Crossing to Mazatlán and Mainland Mexico

by lwsaville

Leaving San Jose brought me yet again to La Paz, a place that began to feel quite familiar to me. Nearly a month earlier I had eaten a Christmas dinner of roast chicken with some cyclist friends at the same hostel I stayed the second time.

Christmas Dinner in La Paz

I gave the Club Cruceros coffee round-up another shot to try and find a ride, as crew, on someone’s sailboat rather than paying for the ferry (several benefits: cheaper and a good chance to try out my sea legs on an open water crossing, potentially helping someone across as well). When the chances were looking quite dim and I was picking up the towel to throw it in, I noticed a fellow copying my information from my note on the bulletin board. Daniel (Retired lawyer/musician/jazz lover from San Diego) was looking for crew for the crossing and I seemed to fit the bill.

The steed aboard the boat

My sailing experience, before recently, had only included short day-sail type trips (once upon a time I was certified for basic keel-boat, basic coastal cruising, and bareboat charter although I’m sure such designations require a monetary renewal that I certainly have not paid). The southern Baja crossing requires working in shifts so that there is always someone on hand and involved a time scale of something like 36 hours.

Waiting for weather

I’ve a history of seasickness and was once concerned that it would ruin all my chances of sailing endeavor. The crossing convinced me that, although I am certainly affected (yes I did indeed feed the fish), mal de mer can be coped with after an acclamation period. My acquaintance with the strange character of mal de mer subsided and the pleasures of sailing kicked in, especially towards the end of the crossing with calmer seas and certainly at anchor in Mazatlán. Leisure time aboard a sailboat reminds me strongly of the experience of traveling via a motorhome with my family in times past. While I can’t remember many of the places my family visited I certainly can recall experiences inside of the motorhome. Daniel being a musician and jazz lover kept the boat in good tunes as we peacefully whiled a few days away just outside of Isla De La Piedra, taking trips to shore to try the local fare and with plenty of time for reading. I’m convinced, while I’ve not tried everywhere and with my one-man tent in close competition, that reading is best enjoyed on a boat.




The mainland is quite different from the Baja peninsula, even at a glance from out in the sea, being more lush and with trees. From about 40 miles off-shore you can only see the glow of artificial lighting in Mazatlán but you can feel a distinct temperature change towards warmth.

Mercado Pino Suárez

Hotel Lerma

In the midst of writing this blog last night there was a knock at the door and a man named Joe inviting me to the hotel local’s social hour. As it turns out there is a couple from my hometown, Conifer, that regularly winters in Mazatlán and another man from Denver as well. Small world (siempre).


This morning I’m off, after breakfast and coffee, for the road towards Guadalajara and Mexico City, and to see what the Mexican mainland is all about.