Monday, February 15, 2016

From Maz to La Paz: another world beckons

Molcajete in Mazatlan. Killer!

Our attentive waiter, Memo, in Mazatlan
I’ve been remiss in writing since we made our safe passage north from Mazatlan to the Baja peninsula. No shortage of life has filled our past 15 days. Friends have written – where are you, they wonder and the truth is, we’ve been a lot of places. We’ve not had much internet of late which has been great, really, except for my work commitments!

Watch for the Shrimpers!
At the end of January, we enjoyed a good 48+ hour passage northwest across the sea to the La Paz harbor. We got in to the flow of day to night to day, our own cadence meshing with the boat movement and sail trim. Weather and water conditions varied a lot during that time so there’s plenty to keep us on our toes, along with the occasional dolphin checking in to ensure we are doing alright. The night sky provided a tremendous blanket of stars and bright planets spotlighted by the late night waning moon. To pass time during our 5-6 hour night watches, it’s a time for thinking and watching the darkness. We follow Orion, the Big Dipper and familiar constellations as they cross the night sky. We check gauges with our handy red-lensed headlamp, check for birds roosting on the mast, and sneak a treat from a dark cupboard hoping not to awaken our sleeping partner whose watch is coming up sooner or later. Only a couple of freighters and a giant cruise ship crossed our path during the night hours. While they loom small on the horizon, they quickly approach amid a frenzy of bright light and pass into the dark horizon, always a trip for me.
Interabang at anchor in Bahia Falsa
We are thankful for our night time tools that show targets including radar and AIS on Open CPN, which shows direction, speed and CPA (closest point of approach). Important stuff to know for decision making when you’re the little guy.
Our newly adjusted main sail, working like a charm

Freighter dock in the background
Hiking at Bahia Falsa with Trisha & Derrick

Ahhh, back to our destination which was Bahia Falsa. It's a wonderful protected harbor six miles outside of La Paz where the freighters and passenger ferries and cruise ships coming in at breakneck speed. Protected from the north winds by verdant and yet desert-like red hills. We stayed for six nights waiting for the northerly winds to subside and allow for a safe passage into the La Paz harbor. Turns out, the port was actually closed for 4 consecutive days which is quite unusual. Incoming traffic is always welcome, outbound not allowed. Luckily we had plenty of provisions and a couple of breaks in the wind during the week so we could hike on shore to stretch our legs and brains with Trisha and Derrick, our friends who shared their secret anchorage with us.

At the start of the parade route along the La Pa malecon

One of the first of many colorful and LOUD floats
We stayed in La Paz through the festivities of Carnaval, a full out sound and lights affair, which ended with a fabulous parade that was repeated for three, count ‘em, three nights. We caught the parade that last night then it was time to start our journey north up the sea to put Pura Vida to rest for the coming months.

The Shoe Mobile?

Banda music abounds. Musicians of all ages.

The Tecate "boy band" - they were good!
We’ve explored a few beautiful anchorages along our way north and are currently holed up in Ballandra, across from Loreto. As I write this, the winds are howling and we sway safely in the anchorage with a few other boats. We had planned to cross today but the winds are too strong for a safe journey and so we wait it out, hoping tomorrow is a better crossing day. We anticipate 24+ hours to Guaymas, as always, planning for an average of 5 knots per hour. We’ll see! 

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