with stops at Bahia de los Muertos and Los Frailes. We were blessed with northerly winds at our backs, but the seas were boisterous, and the wind stayed in the 15 to 20 knot range. We made good speed using only the jib.

The high point of the trip was off Punta Colorado, when we hooked a big fish. The Captain has been taking advice from trusted cruising friends, and has geared up for open ocean fishing. This was our first trip with fishing gear out, so it was a learning experience to hook and bring in the fish....made more difficult by the brisk 18 knot breeze over the stern, so that we couldn't slow the boat below 4 knots. Mac and Sam persisted, and netted the beautiful fish - a twenty inch tuna we identified as a Mexican bonito, which is not great to eat, so the guys released it. From that point, the excitement abated, as we sailed to the anchorage at Los Frailes, and then on to Los Cabos, where we had to say goodbye to our perfect crew.