December 3 – Arriving in Mazatlán in the morning, we easily navigated in through the narrow channel with a giant dredging machine sitting off to one side making it even more narrow. It was a hulk of rusty metal with floats holding large, black plastic pipes up and down the channel. We’d never seen such a thing before. I steered carefully past it, but couldn’t really give it a wide berth because the channel was so narrow.
We hailed the marina, finally after several tries. They told us to come in to the fuel dock, land and then they’d assign us a slip. Grr! What choice did we have?! We went in, discovered the fuel dock was full of boats, so we eased close to the end of the fuel dock just enough to talk to a dock hand who was able to give us a slip assignment, all the while blocking the darting water taxi who was getting more and more aggravated with us in his way.
I headed to our slip, got in and realized our depth was reading 8.9 feet. Huh? And this was close to high tide. Tide was going out today and would be a -3.0. After much discussion with the marina, checking the depth the old-fashioned way (sticking the boat hook in the water), we opted to move to the end of the dock, an end tie where the depth was still only 10.5 feet, but better and hopefully would keep us floating. Nerve wracking at best!
By the time we were set to move, the tide was already quite low and the channel entrance, at the end of the dock had a swift moving current flowing out with the tide. I backed down the aisle, out into the channel and began getting pushed with the current; out. Yikes! Steering in reverse is hard enough without a current of 4+ knots. I was kicked around a bit, but managed to jam it in full throttle reverse and make headway in the current, then tap it in forward to ease over to our slip. It was really tricky because there was a catamaran at the end too that I had to maneuver around. With lots of help on the dock, and a slight breeze pushing me towards the dock, we made it in.
I think if we had waited any longer we would’ve been in trouble. So, for any other boaters reading this post: Make sure you time it right going in/out of the channel in Mazatlán to El Cid or Fonatur marinas. It’s surgy at the opening and the currents really zoom in and out of there, normally. Also, the depth was quite low on our entrance, so for departure we decided we’d go at or near high tide and slack.
Finally, once we were calm and at ease knowing we wouldn’t be sitting on the bottom, we hit the swimming pool where Kyra fell in love. She’s already a swimming fiend but couldn’t get enough of it here. She was giddy with excitement to guide me through the pool caves. I have to admit it was pretty cool – literally! Out of the sun, inside the “mountain” winding our way around. They had a slide and a high, deck to jump from. Here I got schooled in Mexican happy-hour 2 for 1. It means when you order a drink, you get two of the same drinks immediately for the price of 1. No ordering one for Dave and one for myself. We each got two. Wow! Good thing they were fruity, blended, cold and delightful!