Monday, April 20, 2015

April 17, 2015 - La Paz

La Paz is a nice town and a great stop for provisioning.  It does not have the small town feel of La Cruz though.  But then again, more provisioning is possible here and lots of good bicycle riding.  We left our bikes locked up at Marina de La Paz so we did not have to take them back and forth via dinghy to our anchored boat each day.  This made it so that almost every day we went in for a bike ride, to eat, or to provision.  The town has paved streets so easy riding here. We put a lot of miles on the bikes, and the kids got to ride up and down curbs, over potholes, gaps in the sidewalks, and more.  it was fun.

We ended up with some boat insurance problems so we spent an extra week here with phone and internet so we could resolve them.  Anyway, we were getting a bit antsy and ready for new adventures especially after our stop at Puerto Balandra and the wonderful water and beach there.  We were able to go to the Magote side of La Paz to the beach and relax and play one afternoon.  We could have spent more afternoons over on the beach but we always seemed to go to town to find things or bike ride.  The dinghy dock tie up is only $15 pesos a day (about $1 US) so that was really nice and cheap.  When you pay the fee you are able to leave your garbage, fill up water bottles, dump used oil, etc.  We were also able to leave our bikes there.   It is a crowded little dock with all the boats out at anchor.  There is a restaurant and the Club Cruceros (the Cruisers Club) building right there.  Speaking of Club Cruceros, all I can say is WOW.  The book trade collection is incredible and the movies to borrow as well.  There must be more than 1000 movies there.  What an awesome benefit.  We arrived just in time for the 10th annual Bayfest, which is three days of events and lectures on everything around the bay.  Steve and/or I attended lectures on; hurricane preparation, birds of the sea, and Cruising the sea of Cortez.

Steve learned a little tip about bug bites at one of the seminars.  If you squeeze a little lime juice on the bite the itching goes away.  Kathy tried this on several bites and it worked.  Cindy has also verified this.  We have noticed that limes are everywhere in Mexico, but lemons are almost impossible to find.

We've experienced quite a few cruiser’s nets now in the various ports we have visited, and each one has its own flavor.  This one is a bit different in that you do not announce your boat name each morning, so without listening to arrivals and departures from the bay, you may not know who is here.  There are 4 marina’s and a large anchoring area so there are a lot of cruising boats here.  

Writing about anchoring brings up our experiences with that in the bay.  We started near Marina Cortez in a spot where we felt we got a good hook.  The next day we spent most of the day on shore and came back to find out we are only about 30 feet from the floating breakwater. We were about 100 feet away when we went to shore.  Steve starts the motors and begins backing up to simulate how close we might end up if the wind really kicked up.  Well, we never did stop moving toward the dock so had to stop our simulation and pull our anchor to re-anchor.  We decided to leave this location and head across to the magote area that has a shallow sand shelf between us and it.  There are some paths through but you need to know where they are.  As we are moving slowly through, a water taxi waves at us that is too shallow.  We were at about 5ft at that point below our keel, which was OK, most of the anchorage is less than 15' deep.  We ended up backing up and getting through a bit further down and to an open spot between several sailboats at anchor.  There were sail boats all around so we felt good with the location; depth would not be an issue.  Winds had come and gone during the day and everything SEEMED ok.  A windy night and some sleeplessness while we used our laser range finder to verify distances between us and our neighboring boats.  All seemed fine.  After getting up at 7:15 (daylight) we see that we are possibly 15 feet away from a sail vessel.  During the night we were never closer than 140'.  We quickly start the engines and pull forward and even pull in some anchor chain.  We were still not comfortable, this one vessel was very close and appeared to be using anchor rope, not chain.  We don't know how much line he had out.  The person never came out of his vessel even after we started our engines with our exhausts just 15 feet from his starboard side.  He must be a sound sleeper.  The ocean current coming in and draining from the bay is more than several knots and interacts with the winds in strange ways.  At times all of the boats are pointing in different directions, drifting around on different amounts of scope of line/chain out.  At times it looked crazy with boats pointed all different directions, moving about in random motions, while the wind is blowing 25 knots.  Most of the time with that kind of wind boats all point the same direction and move in the same basic patterns.  We studied our GPS screen and determined that our anchor was exactly where we planted it.  This other boat must have 200' of rope out, in 12 feet of water, in order for him to move so far and almost touch our boat.  When we anchored he was almost 300' away.  So in this windy morning, we decide to make another move.  It is blowing 20 knots on the low end so we decide to head to the front of the pack of vessels or basically way out there!

The entire time in La Paz it seemed we saw 15-25 knots on a daily basis with strong currents in a different direction than the wind.  We must say though that even though we saw the winds, we did not deploy our anchor stabilizers and there was little to no rocking or hobby horsing of the boat.

Now, this is a city and a city that likes to stay up late.  Some nights there was a night club running until 4am in the morning, with blaring music and a loud DJ.  We were never in town to see the nightlife and young people having a ton of fun, we just listened and wished for more quiet from our boat at night.  Between wind, water slapping from the current, and the music there we did not encounter many sound nights of sleep.

Does it sound like I am complaining?  Well, I guess that would be a yes and a no.  We do enjoy quiet completely noiseless nights as Steve and I both sleep lightly.  So although we enjoy parts of La Paz, the quiet tranquility of anchorages without all the activity are our preference.  

Steve Jobs' $120 million boat, the large one in the center.
His widow inherited it after his death.
Boats still tipped from the hurricane last fall
This boat has new owners, the threesome perched on the back railing.
Zappa napping
At anchor in La Paz bay
At the beach at the magote side
Jumping off the dinghy.  
Heron with a fish in his mouth
The heron
One of the many statues on the malecon
We keep seeing workout equipment along the malecon.  Here Cindy and Kevin working!
another great sculpture
and yet another

big old whale skeleton at the museum entrance
ice cream from El Fuente
Dinner and jumping at Stella restaurant.  
more jumping and bouncing
Kids across the street and Steve and I having an IPA beer at Harker Boards
beautiful church
We are at the Shack where boaters meet, eat, drink, and sign the wall
Cindy and Kevin adding us to the wall of fame!
at another workout playground

Riding up one of the streets. Paved streets here rather than cobblestone
Another ice cream shop and stop
Riding the beautiful malecon
Kathy, Cindy and Kevin go help a stranded boater and give him a tow
more riding the malecon
and more riding
and more workout stops
and more tipped boats from the hurricane
Steve gets a flat, again.  Could not fix this one so he had to walk it back a couple miles
and more workout playgrounds
an old wooden bridge at the malecon with Kevin riding it
we kept our bikes on shore right here at the fence, Steve fixing the flat with a new tube
These little birds hanging out on the handlebars of bikes were really cute
Steve, Cindy and Kevin at a monument.
This bird was seen daily on this fishing boat.  Relaxing in the shade under the awning

Kevin, with a mohawk and after eating ice cream
more fun with Zappa, he loves hot clothing just out of the dryer
Kathy went for a kayak in the magote 

A selfie from my kayak ride 
Steve, Cindy, and Kevin 
An awesome delivery vehicle.
Large statue of Jacque Cousteau
on the malecon.

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