Archive for the ‘La Paz BCS Mexico’ Category

Holiday Season

12/21/2011

 

Groups of boats arrived in La Paz over Thanks Giving everyone hurried to their destinations.  They filled up the anchorages and dropped their anchors almost on top of other boaters anchors.  The weather got cooler and the boats eventually left to head south for warmer climates.  The quiet takes over.

Four days before Christmas.  No television commercials and no pressures.  The Sanctuary bells ring in succession during the day and night.  The sound drifts across the water to where we are anchored and is only a faint but sweet sound.  Peace.  A delight full time.  Being able to spend time as chosen and not as dictated is a real blessing.  If these days were my last, they were so well spent.

 

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Are We There Yet?

08/14/2011

Seems like we spend most of our time wishing our lives away.

By the end of May we could hardly stand the heat in La Paz.  The days were starting to reach 100-101 and the window liners had been put back in the ports to keep the temperature down inside the boat.  Couldn’t wait for the sun to start setting just so we could sit out on the deck and attempt to catch a cool breeze.  By the first week in June we were planning on storing the boat for hurricane season and heading back to the states.

We had been in Mexico for 11 months and had no idea what we were missing. Television in the U.S. is mentally degrading not only the commercials but the programs as well.  The people are more self absorbed and less willing to speak in passing.   We discovered that we had been acclimated to La Paz.  Life in Mexico had taught us to slow down……. and focus on keeping it simple.

We have been back in the states for two months now and  are looking forward to returning to Mexico and our home on the boat. As soon as hurricane season is over and things start to cool off  we will be returning back to La Paz to pick up where we left off.  Are we there yet?

Sea Trials

04/19/2011

The day was getting so hot that we were dragging our bodies around as we went about our chores.  The high was predicted to be 95 degrees and I think it was close to it by 11AM.  The deck looked like a bomb hit it. Michael turned to me and said “Let’s clean this all up on the way out of here”.  Those were the best words I had heard all morning.  So he started up the motor and out we went, cleaning up the deck as we motored along. 

The water was Blueberry Blue and the hues changed lighter to white as the water got shallower.  We motored up to the same place as before, a couple of weeks ago. There were people in kayaks, waverunners, and fishing boats. The anchor was dropped in 20′ of water.  The GPS set to announce any dragging of the anchor.

Mike jumped into the inflatable dingy with a 4 stroke 10 hp motor on the back.  Off he flew to go check out the sights.  He was so fun to watch as he bounced off the waves from a nearby waverunner.

As my eyes scanned the water I  saw several schools of fish right on the surface of the water.  Each time a bird flew over it was as tho the bird had a magnetic pull as a soft swosh sound would occur and many of the little fish would pile up in the direction the bird was flying.

Later in the evening the guys were out on the deck, when a kayak with a father and son pulled up next to the boat.

The little boy yelled “HOLA!” As if he were saying “I said Hi!   He spoke some english and asked if he could come on board and have his picture taken.  Up comes Father and Son.  More voices came from behind the boat. Three more people climb on board. It was Mom and two daughters. The children looked to be between the ages of 9-12.  They all wanted their pictures taken on the boat.  So we took their pictures.

As the sun  set and the full moon crossed the mountain, it reflected into the sea.

Michael was  done for the day and goes to bed.  Little Mike says he’s wired and can’t go to sleep.  Says he doesn’t like being on the anchor.  I tell him he’ll have to get use to it because we’ll be anchored out much over the next 3 months. He explains that he should have gone to bed while we were still up so that he could feel that someone was on watch.  So I tell him that I would be up for a while.  He finally settles down and goes to sleep.

If I weren’t so sleepy I’d stay up for hours sitting in the companion way watching the stars and the bright lit up moon. There’s a gentle breeze blowing which carries the sound of the mariachi bands tuba player over from the nearby beach.  Someone must have gotten married today due to the  white tents set up and music being played all afternoon.

By the next morning the guys go over the routine check of the engine and find a leaky transmission seal and a few other issues that need to be addressed.

It is decided that we head back to the marina and address these matters.  Shouldn’t take more than a day or two and hopefully we will be out again for another sea trial.

Bitter Sweet

04/13/2011

A week has passed, almost two…but I thought I’d better update my blog.  Our family pet Wally passed away Sunday two weeks ago.  It was a very sad time for us.  We had the boat ready for a sea trial so we took the opportunity to motor out into the bay and bury Wally in close to 100′ of water.  The ride out was exciting.  The boat handled like a dream.  The day was clear and warm with virtually no wind and the water was crystal clear. Dolphins decided to escort us as we crossed the downtown area of La Paz.  They stayed directly under our bow wake and when I talked to them, they would surface and blow water at me.  It made me smile.

