In Episode 6 – Sailing Mexico – Mazatlan to Puerto Vallarta, we depart Mazatlan harbor and make our way down the Mexican mainland coast.
We explore the wonderfully beautiful island of Isla Isabel. The correct name for this place is, Isla Maria Isabel and it is a National Park of Nayarit. Jacques Cousteau came here a little over 4 decades ago and filmed the frigate birds and blue-footed boobies that were rarely filmed before this.
We beached our dinghy easily and pulled it high up on shore and tied off the painter to a rock. We expected a ranger or someone to come up and introduce themselves, but no one came. We went over to the frigate research station (which was now almost in ruins) and looked around for some official. No one. Wow, this was not what we expected. We have heard that on the islands of the Galapagos, you are watched every second and are not allowed to have any freedom to do what you want. Well, we decided to take a self-guided tour and began to walk up to the cliffs. As we walked up the trail, it was amazing because the frigates and their baby chicks were within inches of us. If we wanted to, we could reach out and touch them and of course we didn’t, but having the freedom to be in such close proximity was amazing. As we walked up the path the birds transitioned from frigate birds to blue-footed and brown boobies.
The next morning I got up and put on my snorkeling gear right after the sun came up. Once I was in the water and safely away from the boat, I had Melissa start the engine and move forward up on the anchor chain. I dove down about twenty feet and tried to pull the anchor chain up and around the giant boulder the chain had wrapped around. I was super-cautious because I read a story about a guy that went down to remove an anchor that was stuck in the mud, and when he planted his feet on the bottom and began to pull on the anchor, he inadvertently pulled his feet down into the mud where he got stuck and ended up drowning. I didn’t want to make any kinds of mistakes like that.
Working with Melissa, I dove down a few more times and eventually was able to pull the anchor chain up and over the boulder and then we were free. I got back onboard and we brought the anchor up the rest of the way and we were off to our next adventure.
We stop off at Matachen Bay but it’s a little to rowdy due to the Easter season crowds, so we venture off to Chacala Bay.
We eventually make it to Puerto Vallarta. The marina of Paradise Village is actually in Nuevo Vallarta, which is just a little North of Puerto Vallarta. As we entered the Marina, we called the Port Captain and he told us which slip was ours. It was an easy approach and we found it with the help of the dock workers waving us in and helping us with our lines.
We work on the boat for just under a month and provision, fill the tanks and are ready to clear out.
We had to clear out of Mexico by visiting the Port Captains office and filling out paperwork. The staff was really helpful and made the departure easy. They said that we could leave after a team of people came to our boat and cleared us out.
We spent the last of our pesos getting extra things like zincs and some additional spare parts and then we were ready to top off our diesel tanks and jerry jugs in Puerto Vallarta.
The Mexican departure team of Customs, Agriculture and others boarded our vessel and looked around to ensure we had done everything to depart correctly. After some additional paperwork, we were off.
As we approached the municipal harbor, it looked like a warzone. There were sunken wrecks in the channel and the water was shimmering with spilled gasoline. This made us want to be out at sea even more. The lady working the fuel dock had everything running like clockwork. We topped off everything and we eventually made it out on the ocean and enroute on to Nuku Hiva, Marquesas – French Polynesia.
For the whole blogpost, which is more in-depth, please check out: https://www.theadventuretravelers.com/mexico-mainland-by-sea-and-land/