Saturday, April 11, 2015

April 11, Isla Venado, Mazatlan

It looks like we have a good weather window starting tomorrow morning for the crossing over to Cabo and the Baja peninsula.  Before heading across we decided to head into Marina El Cid in Mazatlan to top off the tanks and give the boat a fresh water bath.  From where we are anchored it is only about 3 miles away to the breakwater and into the harbor.  When we got to the very narrow breakwater there was a pretty good swell rolling in, about 4-6 foot, and breaking along the rocks that protected the entrance to the harbor.  It shows in the cruising guide and on my charts that the minimum depth going through the breakwater is 10' at low tide. Unfortunately, we were at low tide.  The Liahona draws 7' but that does not leave much wiggles room. As we slowly inched toward the narrow entrance the depth continued to get shallower.  My concern was the swell which could easily skew the actual depth by several feet at the low part of the swell.  As we got just between the two rock walls, we were almost there, the depth gauge showed we had 4' under the keel. Not exactly enough for me to feel very comfortable in that situation so I quickly threw it in reverse, pivoted the boat around in the narrow channel, and then back into forward and motored back out.  We sat outside trying to decide what to do and tried to call the port captain or other boats that would have local knowledge, all to no avail.  After studying it for about 20 minutes we decided that we didn't need fuel that badly and headed back to the anchorage.  

After talking to some friends about the entrance he said that a few years back he was in a boat that drew 8' and actually struck the bottom in similar conditions with a big swell.  So we sat in the anchorage until about 2:30pm when the tide was a bit higher and then headed back over.  This time we punched through and the least water I saw was 5 under the keel.  Not optimal but not too bad.  We fueled and then headed back out to Isla Venado.  

At the docks we had washed the boat down with fresh water then filled every bucket we had in order to wash and soften the various lines on the boat that are constantly exposed to salt water and over time stiffen due to calcification.  Those chores done we are now just sitting in the very rolly anchorage and I think we are set leave tomorrow morning sometime for our crossing that should take us about 30 hours.  Winds on this side tomorrow are predicted to be 10 knots and less and then on the Baja side maybe 10-15 knots when we get over there.  My confidence in the  weather gurus these days is not super high but if we run into anything uncomfortable in the first few hours we will turn back.  We have plenty of time before Marne has to be in Cabo for her flight back to Oregon.  Will update you later as to the passage.  If we are indeed underway the report may be extremely brief, just to let you know that all is well, or possibly non existent until we arrive.  Will have to see how things go.  Please no worry warts until you don't hear anything passing into Wednesday morning.

Bret and the Amazing Marne,
SV Liahona

Catherine - Can you please pass on Todd's email to us as we think he would really enjoy the updates. Marne says she is really missing poodle and hopes he is well.

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