Isla Isabel was everything we had been hoping to find in Mexico. It is a small island, 42 nautical miles (about 50 land miles) from the mainland of Mexico. There is a small fishing village with about 20 cabins located on one bay, but otherwise uninhabited. The lower part of the island is covered in dense 6 - 10 foot tall trees, and the high ground is just rocks and grasses. The trees are covered in nesting frigate birds. The high rocky ground is strewn with nesting blue footed boobies. The noise of the calling birds is constant. Thousands of birds are circling overhead. When I was a kid growing up in Iowa, I watched Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom with Marlin Perkins religiously. I loved seeing all the amazing places they went. And there I was, right in the middle of a Wild Kingdom episode. Honestly, I can’t describe the scene well enough to do it justice. Just picture me, Patrick and Jack walking alongside Marlin and you’ve got the idea.
We anchored off the island in 22’ deep water. We were nestled in beside the Monas and the island, right on the edge of a large breaking surf. Some ocean swells came through the anchorage, but the wind was mostly cut by the island. We happened on great weather for our three days, so we were mostly comfortable parked out in the ocean. Humpback whales love the island too and we often saw them (sometimes up close, sometimes far away). Patrick and Jack heard them singing one day when they were snorkeling. Another day we got to see a couple whales hurling themselves out of the water. It is a joyful sight.
Isla Isabel is an old volcano and the topography is very interesting. On the beach we anchored near, you could see where the old lava flow had hit the water. There were caves and bridges and lumps made up of the lava flow. The old flow created an interesting beach above water and a lot of interesting places underwater where the fish could hide. At least once every day we snorkeled in the rocks surrounding the little bay we were in. We saw amazing tropical fish and corals. At first we were interested in catching a langosta (lobster) but soon we stopped even trying to hunt and spent the whole time just looking at the fish and discovering the little caves and rock walls that surrounded the bay.
After three fantastic days, we decided to head for the mainland. Our weather window had been great, but we didn’t want to risk getting stuck out there in bad weather. It would not be very pleasant and it’s a long way to shelter. Jack and I are still struggling with occasional sea sickness. Neither one of us wants to push our luck. The medicine takes care of it, but then you sleep the rest of the day. Our motor in to the mainland (no breeze for the sails) was eventful with more whale sightings - humpbacks and another type I wasn’t sure which kind. We caught a few more fish trolling along, but no keepers.
We are now anchored at Chacala, a small bay just north of Puerto Vallarta. There are six boats anchored here with us. The bay is lined with palapa restaurants and is a quiet vacation place for Mexicans and tourists. It is very nice. We will stay here for a few days and then head north to San Blas which has a very protected harbor. We hear on the SSB that there will be a gale starting around Sunday out north of Hawaii that will cause high winds along the Mexican coast.
6 days ago