Saturday, April 23, 2016


April 19, 2016

The Malecon at Dawn
I woke up very early and finally decided to get up and run at 6:00.  The malecon wasn’t as crowded as it had been the night before, but there were plenty of people out running and walking in the cool air.  I ran along the malecon from Marina La Paz to Marina Palmira, which turned out to be a round trip of 5.5 miles.  Dawn was breaking and casting interesting light and shadows on the sculptures along the malecon.  I couldn’t resist stopping to take photos now and then.  The city even provided a kind of open air gym with clever manual versions of exercise equipment that actually looked very practical to me, having once owned a fancy treadmill that needed constant service.
Malecon Sculpture

Low Tech Exercise Equipment
By the time I returned at 7:30, Kathy was up and awaiting the arrival of Henry the diver, who had an appointment to clean the bottom of the boat next door and had offered to look for Kathy’s camera while he was down there.  Henry arrived and looked for the camera, but couldn’t find it.  He offered to come back later and look again when the sun was higher and the visibility better.  I made bacon and fried potatoes for breakfast and Henry returned about 11:00, but still couldn’t find the camera. 
Reluctantly, Kathy had to give up hope of recovering her pictures and leave to catch her flight home.  We said goodbye and then I went to the laundromat to do my laundry.

I had not done my own laundry since arriving in Mexico and, indeed, had never seen a self-service laundromat anywhere else in Mexico.  While it was possible to do my own laundry in the laundromat at Marina La Paz, it cost as much as having Sonia do it in La Cruz and I kept getting dirty looks from the operator who was monopolizing all the machines.  I noticed that all the other cruisers just dropped their laundry off for her to do.  It seemed I had committed a faux pas.

After I returned from the laundry, we heard a knock on the boat.  It was one of the young men who had first tried to dive for Kathy’s camera.  It seemed they had continued trying after we went to dinner and had found the camera.  They had even rinsed it and put it in a bag of rice.  No wonder Henry the diver couldn’t find it!

Don and I mostly did nothing for the rest of the afternoon, although I did work on my blog as much as possible with a very slow internet connection.  I managed to spend far too much money shopping online for all the things I had destroyed on my trip (iPod, sandals, watch band) and register for the summer semester when I would be taking a grammar class in pursuit of my certificate to teach English as a second language.  Reality was starting to encroach on my consciousness.

Sunset on the La Paz Waterfront
As evening fell, Don and I went for dinner at a fast food salad place called Club Salad, which was actually pretty good.  Don had a Mexican salad with grilled chicken and avocados and I had the Hawaiian salad with pineapple, ham, croutons, Parmesan cheese, and maraschino cherries.  The cherries were a bit weird, but the salads were plenty for dinner and cost us 86 pesos or about $4.50 each.  After dinner, we went for a short walk past the nearby restaurant row and back along the waterfront as the sun was setting.  We spent the evening listening to talk radio and I fell asleep fairly early.

April 20, 2016

Dawn in the Marina
Once again, I woke up early, but this time it was because it was cold.  I had turned off the fan sometime during the night, but now a chill wind was blowing in the hatch.  I got up, put on a fleece, and walked up to shore to enjoy the dawn and use the facilities.  When I returned, I crawled back in bed and stayed there, wishing I had thought to get a blanket, until the net started at 8:00 and I reluctantly got up and made coffee from the hot water that Don had boiled.

Cruisers are migratory birds.  It was fun to listen to the net and hear all the familiar voices that had gradually disappeared from La Cruz over the past month, a few of which had paralleled our journey all the way from Ziuhatanejo.  Some I had missed in La Cruz this year had apparently wintered here.  La Paz was the one place other than La Cruz where cruisers often settled down.

Sea Mar Chandlery

Sea Mar Interior
After I returned from my shower, Don and I headed out to buy supplies for the boat projects Don hoped to accomplish while we were in La Paz.    Our first stop was the Sea Mar Marina Chandlery across the street from the marina.  They stocked the usual assortment of items found in chandleries in Mexico, heavily slanted towards cleaning products, power boats, and fishing.  Their selection was larger than most and the staff helpful, but they didn’t have much of what we needed.  We bought some threaded metal rods and moved on.

