28/01/2010, La Paz
We are making plans to head out as quickly as tomorrow as the weather looks favorable as far as we can tell. Weather forecasts around this area seem almost pointless as the conditions change so rapidly and are affected by so many variables. They forecasted calm winds all day yesterday and we had wind of 20 knots in the channel. Combine this with the huge tidal swings associated with tonight's full moon and staying on anchor becomes a bit of an adventure. We were backed onto our anchor for a good portion of the evening against the wind and tidal flow - how is this possible?
Living with uncertainties has become a way of life, but not neccessarily one I have made friends with. Stability can be a boon, but we'd miss out on the incredible experiences of marine life and cruising friends. Sharks were spotted out in the channel yesterday and apparently there were a bunch of sea turtles hatched just out of the channel last week. As we depart, I hope we can get a glimpse of either one.
We will be saying "Asta Luego" to many good friends made along our way making our departure bittersweet. We look forward to the awesome crew of Endurance following us shortly to be reunited hopefully in time for the Carnival in Mazatlan.
We are going in search of last minute cinnamon buns from a local bakery and freshly roasted Mexican coffee beans from a much celebrated coffee shop in downtown La Paz; just off the Malecon. The dinghy ride should be delightful as low tide will expose the shoals in the middle of the channel - we can always get out and push!
27/01/2010, La Paz
We are still in La Paz and making plans to head out in a few days. The major project accomplished today was grocery reprovisioning. I have learned to have one project a day. Usually, that way I can accomplish what I set out to do. The days slip by here so quickly with a majority of our time spent visiting with the some of the many boaters stuck in the La Paz grip.
We went to the movies yesterday. English with Spanish subtitles and 3 D. Very cool. I was chastised for taking a picture of some fire safety gear in the theatre corridor. Something about "politic"????? Hanging neatly in a case I saw two sets of bunker gear. In case of fire, break glass, deal with it yourself?
23/01/2010, La Paz
We are anchored in the channel outside of La Paz. It is a very interesting city and has been fun to explore. We have also desperately needed to replenish empty tanks and cupboards with food, fuel, and water. It is a nice change to be able to re-provision, yet I know in a few days it will be good to get away from the urban frenzy of a cuidad. We plan to spend a night or two in a marina so that we can take on water and wash weeks of evaporated salt off of the boat. There is a huge cruising community here and it is very easy to drop the chores intended for the day and meet and visit with other boaters.
I am anxious to learn some basic Spanish. I know a few words, almost enough to get into trouble. When I ask the price of something, my skill of counting to ten doesn't help me much. They really speak so fast here. So I point to the tamale, politely ask the cost, and then try really hard to conceal the blank look on my face when the street vendor answers. I try to assess the cost of the item I am buying and confidently pull out a bill of higher value. Sometimes I miss and we both feel awkward because the 12 peso pollo tamale needs more change then is available for the 200 peso note I pull out. So I am motivated to learn. It used to be easier though. And I find that in those moments of awkwardness, as I seek to communicate, sometimes German terms learned 20 years ago push there way out from the cobwebs of unused consciousness, and confuse me more.
22/01/2010, La Paz
After leaving Bahia de Los Muertos in the early morning hours with S. V. Endurance we sailed into a beautiful bay with three sandy beaches and the most clear water we've ever seen. As soon as the anchor was set in 13 feet of this beauty Brad surprised us by jumping from the helm right into the water! It was so hot and he had burned his back standing at the helm for the majority of the day. Kat and Zach quickly followed their daddy's lead and enjoyed splashing around with rays surfing the surface of the sand below them.
We towed Katryn around on her boogie board with the dinghy but quickly decided the rope wasn't quite long enough. Brad headed to shore in the dinghy with the kids while Paula, from S. V. Endurance, picked me up in their inflatable two man kayak. The sun was still warm but casting longer and longer shadows as we paddled around the edges of the bay watching rays, puffer fish and other creatures skitter away from the shadows our kayak made beneath us. We saw quite a few red crabs climbing on the rocks and thought Brad would enjoy them for supper but we are not allowed to take any form of shellfish while in Mexico. Too bad.
