Thursday, December 26, 2019

Accepting help when needed is a good thing!

     It's been a lovely month and a half here in the La Paz area. We've spent a lot of time exploring Isla Espiritu Santo and Isla Partida, although more time than we would have preferred was spend stuck in an anchorage because of the northers. We made the most of our time, however. We've spent time snorkeling, hiking, watching the kids construct sand cities for the thousands of fiddler crabs on the beach, and getting to know some of our fellow cruising families.
      You know, that last one has been my favorite. I think in those two weeks out at the islands, we spent five evenings with other families gathered together on our boats. It usually consisted of two or three families, with the kids down below watching a movie and the adults outside in the cockpit, chatting away. One evening was spent on a 72-foot sailboat. I'm not sure how many people were aboard altogether, but I do know there were ten kids!
        These times spent together have done much to cement friendships, between kids and adults alike. One of those friendships is being put to the test as I type this, and I'm so grateful for it! Backing up a little bit. We met the crew of Tulum V on the Baja Ha-ha, and then got to know them on our first trip out to Espiritu Santo. They have been in La Paz for about a month, getting work done on their boat. We had already discussed with them the idea of traveling across the Sea of Cortez together, so Joe and I wanted to make sure we touched base with them when we returned to La Paz for Christmas, not to mention our kiddos wanted to see their friends again!
         Joe had been noticing some growling while Kyrie's engine was running for a while, but it grew steadily worse on our return to La Paz on Sunday. It grew bad enough that since the wind was in our favor, we chose to sail up the channel and onto anchor. Sailing onto anchor in a crowded anchorage--not too shabby! Unfortunately, with the holidays, no one could even look at the outdrive until January 6. Ordinarily, that wouldn't be a big deal, but Joe's parents arrive in La Cruz on January 12 and we didn't want to be stuck here in La Paz with a torn-apart outdrive! Enter a perfect example of friends' generosity.
          We met up with the crew of Tulum V for dinner that evening and griped a little about our predicament. Much to our amazement and appreciation, an offer to take us under tow if need be was given. Aside from their generosity, I have loved getting know to the Tulum V family. They have kids similar ages to the Kyrie kids and Michelle and Chad constantly crack us up. Any family who has both a Big Green Egg smoker and a Great Dane aboard their boat is surely one I want to get to know and count as friends!
           After a low-key Christmas--Christmas Eve with the Tulum crew, presents Christmas morning, a yummy dinner and then a walk along La Paz's decorated and crowded malecon--it was finally time to leave. La Paz has been our base for over a month and it's been lovely, but let's face it--it's getting cold! I know, I know. All our friends from Alaska will say I've turned into a wimp, and I say darn right! It was 62 degrees when I woke up this morning and I got dressed in a sweatshirt and jeans! It's too cold to swim in the ocean without a wetsuit and the butter isn't melting on the counter anymore--it's time to migrate further south.
            At 11:15 am, we are nearly out of Bahia de La Paz, under tow by Tulum. It was a little hard to swallow our pride and accept the offer, but I'm so grateful it was given. Between using our dinghy as a tug and ghosting along with what little wind there is, we probably could have done this first day on our own, but it would have taken much longer. It's a good reminder that we all need help sometimes and when the offer comes, at times it's much better to take the proffered hand rather than insist on struggling along by yourself.
             If the weather report stays true, there will be wind tomorrow and all the way across to La Cruz. Here's to beam reach sailing and friends who promise to go the distance with you!

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Sailing the Islands

We have spent the last two weeks sailing through and exploring the islands right above La Paz. The first week we were out, we ran into a bunch of other kid boats and had a wonderful time. We hung out first in a bay called Caleta Partida - an ancient volcanic caldera. There were pelicans everywhere and we were able to anchor in shallow water - about 9' deep. The amount of greenery was unexpected. The contrast between the green cactus and shrubs with the red sandstone cliffs is breathtaking.

The first few days were spent getting to know the family on Tulum V. We moved on together, and discovered another 4 kid boats at Bajia San Gabriel - Samadhi V, Arena, Maya, and My Star. We were able to stay one night at BSJ and thoroughly enjoyed the amazing snorkeling. Unfortunately, we were apparently in the one bay that anchoring is not allowed in and were kicked out by the parks service. So, it was anchors aweigh and back to Caleta Partida along with the crews on Tulum V and Samadhi V.

The next evening was a hilarious time on Samadhi V as the kids (7 altogether) watched Mamma Mia and sung along at the top of their lungs much to the delight of their parents.

Running low on supplies, Kyrie then headed back to La Paz for a 48-hour whirlwind restocking. With fuel, Propane, clean laundry, new alternator, and enough fresh groceries to last a month, we headed back out to the islands to resume our earlier explorations.

