The Haul Out
28 March 2014
March 20, 2014
“Whoa! What?” I looked down at my feet and then up at Jay. He had the same questioning look on his face. We had arrived at Palmara Boat Yard in La Paz for a one-hour haul out and bottom survey. Several guys came out and took our lines, walked us into the slings, yelled a lot in Spanish and then hauled up the boat. With us in it!
“Uh, Jay?” I said nervously. He just shrugged and watched to see that they didn't crush the mizzen mast.
Whoops! More yelling in Spanish. They moved the strap just a bit. Okay, back up. Now we're good. Whew.
“Well, that was a first.” I said to Jay as we climbed down the ladder to meet our surveyor, Max.
Max is a Canadian who has lived in La Paz for six years. For the last five, he has been apprenticing with a Mexican surveyor who is ninety-one years old and still working. Only he can't do the outside surveys anymore because his body is too weak from age. This is why Max has come to do our inspection. He is a pleasant man and begins with tapping his hammer on the hull, checking for voids.
I walked anxiously around the boat. Was there any damage that occurred when I hit bottom? Jay teased me that I had some work to do but other than needing a few new zincs, she got a clean bill of health. I could finally put the grounding to rest.
Since we have been back from our month-long excursion, Jay and I have been working hard on the boat, getting her ready to be put to bed for the summer. We have decided to keep her in La Paz in Marina Costabaja. We are docked in the inside part of the marina which is tucked into the hills and considered a hurricane hole. In fact, it is the only marina in La Paz our insurance company will cover for hurricanes.
As I mentioned before, our hope is to come back next season and take Cadenza across to the mainland and head south. The only problem is our current insurance company will only cover us to 100 miles south of Cabo San Lucas. That sent Jay searching for another company that would cover us further. Which he found; Pantaenius. They will cover the boat up to seven degrees south. However, we needed to pass a bottom survey to go along with our inside survey that we had done before leaving the states. This is what took us to Palmara and our ride on Cadenza through the air instead of the sea.
I actually looked forward to the trip to Palmara as we had never made this trip by water, only by land in the shuttle. When arriving in La Paz, Costabaja is the very first marina, just ouside of town. There is a seven-mile channel that takes you up into the center of town and past several marinas.
There are many marinas in La Paz, but there are a couple of popular ones. A few of them are Costabaja, Palmira, Marina Cortez and Marina de La Paz. Each has its own benefits. Some, like us, prefer to be out of town, and others prefer to be in town. Also in town is the anchorage, including the Magote where one has been able to stay for free.
The bay can have a severe tidal change, thus the nick-name, The La Paz Waltz. Boats swing back and forth, pushed around by both the tide and the winds, wreaking havoc at times. When strong winds come, it is not uncommon to hear skippers on the VHF announcing to the fleet that they see a dragging anchor. But that is another great thing about the cruising community here. Everyone watches out for each other. For every boat that goes astray there are five sailors coming to her aid.
We left Costabaja around 0745 and headed for the boat yard. It was a damp morning with a few clouds but little wind. We caught the infamous tide and cruised at 6.8 knots over ground. As we passed the long stretch of town, I marveled at how different it looks from the water and wistfully contemplated our time spent here.
La Paz is a city of low-lying buildings and rugged streets. It is an eclectic mix of houses and businesses and deserted structures; fancy iron-rod gates, beautifully-carved wooden doors and walls of graffiti. The malecone is a mix of shops and restaurants with a path running along the beach. There are jewelry stores and trinket shops, bars, cafes, and ice cream parlors. Families gather here in the evenings, just to take a stroll or visit with friends. There is no sense of urgency, just a relaxed persona. One woman called it sleepy. I think of it as tranquil. I guess that's why they call it La Paz. It is a peaceful existence, complete with a friendly community.
We will miss it.