Stolen Kiss

Stolen Kiss

April 2, 2010

La Paz Pazzaz

The vibe of La Paz is definitely something to experience. Although there are many gringos who live here, (or whom the Mexicans call guerita – which although translates to blondie, it means anyone who is fair) it is very much a Mexican town.

Whilst cruising in SE Asia, we had heard only positive things about La Paz. It is mostly famous for the “La Paz Waltz” which refers to the way the yachts sail around at anchor in strong winds in the El Magote anchorage, as all the boats sit with the tide, rather than the wind. We have not experienced winds over 20 knots in here, but it is good holding and a wonderful anchorage. The winds die down at night, except for the night Coromuel during summer. Our stern slaps when held into the wavelets, so when the tide turns during the night, eventually all is quiet. Peter of course, sleeps through anything.

We have added a 135 watt Kycera solar panel, which was cheaper here than in the USA as they are made here. Along with other essential details like more fans, hatch covers with mosquito nets, moving the microwave into the galley from the saloon and making some supports for our companion way hatch so it is now stored in the cockpit have kept Peter occupied.  Although maybe a little small, we purchased a second hand trisail for the big crossing one day.  Now it needs new slides, which Peter has found on the internet.  This leaves 3 items on our main list now - below deck pilot, new roller furling (which means at least a new headsail to fit the track) and a life raft!

Having found many great restaurants, both local and western, we are certainly well fed! La Rustico is fabulously Italian, with the absolute best pizzas you could imagine! Americano is a small cafĂ© that sells 2 for 1 pie (dessert) and free coffee in the mornings. Peter gets to eat 1 ½ pieces! Life is short….eat dessert first! The Mexican women are very ample in the size department, and I am a little worried that I might follow suite! We have our favourite Mexican restaurants, so gastronomically.....La Paz is IT!

Cruising life is so easy here. Many businesses are contactable on VHF Ch 22, a process which was established before the introduction of mobile phones. The local (American) yachties have established a small club – Club Cruceros, which has a website with a wealth of information about yachting in La Paz and an extensive book exchange. There is a net every morning that has info, swaps/trades, weather and anything else. If you want to just give it a go!

Every day a pod of dolphins go past, closely followed by the pelicans. There is a seal that also peruses the anchorage.  The pelicans amuse us, often diving so close to the boat to get the fishes that think they are safe hiding under the hull. Its a little disconcerting when you are down below and hear a thud and splash against the hull!  There is much of a flurry with the fishes as the boat turns hither and thither as one moment they are hidden and the next they are not!

There are many large stores which sell everything one might want. Local busses are an adventure and sometimes we end up in places that were unintentional! The locals are very helpful and point us in the right direction. However, we are now learning Mexican Spanish, so hopefully we will have more success.

Peter, of course found the amazing Sunday morning market, which stretches for about a mile. It is a mix of people selling their pre-loved goods, along with store owners selling new goods, food of course and other bits and pieces.  Peter found a great shirt made in Hawaii..more of the yacht design rather than the flowers!

The colours, the music and just enjoyment of life with such gusto are so evident here. We can hear the music across the anchorage at times until 0400. The Malecon is the longest in Mexico and it is very much part of life here.  The week before easter is the Mexican's spring break, Semana Santa.  Mexcian families flock to the beaches.  Easter is a quiet religious event without the comercialization of the west.  A very welcome change!

The Malecon adorned by many statues, representing the life here and history.  They are actually cast bronze and have such intricate detail!

This weathered face surely tells a story!

Wyland's whaling walls continue - life size paintings of whales, which he has been doing for over 27 years, in attempt to raise public awareness of the importance of the oceans.  La Paz is one of the many coastal regions along the Eastern Pacific for whale watching.

We had been tracking the yacht Pachuca for 5 months after hearing of her epic journey across the Pacific.  Pachuca is an S&S 39 from Fremantle Sailing Club!  We were neighbours with her for over 6 years on D Jetty when we had the previous Stolen Kiss, and saw her through two previous owners.  Seeing her sail into La Paz was exciting with a sense of familiarity.

Robert (owner) and his twin brother Arnold have been sailing some of this together.  What a wonderful opportunity for both of them to share this voyage.  Whislt Robert lives in Perth, Arnold lives in Seattle. We did wonder about them, when we saw on their blog, they were hove to north of San Francisco when THE storm of the decade went through! Robert will leave La Paz on his own to sail to Costa Rica, then on to Fremantle (possibly non stop) to complete his circumnavigation.  It is always interesting to hear how other people choose to cruise!  We enjoyed catching up with them and look forward to seeing Robert back at FSC next year. (We should arrive back at the same time - but we will be there via the kerosene canary!)

There are many daily adventures and some great finds just wandering around the streets. Some of the houses have a distinct Fremantle feel to them, both being influenced by southern European cultures. There is a La Maiolica pottery studio here, called Ibarra's Pottery, a family run business passed on through three generations. We have one in Fremantle as well. Although the designs reflect each respective culture (Italian in Fremantle) Maiolica refers to the way in which the pottery is fired.

We have found a good bakery which we try not to frequent too often!  Our first visit was a little late in the day so most of the yummies had been sold.  There was, however, a rather large cherry pie that could have served 4 people.  Peter, of course, ate it in one go!

We have now been here for 6 weeks, which is the longest we have stayed in one place since KK, Borneo.
There are many islands to visit, which we have done some exploring, but perhaps better when the northerly wind dies down. Local yachties tell us that this has been the coolest and windiest winter for many years. The water is getting warmer, as are the days and we have even chanced a swim or two.

Many of the beaches are deserted, except for the the odd fishing camp.  Most of the small bays along the eastern Baja shores are only accessible by boat, so often you can be the only person on the beach!

To maintain our fitness we have a new addition to Stolen Kiss!  Peter was unsure of if he wantled to paddle, hence only a single at the moment!  We put a call out on the morning net, and hey presto, we had it an hour later! Such treasures of a bilge. It had only been used 3 times in two years, so a great buy.  It's a u-bute Advanced Elements inflatable, which has an alumium frame inside, a fin on the bottom and tracks very well.  It is an expedition variety with lots of storage space! ( Stolen Kiss'storage is filling up fast!)

Where ever we are in the world, the sunsets are to be enjoyed and we forever look for the green no avail!

So with stunning sunsets and moonrises, we will hang out in La Paz and surrounding islands for another month or so and wait for Barns (Peter's youngest son and one of three heirs) and Anita to arrive. The last time Barns came to join us was in KK. At least there are no mountains to climb this time, so we are quite safe????????

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