Monday, March 15, 2010

Ensenada de los Muertos

We had a safe and pleasant overnight passage from Mazatlán to get to this anchorage on the Baja Peninsula. After a very windy week, there were a number of boats waiting to cross, and after getting a favorable weather forecast, 4 boats left the El Cid marina at around the same time: Murray Grey (the only boat we know named after a cow), Windward, and Victoria Dos. Our friend Geoff on Verdia also left the old port at about the same time; and Summer Wind overtook us along the way.

Although we were traversing a large and seemingly empty patch of water, we had surprisingly close encounters with a drift net and three ships. Using VHF radio, we helped each other navigate safely around the net; radar and AIS protected us from the ships. Prevailing winds are out of the northwest, and our track to Muertos was west-northwest, so we were glad to not have very much wind against us. On the other hand, we ran the engine for the entire 33 hours, the longest continuous time we have ever had to motor.

Its hard to imagine the contrast between Mazatlán, a bustling tropical city of half a million, and Muertos, a lonely isolated outpost in the desert. While we will miss the friendly people, fresh shrimp and other cheap eats in Mazatlán, it is refreshing to be floating in crystal-clear water at the edge of a serene and mostly unpopulated mountain landscape.

Although things are changing here, as everywhere. For our first walk today, we were drawn over the hill to an opulent personal palace being constructed by a Texas tycoon. There were literally a hundred laborers and artisans at work on this single home. Although I was put off by the extravagance, it was hard not to admire some of the construction details, drawing strongly on Mexico's architectural heritage. And at least it is providing much-needed work in a down economy.

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