Heading North

Summers in Mexico on a boat are typically hot and windless unless you get visited by a hurricane or the evening corumel winds that howell across the baja into the sea at night.  For this reason, cruisers either go way up north up into the Sea of Cortez to haul out, South toward Panama or west, across the Pacific to French Polynesia.  Our original plan had us going to French Polynesia LAST spring and then we thought we would go THIS spring but…  you know what we decided to do… Even if we hadn’t landed a gig in Canada we would have probably parked in the Sea of Cortez for the summer.  But that’s not really all.  Because the Sea in the summer is like a little slice of fire and brimstone here on earth, most boaters, if they decide to stay on their boat, find a marina to tie up to, buy an AC unit and stay down below in their boats all summer… this was NOT appealing to us.

Some families rent a house in the interior of Mexico, some people go live at their home in the States or Canada for the summer, some people buy or rent an RV and explore, some people go back to work for the season.  There are lots of options.  We have friends doing each one of these options, some of whom have promised to come visit us during their travels!!!!

The rest of this post is a little flashback on our time getting Banyan up into the sea and ready to be put up on the hard.

It’s Monday, March 21st, 2016. Guaymas, Mexico.  Like all the boats around us right now in the marina, we are working working working on putting our boat to bed.  We are pulling all the food out of her, cleaning and sorting everything, servicing the engine, cleaning and stowing the sails, oiling the teak, polishing the stainless, oiling the gaskets.  It is really just a good long and intense spring cleaning and servicing. Banyan is breathing a sigh of relief with all the attention.    It can get so hot here in the summer that we have heard that cans of food will explode.  *Not* something I want to come home to.

The girls helping Cameron with the washing of the ropes (or sheets, halyards and lines as they are known on boats)
The girls helping Cameron with the washing of the ropes (or sheets, halyards and lines as they are known on boats)

On our way up to Guaymas we stopped in Mazatlan.  We stayed in the anchorage just inside the industrial harbor.  It was interesting, very close to the old town which was fun to explore, but it was a bit rough and ready.  While we were there we were told in no uncertain terms to raise our dinghy all the way on top of our boat – DO NOT leave it in the water.  So, with grudging resignation we lifted the engine off the dinghy with our engine hoist, secured it to the aft rail of Banyan, locked it and lifted the dinghy back on board (we have a seamless dance between us that is only disrupted by a strong gust of wind), securing it to the foredeck.  We do this when we sail any good distance, but to do it every night?  A bit harder than parking the car in the garage.  We were glad we did as the very next morning a neighboring boat had their dinghy stolen off the davits on the back of their boat.  Their dinghy was out of the water too, on a system that lots of boats have for storing the dinghy out of the water.  A panga (traditional Mexican open fishing boat) pulled right underneath it, cut the block and tackle and took off.  We felt terrible for them.

In Mazatlan we checked out the Mercado, ate great local street food, fond an anthropology museum, really started getting into the agua fresca and walked all over.

The very cool anthropology museum in old town Mazatlan, small, but powerful
The very cool anthropology museum in old town Mazatlan, small, but powerful
So... what is that?
So… what is that?  In the Mercado Central – The main market where the Mexicans really do their shopping.. it’s cool….  
The strip in Mazatlan...Adelaide and I had a mother daughter day to ourselves and we checked it out.
The strip in Mazatlan…Adelaide and I had a mother-daughter day to ourselves and we checked it out.
The beautiful alter at the Cathedral in old town Mazatlan
The beautiful alter at the Cathedral in old town Mazatlan

We left Mazatlan on a smooth-water day and motored north heading for Guaymas hoping to be there in two or three days.  We really like to sail if there is any wind, we prefer to sail, so we sailed.  But on day 3 when we did less than 30 nautical miles in 24 hours we gave it up.  We started up the “iron genoa” aka the engine, and slogged north.  Because of this it meant we had to get diesel.  We stopped briefly in Topolobampo.  It was a long narrow entrance and at one point, while thinking we were headed for the right navigation bouys we hit the side of the channel so hard I thought we were gonna be there for a while.  Thankfully Banyan slid back into the channel and we had new respect for the thickness of our hull and the narrowness of the channel.  We found the bouys we were meant to go through and we paid closer attention.


Math underway!
Math underway!
Our last anchorage...:(
Our last anchorage…:(


After Topolobampo it was still two more nights underway before we laid anchor for the last time for a long while.  It was a bit surreal thinking that we were going to leave Banyan.  That morning I woke up and took my tea to the deck and just looked around thinking how amazing this time has been, thinking what in God’s name I was doing leaving it and promising myself that we would get back here soon.  We motored into the marina and set in on the two weeks worth of work of preparing Banyan to be left alone on the hard during a summer in Mexico.


  1. Richard Edine says:

    Aloha Vawters, I liked all of your sailing stories. We enjoyed our time sailing in Hawaii and New Zealand. I like a larger boat now.
    We are off to Cuba next wee for 2 weeks then to Washington DC with friends and will see relatives and be part of a gathering for the crew
    of the Hawaiian Sailing Canoe when it arrives in Washington DC. Then back to good old Hawaii to take the McKendry and Matsui families
    to Oahu to my family home and do the big city things with the kids.
    Aloha and Love, Dick and Sandy

    Seeing a lot of your relatives in Hawaii the last 6 months. Your are welcome any time.

    • Anne Vawter says:

      So great to hear an update on your doing Dick! Sounds like things are fabulous as usual. YES… Cameron and I have talked much about a Hawaii trip. This gig is a bit intense up here is Canada and not sure that we can get away, but I’ve told Cameron that we NEED to get there before all the kids grow up! Thanks for the encouragement! It’s gonna happen soon… I can feel it:)

  2. Barbara Vawter says:

    Very sweet, loving your updates and info about final preparation to put Banyan to bed! Yes, I believe you will return to Mexico and beloved Banyan to set sail and cruise at some point! Awesome that you all had such an amazing experience & made so many incredible sailing friends!
    You are loved, Barbara & Doug

  3. Marianne McGRiff says:

    Anne and Cameron,
    I could really “feel” your emotion leaving behind part of Life for the last year on Banyon.
    God’s Blessings for the coming year in Canada…praying that our paths will cross again.
    love and hugs to ALL, Marianne

    • Anne Vawter says:

      Yup, it was a bit emotional. We are looking forward to life back on board… this working thing is intense! 🙂 Thanks for your prayers and continued support and love.

  4. Libbey Mckendry says:

    Love the pictures and story. So glad your dingy wasn’t stolen! Scary to bump into the side of the channel! Thanks for filling us in on getting Banyan ready for the hard. The picture of Adelaide in the little black outfit looks like you Anne. Love to you

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