Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Life in Marina Palmira - First Month in La Paz

Our Marina celebrated its 27th anniversary shortly after we arrived. Dig the cake!

It has been over a month since we arrived in La Paz and obviously we are not in a huge rush to leave. For the most part life is extremely pleasant here. La Paz is a beautiful and interesting place, and there are many things that distract us from the work we should be doing occupy our time.

There are several marinas in La Paz, and we prefer to stay in Marina Palmira which is a couple of miles from the hubbub of the city center. The harbor water does not seem too polluted and there is good tide action in and out every day which helps to freshen the water. There is much fish life here in the marina, which is an excellent sign. In addition to the ubiquitous Sergeant-Majors there are schools of good-sized mullets, some snapper-looking fish, some sort of schooling jacks that occasionally swim through, pargo, large bat fish, and many schools of small fry that help kick off a healthy food chain.

Batfish nibble on the algae growing on our dock.

I love to sit in the cockpit to read and keep an eye out for all the animal life. The Mullets like to slap themselves against Cinnabar's hull which can make for a noisy experience. We are at the end of the dock and have a good view of the channel where numerous fish leap out of the water in their attempt to escape their predators which are bigger fish, birds and the occasional seal. In fact, one day something thumped against our hull and, believing that we had been hit by another boat, I leaped up on deck and was surprised to see not a boat, but a large seal chasing fish underneath us!

There are many types of sea birds that visit the marina. It is a grebe's paradise with all the small fish and I have seen at least three different kinds of grebes, as well as four types of herons, egrets, numerous (but all loud) seagulls, pelicans, cute little sandpipers, coots, frigate birds, terns, and a pair of Osprey who like to fish in the mornings and evenings. There are many more marine and land birds here, but these are what I recall off the top of my head.

This young heron found a perfect spot to snatch up as many fish as it liked.
One afternoon while Tom and I were both on deck we heard a deranged buzzing sound that crescendoed until it was right over our heads, and then diminished as it headed out to the channel. "What was that?" we both exclaimed. When I looked up I saw the tail end of a swarm of bees that had passed over our boat. The only warning had been a solo bee scout I had chased out of the boat 10 minutes earlier. You just never know sort of animal life is going to show up here.

Every Wednesday morning La Paz Cruiser's Supply hosts a small farmer's market that sells organic produce, freshly baked breads, pies, smoked fish, German sausages, and jewelry. There are even a couple of ladies who come in to give haircuts.

It's always busy on Wednesday mornings.
We've really enjoyed getting to know many of the other cruisers who live here or who are just passing through. Most of them come from Canada and the U.S. Since marina regulations do not allow parties on the dock, we occasionally have "Safety Meetings", aka sunset appreciation meetings. 
Jim from "Prairie Oyster" wearing the official Safety Chairman day-glo reflective jumper.

Bringing one's own drink and a snack to share is a nice way to meet people and enjoy the sunset. And of course make us safer too, ahem.

This "Safety Meeting" was on Three King's Day. Whoever finds the baby in their piece of cake has to make tamales on Feb 2nd. The holiday festivities continue!!
There are many very good restaurants in La Paz, and we have been enjoying trying out new places in addition to our old favorites. 
Dinner at Rancho Viejo with Alameda friends Ben and Lucie of "Georgia".

Marina Palmira has two restaurants and bars, one each at either end of the marina. The best bar is conveniently located just outside our gate, which can be good or bad depending upon how you look at it. For New Year's Eve the cruisers pooled money and hired a fantastic band to play there. 

Happy New Year from Sylvia and Conchita!! The band gave her one of their T-shirts.

The band was surprisingly good and we had a great time dancing up a storm to tunes from the 60's, 70's and 80's.

The fun lasted until 9:00 p.m. which is known as "Cruiser's Midnight" since cruisers have well-deserved reputations for hitting the sack early. And if you think 9:00 p.m. is early, the La Paz Marina in town hit their climax at midnight Greenwich Mean Time which happened to be 5:00 p.m. local time. Compared to them we are party animals! 

We've also enjoyed a few day trips and overnighters.
We took a day trip up to the very long Tecolote beach.

Last year we went to La Ventana where Tom took some kiteboarding lessons. Since we returned he has been to La Ventana several times to continue learning this sport. 
Tom inflates his kite that reminds me of a bat wing.

All the colorful kites waiting for the wind.

Instructor Molly and student Tom

While in La Ventana we were able to meet up with Steve Cameron, whom we know from sailing in the SF Bay Area. He is an avid surfer and windsurfer and every winter hauls a trailer filled with surfboards and NINE windsurfing sails down to Baja. He sets up a compound in the La Ventana campground where he spends the entire winter. He windsurfs in the winter and sails in the summer. What a smart guy! The La Ventana Campground is packed with people who are doing the same thing.
Steve and his "garage" filled with his toys. His camper is on the right with the big flags.

In addition to all the fun and games we are completing various boat projects. It's a lot of work recommissioning a boat for the upcoming cruising season. Our friend Rob on Shindig did a blog post of his projects with 116 line items that he had completed so far!  

One of the big items we hauled down is a new, 77 lb. spade anchor. It took us a while to remove the old 55# anchor and feed the huge shank of the new anchor through our bow roller without incident. But we did it!

New anchor (left) and old anchor (right). Will the new one fit?


And I am not sitting on my butt eating bon-bons and drinking Finlandia Vodka tonics EVERY day (although I would like to). 
Finlandia does a booming business in Mexico with its mixed drinks.

I got in on the boat work action by borrowing a sewing machine and attacking a big cushion project that has been nagging at me for a while. 

Yes, I am using my headlamp!

In addition to the nice people and good food, the weather here has been lovely. There was a week when we had chilly winds, 64 degree weather, and we were reduced to wearing long sleeves or sweatshirts. Frankly we were traumatized. Luckily things warmed up again. Today the sun is out and it is a pleasant 80 degrees.

There are many more things that we have experienced in La Paz. Maybe I can get Tom to list all the projects we have been working on so people will think know we have been hard at work, and not just sitting in the cockpit reading, watching fish jump, and enjoying the superb sunsets.

More pics from our first month...Life at Marina Palmira.

Our cockpit is the perfect place to watch the sunset.