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Kasasa
Whale Watching
Ellen
02/17/2013, Mag Bay and Lopez Mateos

What an exciting couple of days it's been or should I say weeks! We had a week of Carnival with lots of shows, parades and fair type activities going on all week. We managed to get out at least 4 of the 5 days. It was loud and colourful as only the Mexican's can be and it was wonderful. The theme was Mysteries of the Sea and the parade floats were really great. I'll post some photos this week.
Then on Friday we headed out in the car with our friends Penny and Fred from Tapatai, to drive to Mag Bay to do some whale watching. We drove down early on Friday and checked into the Alcatraz Hotel in San Carlos before heading out for an afternoon of seeing the whales. We saw lots of whales but only adults as the babies haven't come there yet. The next morning we drove another hour or so further north and went to the 'Nursery' Lopez Mateos which is a small lagoon which is also quite shallow (about 30 feet) where the females give birth. This lagoon sees an average of about 100 babies a year. We probably saw a dozen or so. It was really fantastic to see them up close and to actually touch one! When the pangas get close and stop, some of the whales will come up alongside of the boats and surface right beside. It was exciting. We got a few blows of whale breath pretty close to us. The babies skin looks so smooth compared to the mothers who have lots of patches of barnacles on them. After about 2 hours we returned to the dock and made the 3 and a half hour drive back to La Paz. It was a really fun trip to do.
Today we went out racing on Tapatai as it was the monthly sailboat race that goes on here in La Paz. It was fun with only about 10 knots of wind it was my kind of day. We came around the finish 4th but have yet to see where we placed. Lots of fun.

02/18/2013 | Pamela and Patrick
OMG! What stupendous pictures of these wondrous creatures! Thank you for sharing your amazing experience with us! xxx
February already!!
Ellen
02/01/2013, La Paz, Baja, Mexico

This photo is looking towards Marina de La Paz, taken from the virtual marina.
January was an action packed month and it blew by fast much like the winds have been doing this past month. There are so many things to get involved in here that we have to almost make a schedule for ourselves on Kasasa so that we both can get out and do what we are interested in and both have access to the dingy and car to get to said activities. My days have been full. To choose from there is Spanish classes, quilting including fabric painting & screen printing, beading, line dancing, yoga, exercise class, morning coffee at Club Cruceros, domino's and that is just at the marina. There are many other things going on in the town of La Paz as well and the next big event to arrive will be Carnival on Feb. 7th.
Ian and I have both jumped in and taken some volunteer positions in the community. Ian has been painting benches and tables at a place that makes breakfast for 150 school children every morning. I have been doing a thing called 'Conversation Buddies' at a local orphanage. It's an after school program to help the kids improve their English as they take it in school but have little time to practice. The woman who runs the program makes it fun for the kids so that they don't feel like they are still in school. She has gringos come into the the class and work with the kids on pronunciation and conversation. I've been enjoying it quite a lot as the kids are charming and full of life and fun to be around.
We've also been doing some maintenance on Kasasa: cleaning the injectors, re-sewing the dingy chaps, fixing the wind steering system, washing and waxing the hull and this week we are going to take the sails in to be re stitched.
Mid month we had a surprise visit from some very dear friends of ours, Steve and Sue from a boat called Kashmira. We buddy boated with them for the summer that we spent in the Sea of Cortez. Anyhow they surprised us one day by driving down from Santa Rosalia where they keep their boat. We had a great couple of dinners with them and were reminded how much fun we had with them. Hopefully our paths will cross again soon.
So now it's February and it's looking as though it will be a busy month too. Carnival will be a fun event with parades and parties all week long. Spanish class is finished though so I will be able to sleep in a bit more. And somewhere soon we want to get out for a few weeks in the islands or down in Bahia de los Muertos. So much to do... so little time!