We left the dock around 3:30 pm and arrived at a deep place in the bay close to sunset.  As we looked around for a spot to say goodbye to our friend, we passed a seal playing around in the water.  I poured two shot glasses of Coconut Rum and one of Grape Juice as the three of us offered a toast to Wally.  He was wrapped in red canvas from the boat, weighed down with some heavy weight and slid into the bay.  We watched as his body sink below the depths out of sight. Not one of us could speak a word.

Michael slowly walked back to the wheelhouse, put the engine in gear and headed out to a nearby island where we would anchor for the night.  We pulled into a cove and dropped the anhcor in about 20′ of water.  We had a light dinner of salsas, bean drip and tortilla chips.  As the light faded away the wind began to blow and blow it did hard until 2:30 AM.  Michael set the alarm on the GPS, as we all took sights on land to get an idea where we were so if we dragged anchor we would know.  By the time we finished dinner the wind had picked up considerably and we were concerned that we had dragged, so the three of us went on topsides, Mike at the wheel, Michael on the anchor as I am handed a flashlight and the VHF Radio to give Mike orders as Michael attempts to reset the anchor.  The wind just howled in our ears.  Michael had to yell for me to hear him giving me directions as to where to shine the light all at the same time giving me directions to relay to Mike.  With all of the mix of emotions running around in my head, I notice I’m pointing the handheld radio at the anchor while talking in the flashlight. Not helpfull!

Michaels content at last that we are staying in the same spot and goes below to bed.  While Mike makes a place on the deck to sleep.  He wanted to keep one eye open in case we start to drag.  I bring him a pillow and warm blanket while our other dog snuggles up to him to keep warm.  Me…I felt I would be most useful if I just stayed up all night.  The sun warms up the land during the day and when the sunsets the cooler air covers the land as the warmer air rushes upward.  It felt like the wind blew over 30 knotts that night.

By 4:30AM, I went to sleep.  Guys got up by 7Am.  I joined them, fixed a big breakfast then we lowered the little boat over the side while Mike and Caelin, our black lab, took a ride to the beach for her morning walk.  Then we splashed my kayak over the side and off I went for a morning paddle.  It was absolutely beautiful.  The farther out I paddled the clearer the water got and I could see all kinds of large fish under me.  It made me feel like I was up high looking down, as my heart sank.  A sea plane passed overhead and then circled around the island as well as an ultralight float plane.

As I paddled around the rocky cliff, white sandy beaches came into view. Wow what a day.  When I returned to the boat I noticed the tide was going out, we were in 7′ of water.  Our draft is 6′.  Michael seemed content to stay there but on went the motor, then up he pulled the anchor and out to the bay once again.  We headed back across La Paz and over to the marina where we have been staying.  It took 1 to 2 hours to get back.

Once we were back in our slip at the marina we felt exhausted, mostly from the sadness in our hearts from losing our friend.  It was a bitter sweet time.

Wind Advisory

02/04/2011

Each morning at 8Am the VHF Radio on channel 22 comes to life. They call it “The Cruisers Net”. It starts off with “is there any emergency traffic?”. Then the tides are reported and on to the weather. Last Friday during the weather report it was said that there would be a high pressure over the area by the following Wednesday which would bring on high winds and choppy seas. Surprisingly the winds began as reported, to the day. 

It began Wednesday morning before noon. All the desert dirt began to be picked up and swirled around  coating everything with a nice thin layer. While driving down the roads you could look ahead and see a virtual dust storm right before your eyes. Out in the bay there were white caps every where and on the horizon there was a long line of white foam from east to west. Boats on the anchor were bobbing up and down. Some looked as tho they were riding the waves smoothly while others jumped back and forth from beam to beam. Reports were coming up on the VHF Radio, people calling for help due to their anchors coming lose as the tide ran fast with the wind on its side. Dingies were breaking loose and off on their own. One boater had somehow fallen out of his dingie and was holding on the side of his boat desperately yelling for help from another boater at anchor as he drifted by. A zip lock bag was reported adrift carrying his cell phone, wallet, credit cards and pesos.  As each report came over the radio I was reminded how happy I was to be tied up at the dock.

Now it is 10:30 at night and the wind is still howling 30 maybe for 40 knots. This boat that I’ve been on for 6 months is demonstrating how well it moans and groans as the wind peaks and wines. I’ve already been outside to place a fender on the dingie so it will stop bumping the side of the boat and tieing off little things that are going “clickadity clack” and keeping me awake.

 I love to hear the sound of the wind, it reminds me of the days we lived on a boat on the Outer Banks of North Carolina in the winter. The wind there had character as it does here tonight. We will keep the radio on channel 22 to listen if anyone gets in trouble and needs help with their boats. Hopefully we will get a good nights sleep.

