From Topolobampo to Guaymas via Yavaros

The sail from Yavaros to Guyamas was among our best this season: 30 hours of non-stop sailing with 10 to 15 kts. southerly wind! This was a good change from the previous passage from Topolobampo to Yavaros, where we had to motor quite a bit. In addition we did catch a big Sierra just before entering Guaymas bay, which made for a good dinner at the anchorage that evening. Talking about fish, this year Sierras are what we catch the most. Even though we like Sierras, each time we have a fish at the end of the line, we hope for something else for a change… like the big Dorado we missed earlier this year… But in most cases we do catch Sierras!

Yavaros was an interesting stop. First of all, the water is very shallow, both inside the bay and up to 2 miles outside. You can actually see fishermen walking in the middle of the bay next to their boat! In addition of being shallow, the bay is extremely poorly marked and the guide books vague, or worse, confusing. So we had to rely on a few GPS points and on observing fishing boats moving around. This was not very effective, and we almost run aground a few times with our 4 ft draft boat!

Following fishing boats however, led us to a safe anchorage north of town, in front of a long dock used by an industrial fish factory (owned by Grupo Pando), and bordered by shipwrecks… Depending on the wind, the factory was sending us the interesting smell of fish oil. Worst of all, a few times a day the entire dock was shadowed by a dense cloud of black smoke. Thanks Grupo Pando for helping save our planet!!!!

Pollution from Grupo Pando fish factory at Yavaros

Not too crazy about the idea of anchoring in a polluted place that smelled sardine oil, we decided to investigate the south side of town, which is mentioned by the Rain guide book as a possible anchorage. Having seen the fishermen walking in the bay, we were fully aware of the risk of venturing there, but we decided to take a chance. Well… not for too long! A few minutes in the exploration, we did run aground! Nothing serious since it was under sand and mud and we were able to unstock the boat almost immediately by using our body weight on the boom the make the boat tilt on its side. We are actually happy that we did run aground only once… never before have we seen such shallow and badly marked waters! Retrospectively (had we known that the shoal extends 2nm out) Yavaros seems like a bad stop when going north: you hope to get southerlies for a good sail, but south wind will make the exit dangerous. We only had moderate waves from the channel entrance to 2 miles offshore, because the swell did not have time to build up yet, but it was already scary with depth less than 10ft (low tide)!

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