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Friday, November 29, 2019

Blissed out in Baja

     What a month or so this has been! I promise the Kyrie crew hasn't fallen off the face of the earth. I've just, honestly, been enjoying myself too much to sit down and share it all with you. We left San Diego with about 120 other boats on the Baja Ha-ha on November 4th. Our friend Wade flew down to San Diego to join us on the trip and having another adult on board was wonderful! We've known Wade for about seven years through the sailing club in Juneau, plus he has done the Ha-ha before. Wade helped us with trimming the sails better, as well as taking turns on watch so we all could have some more sleep! It made the multiple-day passages much more palatable to have had six hours of sleep, instead of four!
     All in all, I think our favorite stop on the way down Baja California was Bahia Magdelena. We got there a day ahead of the rest of the fleet, choosing to only spend one day in Bahia Santa Maria, and were very happy we did. Bahia Magdelena, or “Mag Bay,” is gorgeous. I think we could have spent a month there, just exploring. The first day, we went ashore to the little village there and wandered around. A lot of the landscape near the water was made up of uplifted seafloor. The kids (and the adults too, frankly!) got a kick out of seeing so many shells embedded in what looked like sand, but was actually about as hard as concrete.
     Mag Bay also has a beautiful palapa that some wealthy individual built years ago and gave to the village. It has a roof made from woven palm fronds, lights hanging from it, a wood-burning oven with a giant turtle shell as a decoration, and a huge kitchen area. There are platforms surrounding the palapa, designed for people to set tents up on. I could handle that kind of camping—waking up each morning with the beach directly in front, and then going down to the palapa to make and enjoy a cup of coffee before breakfast.... Wait a minute! Isn't that pretty much what I do every morning, minus the waking up in a tent?!
     I still have to pinch myself, realizing that this is my life now. We have been saving and working and delaying treats and telling ourselves for so long, “We're doing this for a reason. We have plans we're saving for.” Now that we're enjoying the fruits of our labors, it still almost seems like a dream. People, Kyrie is finally in MEXICO! Oh my gosh, this is has been so much fun. I know we were in Mexico almost the entirety of the Ha-ha, but it finally feels like it now. We stopped in Cabo San Lucas long enough to drop Wade off so he could fly back to Juneau and to pick up all our paperwork for our official arrival in Mexico, and then we got out of there. A storm, dubbed Tropical Storm Raymond at the time, was bearing down on the Capes and we wanted to be out of the area and somewhere safer by the time it arrived. La Paz was our destination!
     We stopped in La Paz for nearly two weeks. The stop gave us some much needed down time to just stay put and explore the town. Can I say that I love La Paz? Population-wise, it's about the size of Anchorage, for all my Alaska friends. It's a lovely mixture of locals, expats, and cruisers, and I can see why so many people come to La Paz and end up staying for years. We fell in love with the Mercado Bravo—an indoor market full of produce stands, a seafood counter where a kilo of warm water of shrimp cost us less than $20 USD, and loncherias with the best empanadas I've ever had. We've been eating grapefruit and avocados until... no, I can't say we're stick of them by any means. Everyone we have encountered so far has been super friendly. Of course, it helps that Megan has said “Hola” to everyone we walk past, and no one can resist smiling at her and saying “Hola” or “Buenas dias” back to her.
     And now, it's time to say good-bye, for at least a week and a half. We walked to our favorite grocery store this morning to restock, filled our water jug in preparation for deck showers, and checked out with la capitainia del puerto. We're cruising past Isla Espiritu Santu, bound for Isla Partida, just to the north, along with a bunch of other boats we know from the Baja Ha-ha. The kiddos are excited about seeing some friends again, as well as swimming in the water. I'm looking forward to being out of town for a while. Joe already managed to catch dinner for tonight—a lovely dorado!
     We've been in Mexico for nearly a month already and I still can't get over the fact that I'm sitting here in the cockpit in shorts and a tank top and I'm totally comfortable. We talked to Joe's parents on my birthday a couple of days ago (side note: am I really 40 now?!) and they said it was in the teens and snowing in Juneau. At the moment, I can't think of anywhere else I'd rather be—chasing the sun with my family and thinking about making a margarita after we drop the hook in whichever bay we decide to hang out in for a while.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

La Paz at last!

Just a quick update here. Kyrie is safe in La Paz after cruising all the way down Baja California, and racing around Los Cabos to stay ahead of Tropical Storm Raymond. Raymond turned out to be no worse for us than a windy rainy day in Juneau! In the meantime, we have seen a little bit of La Paz and love it! I can’t wait to explore this corner of the world and share our adventures!