Finally

10/24/2010

It wasn’t until last week, the middle of October, that there was a noticeable change in the weather.  The evenings began to cool way down into the 60’s while during the day the highs have been  in the 80’s.  A new-found source of energy begins to emerge from each of the crew members.  We are starting our days with a rapid row out to the first set of markers in the channel outside the marina and back to the boat.  An exercise that is aiding in this fight against last winters storage of fat. 

 The rest of the day is spent working on the boat, marking off one item at a time from the list of “Things to Do Before Heading South”. 

Michael has been working on re-wiring the boat ever since we got aboard.  It has been a real “rats nest”.  Not to mention the rigging issues.  Lucky for us this guy can figure almost anything out if it has to do with mechanics or electronics.  After re-wiring the start switch, he started up the engine.  It was the first time I had heard it run.  It was good to hear the Perkins start and run like a new engine.  It was one more thing on the list that was completed and put my mind at ease.

People are starting to filter into La Paz since the weather has been getting cooler up north.  Next week a fleet of boats will be arriving from the San Diego area in a flotilla called the Baja Ha Ha.  Many stories have emerged from this annual event.  One of which includes the history of our boat. 

 Numberous cruisers get together and pay a fee to be a part of this cruise south each year.  Last year was considered a rough journey south.  Apparently “the call” was made to run in rough weather.  Many boaters tucked into safe harbors while others were “shamed” into continuing on, others that weren’t real experienced boaters ran into rough seas and strong winds, taking some hard licks on their vessels along the way.  Our boat in particular had a family of five on board.  Once they got to their destination the decision was made to sell the boat of which they had only owned for maybe 3 or 4 months. 

 It is sad to hear of such stories.  Much time and energy is put into owning a boat, not to mention getting ready for a 1000 mile run.  As history dictates, many boats make it to Cabo San Lucas the southern tip of Baja or even around to La Paz only to be put on the market as soon as they arrive.  Now that the Baja Ha Ha 2010 is now underway, my wish for every cruiser is that they have fair winds and clam seas.

Change of Pace

09/25/2010

One of the main reasons we decided to go cruising was to get  off  of the couch and start moving again.  Our life in the mountains for the last 5 years had become very sedentary.  When you make the decision to go back to cruising, you forget the things that were somewhat of a hassle before.  Things such as hauling supplies to the boat when your docked at a marina.  Or walking your dogs several times a day while docked at a marina.  The trip down the docks and across the parking lot is rarely a short one. But Hey! We’re off the couch and moving.  

Moth Onboard

09/14/2010

While working on the boat this morning, I noticed a visitor that was unaffected by me. It was one of the largest moths I have seen. Tristan Jones, Author of the Book “Yarns”, wrote about a sailing trip he did on the Amazon River in South America. He wrote about a swarm of moths that landed on his boat one evening and ate through all the screens and soft materials he had on his boat. His description of the crunching sounds they made is still in my memory.

A Glimpse of La Paz BCS, Mexico.

08/12/2010

So here we are, one week later sitting on the back of the boat in the hot steamy and breezy air.  Each day as the sun goes down the wind picks up off of the desert and blows, sometimes pretty strong.  It’s warm and sticky.  The only difference is that the sun isn’t beating down on you at the same time.  I hoped to post pics of the drive down the Baja Peninsula and I will.  But for now here are some pics of the area of La Paz.  The name means Peace! As to the boat, I’ll be posting the latest update real soon.

The above pic is of Down Town.  The Sea of Cortez comes right up to the sidewalks on the left.  In the evenings families walk the boardwalk while vendors set up tables and walk the streets selling drinks, food, jewelry and other local charms.

I am told that this boardwalk extends from one end of the city to the next. 

This is one of many stops along the beach after you pass thru town.

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Places such as this set my mind to wondering about its history.

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Many of the mountains are shaped out of rock.  The roads outside of the city can be rough especially when going around blind curves on the mountain sides.  If you look closely  you will see these shrines set up along the side of the road for the loved ones who have been killed in car accidents. 

 Driving in Mexico is entertaining to say the least.  It is to our disadvantage that we can’t understand many of the street signs.  We have driven up one way roads and have gotten the “what the hell look” with hands wide open from side to side, from the police.  We have driven thru stop signs but learned quickly what signs meant.  In Mexico, the speed limit is mearly a suggestion, as well as the stop signs.  No one actually stops unless it’s a red light.

I liked this walkway. Not sure as to it’s purpose.  It dead ends right into the hill.

At this intersection you can choose to go left to the Ferry that will carry you and your automobile from La Paz BCS to Mazatlan, Mexico on the mainland.  Should you choose to go right you will go directly toward two of the many best beaches around. 

The color of the water is crystal clear blue.

The iron work on the gate at this hotel is just an example of Mexico’s craftsmanship.


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