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.
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 logofdelviento.blogspot.com.
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.