2020 Migration: Northbound on the Mainland

May 16 – June 6, 2020

After a couple of months chillin’ (read: isolatin’) on the Costalegre, it was high time to start moving north in anticipation of the upcoming summer storm season. With all of the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and the status of the border between us and our families, the status of the tiny Mexican towns where we would normally hang out, and the enduring nature of the virus, we moved up the coast with no real plan. The only stops along this migration that were for sure (tentatively anyway) were Isla Isabel, which is a must-see for us no matter which direction we’re going, and Marina Mazatlán to hammer out some projects that required power tools. Other than those two places, the rest was, well, uncertain.

So, we moseyed up the coast, with a quick stop in Ipala – a new anchorage to us – which was swelly and deep. But it was just fine for a night of sleep in preparation for an early departure up around the corner to Bahía de Banderas, where we would spend about 10 days taking care of the little things, like laundry and provisioning, as well as checking in with Mike at PV Sailing to have our drifter trimmed up.

Then we were off to Chacala, where, after a couple of months of foul water on the Costalegre (thanks to naturally-occurring, cyclical algal blooms), we were finally able to visualize nice, long swims in the beautiful blue, clear water. Unfortunately, we didn’t notice the small, translucent, bubble-shaped things floating around da boat when we elatedly jumped in. Immediately, we were overcome by nasty stinging sensations all over our arms and legs, where Pacific bluebottles (the less toxic cousin to the Portuguese man-o-war) greeted and entangled and stung us. Ouch! We immediately put a kettle on the stove and doused ourselves with warm water to denature the stingy proteins; it worked like a dream. Those are nasty little critters, but they’re so beautiful!

Next up – Isla Iz, which is always perfect, then Mazatlán for time on the dock and projects. We prettied Free Luff up with some wax, resealed a bunch of the cork, and took care of other general maintenance. She felt like new! And just in time for a multi-day crossing to the Baja Peninsula and more isolation, but in a good way.

At this point, we were a couple of months into the pandemic/lockdowns, and overall, our lives in isolation weren’t that different from our lives not in isolation. Bobbing around on a sailboat with a crew of two is essentially a voluntary quarantine. But this just felt different. Hitting our usual haunts didn’t have the same appeal because most places were closed, and knowing there’d be no socializing or walkabouts in town made everything seem, I don’t know, surreal. And lonely. The norm has become communicating via Messenger, Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp, etc. – thank goodness for cell connectivity. The big questions on everyone’s minds – when will our lives return to “normal” and how long is this COVID thing going to last? Only time will tell.

The Transit Gallery
COVID-19 Virtual Socializing Gallery


  1. Rob Armstrong

    How would you compare the amount of upkeep/renovations of boat vs. house? Seems like frequency on boat is greater and I always see everyone constantly doing “stuff” onboard but lots of is it smaller, more elementary “stuff” whereas the scale of projects on house are obviously bigger. Just curious if you think it’s more or less

    1. Jody Fraser

      Boats, like terrestrial homes, require maintenance, and because the salt water environment is a tough one, we have to be diligent with preventative inspections and projects. Plus, everything has to be stainless, which is expensive. But things still go wrong, and that little saying, “it’s always something,” is applicable here. I can’t honestly say whether the stuff is more or less on a boat vs. a house; I suppose it depends on the condition of each. How’s that for a wishy-washy response? ;o)

  2. Tom Dilworth

    I loved seeing the drone shots of the various anchorages from the last installment, many of which were familiar. Also, what’s the story on that giant power tri? And what was involved with the cabin sole project? Anyway, things here are quiet but good. We miss you guys!

    1. Jody Fraser

      We sure wish you guys were out here with us on Ellie! Here’s the link to the story on the tri: https://seashepherd.org/news/sea-shepherd-vessel-brigitte-bardot-relaunched-and-ready-for-action/ Enjoy!

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