Mazatlan – Marina Life

Our stay in Mazatlan has been a whirlwind of activities.  We’re sitting out in the old harbor, Stone Island anchorage right now.  We had planned to leave to head south to Isla Isabella two days ago, but Friday night I started getting symptoms of a cold and slept all of yesterday away and still am not feeling 100% today, so we’ll attempt to leave tomorrow.  In the meantime, that gives me a chance to do a couple of Mazatlan posts. 🙂

We came into Mazatlan just a couple days before Christmas.  We knew we wanted to share the holiday with our friends on Navigo, but other than that, we had no immediate plans for our first mainland stop.  We knew we needed to reprovision the galley and that Dave had some projects that were a must do (change the engine oil, re-galvanize the anchor chain).

We ended up grabbing a slip in Marina Mazatlan on December 23rd.  They didn’t have the nicest facilities (as compared to the El Cid resort next door where Navigo was staying), but the rate was in our budget and it was nice to be able to plug into power and use the microwave on occasion.  For an eight day stay, we paid about $140 USD total.  Not too shabby.  We didn’t always have hot showers in the locker rooms, but we did take advantage of the launderia where we dropped off our sheets, towels and comforter for some good machine-washing for about $15 USD.  There was also a small super market within the marina, which we took advantage of for fresh bread, tortillas and veggies. 

Coming into the marina area of Mazatlan is quite a feat.  It has a very small entrance with large swells building up just outside the break walls and it’s very shallow, so there’s always a dredger machine in the harbor.  We had heard on the radio that the dredger was working in the harbor, but that you could still cross, so we figured we’d be fine. We didn’t realize what a sketchy operation this was going to be.  As we motored past the break water, a large swell picked us up and pushed us too close to the rocks for my liking, but Dave had the wheel and said we were fine.  Then we saw the dredger, and while we knew it was going to be a tight fit, we thought we had plenty of room.  We did, but what we didn’t realize, was that after the actually dredging machine was a long stretch of pipeline extending about 3/4s of the way into the harbor.  At this point, there was no turning around – literally – there was no way to turn the boat around, so we had to keep going and try to maneuver Camanoe through the tiniest space with metal pipeline to our left and sharp rocks to the right.  We cleared the pipeline with about a foot on the left and cleared the rocks by about a foot on the right.  Dave said he needed to change his shorts after we squeezed by.  I would have taken pictures of the scene, but I was too scared to leave the cockpit in case Dave needed me to fend us off the rocks. Not sure what I would have done, but I knew I couldn’t leave to get my camera.  So here are some photos of the dredger and the harbor at a different time. They’re not dredging here, but it gives you an idea of what it all looked like:

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The dredger machine.

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The harbor thoroughfare – dredger on the left was in the middle of the harbor when we came in. So imagine it much closer to those rocks on the right.

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Dredging pipes that we had to squeeeeeeze by.

We enjoyed a lovely Christmas Eve dinner with Navigo and some of their cruising friends from the Blue Water Cruising Group at the restaurant at the El Cid resort.  We also spent Christmas Day having an all you can eat/drink buffet at the same restaurant where you could get anything from eggs and bacon to sushi until 2pm.  I think it was about $15/person USD.  Friends and fellow Ha-Ha-ers, Russ and Doreen from s/v August Moon joined us.

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Christmas Eve at El Cid Resort (L) with Bob and Camelia on Navigo (center) and our yummy reindeer cheese cake for dessert (R).

After the Christmas morning/afternoon brunch buffet, we went exploring via dinghy with Navigo to check out the outer areas of the harbor.  There were large, sprawling homes along the marina as well as dozens of birds flying about and a small island that was covered with iguanas.  Surprisingly, the fish in the marina kept jumping out of the water – we kept thinking that one was going to land right in the dinghy!  Of course, every time I tried to take a picture or a video of the fish jumping, they’d stop. 

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Pretty birds (L), lounging iguanas (center) and the sprawling estates (R) of the Mazatlan marina area.  Nice, sunny Christmas morning.

I spent the day after Christmas with Camelia and Doreen shopping in the gold zone (Zona Dorado).  We found some after-Christmas sales, and with Doreen’s bartering skills, we felt like we got some pretty good deals.  It was a nice day to wander around and I felt like my old self, shopping and having girlfriend time like I used to back in San Francisco.

Although we’re living on a small budget while cruising, it was nice to be docked in a marina for a few days.  We ran into many boats that we either met on the Ha-Ha or have heard talking on the radio.  Everyone on our dock was super friendly, and very helpful.  We actually docked right across from Joe on s/v Yancy who was Dave’s neighbor when he had the boat in Ventura, CA.  Joe helped us out quite a bit by offering to drive us and Bob from Navigo around to fill up our propane tanks and then stock up at WalMart and Sam’s Club.  Joe also let us borrow his empty diesel jerry cans so Dave would only have to make one trip to the gas station to fill up our tanks (instead of taking our two jerry cans, filling them, lugging them back, emptying them into the tanks and then taking the two cans back to the gas station to do it all over again). 

The residents of Dock 4 (where we were docked) held a cruiser’s potluck the day before New Year’s Eve with turkey and all the fixin’s.  It was a great time and a great way to end our stay at Marina Mazatlan before we headed out to anchor.

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Dock 4 potluck – the cake says Dock 4, not Dock U. 🙂

On December 31st, with the boat re-stocked with food, the anchor chain cleaned and put back and even a new coating of wax on the deck of the boat (that was my job), we were ready to untie the docklines and head back to life on the hook. 

3 thoughts on “Mazatlan – Marina Life

  1. Wonderful update on the blog Stephanie. I love the pics. Very fun to read. Not sure if you are still at Stone Island however we will be leaving here on Wed. to go to there for one night and then head out on Thursday for Isla Isabella. Russ and Doreen want to join us so we will be a three some now. I am going through sequence and domino withdrawals. Miss you two. Hope to see you in 2 more sleeps! Hugs, Cruising Mom and Dad

  2. I’m not sure if you’ve left for Isla Isabella yet, but be careful when you anchor. We were there a couple of years ago as crew on a catamaran and we had some serious difficulty getting the anchor up. The chain had gotten wrapped around some rocks on the bottom overnight and the owner had to dive down to free it. Unfortunately we didn’t get to go ashore because the weather had changed too much overnight and our anchorage was exposed… Hope you have a better time there than we did!

    • We’re actually pulling anchor in Mazatlan right now to head to Isla Isabel. We’ve read all the warnings about the rocky bottom, so we’re going to put a floater/buoy on one end of the anchor so we know where it is should we have to cut it loose and then dive for it. Thanks!

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