Onward to La Paz! We headed out from Bahia Los Muertos as the sun was coming up to start the 57 nm trip. I was excited to see La Paz. People say that sailors get “stuck” there because it is so nice that they decide not to leave. I had also heard that in the anchorage boats can dance about in all different directions at the same time. It’s called the La Paz waltz. That makes no sense! We would experience it all soon enough!
The day started out with sunshine and a 9 knot breeze and a feeling of promise for a good sail. That ended after 3 hours when the wind went away completely making for a smooth motor trip to La Paz. We were making good time and I was thinking maybe we could have lunch in town. I even picked out a couple of nearby options from the guide book. We turned into the channel at about 1:30 feeling like the trip was over but then there was a long 5 mile river-like channel to get to the anchorage area. The speed limit was 5 mph. I made sandwiches and we munched on them as we slowly made our way into the anchorage. We heeded the advice of those who came before us and chose a spot to anchor with twice as much space as we would normally to allow for dancing space. It seemed like a good spot.
We tidied up the boat, got the dinghy down, and headed in to explore. La Paz is a nice town, small city really. The waterfront has a beautiful malecon with statues and it was decorated for Christmas. It is really odd to see Christmas decorations in amongst palm trees and people clad in shorts and bathing suits! We found a place for dinner and headed back to the boat just before dark. We watched as the moon rose and the tide changed and there was no apparent waltzing going on. Just the usual every boat slowly turning the other way as the current changed. We went to bed determined to sleep well past sun up!
The morning came with bustling pangas ferrying passengers in and out of the marina and across the bay. It seems that pangas have two speeds: full speed or stopped. The 5 mph speed limit definitely did not seem to apply to them. We heard an outboard motor coming fast then slow and then idle by our boat. We looked out at an unfamiliar face. The friendly cruiser explained that we were too close to the Navy pier and they would likely be asking us to move. What? We looked over at the Navy yard and we felt we weren’t too close. We read through the papers we had and the guide book that explained where anchoring was allowed. Nothing there. Maybe we were too close? We moved. The process to raise the anchor, move, and set the anchor is about 30-40 minutes and it can sometimes be as frustrating as parallel parking on a busy street. The spot we moved to seemed more in the way of the Navy and it was in a spot with considerably more current. We didn’t love it but the other anchorage choices looked worse. We did a few more boat chores and got ready for the final Baja Ha Ha party which started at 4:00. The first 50 people there got in free, so we left early!
They put together a really nice party with folk dancing, a mariachi band, a few city officials spoke about La Paz, and there was a nice buffet dinner. It was great to see friends again, some for the last time. After dinner a local band played classic rock tunes beginning with my favorite song by CCR, “Down on the Corner” Of course, I danced until the music stopped! We decided we needed another bite to eat since dinner was really early. We walked across the street and saw what looked like a guy cooking hamburgers on the engine of a classic car. We had to eat there! Back to the boat at 10:30 well past cruiser’s midnight.
The current and wakes woke us up well before we wanted to but at least it was light out. We did not like our new anchor spot. We were having breakfast in the cockpit watching all of the goings on when we noticed the boat that was two spots inland from us was pulling up anchor. Let’s move! 45 minutes later we finished breakfast in a new anchor spot. Dennis to our port seemed a bit nervous about our location but he decided it would likely be OK. We could tell that he was uncomfortable so when we put the dinghy down to go exploring, we went over to introduce ourselves. He explained in great detail the currents, the sand bars, and the workings of the La Paz waltz which I had not yet witnessed unless part of the waltz is re-anchoring. Dennis was thankful that we had stopped by and he seemed much happier when we left.
We went off the see the Whale museum (Museo de Ballena), the cathedral, and the city square right across from the cathedral. We could see the dome of the cathedral from our boat and heard the bells tolling each day. The cathedral was a bit of a disappointment, falling apart and under reconstruction. Nice but not at all what we had expected after reading the guide book and we could not find the city square either.
