Thursday April 10, 2014 – Underway from Costa Baja Marina, La Paz
Today Serenity left La Paz after 5 wonderful years. We originally came for one year and then could not leave. Finally it is time to go north and once again fish for salmon, shrimp and crabs, but we leave with indelible memories of the Sea of Cortez, its sea life, its birds, its people, it clear warm water, white sand beaches, beautiful anchorages, spectacular scenery and unbelievable sunsets, and of La Paz which has been a second home in many ways. It has been more special than we can ever have dreamed and we have been blessed with many new friends whom we hope to see up north.
|Daisy saying goodbye to John, Jay and Lisa|
Perhaps this is a good time to make note of some of our favorite places in La Paz for any future visitors.
There are lots of good places to eat in town, but for us Azul Marina at Costa Baja and its sister restaurant Nim in town have the best food in town – great variety – from fine dining to pizza -, reasonable prices, and wonderful people. If you go to Azul, be sure to try the scallop carpaccio with basil, and don’t miss the summer rolls at Nim.
The Rancho Viejo Hacienda is our favorite for Mexican food. Earl loves the seafood soup and I don’t think you can beat the tacos aranchera.
Our go to food markets are Mega, Walmart, Sam’s Club and most favorite of all, the local store Aramburo, known among cruisers as the Brown Cow store after the large statute of a cow which decorates its front. Aramburo is downtown on the corner of Madero and Hidalgo and has an amazing selection of stuff for a small market. It reminds me of the small neighborhood groceries of my youth in New York City, crowded but with an amazing assortment of items. They will frequently have fresh basil or ginger when I can’t find it elsewhere. Their meat is excellent- as you might suspect from the line at the counter -and my favorite tequila, Don Julio 70, is about 20% cheaper than at Mega.
Just down Madero from Aramburo is the best bakery in town, Pan d’Lys. I love the rustic and sour dough breads. In front of the bakery there is an organic market on Tuesdays and Saturdays where one can find beautiful fresh produce and homemade sausages among other things.
There are two public markets. Mercado Bravo is a wonderful place to buy fish, but my favorite is Mercado Madero. That is not because of the food – much of which I find scary- but for the extraordinarily elaborate princess dresses that I have bought for countless little girls. The shop I go to is the largest in the market and the senora now gives me a discount, hardly necessary since the dresses are always under $40 and frequently as little as $25.
The Malecon along the sea is a lovely walk and decorated with statutes, many of which are very nice. There is, however, one I love above all others. It is a man in a paper boat looking out to sea. I never look at him without smiling.
Then there is Ibarra Pottery on Prieto between Republica and Torre Iglesias. Here you can buy pottery made by the Ibarra family (Julio, Juanita and Vicki). It is very unique and the shop even more so. In the back, they have some talavera pottery from Pueblo at the best prices I have found. I dearly love all the Ibarras and will miss their smiling faces more than I can say. They say they will miss my business.
|Vicki, Juanita and Julio Ibarra|
Lopez Marine Supplies on the 5th of February has an amazing selection of stuff. It is expensive but probably not more so than any marine store.
Across the street from the Mercado Madero is a store called the Mercado, a Michaels-type shop full of all types of items for crafts.
Dr. Tomas Rodriguez (Clinica Veterinaria Madero) has been a wonderful vet for Daisy. His English is very good and no reservations are needed to see him. He has been cleaning Daisy’s teeth at less than 20% of the cost in the US and we will miss him and his services. His clinic is on Revolution between 5 de Febrero and Navarro.
Dr Toushmann was a real find. An excellent doctor who speaks great English and will even make boat calls. Telephone 612-157-0126.
And finally there is Fito who has taken such wonderful care of our boat for the past 5 years. Serenity will miss her frequent washings and we will miss a friend. Fito’s number is 612-117-5011. (If calling from the States, add 011-52-1 to the number)
Saturday, April 12, 2014 – fishing off the coast of Frailes.
We spent our first night at anchor in Muertos, an anchorage we have visited many times. We did not put down the dingy and go ashore for dinner for some of the best chili rellenos in Baja. Instead we watched the sunset from the boat and enjoyed a tender Costco NY strip steak and salad. There were about 7 other boats, all on the move for the end of the season. Some were going north to San Carlos and others, like us, south to the Cape to start the long trip north.
|Friendly little puffer fish at Muertos|
The next day I was struck by how different the landscape is from what has surrounded us for the last 5 years of cruising. While there are still hills, they seem far more covered with vegetation and the beautiful rock formations are nowhere in sight.
The water temperature has changed significantly. It was 73 in Costa Baja, 75 in the morning in Muertos and now 77. With warm water comes the fulfillment of Earl’s desires – marlin!
Yesterday about an hour out of Frailes, Daisy told us there was a fish on and all hell broke loose. We had a beautiful marlin. Earl was so excited that it was impossible to following his conflicting and incessant orders. It took the rest of the trip to get our heart rates down.
|North approach to Frailes|
After a pleasant night anchored at Frailes, we woke to flat seas. To my surprise –not- Earl wanted to fish again, so off we went at 8. It is now 10:30 and we have had three marlin. One we lost because Earl refused to believe Daisy, but the other two we handled quite well. Unfortunately I did not get photos of the jumps. These occur early in the process when I am trying to run the boat, chase the fish, reel up the other line and tie on Earl’s belt. Nevertheless, I have a happy husband!
Monday April 14, 2014 – going into San Jose Del Cabo
The rest of the fishing was great. By the end of Saturday, we were both exhausted after 4 marlin plus three lost. Then, after a good night’s sleep, we went out at 9 am and soon got another great fish- probably our largest striped marlin to date. It was also the wildest. Never have I seen a fish dance on its tail like this one did. Once again, I was too busy to get a photo. It never did calm down. When the time came to retrieve Earl’s beloved lure and let the fish go, there was a lot of drama. First the lure came apart and had to be retrieved in two pieces while the fish varied between being too far away or under our swim step. Finally, the lure in our possession, it was not easy to let the fish go. It somehow managed to get its bill stuck between the slots of our swim step. This one fish did us in for the day. We fished without much enthusiasm for a couple more hours and then returned to Frailes for another peaceful night.
|Come to Poppa|
|In it comes!|
There is a little wind today, but it is from the north and thus on our tail. The traveling is lovely. Earl pointed out that this could well be the last time we’ll have the wind behind us. Prevailing winds going north will be from the north and we will be bucking. Time will tell.
We will spend a few days in San Jose. Our wonderful friends Sharon and Dave from Cipango that was tied across from us in Costa Baja have a condo in San Jose and we plan on a fun day with them tomorrow. Then we will have the next two days to clean the boat, pick up provisions and meet our friends the Scarboro’s at the airport. They will be going on the first leg of our trip with us.