03/06/2010, El Cid Marina
We're in beautiful Mazatlan. It has been so much fun sailing and exploring Mexico. We left La Paz the 7th of January and headed north with our friends Rose and Janie on Lovely Lady. Don and Jacquie on Little Christian joined us after a couple of days and the six of us continued up north. We had good weather all the way up to Escondido and Loreto. While we were at Escondido tied to a mooring ball a norther (strong wind from the north) came through. We all held fine and just rode it out. It felt like we were swinging in a hammock, not bad. It got colder as we went north; we even had to put on a blanket to sleep with. At Loreto we explored the city that was once the capital of Baja California Sur. It was a fun day. The people everywhere we go are so friendly. If you just try to speak in Spanish their faces light up and they want to help you all they can. Often we find ourselves helping them with English and they help us with Spanish.
We decided to return to La Paz, where it is warmer instead of going farther north. Little Christian went with us and Lovely Lady proceeded on. We hope to catch up with Lovely Lady in Mazatlan or Puerto Vallarta. I saw my first Carnival in La Paz. There were parades and lots of free musical programs. It was fun, but very crowded. We left La Paz for Mazatlan the end of Feb. We stopped at Espiritu Santo and Los Muertos before making the 3 day 2 night sail to Mazatlan. We are at the 5 star resort El Cid Marina with access to all of the wonderful pools and amenities of all three El Cids in Mazatlan. Tough day when you have to figure out which pool you want to try .
Yesterday we went to explore old town. We had fun as usual. We also went on an Art Walk that they were having. It was in the homes and studios of the artists. The homes were beautiful. I had wanted to see the inside of a villa. I got to see several. The art was great and very reasonably priced. There was also music in the square at night. One gallery had a section that featured hand made instruments. They use everything here. I was surprised to see a type of "Harp" made out of a dried half of an orange peel. It had a wooden disc (with a hole in the middle) placed over the top of the orange peel. Finishing nails were pounded very thin and placed so that you could "strum" out a melody. They also made similar ones out of coconut shells and gourds. They make a flute out of PVC pipe that was different. I also enjoyed one artist that made pictures out of stringing yarn over a board coated in beeswax, very intricate work. There were paintings, sculptures and lots of jewelry too. It's interesting to see how they can take avocado seeds, walnut seeds, shells etc and slice and carve them into beautiful pieces.
Today we are just taking it easy on the boat as it is a rainy day, the first that we have had in Mexico. We had 2 other short showers, but this is the first that has lasted all day. We seem to just have one beautiful day after another. I am really enjoying being in Mexico and the days we sail are especially good. We have visited so many islands and yet I am excited to see them again and many more. We're debating about staying here in Mexico for the summer or going west to the Marquesas. I'm leaning on exploring the northern part of the Sea of Cortez. In actuality we saw very little of what is there. I'd like to spend more time at Puerto Vallarta and south too. There is just too much to see in one season. The sailing life is really great!!!!!!!!
01/10/2010, La Paz, Mexico
Happy New Year to all!
We had a wonderful Christmas and New Year's Eve in La Paz. We missed family and friends but were able to enjoy the holidays with new friends. On Christmas Eve we went to Club Cruceros at Marina de La Paz. This is a cruisers club that supports the cruising world in helping others find services and products in La Paz. The club had a pot-luck appetizer and dessert get together at 3 pm. There were carols sung and a good time for all. After the Club Cruceros party Dave and I helped set up for the Christmas Eve service that was put on by the English speaking Christian Church in front of the offices of Marina de La Paz. The regular keyboard player was home for the holidays so I filled in. (This involved a 5 hour rehearsal on Wed.) It was fun to play again. There were 60 - 70 people who came. It was a coolish night (around 60) and most of the audience was in their warm coats with hats, scarves and gloves. They then placed quilts over themselves to keep warm. Dave and I were fine in a light jacket. They sang several carols and had the Christmas story and a short sermonette. It was a good evening. I had wanted to go to the Christmas Eve mass at the Cathedral but decided against it as the taxis would not be running when the service was over. I really didn't want to walk the 2 miles back to the boat after midnight.
