Journey's Blog

Monday, March 23, 2015

2/2015 Mazatlan

After a wonderful month in La Paz we sailed across the Sea of Cortez which is about 180nm. We initially went ~10nm outside of La Paz to a beautiful anchorage out of a picture book or stock photo to put on your laptop. We left to travel further south on the Baja side towards Muertos where we spent the night and left before sunrise to sail across towards Mazatlan. We had a beautiful sail and landed 32 hours later. We carefully navigated the very short (a few hundred yards) channel which is also very narrow. For sailors this means lots of surge. Lots of water trying to squeeze through a small space. To add to the excitement, there is a dredger that works the narrow channel as it is an estuary and the silt builds quickly. We radio’d the Port Captain for the status and with a little bit of nail biting we entered the channel, whisked by the dredger, and found an end tie to rest Namaste. We secured all her lines and took in our surroundings of palm trees and resort style ammenities. We were quite excited since my mom was flying in a few days after we arrived so we wanted to explore quickly to get an idea of things to do. 
Mazatlan is a big city which took some adjusting on our part. Buses are readily available and cheap-they even have “tourist” buses that have AC and cost a few pesos more if you chose. The buses go all over the city which is convenient. Our first day out was hot and humid which we were not used to as La Paz was cooler (70’s) and we were experiencing 90% humidity and 80+ degree temperatures. Needless to say, tempers were short as we tried to figure out where to go. We regrouped over lunch.
To make things interesting, Carnival was also starting which means the city becomes a huge party. My mom flew in and we got her checked into the El Cid Marina Resort. She had a great room that looked out towards our boat. Journey moved in for the 2 week visit. 

We settled into a routine, met some great friends at the marina, and had a great visit with mom.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

3/13/15 LA CRUZ
We are in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle or affectionately known as La Cruz. Like La Paz, we have heard of this glorious place and have read about it’s legendary cruiser anchorage and easy lifestyle. We arrived after a beautiful ~45 nm sail. Upon entering Banadara’s Bay, a large well gently surfaced in the not to distant as if personally welcoming us. We passed Punta Mita which is an anchorage on the north tip of the Bay for our final 10nm. Shortly after entering the bay, the winds began to pick up in the 20k range, which is fine for us as our boat is heavy. We circled around the anchorage where there was about 25 boats bobbing around. We selected our spot and dropped “the hook.” As usual, once the hook is dropped, we go into “unpacking” mode which means all the things that were stowed can now take their rightful spot in the cabin. 
However, we paused and noted that there was quite a bit of swell as we got knocked from side to side so we waited and watched the other boats hobby horsing wildly about their anchors. We scratched our heads thinking the winds would die down once the sun set but to our dismay, they did not, and instead became even more uncomfortable. We were not in any danger just uncomfortable and unable to drop our dinghy from the davits safely to bring Nanuq to shore. 
We radio’d our friends on sv Astrea who we sailed down the Baja with and were anchored not too far away. They had been in the anchorage for a month so they surely could tell us more information. Speaking with Nate and Natalie, they too were having a challenging evening due to the conditions which they reported were atypical. Phew, since we were beginning to question ourselves and maybe we are just wimpy. Nate’s sister Liz was visiting from PA and was feeling a bit queazy from the rocking and rolling. We managed the night but promptly pulled into Marina Riveria Nayarit for a few days. As it turned out, a large storm was coming in and hung over the bay for several days dropping several inches of rain and winds in the 20-30k range.
Many of the boats in the anchorage also came in for a night or two which helped to validate our decision. 

3/18/15 Small Spaces
Sometimes you just can’t please everyone. Whether on a boat, house, or a camper, there are situations that arise that may come to an impasse. Tension or discourse can be light and easily resolved like dinner options/plans, messiness, or whose turn to do the dishes. Other times, tension can escalate which often can be in a crisis, expectations not realized, or from frustration. Living in small spaces with a teen on board can exacerbate any of these situations to another level. As we morph through this process of cruising, living in a small space, and dealing with the unknown, we find ourselves using these opportunities to use humor (ok, maybe not immediately but soon after) as well as conversing about compromise and flexibility. 
Life is not perfect and learning to accept and rebound from our expectations is an important lesson. Gleaning the gifts in the face of adversity is a challenge but important to hold onto. Journey would tell people that our boat mantra is “The difference between an ordeal or adventure is attitude”. Of course she would say it with Attitude and maybe even an eye roll! It hasn’t always been easy traveling with a young teenager but I wouldn’t have it any other way. We have been able to spend time with her in an invaluable way and watch her gain confidence in a new way. 

