Retracing Tracks 2019: Maz to Tenacatita

January 18 – February 2, 2019

After a lovely couple of weeks in Mazatlán with the likes of Catatude, we headed south, with Barra de Navidad as our ultimate destination. There’s so much to see in between, but as usual, we shorted ourselves on time, as we had family arriving in Barra and wanted to make sure we were there to greet them. Oy – when will we learn that sailing and schedules don’t exactly mix? Apparently, not any time soon because we constantly seem to be on some sort of schedule. BUT, don’t get me wrong, it is all worth it! Having visitors makes our hearts happy, and we love sharing our experiences with friends and family from home.

Our first stop after departing Mazatlán was Isla Isabela. It is one of our favorite places in Mexico, what with the gazillion frigates, boobies, and tropic birds; the amazing snorkeling around the pinnacles; and the whales, whales, whales. The past couple of times we’ve been in this neighborhood, humpbacks have put on quite a show, whether it be off in the distance or close enough to smell their breath, we are continually fascinated by these massive creatures. Even the young dwarf da boat, making us feel just slightly insignificant.

This time around, Rand experienced the magic of being in whale country. As we awoke from a good night’s rest after our overnight passage, a humpy female and her calf were meandering around the anchorage – so close to da boat that Rand decided it was time for a swim. The two moseyed away, and the mediocre visibility made it difficult for Rand to track them, so he kept looking to me to point him in the right direction. Eventually, he was upon them – super close, spitting distance, in fact. The calf was between Rand and the female, so she investigated; turning, turning, turning toward Rand, such that he had to paddle backwards to avoid swimming right into them. Her great big eyeball was clear as day – poor water clarity be damned – checking him out. Apparently satisfied that he was no threat, they casually turned and swam away. Rand popped up, turned toward me on FL and made the head-exploding gesture – it was a magical moment for him, being so close to such enormous, seemingly docile animals. Bucket list: swimming with humpbacks – check.

After a couple of days at Isabel and we were ready to make for Chacala for a quick stop, with just enough time for sundowners with S/Vs Karvi and Honu. Then it was another quickie at Punta de Mita, before settling in at Punta Perula for a few days with Tigress II and surfing at Chamela. Finally, we busted a move to Tenacatita Bay, where we enjoyed the second annual Free Luff Leisure Triathlon (on SuperBowl Sunday), hiking with Shanti (followed by tick checks – found one!), feasting on the Rollo del Mar at the only palapa on the beach, and sharing meals at sunset on ours and our friends’ boats. This place never disappoints. It’s beautiful, the sailing community is fun and supportive, and it’s just a hop, skip, and a jump to Barra, where we would be reunited with Annie and Vanessa, Adventurer and Danika, and, last but not least, The French Baker!

Just a quick note about the triathlon…This year, we only had a few participants – Randy, representing Free Luff; Jason and Jenn, a relay team from Volaré; and Paul and Hal, a father and son (15 years young and a runner – you know where I’m going with this, yes?) from Opa. The course was similar to last year – a swim to shore from FL, a quick out and back run on the beach of about 1 mile, and a SUP leg around the fleet. The SUP course got shorter as the paddlers entered the water because one of the boats left the anchorage – haha! Rand and Paul killed it on the swim, but then Hal blew past them on the run and managed to hold onto his lead until the bitter end. Jenn put forth a great effort on the swim and paddle, with Jason helping out on the run. Unfortunately, Jenn lost her sunglasses as she entered the water for the paddle; this delayed her a bit, resulting in a last place finish. But it was fun, fun, fun! And, it was a gorgeous day!


  1. rob armstrong

    Swimming with humpbacks O M G.

    1. Jody Fraser

      Yeah. Nuts.

  2. Kathy Long

    Always enjoy reading about your adventures and love all the pictures!
    The humpback mom and baby encounter sounded A-mazing! The pic of the gato was so sweet!
    Miss and love you! 😘

    1. Jody Fraser

      Glad you enjoy the blog, Kathy. We are leading a magical life – I just wish we could transport all of our friends and family down here to be with us all the time! Too much to ask, so we settle for periodic visits. Hopefully, we’ll get you and Jay down here eventually!! Miss and love you guys, too!

  3. Had to read the humpback encounter part out loud to K! What an experience THAT must have been! Thanks for taking so many photos. Nothing jogs the cruising memory better than getting your candid glimpses of life in Mexico… we miss it so much!

    1. Jody Fraser

      And Mexico misses YOUs!! Can’t have humpy experiences in the heart of Seattle. Just sayin’. XXOO

  4. Humpbacks. Yeah!! And the Free Luff Leisure Tri. Fun!

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