Christmas morning was bright and sunny and warm. Hard to believe it really was Christmas. I found it easier this year to keep my focus on the true holiday, Christ's birth. There were not as many distractions as there have been other years. I put on songs from the Messiah and we had a quiet breakfast. At 4 we gathered together with others who were staying at Marina Palmira for a Christmas dinner. It was planned pot luck. Some of the boaters cooked turkey and ham and the rest did the remainder of the meal. A lot of new recipes for me to try. Someone brought sweet potatoes with bananas in them. It was yummy. There was so much food that we were asked to take seconds and thirds. Then all got to take some left-overs home. It was a fun time for all.
A lot of the businesses were closed between Christmas and New Years. (Opening on the 4th) It was a quiet week in town as people were with their families. It was fun to see the kids learning to ride new bikes and roller blades on the Malecon. By the end of the week there was definite improvement.
New Year's Eve began at Club Cruceros with appetizer pot luck. We celebrated the New Year at midnight Greenwich mean time (5 pm). After that we went with some friends to see what was going on in the city and have dinner. We had heard that there would be lots of people at the center of the Malecon and there would be fireworks. The streets were pretty much empty. Even the clubs that had live music didn't have a lot of people. We had a wonderful dinner at a French restaurant. We were back to the boat about 11. I stayed up to watch the fireworks. They didn't have a big display like the commercial ones we have around the 4th of July. They did have a lot of aerial fireworks that were launched from back yards and were nice. There were a lot of them that I could see on the other end of the city. Around the marina there were mostly pop bottle rockets. A nice way to usher in the New Year.
Sunday the third found us at the Cathedral for services at 10 am. They were celebrating the visit of the wise men. My Spanish is getting better as I could understand about 80% of the service. (It was all in Spanish) They began with "Jingle Bells" only it was Joyous bells, happy bells, Jesus Christ is born . . . They also did other traditional Mexican carols. The Church still had their decorations up. The people singing were such a sweet sound. You could tell they were really praising God and worshiping Him. The sermon was about what the wise men brought gold because He was a King, "Savor" for the Holy Spirit and the sweet fragrance of prayer, and Myrrh for His burial. The question was asked "What are you bringing to Christ?" Although many want to give things and money, God already has all of those. They were to bring their hearts in love and service to Christ for that is what He desires most. Then they were to go and share His love with all around them. There truly was a Sweet Spirit there that morning.
On the 6th of January the people celebrate the day of the kings. They give presents to the children (in addition to the ones they received on Christmas). They also serve a bread that has a small doll of Christ baked into it. The person who receives the doll has to serve tamales to all on Feb 2. The people have a way of making a celebration last a long time. They really enjoy their festivals. The next big one is Carnival in Feb. There are parades and parties. This is right before lent. I think from the pictures it's similar to Mardegra.
After a good time in La Paz we left on Tues morning and went to Isla Espiritu Santo. We had a wonderful sail. The wind was just right. We sailed the whole way to Bahia San Gabriel. It is pretty here. There are no people living on the island. There use to be a pearl farm here. The sunset last night was gorgeous. It's good to be on the "hook" again. Last night we had less noise, wind and motion than we did at the marina. We plan to tour around here until the end of the week and then go back to La Paz to meet up with friends and then leave together to explore the north Sea of Cortez. Right now it looks like there will be 3 boats traveling together with us.
I hope and pray that 2010 will be a year of wonderful blessings for you and your family. I pray that you will be able to meet with Christ Jesus in even more intimate ways this year. May His Grace and Peace be yours.
12/19/2009, La Paz
Here it is the 19th already. La Paz is putting up more lights. There are more boats with lights too. The tree is at the Kiosko on the Malecon walkway. They have activities here on the weekends. There are booths set up all over town on the sidewalks. Several blocks of the streets near the city square and cathedral are closed for all of the booths. Everyone is getting ready for Christmas. You hear Christmas songs in Spanish and English all about town. They are selling toys, clothing and accesories mostly with some churro, buritto, taco, tamale and pizza stands.
We are still having fun exploring. Several of our fellow boaters are flying home for Christmas. The rest of us are planning a potluck dinner for the 25th. The 24th there's and appetizer/dessert potluck at 3 with Christmas Carols. Then the English church is having Christmas eve service at 7. There are all sorts of concerts every night. They really like to celebrate. The people here begin on the 16th of Dec. Then every night they add some more. They do fireworks. The first night we heard only one. Last night there were about 5. By Christmas I've bet told there are a lot. The Christmas booths have sparklers for the kids. I guess New Years is even a bigger fireworks show.
