A day on the Mexican Galapagos

My last blog outlined how I had made the decision to stay on board the Andante until we reached Puerto Vallarta (PV) and OMG am I glad I came to that conclusion because the experiences we have had since have been breathtaking!

We all thoroughly enjoyed Mazatlán with a tour round the old town and our self-named margarita island tour (we bought margaritas and then got in the dingy and motored round an island with the most extraordinary array of birdlife) but we had our sights on PV and decided to make a night departure. Our plan was to visit Isla Isabel for a few hours and then make a push for PV again through the night. Obviously these plans changed.

The journey to Isla Isabel was not 100% straight forward with some big waves and swell combined with another slower yacht on the same course. We all teamed together and safely arrived at the island the next morning. There was a lot of chatter on the radio about how difficult the anchorage was and other boats were not taking the risk. Luckily we did… The anchorage might not have been the easiest with large rocks and some wind but we managed to work together with the other vessels and find a safe spot. Our original plans was to stay for a few hours, do some snorkelling and then leave but once we had all jumped in and experienced how amazing the warm water and stunning sea life we decided to hold a meeting. Should we stay or should we stick to the original plan? All I will say is it was a very short decision.

We had all been excited about Isla Isabel as it is described as the Galapagos of Mexico but I am not sure any of us thought it would be quite as amazing as we found the real experience.

The bay we were anchored in was amazing. There was a cliff large crescent cliff to the right that had been eroded away, a small fishing village lay in the centre and was made up of green sheds sheltering in the trees that lined the beach. On the left hand side of the bay was a deserted research centre that had signs of use by the fishermen. Our plan was to dingy ashore early, explore and then do some final snorkelling and get under way. I think we were all equally a taken back when we set foot on land. Above us there were literally hundreds of frigate birds circling high in the sky. Blue footed boobies lined the pathways and iguanas sunbathed in the old research centre. We all quickly agreed that it felt like something out of Jurassic Park. We meandered around for a few hours completely amazed at just how close we could be to all the nature the island had to offer. All the wildlife seemed unfazed by our presence.

We ventured back to Andante and swapped cameras and shoes for snorkels and flippers. The visibility was fantastic and the range of sea life was incredible including a free swimming moray eel. Zac was in full hunter mode with his spear at the ready and to his credit he did manage to spear a trigger fish. This was most certainly not just for the sake of it. Within one hour we had the fish back on board and frying nicely in a pan. It was my first taste of trigger fish and I have to admit that while it may look majestic underwater it sure as hell tastes good above it.

We stored everything away and were once again on the high seas heading for the mainland. After 7 days at sea one thing had been missing… freshly caught fish. Well on this leg of the trip that was too change. While relaxing and reading I was summoned to the rear of the boat by Zac. We had something on the line and dinner was looking to be more than a raid of the cupboards. We managed to reel in a Pacific Bonito (a fish very similar to a tuna). Our menu for the evening was set – fish tacos. Kevin taught Zac and I how to fillet the fish and we set to work preparing the meat for the night. Just as we finished the line went again – another fish had taken the bait! Zac and I set to work on cleaning it up while Kevin started on preparing fresh corn tortillas and vegetables. Within one hour of catching the fish we were feasting on amazing fish tacos and sipping nice cold beer….

Today has been amazing and justified my decision to continue south on Andante. However when we next make land I’m going to have to put the running shoes back on and take to the streets once again.

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