Sail Gemini

(Updated September 1, 2001)

Log 7:  Mazatlan

October 30, 2000 - May 9, 2001


Mazatlan is a large city with arts and entertainment--lots of "civilization", something we'd been away from for quite a while.  After spending four months at anchor in the Sea of Cortez and "whizzing" across from Puerto Escondido on a perfect 47-hour sail, Mazatlan was quite a culture shock to us.  But we got over it, as you can see from the following highlights.

Oct. 30 - Jan 15

Teak Deck Removal

The purpose of going to Mazatlan was to remove our teak decks, because that was the only marina that would allow extensive work and had skilled labor available.  Those both turned out to be myths, and we spent 10 weeks of intensive labor doing the job ourselves.  The results were  worthwhile, but it was a much bigger job than we anticipated.


If you look at the dates for this "log", you will notice that we spent six months in Mazatlan.  With about a million residents, this was the biggest city we had visited in Mexico, so we took the opportunity to enjoy the town's local flavor.  Carnival, the third largest in the world, was by far the biggest event we've ever seen.
Life in Mazatlan Mazatlan had many services and products available, encouraging us to catch up on boat projects.   International restaurants, gourmet coffee, beautiful buildings, good music and a significant American ex-pat community combined with marina social events to hook us in to an extended stay.  And cool temperatures allowed us to take leisurely walks around the city, usually including, of course,  a seafood lunch, some tacos and a few cervesas.  Shopping in Mexico, however, does pose some unique challenges.
Traveling Inland:


About 60 miles  east of Mazatlan,  Copala is a tiny village with lots of charm.  There is a daily bus, but three couples took the package deal from the "Buttercup Hotel" for a roundtrip ride, two nights at the hotel, meals and a few sightseeing stops en route, making life much simpler.  And you just can't make life much simpler than life in  Copala.
Traveling Inland:

Copper Canyon

Accessible only by the turn-of-the-century railroad called the Chihuahua-Pacifico, this collection of canyons is deeper than Colorado's Grand Canyon and covers about five times the area.  More verdant, less developed and rich with Indian culture, the Copper Canyon is a unique tourist destination in Mexico.

Note:  Small "Thumbnail" photos have been used to alleviate slow display times.  Just click on any thumbnail to see the full-quality picture.


Teak for Two -- Before, During & After -- More than Enough!


Faced with possible damage from leaks, we stripped the teak off the entire deck (including the cabin roof), filled hundreds of screw holes with epoxy resin, coated and faired the surface six times and finished off with two coats of "LPU".  After 10 weeks of work, we were exhausted, but proud of the results.


In the afternoon, the crowd swells to "standing room only".


The evening ends with  fantastic floats and parties galore.

(Some attendees returned home in a horizontal position.)



Children of all ages enjoy the Mardi Gras festivities:

Eric from Starcatcher, an adorable Mexican girl taking it all in, and Diane & Les "incognito".


During Mardi Gras week, you can buy just about anything that strikes your fancy,

 from giant cotton candy to a vegetable slicer-dicer that uses no electricity!


Life in Mazatlan

With good hardware stores for boat projects, plus lots of shopping and social events, 

Mazatlan can be addictive.



Les and Don from Windward Luv sew up a storm, while Destiny provisions for their trip to the Marquesas.

Shopping in Mexico

Mazatlan is good for provisioning, but sometimes finding things can be quite a challenge, especially when every store keeps a "miscellaneous" shelf somewhere.  This is not created for unusual things that had no place to go, but seems more for items that belonged on some other shelf and simply couldn't fit the day the deliveries were made?  Nobody seems to know for sure.  Here's a list of what was on this particular treasure trove:
Air Freshener & Insect Repellents
Fruit Juices, Dog Food & Toilet Treatments
Soup, Canned Clams, Peach Nectar, Soy Milk & Cat Food
Refried Beans?, Toothpaste, More Canned Clams, Tomato Sauce, Dried Soup & Chiles
Yet More Canned Clams!

Coming Soon:  "Waiting for Rosetti", the saga about how small tasks can turn out to be major undertakings.


Any excuse for a party!  


At Marina Mazatlan, we had a big sendoff for Destiny, 

complete with Windward Luv's gas-operated "weed-hacker" converted to a Marguarita-mixer.


A local marina event, this Flotilla contest had kids of all talents and all sizes competing.

Some of the rafts were in serious jeapordy.



Touring the Mazatlan area was a joy, and cool winter temperatures made for comfortable long walks.


Mazatlan has a lot of "old town" charm like stone walls and decorative windows.  

In the harbor, we share Mazatlan's huge port facilities with fishing boats, cargo carriers and even cruise ships, a real "up-scale" experience compared to the normal fare.



A diver launches himself daily from a 90-foot cliff in exchange for tips...I guess, "cuz it's there".



Along with Darlene from "Scrimshaw", Diane tries out for the city's statue-imitation contest.

Will we really enter "The Cave of the Devil"?

Inland Travel:  Copala

Famous for its silver mining in the 1500's, this enchanting town now boasts tourism as its major claim to fame.


Road signs in Mexico can really challenge travellers.  After arrival:  Can you find the three "Waldos"? 

 (Hint:  Seashell Ron, Dreamweaver Toby and Gemini Les pose as Waldo.)

Inland Travel:  Copper Canyon

All Aboard!  The train ride to Copper Canyon is a treat in itself, but the majesty of these remote mountains and the mystery of the Tarahumara Indians make this the trip of a lifetime.


Saying "Goodbye" is one of the toughest parts of cruising.


The Canadian family from "New Adventure" were pure joy.  After sailing the boat back to the SF Bay Area, Gerry will go back to work, while Kailey and Leah return to "normal" school.  After managing the family and home-schooling the girls for two years aboard a 37-ft sailboat, hopefully super-mom Michelle will have a little time to herself!

Burk & Marsha (left) will spend the summer touring the U.S. in their RV, then will have "Loup de Mer" shipped from San Carlos to the eastern U.S. for stateside cruising.  Second from right, Ron & Ingri made a special effort to visit us before taking "Seashell" across to the Pacific Islands.  Gemini and Dreamweaver (far right) will be spending another summer together in Mexico.  One out of four ain't bad, I guess.

Leaving Mazatlan . . . at last!


We thought we'd never leave, but the morning of May 9, we departed the marina.  Nobody ever leaves Mazatlan on the first try, they tell us, and this tradition held true for Gemini.  After three aborted attempts due a tricky starter, inclement weather and a leaking hatch, we finally sailed northwest to the Baja peninsula.


Click here to see photos of more cruising friends.

  Coming soon:  Summer 2001 in the Sea of Cortez.

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