Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Club Nautico in Mazatlan
Espiritu rests in the Mazatlan commercial anchorage
After a 150 mile passage from La Cruz, we've been in the Mazatlan commercial anchorage for 8 days now. Gratefully, the passage was relatively uneventful but for some minor lingering electrical issues.
Our passage north featured fog, giant sea turtles, and the beautiful
Southern Cross. It twinkled just above the horizon off our stern
for much of my night watch. Magical.
After a good night's sleep in the anchorage, we woke up to this on the sunrise horizon:
A Mexican military rocket taking off? Nuclear warhead? Whaaa?
I have no idea what that was. It seemed to be launched from sea, to the southwest.
After the world didn't come to an end, we were thrilled to see our friends
Bret and Marne of s/v LeaHona had dropped anchor off our port bow. The four
of us headed into town to explore Mazatlan.
This bus featured a cushioned ceiling, which besides being stylish, would come
in handy should the bus be involved in a near-fatal rollover accident
First stop: the bustling old town mercado.
Just being in the Mazatlan mercado makes me happy. Note my Trader Joes bag,
which has traveled 9 countries with the Espiritu crew (and no, there is not a
Trader Joes in Mazatlan).
Images from the mercado:
Oh, dear. Well, at least he's smiling...?!?!?
Wonderful. (sigh) Well, at least I didn't see
any Donald Trump masks for sale.
5 year old Mexican girl glued to her iPhone
Crazy Mexican Thing: they sell dozens and dozens of different varieties of soap bars. Some feature Jesus and spiritual themes (to wash away your sins?), others feature romantic or heroic images. But look at the one in the upper right corner. That's GRIM REAPER soap. I know...I have no idea...
Next to the mercado is the breathtaking Catholic Cathedral.
There was a very expensive wedding going on inside --
hundreds (thousands?) of white roses, as far as the eye can see.
shoeshine in the town square
classic Mexican architecture
This stencil was on the wall outside a restaurant in the hip gallery district.
The owner is clearly a Coen Brothers fan.
And stencilled further down on the wall of the same restaurant:
OK, these guys love The Big Lebowski AND Castaway. Maybe we should
go in and introduce ourselves -- they definitely seem like kindred spirits...
Typical scene in the Mazatlan historical district.
It's hundreds of years old.
Tribute to the buck, indigenous in the local mountains
Next stop, meeting friends for coffee at the historic Melville Hotel
Doorway to the hotel courtyard
The impossibly gorgeous Hotel Melville was built in the 1870's. It was named for the
writer Herman Melville (author of Moby Dick), who spent time in Mazatlan in 1844.
The courtyard from above
The old town area is filled with galleries, nice restaurants, jazz and coffee houses.
One word springs to mind: sophisticated.
Speaking of restaurants, time to eat!
Noooooo! You three are trying to kill me, aren't you?
Attempting a low carb lifestyle in Mexico is not for the faint of heart...
Good Lord. I tried to catch a photo of the pink Homer Simpson donut before someone took a bite out of it, but it was too late. By the way, have I shared my theory on fresh donuts?
Donuts are The Devil.
Now, hear me out. If you think about how the devil is described, fresh donuts meet every criteria. They fool you and lie to you, they make you feel SOOOO good, they tell you they love you and only you...killing you softly all the while.
If that's not The Devil, then what is?
OK, OK, I'm joking. (Or AM I? I heard that 1 in 10 adults in the western world now has diabetes. Sounds like the devils work to me...)
Later, Marne posed outside the "Devil's Cave." Wonder what's in there?
The bodies of countless victims, killed by donuts, possibly.
Next stop, the beach!
Chris gazes out to sea (welcome to my world)...
Girl and twins play in the waves
pink and yellow sand
mangrove, beach and islands
This is the coolest thing: Mazatlan has built a large salt-water swimming pool and
circular slide right on the main beach! And it's FREE.
Happy Mazatlan boy at the pool and slide
Me swimming, and Marne observing
And YES, of COURSE I did the slide.
That's me marking my territory.
By the way, it's sad that something like this would never be built in the USA in todays legal climate. It's a walking lawsuit waiting to happen. I'm sure kids have been killed diving into it's 4 foot "deep end." I don't know the answer. Is it worth a small number of kids deaths or severe injury for the fun of countless others? This is the quandry we all face.
Back in the anchorage, I found out that C.S. Lewis superfan Bret has never
seen the movie Shadowlands. I immediately cancelled our plans
(OK, OK, we had no plans...but still) and invited Bret and Marne over
to Espiritu for movie night where, by an amazing coincidence,
Shadowlands was playing that very night!
Movie night on Espiritu
By the way, if you've never seen the 1993 film Shadowlands, drop what you're
doing and see it. Now. Sorry if I'm being bossy, but some things are just too important.
It's really a practically perfect movie, and it's based on the true story of beloved
writer C.S. Lewis. It's smart, funny, romantic, philosophical, heartwarming,
and of course, horribly, painfully sad. Bring the tissues.
The next morning we got up early to make the climb to the
Mazatlan lighthouse overlooking our anchorage.
World famous Mazatlan lighthouse
The steps are very steep at times
Chris bestowed his Papal Blessing to two sisters also making the climb
View from the top
This Mexican family climbed all the way to the top,
even with a 3 month old baby. It was a Sunday morning, and his wife was working,
so dad did some seriously cool babysitting duty. Note the First Mate t-shirt on little
Eduardo down in front.
Lastly, we're anchored at the Mazatlan commercial anchorage and using the services
of Club Nautico ashore.
This is our first time here, and all we'd heard were negatives: there's theft, it stinks due to the sanitation plant on shore, etc.
We decided to see for ourselves, since the three Mazatlan marinas are very expensive.
And now, without further adoo:
SEVEN GOOD THINGS ABOUT CLUB NAUTICO:
7) THE PRICE:
50 pesos (3 bucks) a day per boat buys you your own little slice of heaven
The bus stops right in front of the place, and for 6 pesos you can go anywhere in town.
Plus, historical old town is an easy walking distance;
5) DINGHY DOCK:
Chris lands our dinghy named Swamp Bucket
at the Club Nautico dinghy dock
4) GOOD NIGHT'S SLEEP
It's the calmest, least bounciest, smoothest, flattest anchorage we've ever been in. And we've been in hundreds. It's even better than in a typical marina, where the moaning and groaning of the lines and the dock can render sleep impossible.
3) GREAT WIFI
2) HOT SHOWERS
One of the five felines who populate Club Nautico
Club Nautico cat #2
Cats #3 and #4
The water in the anchorage even looks clean, so I'm certain the sanitation
plant pumps their refuse far out to sea.
Look, I'm not gonna lie. There is an occasional waft of malodorous air from the adjacent sanitation plant, but it only lasts a second and it passes.
The bathrooms...well...the less said about them the better.
Also, there's no diesel available anywhere nearby, so...
...Chris lugged the geri-jugs to the Pemex
a mile away...with a smile. :-)
And yes, there is theft. Our neighbors aboard Gia had their old, broken down binoculars stolen from their cockpit in the middle of the day by a 50'ish guy who swam out to the boat, grabbed the binocs and tried to swim away.
He was caught and humbly returned them.
All of the cruisers here lock everything up at night, including expensive outboards. There is great poverty here, and to the typical working Mexican, we look like millionaires aboard our cruising sailboats.
Lock everything up. Every time. Period.
End of story -- and everyone's happy.