Precious time together

Sunday, March 8, 2015

La Paz

For years we have heard about this magical cruiser’s paradise named La Paz which means Peace. We read about it in blogs, we heard stories from other cruisers and Boat Show talks. So we imagined this utopia, a destination, and longed to be “there.” On December 31, 2014, we sailed into La Paz after a beautiful night at sea and a bashing morning run through San Lorenzo Channel for the last 15nm until we settled into Marina de La Paz, our home for the next month. We were ecstatic to just settle in to a new home for an entire month, especially since we had been on the move since August, with the exception of our 6 week stay in Berkeley. We were looked forward to sleeping without the boat rocking, we didn’t want to study weather reports, plan passages/routes, or spend another night at sea-at least for a while. 
Admittedly, it took us about a week before we decided that La Paz is a fabulous place. I think when one builds a place up in one’s mind, it is hard to meet that expectation. It took us awhile to see through the developing nation aspects and see the beauty and develop connections in the community. 
We now love walking the malecon (an esplanade that follows the water) and watching the locals strolling and enjoying an evening walk with family. We watch them enjoy ice cream at the many ice cream shops, sushi, pizza and hamburgers. We walk a few streets away from the malecon to the city center where more traditional Mexican food carts and restaurants can be found. Mercados  which are indoor markets with individual stalls selling fresh fruits, vegetables and meats/fish are abundant and locals conducting their daily business as La Paz is the capital of Baja. It is not a touristy area for the most part. 
We enjoy the 0800 morning cruisers net which we turn on via our VHF radio. It is run by volunteers (other sailors) for an organized 30 minutes of relaying communication for the cruising fleet. There are 5 marinas in the area which include mega yachts (the M5, Ostar etc) as well as those of us that are more modest. There is also a large amount of boats anchored in the bay. Sadly, 3 sailors lost there lives here in September during Hurricane Odilie. Evidence is all around with boats still on their sides on the hard and a few boats eerily in the water with only the top of their masts reaching out of the water as if they are asking for help.
We will miss La Paz but we will return.

                                   sv Kialoa bashing through the channel en route to La Paz
                                              crew of Namaste and The Vortex having fun
                               Our sister ship, sv Del Viento joining us at anchor at Coleta Lobos
                                                   A 50th birthday party for Tanya in La Paz
We arrived in La Paz with a part of our flotilla family otherwise dubbed the Umbrella Dumpers. After Cabo, a few of the boats headed to the mainland to continue their adventures while some of us decided to stay on the Baja side. So, Kialoa (Scott and Tanya) and Estrea (Nate, Natalie and Sullie) and the crew of Namaste sailed through the night up into the sea to La Paz. While Estrea anchored out, Kialoa and Namaste headed for Marina de La Paz. When we circled to enter in, we quickly recognized several boats in the harbor, one being our sister ship, Del Viento. We have known The Robertson family for several years, first via email when they were buying their boat (Michael found us on the owner’s website) and then they bashed up the coast from Mexico and visited with us in Washington on their way up north. They were kind enough to have John as crew when they returned south a year later and picked him up in Port Angeles, Wa. and dropped him off in Astoria. He has a great blog
We also saw sv Luna, owned by a young, solo sailor named Reed who we met coming down the Pacific Baja. There were several other boats that we knew as well so it was a reunion in the making.
We settled into our slip space and met our new neighbors, Kim and Eva, from Alaska and were some of the kindest people. 
Shortly after arriving, we serendipitously ran into Rae, Don, Meana, and Henry from sv The Vortex. Rae was Journey’s African Dance teacher in Port Townsend when she was 3! We saw them once when Journey was about 8 years old in Garden Bay which is in the Gulf Islands in Canada. We sat out a gale for 2 nights in that Bay but we managed to sneak out for some ice cream with all our foul weather gear on! Fast forward and we run into them while we were playing Bocce ball on the beach and they were strolling by. The kids spent the next week or so hanging out which gave them all some valuable and rare kid time.

I think that was one of the highlights of our time in La Paz is the intense friendships born out of short duration. Leaving La Paz was difficult as we were so comfortable but we know the “bungy cord” will bring us back soon.