Weather whining and other things...
Ellen
01/17/2013, La Paz, Baja, Mexico

Well it's been an awfully cold couple of weeks here in La Paz. Not what you expect from a Mexican winter. The locals say it's pretty darn cold the coldest winter in a long time. Everyone is walking around bundled up in coats, shoes, scarfs and hats. There has been a 'cruiser' driven blanket drive to get some blankets out to the poorer neighbourhoods and they collected quite a bit so it's nice to know a few people will sleep warmer tonight.
Of course the 3 day 'Norther' that we are having right now dose little to help with the temperatures. The port has been closed to boats that are smaller than 500 tons because it is a bar crossing and things can get rough out there.
The day before the blow hit, we had decided it would be a good time to do some engine maintenance and not wanting to be at anchor without a working engine we took a week at the marina. We are really happy to be here as we listened to the vhf radio on the first day of the blow when lots of boats at anchor were dragging or had boats dragging down on them. Mostly it is the boats that no one lives on and some of them are considered derelicts. Unfortunately they are out there so the best thing is to try not to anchor downwind of them if possible.
Ian has been helping out with some volunteer stuff around town and one of the project he will be working on is painting some tables and chairs at a school that feed the kids every morning before school starts. I am slated to start some volunteer stuff but until I actually do there is nothing to report.
Today I had a good chuckle. I was at the massage therapists getting my neck worked on (it's been really bad), and the music playing was the typical flutes and jungle bird call sounds that you would hear while having a massage. After about 15 minutes all of sudden there was in the background the sound of a rooster from outside, mixing in with the birds on the soft music. I started laughing it struck me as so funny and I had a hard time with my limited Spanish to explain why in the middle of my massage I had the giggles. I ended up having to make a rooster sound to help explain. Just one more reason I love Mexico...

01/20/2013 | Pat and Pamela
I don't suppose you'd like to hear that (interspersed with some insanely hot days) we're having the most glorious summer - temperatures ranging from 24 to 30 most days. But the bushfires in Oz have been terrible this year, with many properties and lives lost. Miss you!
01/24/2013 | Dad & Kathy
Hi Ellen & Ian. So very sorry that the weather
there is so cold. The temp. today was 25C
the wind chill made the temp. seem like 35C.
It is always good to read your blog & know you are both well. Love you both! Dad & Kath
01/25/2013 | David
OK, just to make you feel a little better...

Temperatures here in Vancouver have "warmed" up to a balmy 7 deg C, with rain.

David
SV Pelagia
http://sailing-pelagia.blogspot.com/
Another New Movie Experience
Ellen
01/11/2013, La Paz, Baja Mexico

I've already covered the theatre scene in La Paz but this week we were treated to a new movie experience. The theatre is called Platino and boy is it nice. The seats are two leather lazyboys together with a armrest in between you can put down (with room for two arms) and there are about 80 seats in the theatre. Each seat has a glass table that swings into position with a drink holder - you can order a full meal with wine or beer while you watch your movie with dishes ranging from sushi to crepes.
We decided to check out this upscale place on Wednesday which is the cheap movie day in La Paz. So instead of paying over a hundred peso's, we paid 57 which is about 5 bucks. It was worth every penny to sit in such a comfortable chair for a couple of hours. We went with our friends Penny and Fred and there were just the 4 of us in the theatre so it kinda felt like our own private screening. I would definitely go there again but probably only on a Wednesday.
On another topic, I returned to the doctor again about my thumb since the holidays are now over and he had a chance to see my xrays. Turns out I have two things going on but unrelated to each other. I have a calcium deposit on the bottom of my thumb, and I seem to have tendonitis as well. So I'm trying various methods to clear that up as I'm not keen on surgery as a solution. So wish me luck.

01/12/2013 | Linda
Wishing you luck.
01/13/2013 | Pamela and Pat
Sorry about the thumb problems! We, too, have "gold class" movie theatres, but they're more than double the price of normal movie tickets, without any food (which is usually pretty mediocre) or drink. So we only go when people kindly give us gift certificates! Much love to you both.
01/14/2013 | Harvey aka crew
Thumbs up on the theater, but thumbs down on the hand(pun intended). Hang in there with the cold 20 degrees C. You will be glad for when you get back here. All for now. Miss you two alot!
Enjoying La Paz
Ellen
01/02/2013, La Paz, Baja Mexico

