Thursday, April 5, 2012

Friday, April 6, 2012 - Costa Baja Marina

Time has flown and I am somewhat horrified at how long it has been since I posted. But, afterall, I am in Mexico, land of manana. Come to think of it, since Charlie left on Mardi Gras and Sunday is Easter, maybe I gave up blogging for Lent.

We spent a couple of days with Charlie showing him some of the land sights of Baja. First we took a trip to Todo Santos which is about an hour and a half from La Paz, on the Pacific Coast. It is a very old community, initially started because of the springs in the area. It is now an ‘artsy’ town, populated in part by people from Taos who found Taos had grown too large for them. It definitely caters to tourists, but nicely. We had a lovely drive and the little art galleries suited Charlie to a T. He bought a piece of pottery by a local artist and inspired us to buy some pots of a type (Mata Ortiz) which we had long admired.

After shopping, we went to lunch at the Hotel California, known for an song by the Eagles of the same name. It is a cute place.

Later we took a tour of the Ibarra Pottery in La Paz and Charlie found a small souvenir. La Paz had celebrated Carnival for the better part of a week and driving around town was almost impossible. The entire Malacon was taken over with booths. We missed the parade but had a good time checking out some of the floats before Charlie left.

Our time went far too fast and ibefore long we were driving to Cabo to the airport. It was a lovely drive and actually not too long. We stopped in Los Barrilles for coffee and Earl explored a tackle shop next door which was advertising frozen bait for sale. To his pride and joy he found that they sell frozen Ballyhoo for $5 each - when they can get them. By that standard, he has $100 of bait in our freezer.

After Charlie’s departure we had a few weeks to cruise by ourselves before the arrival of Brian, Isha and 7 year old Bella on March 14th for a ten day visit. We hung around the La Paz area. The weather continued to be less than perfect. It was relatively cold and every few days we had strong winds, many of which were not forecasted. In addition, for whatever reason, we caught no fish -ZERO. That sorry state of affairs still holds 6 weeks later. Nevertheless, it is really not possible for us to have a bad time here.

The kids arrived from Anchorage exhausted. They had taken a red eye from Anchorage to Seattle, than on LA and finally arrived in La Paz in late afternoon. We had a quick and early dinner at Azul at the marina -Bella and I shared a pizza- and then everyone hit the sack anticipating an early departure cruising the next morning. We headed for the Islands with our friend John in his new boat, Viking Spirit.

Bella had two new bathing suits for the trip, one of them a ‘bikini’. She was very impressed with herself in the bikini which she modeled right away for us. She asked us if she did not look grown up in it. When Isha and I looked confused, Bella pointed to the bra top and said that was something grown up ladies wore. We decided that maybe she was a little grown up. She spent the next two hours alternately posing and showing us her flexibility with blowing soap bubbles.

We did all the usual things on our cruising. First Brian and Isha towed Bella behind the dingy in the inflatable inner tube. She was screaming - we though for joy but later found out that was not the case. Oh well.

Then there was lots of swimming and even some snorkeling using the new pink fins we had found for Bella. She did pretty well on the snorkeling. The only problem was that we ran into almost invisible jelly fish called string of pearls that cut the activity short. We did not tell Bella there were jelly fish lest it keep her from enjoying the water in the future. Instead she was told that the sea water was hurting her sun burn. One time I had retreated back to the boat having gotten stung and watched Bella having a wonderful time for a further 20 minutes until she suddenly yelped that her feet were feeling sunburned. Poor thing.

On afternoon Earl spotted whales spouting off in the distance. We found them and spent a happy half our whale watching. They were minkies.

Another day at anchorage, we were surrounded by large bunches of grebes. They are great fun to watch. All of a sudden, the entire group will dive as if someone gave the signal.

One night in the blue lights we had a bait ball. They were mesmerizing. Brian had his feet in the water and the fish were bumping into them.

We were joined in our anchorage by John and Maria Luisa on John’s Viking Spirit. We went over for drinks and Bella fell in love with the boat and with John. (Good taste on both counts).

After we got back to the marina we had a treat for the kids. The Costa Baja Development, hoping to entice us into buying a condo, had given us three days free in a three bedroom unit. It was brand new and gorgeous. Bella was in heaven. Having spent the previous week sleeping in the pilot house, she had her own room and bath. She used every drawer in the dresser - spreading out all her articles. The next three days went quickly with lots and lots of swimming for Bella, either at the beach club or the pool at the condo unit, lots of sun bathing for Isha and lots of pool side margaritas for Brian. Everyone loved it, even Daisy.

One night we went out to eat, armed with a gift certificate from the Costa Baja Development. We decided to test out the new sushi restaurant which was quite good. Bella wore her new Mexico princess dress and was the hit of the evening everywhere she went. The next afternoon we used our gift certificate to the spa. Isha got a message and Bella and I got a pedicure.

All too soon we were taking them back to the airport for their trip home. We cleaned up the guest stateroom and two days later picked up our friends from Anchorage, Anne and Tim for a much shorter stay. We took them for drinks up at the golf club to enjoy the view. One day, we went ashore on Isla San Jose to look for paper nautilus shells. These are beautiful and fragile things. They are not actual shells but an egg casing created by a type of squid. We found none, but Earl found a beautiful shell, an apple tun, that we will be bring to La Conner with us.

Then after Anne and Tim left, Earl and I went for a couple of nights of solitude to soak up as much of our surroundings as possible before leaving for the summer. It was a pretty magical time, just us and the Sea of Cortez. In many ways, it is a pity to leave now. The weather and water are finally heating up. We enjoying swimming and the heat. Perhaps in another week or so the fish will show up, but I won’t be here. We leave on the 9th. I am in a hurry to get back to Anchorage where a new grandson, Reese Eberhard Kari, was born on March 23rd. I can hardly wait to get him in my arms.

Blue Latitude which published the wonderful guide book for the Sea of Cortez just came out with a couple of new products. One is a digital version of the charts which I loaded on to Earl’s Ipad into I Nav X. The other is a data file of all the waypoints, which I also downloaded for him. He is terribly pleased. It is really quite wonderful. Except for the fact that it is not linked to our autopilot, we would not need any other navigation tool here, since the GPS shows our location on the ipad. We are now working on an auto download of the waypoints into the Furuno.

Earl will be returning in July with some of our sons for an all male fishing trip. I know it will be hot, and hopefully there will be many fish. Whatever, it will certainly be a special time for Earl with his boys.