Paula and I must have made quite the sight as we became the focus of quite a few cameras while kayaking around the bay; not just our families, but boats of tourists and the local Mexicans that were harvesting crabs from the rocky shore. We felt quite admired. The panorama was worthy of the cover of a sailing magazine and we should be in it!
After nightfall and a supper of tacos we settled in to watch Little House on the Prairie loaned to us by Endurance. We enjoyed it very much but it left me wondering why my kids are so self-centered when compared to Laura and Mary. Is our world really that much different? I believe it is. Anyway.....I ramble.
We settled in for the night and shortly thereafter we discovered why there were only two other boats anchored in the Bellandra Bay. We started to feel the boat rock and roll more than usual and wondered why. We think a combination of tidal current, wind and the wake from freighters and ferries was causing big sea swells. It felt like we were underway in rough conditions! It was impossible to sleep as we were rolling all over and you had to hold yourself to keep from falling out of your bed.
We are currently motoring into the long, tedious channel to finally arrive at the capital city of Baja California Sur, La Paz, where we are eagerly anticipating washing our clothes, getting groceries, having access to hot water, power and fuel. We have not provisioned or done laundry in three full weeks and the salt water is starting to make our very used clothing stink!
18/01/2010, Bahia de Los Muertos
Everyone kept encouraging me to stick with this crazy sailing adventure as it only gets better! Now I have to admit they were right.
We have been enjoying great days with other cruisers, snorkelling, getting stung by the clouds of jellyfish that color the water purple(picture is of the jellyfish taken off the back of our boat), and unburdening the orange, lemon, and lime trees. We have hiked the desert hills, climbed some granite rocks and eaten triggerfish cooked over a beach bonfire. So, it does get better, but how can it get better than this?
I had a great beach workout with a personal fitness trainer, complete with sweat and sand sticking to my sun warmed skin. I finished off the workout with a swim in the ocean to clean off; studiously avoiding the pufferfish swimming below. I could see right to the bottom in the clear, torquoise waters. We are anchored in about 15 feet of the clearest water I have ever seen.
It is my hope that these experiences enrichen our lives and give us opportunities to share in the lives of others. And so it has been.......
18/01/2010, Los Muertos
The North wind blew hard for days so we stayed in Los Frailes. We did some hiking, snorkeling, rock climbing, and I even tried spear fishing. We also visited with other cruisers waiting out the blow. About 15 boats congregated here all heading North, and the uncomfortable bash into the wind wasn't relished by anyone. The spontaneous beach campfire attended by most of the boats in the harbour was wonderful. James singlehanding S.V. Pyxis, donated a trigger fish that was cooked on the fire and shared around. He also volunteered as spearfishing guide and mentor for several of us.
Ken and Joyce (introduced in an early blog) drove down from La Paz and we had a great time visiting with them. They brought a wonderful gift of groceries that filled the emptying cupboards. We went out for a short daysail twice and played in the heavy wind just outside the bay.
One evening two shrimp boats ducked into the bay to wait for the rough water to calm down. Matt from S.V. Endurance joined Ken and I on a seafood mission. Matt was able to negotiate a huge bag of shrimp for two boxes of wine. He gave us half the shrimp, pictured above. The next day we enjoyed a beach at the other end of the bay near an abandoned (??) hotel. We had heard from another cruiser that there were orange, lemon, and lime trees heavy with fruit behind the hotel so brought a backpack to gather the bounty. No scurvy here. A caretaker showed up in a beat up ¼ ton pickup to check us out but did give us permission to pick the fruit. We also found coconuts in the palm trees and managed to climb up high enough to drop a few coconuts for a great snack. While we were sailing the next day, Katryn spent more then an hour with a screwdriver breaking into the treasure for the milk and meat.