Photo taken by Fred and Penny from Tapatai at our 2nd annual Christmas Potluck with Ian being the master turkey deboner and chef!
Happy 2013 everyone and hoping for a great year all around.
We are in our 'winter home town' La Paz. We have moved around so much over the last 2 years that we thought we would settle down for a bit and get to know the area and people better. La Paz is a great little city to be in although we are both surprised at how 'cold' it is here! We barely hit 21 celcius today! I know that sounds lame to everyone back home who are battling with rain and snow and brrrrr temps, but for us 21 with a wind out of the north is cold! We have acclimatized to wamer temperatures and now know how the Mexicans feel when winter comes on.
Even Kasasa has her winter clothes on. We put up the canvas/plastic enclosure that we use in Canada all year round but haven't had it up here since we arrived. We are at anchor in La Paz and therefore we are more open to the north winds which blow most of the winter here. Today with the enclosure up we were able to sit out in the cockpit at sunset and enjoy a game of crib with our sundowner for the day - in our t-shirts! So we are happy campers with that.
We had a great past couple of months with lots of company. Our last guest, Maureen, left on the 30th of December and now we are truly ready to get to know La Paz. The New Year is starting off with a bang and we look forward to more. On the 1st the quilter's met for a workshop (open to everyone and FREE!). So up I went with my little Kenmore sewing machine and made my very first 7x7 square of a quilted sailboat! Today was beading at 2pm till 4 which was fun. Ian meantime took care of boat chores and water tanks. Tomorrow will be Spanish class at 9, massage at 11, lunch and then a two hour game of dominoes. Everyday there are lots of options of what to do and the best part is it almost all FREE. Great when your on a budget. Some things do involve a small donation or fee but it really is great how people here step up and offer their services to teach or share knowledge with others.
As we start to think about the end of this adventure and bringing Kasasa home in the late summer, we are trying to get the most out of every experience we can. Mexico truly is a great place to be and we enjoy most of what we experience here. It's a more laid back kind of life with people not quite as harried as in the rest of North America. I've heard it described as how the States and Canada were 50 years ago.
So tonight as I write this, the wind is calm, we are snug in the boat and dinner is cooking - feels like home to me.

01/02/2013 | Pat and Pamela
Oh, you two, you sound so happy! I'm pleased to see my bro's culinary prowess is as awesome as always, and just wish we could have been there with you to enjoy some of that turkey. We send you love and best wishes for a fabulous 2013.
01/04/2013 | dick towson
Hi

Sorry we were not at this Christmas dinner but we thought of you in the sun, not the rain and snow in YVR. Hope to see you soon. Dick is in Maz Fair Winds Anne and Dick
01/07/2013 | Wendy
What a great photo of the both of you!
Our first 'Norther'
Ellen
12/24/2012, La Paz, Baja Mexico

Sorry no pic waves never photograph well because there is usually nothing to give them perspective of their size. Anyhoo...
We set out for a week out around the islands near La Paz with our friend Maureen who is visiting from Cowichan Bay on Vancouver Island. Our first day out we had winds on the nose about 12 knots or so just enough to make us decide to go into Caleta Lobos for the night. It's a nice little anchorage only 10 miles from La Paz. There is some really easy hiking to be done around this bay and considering how close it is to the city, you really feel like your away from it all. We ended up staying 2 nights as the winds picked up a bit more from the north the next day. On our 3rd day we got a break and headed up to Ensenada Grande. The winds were forecast for the next few days to reach 27 knots out of the north so we anchored in the north side of the anchorage for the best protection. Of course that night the winds blew out of the west leaving us totally exposed to the waves that came into the bay. We moved over to the southern side of the bay hoping that we would be more protected there but it was about the same. By morning the winds switched to the north and did they blow! For 2 days and 2 nights they howled through the anchorage and we could see out beyond the bay the big white rollers going by. We were mostly protected from the waves so it wasn't too bad.
We managed to do a little swimming, snorkeling, hiking, baking, playing cards and lots of reading during the norther so it wasn't all bad. It was chilly! At one point Ian mentioned that Tenacatita was looking pretty good... (that's over on the mainland where it's much warmer in the winter).
By Friday, the day we were to return to La Paz the winds died down to about 10 knots or so giving us some wind to sail back with. It was a bit of a shock for Ian and I to feel winter temps in the Baja as we are used to being warm all the time. But having said that, when the winds are calm and the sun is out it is still pretty hot around here.

12/24/2012 | Anne & Dick
Merry Christmas/Feliz Navidad Loved the story. It's very cold here! May even snow today & tomorrow. Enjoy the sun
Abrazo y muchos besos to all of you!

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