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April 17, 2010

Altata

Altata Sinaloa
Altata is not a well known port. The well hidden and poorly charted entrance lies about 115 miles north of Mazatlan. The 15 mile long bay is hidden behind a sand dune peninsula. As we sailed north toward the pass of Altata our nerves were a bit rattled with the fact that the entrance buoy the only buoy left was bobbing around in 8 foot breaking waves. Our gps position showed that we should have been lined up for the entrance but the reality is that the sand bar had shifted and all but one lonely buoy remained after a hurricane went through there a few years ago. We bobbed around outside the entrance with our friends on Eyoni until finally a fishing panga directed us to the other side of the sandbar and led us safely through the pass.

The bay of Altata was raw and beautiful, hidden by the stark sand dunes that lined the Pacific side and mangroves, on the interior of what we called an estuary, but were later told by the locals it is a bay. We made our way slowly up the channel dodging the shoals and anchored off the town in about ten feet of water. The town was bustling with the local weekend crowd, large trucks filled with local families, mariachi music competing with the ever present boom boxes belting out some Spanish version of an American top hit, colorful inflatable’s and the dozen or more seafood restaurants selling a slightly different version of the food next door.

After a quick check in with the Port Captain, we learned that we were only the 4th boat this year to enter the pass and make it up the channel. We decided to head into a more substantioal town by bus to provision and get a feel for the area. We headed into Novalato, where quickly we felt out of place. In all the years in Mexico we have never felt so isolated. Granted Novalato is not going to make any list of top place to visit in Mexico. It actually falls under the places to NOT visit. We later learned we were in an area known for their exportation of agriculture, and it was not corn or bananas. The looks we received were probably out of disbelief that we would choose to visit a town that just had a violent shooting in broad daylight. Oops! We probably won’t be revisiting this area.
We returned back to Altata and had a great seafood lunch while watching the kids jump from the pier. We spent a few days exploring the beaches, clamming and shelling. We decided to leave at the next weather window. The weather played tricks on us and the 21 hour passage was the worst we have had in 13 years of owning Meshach. Yucky seas, winds on the nose and a cold wet wind made for a not so fun time. We were looking forward to a calm anchorage and a good night’s sleep.

Altata




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Off to Altata

We are leaving today for Altata a small not so known fishing village 110 miles north of Mazatlan. The first cruising boat was reported in 2001 and has had slow trickle of boats since.  The number one thing that detours most boats is it is not in all the guides, you have to cross a sand bar to enter an estuary, and is a little out of the way. We will stop here for as long as we have fun, en route to  Topolobompo where we will leave the boat and take the world famous Copper Canyon Train Trip. 
We are excited to do some inland exploring and experience the Raramuri Indians. I wish I had a kindle to download the book Born to Run, it is supposed to be an excellent book about the Raramuri runners.  They run 50 miles a day as if it was a walk in the park.  We are also looking forward to some cool mountain air, hiking and just pure family fun.   

April 12, 2010

Overnighter to Mazatlan

Sienna all cozy for the night
Sunset

After a fun but buggy stay in San Blas we decided to push north to Mazatlan. We had a long night at sea but were rewarded with a beautiful sunset, an ocean alive with bio luminescence, twinkling stars, satellites moving at high speeds across a clear sky and a bug free night. The seas were a bit bumpy as the wind was coming from the exact direction we had to go along with a 3 knot current.  All of us are a little tired and poor Tristan who never gets seasick caught some bug and was throwing up the whole way,  More on San Blas and our epic family surf day at Mantachen Bay(worlds longest wave) were we all caught our share of rides including our little surfer girl Sienna.
We all said "This one's for you Papa G" my dad surfed this break in 1968 were we confirmed a lot has changed but the bugs are still here.

April 09, 2010

San Blas

 San Blas is tucked away on the northern coast of mainland Mexico.   There is a lot to this little town that lies along the bends of an estuary.  We approach town from the sea and cross over a sandbar of breaking waves to enter the calm green water and mangroves.  We have now left behind the glitz and tourist attractions of towns further south.  This a not a tourist town, at least not in the way we would think.  This a a town for local tourist who travel from the mountains and inland to vacation on the sea.  We anchor along the mangroves and are here with a few other boats that we know.

The town is still in the throws of Semana Santa(spring break) and the plaza is bustling with music, local Huichol artist who have made the two day trip to sell their crafts, a variety of cuisine to satisfy everyone's taste and a lot of fun people watching.  Oh and yes slapping of bugs!  I guess this is why it has not made Foders top ten travel spots, thank goodness for the bugs... We get the quick 411 on the town..the best vegtable and fruit stands, where to buy the bug spray that works, of course where the best taco stand is and also we are clued in on the what not to miss while you are in San Blas.

The first bit of info is that the bugs come out at dusk and stay out till after dark..so we hang out in town and have pizza, yes pizza after a taco of course.. Ok we better watch our waistlines here..Yikes these tacos are dangerous and dirt cheap.. Love the street food... No we have not gotten sick...and yes you can drink the water.  The other bit of advice was to do the jungle cruise.  Well being that we were in Tenacatita for a months time and had our share of  jungle runs in the dingy we were a little uncertain about paying to do a tour.  That was until  a handful of other cruisers veterans of  the Tenacatita Jungle cruise said it is a must do.  So we made plans to do it bright and early the following morning to avoid the weekend crowds and to be the first up the river.  We arranged a taxi for 6:30 the next morning and we got to bed early to prepare for the adventure.

Wow we actually had to set the alarm this morning.  Yes it sounds decadent, well it is . We usually just get up when we get up, so today would  require a bit of planning,  So after a little confusion with the time change, we were all up and dressed and in the dinghy( family car) at 6:15.  The kids did comment that it felt like being on Kauai and as if we were getting ready for a trip and had to be at the airport early. The early morning departure was well worth Gustavo our taxi driver was waiting for us when we got to shore and all seven of us , four adults 3 kids crammed into the little taxi and headed to the head of the Estuary.  What a deal 20 pesos and he also found us a boat and driver for the day.  We negotiated for the all inclusive trip, with stop off at a crocodile park and swim hole for 140 pesos (approx 13US each)  The four hour tour was spectacular and well worth the am wake up. 


April 05, 2010

The Pirate Grin

Tristan was determined to lose his tooth on Easter so with the help of Cole, ( the tooth puller), Tristan now has an offical pirate smile. Bye Bye Baby face.... Our little guys is growing up.

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April 04, 2010

HAPPY EASTER

 
Yes the Easter bunny was able to find us anchored in Punta De Mita....