Coming back to La Paz was like old home week, many of our HaHa buddies were still there. The main reason for returning from the pristine waters of Espiritu Santo was of course getting my stitches out from my tooth operation. But in the end, the surgeon wanted me to stay on another week to monitor the healing so we got to spend two weeks more in La Paz which actually flew by. It really is a great town and as the cool winter winds start to blow down the sea, the temperatures are quite pleasant. Highs mid 70s, lows, mid 60s. Unfortunately, the water temp also drops big time. It was 83 when we first got there, by Dec, we were into the mid 70s—brrrr. Bring out the wet suit.
We had thanks giving dinner on the s/v Tandem with Joni and Steve the day after we got back. Chicken and all the trimmings. Couldn’t find any turkey but it was a great time.
Coming back also gave me another chance to pick up a spear gun which I’ve always talked about but never actually done. All the years of fishing with hook/line and the many years of free diving —practicing getting close to fish……well, they are possibly coming together. I bought a fairly decent JBL gun. We’ll see. The dentist didn’t want me diving for at least 3 weeks so I’ll have to just visualize for now. But look out fish, trouble is coming.
I was pretty nervous that the dentist would want me to stay around longer if the healing still wasn’t satisfactory. Since we wanted to cross the Sea of Cortez with plenty of time before Christmas, it was a worry because of the unusual weather this year. We didn’t want to be delayed a long time waiting for decent weather for the crossing. But the tooth gods smiled on us and I was deemed good to go when I visited the dental office for the last time. Oh, incidentally—the $250 I paid for the surgery covered all my subsequent visits. Wow, not accustomed to that. Anyway, there was pretty good weather forecast for about 3 days after finishing with the dentist so we went for it. We worked our way back down to Los Frailes for the departure which started out with 15-20 knots on the beam and finished two days later with 5-10. Vanna did an excellent job steering most of the way in fairly steep seas, using no power. Pretty sweet. This was our first long passage without extra crew—we really missed having our HaHa friends, especially at night. At first only Lucy was able to sleep while off watch but by the second day—no problem, we’d sleep sitting up.
We ended up making San Blas our first stop on the mainland side. It’s about 70 miles north of Puerto Vallarta and basically in a swamp with a notorious reputation for jejenes (no-see-ems). Tied up at the marina for the night and ended up staying for a week. That evidently happens when you’re cruising, plans are fluid. We stayed because there were no bugs, the mega super government run marina was only $12/night, and it was our first really authentic Mexican town. No tourism to speak of (yet). Not many English speakers so we relied on Donna’s Spanish language skills and of course I had my Iphone translator app. Very handy but a little awkward in a rapid fire conversation. Anyway, the central plaza was the center of life in San Blas. And, being the Christmas season, there was a lot going on. Like the construction of a 80 foot steel tree with LED lights and decorations (evidently in-lieu of fixing the roads). Each night we went in anticipation of the music and dancing and the lighting of the tree. But it kept getting put off and you can only find out via word of mouth. So of course the day after we left is when it happened according to Mary & Jeff who stayed an extra day. C’est la vie. We had already sailed down the coast to the really cool beach town of Chacala. Anchoring was pretty rolly as we’re no longer protected by the BaJa peninsula, the open pacific just rolls in. But with a stern anchor to keep our bow facing the swell, not too bad. Just 100 yards off a very cool beach with actual surf. The first evening we sat at a restaurant on the sand and watched the sun set on Carmanah.
We still have 4 more days to get to our marina reservation in PV so a stop at Punta Mita and La Cruz are upcoming. We’ll be at Paradise Village Resort Marina for 10 days during the holidays. Dale, Tina, and Makai are flying down from SeaTac to stay at the resort. Also, about half the HaHa fleet will be there. Should be fun. We’re heading up to La Cruz after that to meet sister Linda, mom, dad, and Donna’s mom Ev. Really looking forward to that as well.
Some Random observations about cruising in Mexico so far:
–Watermaker is gold. Glad we bit the bullet on that one. In big towns you can buy bottled water and pour it in but otherwise it’s tough to get clean fresh water.
–Love AIS (boats transmit a signal that shows up on our chartplotter screen) but wish we’d got the one that receives AND transmits. It’s much safer (and fun) if others can “see” you.
–Even in the smallest towns, it’s smart to take your clothes to a laundry service for washing. For 5 or 6 dollars it’s clean, dry, and folded. It cost more to feed the machines at US & Canadian landromats.
–Put your dinghy on deck at night—no sense tempting fate.
–So far, Mexico is a very safe place to be. Feels much safer than say down town Seattle.
–Stern shower is a necessity.
–The Baha HaHa was a great way to travel down the coast. Made many long term friends.
–Some types of medical services are quite good and cheap by American standards.
–Retirement? We’ve been too busy to realize we’re retired.
–Can’t have enough bug screens and fans.
–It’s a worry that 75 degrees now feels cold and 85 is just right. How will we ever go home?
–Fueling up is a hassle and expensive, we try to sail as much as possible. Mainly motor to supplement power when running the water maker. Wish we’d gotten a carbon whisker pole for down wind runs.
–The wifi amplifier system we set up has paid dividends many times over. If we’re within a ½ mile of a hot spot we’re connected.
–Sailing in 25 knots of wind sure feels more hospitable when it’s 80 degrees rather that 45 degrees. (molecules are further apart—right?)
–It feels like summer but it’s dark by 6:00, that was one of our toughest adjustments from NW cruising.