Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sunday, November 7, 2010 – Costa Baja Marina

I can’t explain it, there is no logic, and it’s not as if we are particularly busy, but our time here flies by, even when we are just tied up at the marina. Tomorrow will we head north and turn up the heat instead of the air conditioning. Earl has put the necessary boat systems to bed, and I have done a few jobs, such as defrosting the freezer and cleaning out under the sink, so things will be ready for us on our return on the 8th of December.

We can now say that we have seen the making of a Guinness world record – the largest burrito in the world was made right here in La Paz last week. It was 2.7 kilometers long and stretched from one end of the Malecon to the other. Many restaurants contributed labor and ingredients. When completed, it provided free burrito for approximately 27,000 people. I expect there was a lot of beer sold that evening.

At long last, the golf course here at Costa Baja is open. This weekend was the grand opening with Ochoa and Gary Player in attendance, along with 400 others. A handful played a round, but others will need to wait at least another 3 weeks for the grass to toughen up before they will be allowed to try. Next week will be the grand opening of the newly remodeled hotel. The nice 8 year old hotel geared to business people has been entirely redone to “5 star” resort standards. Apparently it is lovely inside – we will need to take a tour. It seems to us that the majority of the condos are still unsold, and much of the inner marina is empty. The outer marina where the larger boats are moored is slightly fuller. At least 3 big boats have relocated here from Acapulco. Their Mexican owners are all leaving there because of the violence and kidnappings. I am glad that so far our lovely La Paz has been spared.

We rented a car for a couple of days and did some power shopping as well as going out to dinner to celebrate our 38th anniversary. We discovered a new little restaurant, La Boheme, where we had lunch. It is housed in an old hacienda and meals are served in a charming courtyard, where we watched little yellow butterflies dancing in among the bougainvillea flowers. We had seen great flocks of these same butterflies out on the sea, some distance from land, while we were cruising. They seemed more appropriate here.

Yesterday we made the acquaintance of Mark and Sue whose 82 foot steel boat, a Cape Horn, are tied at the end of our dock. They took us for a tour of their boat. From my point of view, with its generous public spaces, giant master suite, two large guest staterooms each with its own bath, and enormous engine room, it felt like a 3,000 square foot house. According to Sue, that is probably about right. Earl said it is a ship not a boat. He was impressed with the extensive mechanical and electrical systems including every electronic gadget known to man. Mark apparently loves to work on all of it.

Tomorrow we will pack and trek on north – I can’t wait to see my family.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thursday, November 4, 2010 - Costa Baja Marina, La Paz

Saturday, October 30, 2010 – leaving Agua Verde and headed south

We had a pleasant evening in Puerto Escondido. I have come to realize that at some of the marinas, such as Marina La Paz, there is a significant semi permanent population of boaters, usually sail boaters. At Puerto Escondido there are three anchoring areas: the large basin of Puerto Escondido, the very small basin called the Ellipse at the entrance, and a big area right outside called the Waiting Room. If you use a mooring buoy or anchor in Puerto Escondido you are charged a fee. I believe the same is true for the Ellipse, but not for the Waiting Room. I think virtually all the boats in the Ellipse are semi permanent. Anyway, there is a real community built around the marina, including the Hidden Port Yacht Club. The Club has a huge book exchange and outside tables and chairs, almost always occupied. On the radio most of the chatter is about social or domestic stuff. For example, one question regarded the scheduling of the pizza party and the associated question of whether to use regular dough or sour dough to make crusts, and who might have some starter.

Exercise on a boat is problematic, especially on a motor boat which does not inherently require much labor. I have a mini stepper which I am trying to use daily. It is boring, but if the seas are flat, I can use it outside and enjoy the breeze as we are underway. Early morning in Puerto Escondido, I saw something new. On the bow of a nearby sailboat silhouetted against the sunrise, was a woman using a hula hoop. She made it look easy, and kept at it for at least 15 minutes. I shall have to check out the stores in La Paz and see if they carry hula hoops, although I remember how hard they were to use 50 years ago and I am not sure how successful I would be today.

Movement is the norm when boating with Earl. We left Puerto Escondido early. There are many lovely anchorages right nearby on Isla Carmen, but Earl wanted to head north. We thought we might go north for a couple of days, and then return and anchor in front of Loreto so as to visit the farmers market on Sunday morning. We had stumbled on it last year and looked forward to a return visit. So our plan was to spend a night at Isla Coronado and then go north to Juanico which we had loved last year.

Coronado was beautiful -water so clear that we could easily see the bottom and our anchor. I had a lovely swim. It was a bit rolly, so Earl put out our flopper stopper and from the water I could see it going up and down in the swell. We had internet coverage so I was able to catch up on emails and the news on the current polls for the Alaskan Senatorial race. It was a peaceful evening.

The next morning, Earl heard a new forecast which called for winds on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Anchoring at Loreto requires flat seas, so that was out, and, since we have a plane to catch on November 8th and stuff to do in town before we leave, we did not want to be weathered in up north. So we pulled the anchor and headed back south to Agua Verde.

