You don't get to choose your own nickname
|Topolobampo, small town on a hill|
At this time we also celebrate our first 5,000 miles of sailing!
|One of the many bobtail trucks loading cargo vessels at dusk behind chain-link fencing|
|Sunset from marina in Topolobampo|
|Two crabs mating?|
We spent one day in Los Mochis, a town of approximately 250,000 according to the 2010 census but the locals say it has 900,000 people. If true, this number probably includes all suburbs and surrounding areas. Either way this place is very large with a new bonafide shopping mall mingling with a street farmers’ market; new meets old.
As we are walking through town an old lady in her backyard calls out to me. She wants to know if I would be interested in plums. I declined for I don’t like the type of plums grown around here. They are sour and eaten with lots of sugar to make them appetizing. She shakes her head in clear disgust saying how sorry she is for me. Poor you (pobrecita) she keeps repeating as she crosses herself and looks to the sky…
We wanted to get a feel for the city, as this is a well known departing point to visit Copper Canyon, a tour we want to possibly take in the fall. The Canyon is too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter, best times to visit being April/May and October/November. At a size of approximately five Grand Canyons, we wouldn’t do it justice being there for just a few days. It will take planning and possibly leaving Nikki in the care of loving hands while we explore.
|Los Mochis Museum|
|Interesting mechanical adding machine|
At the farmers’ market we see fresh fruits, vegetables, handmade local cheeses, herbs, etc. We find succulent kale, something we’ve only seen once in the nearly two years we have been here. Vendors shake their heads when we choose fruits and vegetables that are not ripe and ready to eat THAT DAY. They don’t seem to understand we need them when we are at sea, away from the conveniences of stores and that it can be 3 weeks away before we eat them. Mexicans shop for today, not usually for later and they have difficulties grasping this foreign concept.
There is a whole section dedicated to haircuts sided by another segment devoted to medicinal herbs to ingest or make into teas. With my background in medicinal herbalism, I was interested but very saddened to see how old and dated all the herbs were. They don’t have proper ways to store them and/or enough sales to keep a fresh supply on hands. It was still interesting to see but definitely not a place I would purchase my medicinal herbs.
On our return trip by bus to Topolobampo, Mike strikes a conversation with an elderly man named Eduardo who has heard about our sailboat. His four sons work in the marinas in one fashion or another – What a small world! It is true we are the only sailboat around easily identifiable. We are surrounded by sport fishing type yachts.
We leave as planned early Sunday morning while the winds push us out of the lagoon. In the afternoon they reverse, making it impossible for us to sail out then. Even though we are in the channel, we hit bottom. Our depth meter indicates we only have 4’4” of water under our 5’ keel…. It is the weirdest feeling when it happens. It’s like everything suddenly goes into slow motion. It is low tide so we know we’ll eventually float out of this situation but three fishermen rush to our help and pull us into the very center of the channel not accepting gifts or money or anything else. They repeat and reinforce the idea that we MUST stay in the MIDDLE of the channel, especially at low tide and we are very happy to abide. And people are so afraid of visiting this country? Go figure.
In Altata, we sailed approximately the same amount of miles in and out of a lagoon with no marking buoys and never touched bottom – we followed precise waypoints. In Topolobampo, we followed waypoints and buoy marked channels and still managed to find the bottom in one spot by going too far to the right within the channel. It’s not always what you think is going to happen!!!
As in leaving Altata, it takes 10 miles of going west away from land to finally see 100 feet of water under our keel. The shallow waters make for a very rough sail. Déjàlà is bouncing around and getting covered with waves after waves over the bow and sides. We can take it in stride however for we know it’s only until we reach deeper waters but it is a tiring ride nonetheless. One day Déjàlà is fully clean, the next she’s quickly back to her old salty self.
At 114 feet of depth, we see a panga anchored, yes, I said anchored. They are fishing in these waves and at this depth! It’s amazing what endurance and drive these folks have when it comes to catching fish. What having to survive will do to you...
|Yellow limestone rock formation lining north end of island|
|Mike waiting for sunset on yellow limestone|
|Beach also lined with red rocks where crabs like to hang out|
|Colorful red crabs hiding in the shade of sea caves|
At night I watch lightning after lightning coming from the area we just left. Again, we timed our departure just right to make the best of the wind and the weather. The next morning the weatherman says what we saw was 100 miles away! Amazing how large these cloud formations must be for their lightning to be seen from this far away.
|Tree growing right out of volcanic rock|
|Cliff's view from canyon below|
Curious bees come and visit the boat at dusk and dawn looking for dew water. Something we don’t usually encounter on the mainland side of Mexico for that area is generally wetter. Once the scouting bees find nothing they usually leave us alone the rest of the day. If there is dew, we just have to wipe it off quickly to minimize their visits. In general it hasn’t been a big issue for us, but something to keep in mind when traveling this very dry area.
|More cliff overhangs from dry stream bed in canyon|