Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Rendezvous, Carnaval, Volunteering and a Birthday - Reviewing February

We've had the boat in Mexico for three years and we can count on two hands the number of visitors we've had and friends we've rendezvoused with while being here. So our big excitement for February was being able to meet some dear FAMILY friends (i.e. more family than friends) in Cabo San Lucas. Here we are two years ago having dinner with them just before we left the SF Bay Area to return to La Paz.

2014 - The kids Ava (standing) and Kellen (on dad Wynn's shoulders) look so young here!

These folks are long-time friends going back to when grandpa Win (far left) taught high school with my father back in the early 1970s. I've known Wynn Jr. since he was about 4 years old.

The family of Wynn, Heather and kids Ava and Kellen took a cruise to Mexico in February and one of their stops was a day in Cabo San Lucas. This was a perfect opportunity to have Heather bring down some goodies for us (Peet's coffee for Tom and Trader Joe's Peanut Butter and PB filled pretzels for me) and rendezvous in Cabo. Tom and I rented a huge Suburban, complete with kid's car seats, and drove over to Cabo.

Even though we hung out with the family quite a bit last year it seemed like the kids had really grown since we last saw them.

Soccer star Ava doing the cheesecake.

Trucking expert Kellen doing the ham.

Ava and Kellen were very easy to please; all they wanted to do was go to the beach so we piled into the Suburban and headed to a non-crowded beach half an hour outside of town. The kids, all four of them (including Tom and Wynn) were happiest to be body-surfing and rolling around in the sand. 

Wynn and Tom, errr...I mean the KIDS enjoying the surf.

We finished off the day with lunch at Baja Brewing Co., with the best beer and best view in town. 

We miss you guys!!!

Also going on in February - I volunteered again at the Ciudad de los Ninos orphanage. It was really wonderful to see how some of the kids had improved their English skills. The subject this year was Sea Turtles and I learned a lot more about these fascinating and endangered creatures.

Teacher Nancy poses with some of her students and the Sea Turtle coasters they drew in class. 

 I really appreciate Dianne on Prairie Oyster who turned me on to the volunteering gig and has shown me so much more about life in La Paz. She and her husband cruised to French Polynesia a number of years ago and they have given us tons of great advice about the journey. 

Dianne and I stop on our walk back from the orphanage to say "HI" to Senor Lobster all dressed up for Carnaval.

Of course Carnaval was a major event again this year and La Paz was filled with food and drink booths, games, rides, LOUD music every night all night, and parades.

This year's "Bad Humor" dummy was Donald Trump. He's all ready to be burned in effigy later that night. Needless to say it was a wildly popular event.
Mighty Neptune and his monsters of the deep.

Check out the Tacos al Pastor, looks just like shawarma. Mexican cuisine has been strongly influenced by other cultures.

Carnaval was immediately followed by Valentine's Day, which is also a big deal in Mexico. Just like last year some cruisers here at the marina arranged to have a live band and dance to celebrate the event. 

I tried to give Tom a haircut for the big night and dropped his scissors in the water. He retrieved them with our neighbor's magnet!

Conchita, Dianne of Prairie Oyster, Heidi of Cetus, and Jane of Beachcomber decorated the bar for the party.

We packed the bar with cruisers and locals and danced like maniacs until Cruiser's Midnight (9:00 p.m.).

Romantic shot photo bombed by Lola, LOL! (Ack, I hate using LOL, sorry.) Remember the haircut? Note Tom is wearing a hat.

And we can't talk about February without including Tom's birthday. He was hoping I'd forget but on his special day we dragged him away from one of his numerous boat projects and forced him to join us in his honor as we enjoyed drinks, snacks and a beautiful sunset.

The Dock 5 Irregulars gather to toast Tom.

We even had a candle for him.

Steve from Casamar liked the flame app.
More photos from February HERE.

Just in case it looks like all we do is hang out and have a good time, be assured that we have been entertaining ourselves with LOTS of boat projects and preparations for the next chapter of our lives. Big changes are in store for Cinnabar, but more on that later.

Tom's birthday sunset.

Que? This isn't Baja! Tom went to the states for a few days to take care of business. Pigeon Point Lighthouse, so beautiful.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Winter In And On The Water - Sundowners, Kiting and Whale Sharks

It has been a very windy winter in La Paz this year. Strong, cold northerly winds have been the prevailing pattern, sometimes lasting for more than a week before the weather would take pity on us and deliver a day or so respite of calm weather. I've worn long pants more days in the past couple of months than in the entire time we have been in Mexico.

Cold but we still meet for sundowners. Check out my fleece slippers.
Susan, Sylvia, Peggy and Lola.

But windy days are a godsend to kiters, so while most of us kvetched about the relentless winds, Tom and his pals aboard Shindig and Pangaea enjoyed many days of world class kiting both in La Paz and over in La Ventana.

Rob rips it up in the bay outside our marina.

There are several kiteboarding competitions in La Ventana during the month of January, and one day a group of us caravaned the 60 miles there to catch the first of them.

La Ventana is a fishing village that has evolved into a windsurfing and kiting destination. We liked how the competition festivities included many local contributions such as food stands and traditional dances.

In this graceful dance the girls are the net trying to catch the yellowtail held by the boys. Yep, the boys get caught in the end. 

It was incredibly exciting to watch the races and freestyle competitions. 

The competitors race around buoys in the bay.

The foiling boards look crazy but the kiters can really catch air on these.

We were interested to learn that the La Ventana Classic is a fundraiser for local schoolchildren. This year the event raised over 12K which will allow 42 children to continue high school.

Shindig and Pangaea rented a house in La Ventana for a month so that Rob and Mike could improve their skills and Nancy and Kate could take lessons. Tom and I were quick to join them for a few days to mooch off of their hospitality. After we spent a few very enjoyable days there Tom discovered there was a bus from La Paz to La Ventana every afternoon so there was no keeping him away after that.

Tom about to launch.

Mike, Rob and Tom enjoy their Margaritas after a day of kiting.

A huge thanks to our friends for their hospitality. 

Blog Hack: If you are interested in seeing more cool kiting pics, videos and La Ventana info check out Rob's and Nancy's informative posts La Ventana #1 and La Ventana #2.  

Even though it felt like the cold northerlies would never end, we actually did have some extremely pleasant days and evenings. Once in a while.

Nancy pulled out her keyboard to serenade us during our Sundownders before the wind started blowing her music around.

One day our neighbor Steve on Casamar invited us for a sail to see if we could find whale sharks. 

We head out of the marina on Casamar (photo by Lola)

We didn't have to go far before we spotted one who was feeding right on the surface. We were able to get right up next to it and watch it suck in great gulps of water. Very cool!

Whale shark feeding right next to us. It didn't seem bothered by us.

Lola kayaked right up next to it and took this photo.

More Whale Shark Pics HERE or HERE. 

More Windy Winter/Kiting Pics HERE or HERE.

It seemed like the weather would never warm up, and then all of a sudden last week we had a few days that were in the 90s and we were all griping about the heat. As if in answer to our fickle desires a cold front blew through and for a couple of days the temperature dropped over 20 degrees and we had cold driving rain. On the second day when the sun finally came out and it seemed as though the squalls had passed I went to the store and while walking back was caught in a frigid downpour that absolutely drenched me washed my clothes for me. I heard from some friends at anchor that it hailed on them that day. Crazy weather.

I go out to watch the sun set rain or shine, but it's much nicer without wind and rain. Salud!