November 15-30, 2005

La Paz, Mexico

Boy, and we thought Big Bear was a social place to live…. There is nothing more social than living life on a boat, cruising the waters of the world…. well ok, ok, cruising Mexico anyway. The world has definitely become smaller as we begin traveling from place to place. Why even before we left San Diego, we bumped into two people from Big Bear that we hadn’t seen in several years that are now living on boats in San Diego. Every where you go, everywhere you anchor, you either run into other cruisers you have met or you meet a new group that you will see on down the line.

Jo and Adie stayed with us in LaPaz until November 19th at which point they rented a car to drive to Cabo San Lucas where they would fly home from. They took a detour and stayed at a five star resort in Jose del Cabo (which is where John Travolta and Oprah came for their birthdays) for a night or two before they flew home to Big Bear. After seeing the whites of our eyes day after day for almost a month, I do believe they appreciated a few days to themselves. Although Jo & I named Adie and Ken “Oscar and Felix”…. (guess which one Ken was - duh) we all got along great and had a wonderful time. Adie also lovingly gave Ken the nickname “Captain Chaos” as the week before we left it was chaotic to say the least! “Micky MacIver” is probably the most appropriate nickname given to Ken this year (by Tom & Taylor, who he sailed to Hawaii with last March) because he can always figure out a way to fix any problem that seem to arise even if he has to Micky Mouse it together!

We found LaPaz to be a very friendly and safe town and it is a haven for retired cruisers. There is a saying that goes come to LaPaz for a day and you stay a week, come for a week and you stay a month, come for a month and you stay forever….. or something like that! As a whole, we have found the Mexican people to be happy, friendly and more than helpful in many ways – especially when we Gringos are trying to speak their language!

We continued to get together with our newfound “trawler” friends, Maestra and New Paige (& Cat’n About) from the Ha-Ha rally, and eventually named ourselves the “Trawler Trash” class of 2005…. which we were all proud to be a part of! We left Marina de LaPaz on November 20th and went to Balandra and Lobos for a few days.

We knew Loren Hafen was a crazy and spur of the moment guy but he synched it in our minds in November. Because he was not able to make it down to help and see us off in San Diego, he jumped on a plane and flew into Cabo, rented a car, drove 2 ½ hours to LaPaz, then through the back roads to Bahia Balandra, where we picked him up in our dingy and took him to the bay where we were anchored!?!? Patty and the kids couldn’t make it so we missed seeing them! He wanted to work …so of course we had to oblige his wishes. We had sheared off the swim step bolts that connect the swim step to the boat somewhere along the way. That meant that we would have to have an open hole in the boat, underwater, in order to do the repair. However, working on the boat while tucked in a beautiful bay, swinging on the hook, in 85 degree weather, and warm water was what I would call rather bitchen’ working conditions! We were anchored in the bay with Cat’n About and New Paige…. and, boats anchored in a small bay together generally equals a potluck on board one boat or the other. This evening was no exception. Here is the small world thing working again, Loren and Rob/Bob (from Cat’n About) used to work together at Holloways in the 1970’s so they had a great time catching up with each other. Loren stayed for a few days and took the boat back to LaPaz with Ken while I drove the rental car back to Marina Palmyra in LaPaz. It was great having him with us, even though it was a short visit!

We met a lot of great people while we were in Marina Palmyra and many who we will see and/or travel with as we head south. We have not had much luck in the fishing department and if we were to depend on our fishing abilities and gear we may starve. Lucky before departing from San Diego we knew our prowess in the fishing department was not the greatest and we provisioned as if we thought we would not see land for 5 years…. or so it seems now, when I review the amount of canned goods we stocked up on before leaving San Diego!! Even though I had heard rumor that people actually eat and shop in Mexico I guess I thought we would starve or god forbid loose some weight if we weren’t able to eat ten times a day. Not to fear, we will not starve…. nor will we lose any weight! We met Ross (on Kabuki) and took him to a jam session across from the marina one evening. He is on a sailboat but is an avid fisherman. Before the evening was over, he admitted that he saw our fishing gear hanging up on our boat and said it was the most pitiful fishing gear he had ever seen. We didn’t think it was that bad?? Once we told him that we had hooked a marlin, but lost it, he decided he had a “pity rod” he wanted us to have. We bought a great reel and rod from him (which he sold us dirt cheep) which is set up to catch the “big stuff.” He is an interesting guy and he and Ken seem to be kindred spirits and/or both master “BSers”??

We spent an “intimate” Thanksgiving dinner with about 200 other cruisers in LaPaz. The local club/marina cooked several turkeys and the rest of us brought all the trimmings. Although it was hard not to be with family we were able to call home and catch up a bit and continue on with our adventure. There is a goose named Lucy that became displaced from her flock during the hurricane in LaPaz a few years ago. She is now the Marina watchdog and lets you know when she is hungry – in no uncertain terms –day or night. I do believe she was thankful that turkeys were on the menu that day, not goose.

We were hoping to leave and do the “cross over” from Baja to the mainland the day after Thanksgiving; however, what they call a “Norther” began blowing, which makes the crossing too dangerous. You need a 2-3 day window to do the crossing, so along with several others, we stayed holed up in LaPaz for several days until the winds and seas calmed down. In fact, a few days after Thanksgiving the winds blew so hard that a sailboat went up on the rocks and sunk about a ½ mile from where we were staying one night. Apparently they were trying to come into port in the dark, (which is something you do not want to do if at all possible) and the channel into LaPaz is surrounded by shoals. Their rudder broke and one thing led to another and the boat ended up on the beach. The next morning Ken and some of his buddies, Ross, Russ, and lots of others helped dismantle the entire sailboat so they could salvage what they could. I think they set a record in Mexico as to how fast a boat could be completely dismantled and hauled off. It was sad to see but it was a good reminder not to mess with the sea and not to travel while the weather is bad if possible. During this storm there were also 3 kayakers that were lost for a while but only two were later found. Don’t mess with Mother Nature – she has a way of telling you who is boss!

We are trying to do monthly (or bi-monthly) updates to our Web site and will post pictures as often as possible. We send updates and photos to Keri when we have an internet site and she then posts them on the Website. We met John & Linda, on Nakia, who helped me put together a “blog” which is like a website that I can update on a more regular basis. It is one that I can send updates to via the Ham radio to send updates, so I will post more of the day to day activities on the blog. Our blog address is

Our decision to leave for Mexico before the boat was entirely finished was a good one and has been reaffirmed by so many people we meet along the way who agree that you just have to pick a time and go for it or you may never leave. All have related stories of friends who keep waiting until everything is perfect to go…. and they never go. The other thing that we are finding is that everyone, everywhere, in every port, is constantly repairing and/or replacing something on their boats at any given time. The complexity of a boat does create a challenge…. making water, electricity, sewage system, 12 volt, 24 volt, fuel transfer systems, batteries, anchor systems, hydraulics, communication systems, etc., much less keeping the engine running while bashing through the seas. We are never at a loss of things to do and/or things to work on.

November 30,2005 - Keri’s 29th birthday… I don’t know how can she be that old when I am only 39?? The weather began to die down and we needed to take advantage of the weather window to do the crossing. We will leave LaPaz tomorrow and head to Puerto Vallarta.

We hope everyone had a great Turkey day. Most of you will be thinking about Christmas and all the snow back home. We are in the sunshine and won’t miss the snow this year but we will miss our family and friends back home. Hope to hear from you soon!

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