The Museo de Ballena was really interesting. It was being put together by a biologist who had collected skeletons of different species of mammals, fish, and sharks. It demonstrated the evolution of whales from land-based prehistoric dinosaurs as evidenced by the presence of pelvic and tail bones. It was also dedicated to the importance of conservation and remediation of pollution. The biologist encouraged us to touch the displays and pick up the bones. That is different! It was hard to allow myself to touch the display. I am conditioned “no touching”. The place was an obvious labor of love and deserved a donation toward its future.
Our friends from Stella J texted us while we were in the museum asking if we wanted to meet for lunch. They were going to a place near the cathedral. Sure! We were about a half mile from the cathedral. We put the directions into Google maps and it said we were three miles away. What?!? That cannot be right. The cathedral was just a half mile away. We let our friends know and they agreed that was not right. Three miles and almost an hour later, hot, sweaty and thirsty we walked into the restaurant. It turns out we were at A cathedral not THE cathedral and there was a nice square at THE cathedral which is why we couldn’t find it earlier. The beer we drank with lunch was by far the best Pacifico I have had in Mexico! We were tired and ready to head back to the boat. Tomorrow is provisioning day!
Armed with a list and determination, we got ready for provisioning (ie grocery shopping). I know it will take most of the day and it will set us up for a month or more but I still need to psych myself up for the process. It was already getting warm as Bill got the dinghy ready and the bike trailer which we would pull like a two wheeled wagon. I loaded the ice packs into the shopping cooler bags at the last minute and we were off. There were three stores to choose from. We heard that the Super Ley sometimes carried Safeway products and Signature Ginger Beer is by far our favorite and we were down to only three cans. At the dinghy dock, we literally had to push our way through other boats to access the dock where we assembled the trailer and headed off with Google leading the way. We hadn’t noticed before how few sidewalk ramps there are here. At cross walks, sometimes it just ends in a straight curb oftentimes more than a foot high and sometimes there is a ramp. There is no way to know which it will be, ramp or curb, until you are looking at it. It was about a mile and a half to the store. It was interesting to see the neighborhoods and get a glimpse into daily life here. Shopping was crazy! There were boxes of goods that people just opened and took from. The shelves were not organized with neatly stacked cans and jars of one item here and another there. We really had to rummage about. It felt like I was at a garage sale looking for treasure. We were able to find 90% of the items on the list and could make do without the other things. Sadly, there was no Ginger Beer.
Oh, Boy! The trip back was not fun. First our patience was stretched after the store and now we had the heavy trailer, unpredictable sidewalk ramps, the sun was hot, and we still needed beer, wine, and booze! We went about a mile to a “liquor store” which turned out to be a small convenience store. Then we went to a wine store on the way back toward the marina that had everything (except ginger beer). Heading back toward the boat now hot, hungry, tired, and we still needed beer. Luckily a fellow cruiser told us about a beer store less than a block from the marina. It looked like a man selling cases out of his garage. We had three choices Tecate, Pacifico, and Pacifico Light. They all seem like they are about the same so we chose lower calorie Pacifico Light. No sense wasting calories on low quality beer!
Finally, we were ready to go back to the boat to put everything away. We took everything out of any cardboard packaging at the dock. This accomplished two things first, one less dinghy ride back in to get rid of trash and second, insects lay eggs in cardboard so we don’t want it to even touch the boat. Once a boat gets bugs, it seems to always have bugs. At the boat we divide meat into meal size portions, label it and freeze it, and vegetables are wrapped in tin foil and put in the fridge. Everything has a place and every place has a thing. Putting all the things in their respective places usually requires tearing apart most of the galley and saloon cabinets! We finished the process in time for sundowners in the cockpit. Whew! Tomorrow we are going out to explore Espiritu Santo and Isla Partida for about a week! Woohoo! We are ready!