San Carlos to La Paz

After three months of intensive renovations at our new house, it was time for a well deserved rest, and what better place to do so than in Mexico.

Grand Canyon
 Grand Canyon
Marg & Nicole drove us to the airport, then we had a 2 1/2 hour flight to Phoenix, we passed over the Grand Canyon, at about 21,000 feet travelling about 550 mph ... definitely the fastest we'd be moving for the next two months.

After getting checked in at the LaQuinta Motel, we walked over to the Tufesa Bus Depot, several miles away, to get our tickets to Guaymas for the next day. Decided to take a taxi back to the hotel as it was about 22 degrees and we didn't want to over do it on the first day of heat.

When we stayed in Phoenix in the spring, we had a bad experience booking the hotel on line, so this hotel was a pleasure, nice & clean, convenient location, restaurant on site, and they honoured their coupon.  However, their 10 minute taxi service left a little to be desired, took almost 40 minutes, and we almost missed our bus.

The rest of the day went well, only a few quick stops for customs & I believe a state police check, and we arrived in Guaymas early afternoon and took a taxi into San Carlos.

Sailboats at sunset
 Sailboats at sunset
Prairie SeaShell was already in the work yard waiting for us, and except for a little dust & dirt, all was well.

Got the bikes down, and went for supper. When we returned, we put clean sheets on the bed and called it a day! So quiet!!! No trains, traffic, planes, squeaky floors or furnaces ... we should sleep well!

Next day, took off the tarps and swept up the dust. That done, it was time for a trip to town for lunch, groceries and a stop at the bank for some pesos.

Tried out a new restaurant, Erny's as our old stand by was now closed. Good meal, and still fairly reasonable, and the butcher shop still had nice cuts of meat, but price had gone up considerably, but still cheaper than at home.

The only major glitch, the HSBC ATM machine was gone so had to try the Banamex. Unfortunately it would not accept our cards. We have been using ATM's in Mexico for over 10 years now without a problem, sometimes in very small towns etc. Hope there hasn't been a major change to their banking systems or this could be a really short trip.

Don changed out the broken engine mount yesterday, so now he is ready to align the prop shaft again. He used his new prop puller (thanks Colin) and it worked great.

Headed into Guaymas for lunch and to see if our bank cards will work there. Relief ... no problem, and even tried our new BMO card which also worked fine. Guess the bank in San Carlos must have been having issues with their ATM's.

We spent the next few days doing some patches on the keel again, and painting the deck and adding some non slip to the aft deck. Weather was causing a bit of a delay, some days too windy, some days threatening to rain. But, nine days after arriving in San Carlos, we were finally ready for splash down.

Great day at anchor, were able to get a weak internet connection, but good enough to check the weather forecast. Looks like we might be able to leave Sunday night. The wind picked up just before sundown, but the rest of the night was extremely peaceful. So quiet we could hear the resident sea lion coming up for air.

Got the dingy down the next day and this year the motor started right away, guess we did a better job of putting it away this time.

Stopped at s/v Brisa to say Hi to Chris & Rany who just bought their boat, then went into Guaymas for groceries. By the time we got back around 3:30, wind was gusting to 30kn in the anchorage. Fortunately, it calmed down again by bedtime and we had another beautifully restful night.

Next day we picked up Chris & Rany and went to a swap meet at the local chandlery. Then we walked into town to go to Tony's (the local veggie vendor) and to the Santa Rosa Market for groceries.

Again by time we got back to the anchorage, the wind was howling, and with 4 people, and a load of groceries, in our little dingy, we got quite wet.  Kept busy during the blow, made stew & cookies and again, luck was with us, by time supper was over, it had calmed down considerably.

Chris & Rany treated us to breakfast aboard s/v Brisa, frittata and some delicious chai tea. We returned to PSS after lunch, and made ready to leave at first light tomorrow.

Up anchor at 7am, made a few jugs of water and had a very quiet day, no wind, no wildlife, just a very dark, but easy crossing. By 7am the following morning, we were approximately 12 miles from Isla Carmen and just before we were ready to drop anchor we saw a family of Orcas.

We anchored at Punta Perico instead of Bahia Salinas as the chart book indicates it's a better anchorage in a north blow, and that was what was forecast to arrive. It was almost warm enough for a deck shower, although the wind was still a little nippy, but we did have quite a comfortable night.

Next morning, we thought we would make a run for Aqua Verde, about 6 hours away. We got about 2 miles out and decided it was too uncomfortable for a 6 hour tour, so we turned back.

We had to run hard into the wind, and once again some bolts came loose and fell out. Think we need to change the engine mounts to something softer.

We stayed put for the next two days, but at least we finally got an opportunity to relax for a bit. When we finally left, we still had 2-3 foot swells and about 12-15 kns of wind, but at least in the right direction.

By mid afternoon, as predicted, the winds died right down, we motored into Aqua Verde, past a big whale spouting off near Santa Catalina. We continued on the next two days to San Evaristo, then Ensenada Grande into LaPaz.

Radioed Costa Baja Marina and they had a slip for us on the very last dock. Should be nice and calm back there. There were several guards waiting to take our lines and hook up the modem for their free internet.

Today is Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras) and the last day of Carnival. We took the shuttle into town to watch the parade, and we weren't the only cruisers wanting to take in the festivities.

There were 11 of us piled into the 9 seater van. All along the malecon there were arcade games, craft shops, food stands selling churros, gorditas de nata, cotton candy and of course many beer tents.

However, this carnival seems to be a more family oriented event than the Mazatlan one, midway rides and pony rides for the little ones. The theme of the parade must have been Hawaii/Polynesia, as lots of floats with hip swiveling girls of all ages.

Some of the floats were throwing candy or confetti, and a few were setting off fireworks. We walked the malecon before and after the parade, as far as our legs would allow. After spending 7 days at sea, this was a bit of a shock to the muscles. 

Got busy with boat chores today, and although it wasn't on the "ToDo List", we had to change out our dock water hose. I saw a huge splash beside the boat, and thought we had pelicans diving in the marina.

It turned out to be our cheap green plastic hose that has lasted since we left Canada finally exploded in the hot sun. It was about 34C degrees today, time to check out the pool.

The pool is huge, nice and clean, and almost deserted. We did however meet Jim from m/v Great Escape at the pool.

He is an ex sailboater, and he invited us to join him and his wife Judy for Fish Tacos in town. They have been cruising around here since 2001 and they know some of the same cruisers we have met previously in LaPaz and Mazatlan. We spent many enjoyable days with them, and lots of great meals.

One of the important items on the "ToDo List" was to change the bulb on the mast head light. This of course requires that I hoist Don up the mast. Not really a very difficult task with the help of the winches, but he did have quite the spectacular view from up there.

We spent the next few weeks finishing boat chores, including repainting the deck, and simply enjoying the weather and the City of LaPaz.

It certainly wasn't too hard to be stuck here doing chores, especially since the weather in Calgary was still so nasty and cold. 

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