January 3, 2011:  Mazatlan to Isla Isabela

The Marina Mazatlan cruisers’ building has a spacious function room upstairs.

There are computer stations and mail boxes…

And a book exchange.

Views from our dock.

Views from our dock.

The marina cats get fat, not from keeping down the mouse population, but by the copious amounts of cat munchies put out by the cruisers.

Passing mansions on Gilligan’s Island in the middle of the marina as we departed on Sunday January 2nd.

Marina El Cid is at the entrance to the breakwater.  We were just exiting into the lumpy swell when we hit a sand bar across the opening.  Ken managed to maneuver us expertly between a rock and a hard place and out into the open water.

The city of Mazatlan glittering in the morning light.

We sailed south all through that day and night, timing our arrival at Isla Isabela for morning light.  We took ourselves beyond her so we could approach from the south.  It is an incredible thrill to locate a small speck of land in a large expanse of water.

The speck of land grows

Whales and dolphins are extraordinarily difficult to photograph.  But Clare can go home happy now that she has seen whales leaping as we approached Isla Isabela.

The south facing bay of Isla Isabela coming into sight.

The anchorage is very limited and is made more nerve- wracking by the presence of a flat rock submerged just under the surface to the right of the entrance.

The rock lies next to the edge of the collapsed caldera of the volcanic island.  Yachts that do not want to enter the bay anchor on the other side of the rocky outcrop.

Water swirls over the treacherous rock

Ken and Matthew set the anchor in 7 meters of water while frigates circle.

Ironbarque at anchor while a fishing boat heads out to set nets.

Birds await the return of the fishing boats

The beach is made up of coral and volcanic rock

All manner of lizards abound on the island.

All the wild life could be approached very close.

An iguana warming his belly

An aerial photo of the island

A map of the island showing the location of the lake.

Paths inland are accessed behind the fishing encampment.

Trees form a complete canopy that is dusted white with guano.  There is a constant flap of wings and clatter of throats from above.

Different paths are indicated by colored tape tied to trees.  Matthew and Nico decide which way to go.

This fellow was unperturbed by our presence.

We followed the blue path up to the cliffs.

And this is what we saw.  Ironbarque is the second from the right.  The water swirling over the submerged rock is really clear to the left from this height.

Ironbarque at anchor in the bay.

The guano canopy.

Nesting in the rocks.

Throat rattling on a prominent perch.

We were amazed at how calmly the birds allowed us to walk by their rookeries.

That white fluff ball is a sizeable chick.

The orange path led to the crater lake.

The lake was surprisingly lifeless.

Volcanic rock in the undergrowth.

The fishermen return and gift the guts to the birds.  The frigates are vicious in their fight and will pick up and hurl other birds to get the prize.

A well-mannered and patient bird perched on an anchor.

Frigates with Ironbarque in the distance.

Frigate alighting in a rookery.

Birds are everywhere.

And there are yellow-footed boobies

Two boobies.

Baby boobies.

A bird on a boat

The seasonal fishing village.

Colorful fishermen sort their nets

Matthew and Nico ready the dinghy.

The anchorage got even more crowded.

Sky to the south

Birds circling another fishing boat

Endless beauty

The sun sets on an incredible day