Monday, April 18, 2016

April 17, 2016 - La Paz

We arrived in La Paz, after stopping at several possible overnight locations along the way.  The first place we looked at was Candeleros where we had some great snorkeling last year.  But there were already quite a few boats there, and we have had some fantastic snorkeling recently so we didn’t feel the need to jam into a crowded anchorage just for snorkeling.  The next possible stop was Ensenada de La Ballena.  It was an empty bay so we entered, picked a location to drop the anchor and sat there to observe.  Unfortunately, it turned out to be just a little too exposed to the wind and waves and was a bit on the lumpy side.  Not comfortable.  So we motored out of the bay and moved to another location.  Ensenada De La Raza looked great.  There were no boats and it is beautiful with a shallow white sand bottom which creates bright, light blue water.  We anchored and began to settle in.  After about an hour we voted to leave because the bugs were absolutely horrible.  Once you left the protection of the boat’s interior you were instantly swarmed with bugs.  It was the worst we’ve seen anywhere, with the possible exception of Glacier Bay Alaska a few days after a summer rain when the mosquito “bloom” hits.

We decided to just go strait to La Paz and anchor out in the main anchorage.  The first thing we saw when coming into La Paz harbor was the Steve Job's mega-yacht.

On the left is the yacht that Steve Job's built.  It is unique looking.  We heard that
when it went to the fuel dock a month ago, it took 3+ days to fill and nobody else
could get fuel during that time.
We would go into town the next day and arrange a slip at either Marina De La Paz or Marina Cortez (where we stayed last year).  Anchoring here is always interesting.  The currents can be quite strong, and the winds too.  The boats do something called “the La Paz Waltz” where they dance back and forth, sometime not in unison.  It’s not uncommon for boats here to end up touching each other.  We anchored and the far end, only close to two boats about an hour before sunset.  One of the boats was a brand new Nordhavn 86' and the other a “well used” sailboat from Canada.  Steve occasionally turned on the radar after dark to take measurements to both boats  to make sure we were not engaged in some unexpected dance with our two neighbors.  It all looked good and we had an uneventful night anchored back in La Paz.

Our neighbor at anchor.  A very new Nordhavn 86'.  Expensive, and nice.
A pretty sunset welcomed us to La Paz our first night

The lights of La Paz.  It's a big city, with lots of big city noises at night, all night.
Music, partying, sirens, loud motorcycles and cars, jet airplanes, etc.
We put the dinghy down in the morning after listening to the morning net.  Much to our excitement, we heard our friends on s/v Namaste during the net.  We hailed them right after the net and arranged to see them after we got into town, figured out moorage in a marina for a few days, and recharged our telcel internet access device.  We got together with John, Cindy, and daughter Journey on Namaste for about an hour and then dinghied back to the boat to move it into the marina just a few hundred feet from Namaste.  We first met Namaste back in San Diego in 2014 the night before we left for Mexico.  We then traveled down Baja with Namaste and several other sailboats.  We spent Christmas with Namaste in 2014 and again met up with them in La Cruz on the mainland coast in the spring of 2015.  Steve spent a night with them up in Pheonix when Steve went up to search for an RV to purchase.  Namaste was also in Arizona searching for an RV.  We have stayed in touch with them since our initial meeting and we expect to remain friends for years to come.  They live in Gig Harbor WA and are returning home this spring, as we are.

One of the local boat yards.  It's been in business quite a while!
Cindy about to tackle a very large chicken chimchanga
at Bandidos Restaurant.
Kevin enjoying a frozen Mexican treat.  We haven't ever seen
these back home.  There are a lot of different candies and
treats in Mexico that we don't have back home.

We moved to the marina, and after getting secured in our slip, got on our bikes to go the one of the big grocery stores to reprovision.   4 people with 4 backpacks can carry a fair amount of provisions, but not all.  Things like bread, eggs, milk, chips, veggies, beer, soda, cereal all take up space and quickly fill backpacks.  We returned every day for several days, each time getting more items checked off the shopping list.  We ventured out on our bikes to get reacquainted with this town, where we spent 3+ weeks last year.  It’s a nice town, but it doesn’t hold the same charm for us that Santa Rosalia to the north, or La Cruz on the mainland coast do. 

Mega yacht that was next to us in the marina.  We have heard that it is (or was)
one of the yachts owned by Carlos Slim (the richest man in the world at times).

The biggest dinghy I've ever seen.  It has an inboard motor!  It belongs to one
of the mega yachts here and it is registered in the British Virgin Islands.
Steve sent Tom and Annie a quick email with our new found telcel internet access.  Tom and Annie are on s/v Tappan Zee, and were one of the boats we met in San Diego.  They were one of the boats we came down Baja with, along with Namaste.  By chance, we ended up on virtually the same cruising itinerary as them for most of our time here last year.  We met in bay after bay, all the way down to Manzanillo which was our southernmost anchorage in Mexico.  We snorkeled in many great locations with Tom and Annie.  We ate out together from time to time.   It was always great to see them already in an anchorage, or to see them coming into one.  It turns out, that they were in San Diego getting some boat parts and renewing their 180 day tourist visa and would return to La Paz the next day!  Sweet.  As soon as they got back to their boat they called us on the VHF and we arranged to meet for dinner that night.  Harker's Board shop has great pizza and beer (the only IPA you can find in La Paz, we think) and that night was 1/2 price pizza night.  We had a great dinner with Tom and Annie catching up on past experiences and future plans.  While we were there a parade went by.  We don't know what the parade was celebrating, but it was fun to watch and an unexpected treat.

View of the parade from our table at Harker's Board Shop.
We took advantage of our internet access to catch up on this blog, do some home schooling that requires internet, file our taxes, and update our electronic devices.  We also finalized our future plans, but we will save that information for the next blog entry.  It's time to leave La Paz to get in just a little more cruising before we return home.

April 18 Update:  We were going to leave today but our telcel banda ancha internet device stopped working last night.  We lowered the dinghy and went to the marina this morning.  There is a small telcel store a block away.  Unfortunately, they could not help us and the lady that speaks very good English was not there.  So we had to take a cab to the huge telcel facility a few miles away.  It is located right next to the very large Mega grocery store.  The young man at the telcel store was able to help us get back up and running with internet access.  Turns out that we ran out of data on our monthly plan in the 5 days we were in La Paz.  $17.00 later we now have enough on our data plan to last us another month.  After we were done with telcel we did a little shopping in Mega.  We will leave La Paz tomorrow.

The large telcel store in La Paz.  Kathy finishing up with the nice man that helped us.

We bought some delicious Granny Smith apples, direct from
Washington state :-)

"Mega" is much like the large American stores.  More than just groceries.
Very well stocked with great prices.  Very clean too.

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