Leaving Mazatlan on Sunday, December 18, we had a wonderful overnight sail to San Blas. We started the motor only to navigate out of the El Cid Marina and into the San Blas estuary. We had a good 10-15 knots of wind off the starboard quarter all the way, sailing our favorite configuration, wing-on-wing, the whole day and most of the night. The wind shifted at daybreak and as we turned in towards San Blas, we jibed to a port tack. We met dolphins all along our way, saw wahoo jumping high out of the water running away from the dolphins, and flocks of birds seemingly helping the dolphins to spot its next prey.
Traffic was light except a few shrimp boats, who are always menacing because they aren’t on AIS, they have very bright lights and their tracks are unpredictable. During my night watch, I saw a light off in the distance about 10 degrees off my starboard bow. I fell off the wind even more till I was sailing as deep as I could without jibing, in order to change my course further away from him, but he was moving towards me so there wasn’t much I could do but hold my course. I didn’t want to jibe because we had a pole and preventer out and I was up on deck alone; jibing with all that to deal with would not have been easy. I didn’t want to head up and go behind him because I didn’t know if he was dragging nets that I could get tangled in. As I approached, he seemed to be standing still for a moment, but just as we were abeam of him only less than 1/4 mile away, he turned and came motoring right at me. Seeing his green and red lights and his steaming light all at once coming right at me in the middle of an otherwise dark night was a little scary. I called Rick up on deck and he suggested we turn on the motor but then we realized he intended to take my stern, but way too close for our comfort! Before I knew it, he had passed behind us and was off going the other direction. Those darn shrimp boats! Sometimes I think they do things like that just to tease us.
We always love San Blas. Longfellow wrote a famous poem called “The Bells of San Blas” about the church up on the hill whose bells were removed in the 1800’s after the church went to ruin – a lovely poem nostalgic about days gone by and the history of this town, which was once a great seaport. Even though it is not the same church, Rick always likes to take a picture of the church in town, an old one in ruins as well, that reminds him of the town’s history. One of our favorite Mexican rock bands, Mana, also wrote a song about the docks of San Blas, where a woman waits longingly for her fisherman to return to her – a song we like to play each time as we motor up the estuary to San Blas. It is really just a sleepy little town with a just enough foreigners to make it diverse. One of our fellow cruisers told us that it is also considered the birthplace of the Huichol Indians, so you find a lot of Huichols around town. They are the tribe whose spirituality is based on the use of peyote, so much so that their private use has been legalized by the Mexican government.
Our next blog entry will be about Chacala and Puerto Vallarta, where we are now. Stay tuned!