Pinatas are a part of Christmas here. There are "dulcerias" (candy stores) that sell pinatas and all the candy to fill them. They have hard candy that has gum in the middle too. We found one candy that is sugar, peanuts and flavoring. It is ground and then formed into a disk the crumbles when you bite it. Sure is good. They don't have a lot of chocolate here. The chocolate we found has cinnamon oil in it. Tasty. There is imported chocolate from the USA but it's pricey. On our walk we saw women making all of the pinatas outside their homes. It was fun to watch. I get a kick out of the "variety" in the stores. The candy store has walls and rows of candy with about 1/2 of one wall with toilet paper, hot sauce and plastic bags. The pet food store has one wall of dry food in large bins. In the middle are some 50 pound bags and bins of raw hide pieces. Right next to these are bins of all different kinds of ground chili [powder. The other wall has bins of dried peppers and a few other "treats" for dogs. An unusual assortment.
We walked by a primary school. It was built to resemble a castle with lots of painted murals inside and out. The schools for preschoolers and primary kids are all really brightly colored and decorated. They really make nice places for their little children. The schools are all locked and have fences around them made of rod iron. The children are really happy.
Today we are taking it easy on the boat. We're still at Marina Palmira docks. The wind has been blowing more and the water out in the bay is rather rough. It's a nice 80 degrees here in the boat, a little warmer outside. I saw where the east is socked in with snow. Hope you all are not having too cold a winter.
Well that's all for now. I'll write more later.
Love to you all,
Joy and Dave
We are in La Paz and this is my very first blog. I really am enjoying it here. It is a very peaceful, tranquil, low-keyed town of about 160,000. Everyone is very friendly. My Spanish is improving. The people are very patient and willing to help me speak better. In return I help them with their limited English. It has cooled down a bit from when we got here (80's vs. 90s). It's dry and desert like. The humidity runs around 40-50% on the boat. We haven't seen any rain and the sun shines everyday. We are staying at Marina Palmira. They have electricity, water and laundry here. Several of the boats from the Baja HaHa are here. We do a lot of walking. It's two miles to town where you can then get the bus to get around the central part of town. By the time we get to town its just as easy to keep walking. There are taxis too, but we prefer to walk. If we have very many "refrigerated" items from the store we take a taxi back. Everyone seems to run at a slow pace, doing one thing a day and then relaxing.
My favorite place to walk thus far is the Malecon, a 16-20 foot sidewalk along the beach. The picture is one of the bronze sculptures along the walk. There are about 10 different ones. There is rocky beach for the first part by the marina and then changes to sand. They have put up thatched umbrellas along the beach for shade. There are benches all along the sidewalk. The street runs next to the walk and across the street are mostly places to eat with a few stores. This is the only place that is kind of "touristy". It's mostly locals here with some "snowbirds" from the USA and Canada. This is not at all like Cabo San Lucas where all along the beach are hotels and bars with loud parties all day and night. It's quiet for the most part. Half way down the Malecon is what they call the Kiosk. It is a pavilion that has a stage and where they set up tent/booths for special events. Most weekends there is something going on there. Last Sunday it was set up for the children of La Paz with free games, arts and crafts. They also had a pet contest for the kids. It was fun for all.
Well this is all for now. I have really enjoyed the sailing and the new experiences. I plan to add blogs about our past experiences as time permits. Let me know if you read this and have any suggestions for me. Remember anything you write on here can be seen by all. If you want more privacy email me.
Until later - - - -
11/26/2009, Marina Palmira La Paz,BCS Mexico
We arrived in La Paz on Monday and have been resting and taking care of necessary paperwork.
We are staying at Marina Palmira which is about a 45 minute walk from town. Today we went to a great Thanksgiving dinner that was put on by the local crusing club, Club Cruceros de La Paz. Twenty pesos for the turkey and we all brought some kind of side dish or desert. There were about 200 people at the dinner.
We spent one day looking around the city of La Paz and picked up some eggs and milk from one of the smaller markets that was conviently located. The city has a beatiful walk way along the water they have put several large sculptures along the walk to make it even more enjoyable.