I took the kayak to the beach to visit Maria’s tienda. According to the guide book, it was new. I got a little damp landing the kayak, but it is a causal place, and I don’t think anyone noticed my wet shorts. I finally found Maria’s. The front room of the shop looked very typical with a couple of coolers and some baskets with onions and garlic. I wanted some chilies which she had. She then invited me to look in the back room, which is new. It is huge and lined with shelves. The only thing missing was merchandise. It is quite sparsely stocked. It was a challenge to find anything, but I did pick up some cookies, soup cubes and some homemade tortillas. I stowed the groceries in the kayak where they would stay dry and got thoroughly wet going out through the waves on the beach. Who cares? The weather and water are warm. When I got back to the boat, I went for a swimming in my already wet clothes and the water was the most perfect imaginable.

While I was out, Earl had invited the people on the two sailboats anchored near us to come for drinks. They came ready to party, bringing booze and munchies. They were delightful. One boat had two couples and the other one. The three ladies had known each other all their lives – all born in East LA. One couple, Rita and Darrel on SV Overheated, have been making their home here for the last 10 years. They have a condo in Mazatlan and their boat. She had on a lovely pair of beaded earrings which I admired. It happens that she makes these and offered to sell me a pair- so I am richer one pair of earrings.

Earl showed off his boat to the guys, then we had the ‘pink’ tour, which was quite different, with emphasis on knitting, pottery, reading materials, and storage, instead of whatever it is the men admire. My walk around bed was greatly envied by ladies who have to struggle with making the other type, which tends to leave one needing a shower. Finally after 4 plus hours, everyone left with directions to Ibarra’s pottery, leaving us with a large collection of empty bottles. As they were leaving, Dick from the SV Deborah Rae pulled the starter cord and knocked the flashlight his wife, Armi, was holding into the water where it continued to shine all night. We look forward to seeing more of Rita and Darrel when we get to Mazatlan in January, and we may catch up with the Deborah Rae at the Hook at San Francisco.

We are on our way to the Hook, one of our favorite anchorages. We plan on spending several days there at anchor while the winds blow, if they blow as forecasted which is always a maybe. Earl has his fishing gear out and Daisy in on alert.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010 – Underway from the Hook to La Paz

On Saturday we ran down the east side of Isla San Diego and Isla San Jose. Around 3 pm, it finally happened. Earl hooked a blue marlin, probably between 200 and 250 pounds. What excitement! Of course it would have been better if there had been a larger crew for Earl to direct. I had a hard time running from one thing to the other. From the controls, to the back, to the controls – get this, do that, etc – instructions coming fast and furious from a very excited man. I did not do a good job with the camera. I had it in hand when the fish started jumping, but I was so in awe that I forgot to snap photos until too late. It jumped six times and was a beautiful sight, blue and silver. Then when Earl got the fish up to the swim step, I think I ended up with photos of bits and pieces of Earl and the fish. It is too bad, but even without photos I don’t think we will forget the experience.

We pulled into the Hook around 6 and dropped our anchor in lovely clear blue water and went for a swim. The anchor stayed put for what is probably a record – three nights. Sunday am Earl woke me when it was still dark. Our underwater lights had attracted a large ball of bait fish, which in turn had attracted some larger fish. At times the ball of bait was so dense that it blacked out our underwater lights. The noise, fish splashing, was incredible. The ball would consolidate, and then big fish would move in and break it up a bit. It was mesmerizing and fascinating.

We spent two lovely days at anchor, playing with the dingy, kayaking, and swimming in the delicious water. Last night we invited our friends from Deborah Rae and couple from two other sailboats over. One of the sailboats, named True North, belong to a lovely couple from Mount Vernon Washington, 15 minutes away from our home in La Conner. Loren and Mary have spent a lot of time boating down her and are currently keeping their boat at Costa Baja. We will hope to see them all in the future.

Thursday, November 4. 2010 – Marina Costa Baja, La Paz

We arrived home on November 2nd in time to have a lovely dinner at the beach club palapa prior to listening to the election returns. I must admit I am tired of listening to politics. I wish the various parts of the government would just govern efficiently and stop the politicking. Last night we met people whose boat, Totem from Coeur D’Alene, has been moored near us since we arrived last fall. Judy and Bruce are a delightful couple, with 6 grown children and 14 grandkids. They were unexpectedly liberal, given their Mormon backgrounds and Idaho residence, and breathed a sigh of relief when we said something negative about Sarah Palin.

This morning I took Daisy for her per flight physical with Dr Tomas, who is a wonderfully gentle man. Of course Daisy beautiful behaved. Since she ends up having a physical before virtually any travel, she probably has the best preventative care of anyone in the family.

Earl has been busy doing boat chores. There always seems to be something to keep him busy. First thing this morning was bleeding air out of the steering system and next will be changing the oil. While he does that this afternoon, I will go to the public market and look for fancy dresses for Bella and Amelia to use for dress up.