Our next stop was further into town at Lopez Marine.  Lopez Marine carried more items than most chandleries in the United States.  It was a large store with a good selection of sailboat hardware.  We were looking for brass plumbing fittings and bulbs for running lights, all of which we managed to find.  They were also quite friendly and helpful.  Our friends on Hokule’a had managed to locate hard to find brands of cleaners and varnishes there and were quite impressed.
Lopez Marine

From Lopez Marine, we walked down M. Absalom to a Home Depot like store called Traeesa Express were we bought doweling for 
Traeesa Express Hardware
a dip stick and a paint roller extension to use to prod the anchor into position so that it would enter the anchor roller properly.  All that shopping had made us hungry, so we stopped at Super Burro on the main drag and had excellent 50 peso (<$3) breakfasts of eggs, bacon, beans, and abundant tortillas with all the fixings.  Super Burro also had decent WiFi and I observed another cruiser in there using her computer.  The only downside to the restaurant was that their only drinks were Jamaica, horchata, and sodas.   Across a side
Super Burro

Logo Look Familiar?
street was a Starbuck’s knockoff called 5ta Avenida Café that had even adapted the Starbuck’s logo to their name.  I was tempted, but had already had my coffee for the morning.  We ducked across the street to the Quaker State oil store to replenish Comet’s supply of replacement fan belts and then returned to the boat by noon.
Don spent the afternoon installing an improvised dipstick for the forward fuel tank and a manifold to control the flow of fuel between tanks.  We had been unable to determine the exact capacity of the forward fuel tank because any overflow from filling the aft tank flowed into the forward one.  We wanted to be able to isolate the tanks when necessary.  I spent the time installing a correctly sized bulb in the port running light (We had been operating with one that was too large and was only loosely fastened to the back of the fixture.), working on my blog, and trying to stay out of the way.
Improvised Dipstick

It was warm and we were feeling lazy, so we ate dinner at the Dockside Café in the marina.  I had a massive taco salad and Don ordered a club sandwich and fries, saying that he wanted a break from Mexican food for a change.  We spent the rest of the evening listening to the podcasts that we couldn’t get when we were at anchor without internet.
View from Dockside Cafe

April 21, 2016

A month into spring and mornings were still chilly in La Paz.  The water temperature was only 71 degrees.  I got up at 6:00 and took another run along the malecon from marina to marina and back.  I barely broke a sweat in the cool morning air.
Running at Dawn

By the time I finished my run and shower, Don was up and listening to the radio net, which starts early at 8:00 in La Paz.  At 7:30, a number of cruisers held a discussion over the radio.  The subject for the day was the American political situation and the moderator sounded just like any other political pundit.  Don and I drank our coffee and then I made bacon, eggs, beans, and quesadillas for breakfast.

I cleaned out the refrigerator while Don went ashore for a shower and then later vacuumed the boat and thoroughly cleaned the head.  Don siphoned diesel from the jerry cans into the aft fuel tank and emptied the forward tank in preparation for filling and calibrating the dip stick in the forward tank.  I mixed up some roach "cookie"dough from flour, sugar, bacon grease, and boric acid.  We had been fighting an ongoing battle against cucarachas.  We were winning, but needed every possible weapon.

The Tailhunter

We relaxed during the heat of the late afternoon and then joined Jake and Jackie for a trip to the sports bar, the Tailhunter, to watch the NBA playoff game between the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets.  We walked down the malecon about a mile and a half to the bar.  The Tailhunter had three levels overlooking the water.  We ordered drinks and dinner and then watched the game.  The game was very close with several last minute reverses, but the Warriors ended up losing by one point.  We walked back to the marina trough the cool evening air.  I was surprised to find it was 23:30 by the time we returned to the boat.  We were almost never out that late.

April 22, 2016

Thursday seemed like a wasted day.  Don spent the entire morning talking to the Bank of America, trying to devise a solution to the problem they created by deciding to issue him a new ATM card and cancel the old one.  Since the new card was sent to his post office box in Los Angeles, he was in danger of being stranded in Mexico without a means to obtain cash.  We didn’t want to stay in La Paz long enough for them to send the card there, but weren’t sure if we were coming back or not.  Don didn’t really want his ATM card sitting in a marina office for weeks, anyway.  Eventually, we decided to have the card sent to a marina where we intended to be within ten days.  After much back and forth with the marina and the bank, Don finally got the mailing address to the Bank of America.  We were almost out of food, but I scraped up some bacon quesadillas for a late breakfast.

Heron Frequented the Dock
By the time the banking crisis was averted, it was too hot to walk to the grocery store.  We laid low until 17:00 with the exception of quick trips ashore to drop off the propane tank for filling and to pick up some laundry I had left to be done earlier in the day.  At 17:00, we walked down Abasalo to the bank and the Chedraui where we stocked up on food and drink for our upcoming voyage.  We took a taxi back to the marina.

We had leftovers for dinner because we needed to make room in the refrigerator for all the food we had bought.  The freezer was packed with meat and fish, but we had room for all our vegetables in the main compartment with enough room left over for beer.  Our hammocks were refilled with fruit and tubers.  We could eat well until we returned to civilization.

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