Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Carnival in La Paz

It has been Carnival here in La Pa since last Friday. It was quite an event, and it has lasted five colorful, loud, and exciting days. No one is sure why the carnival here was held so late but that did not impact the attendance. Early last week the Malecón was closed to traffic while booths were constructed, massive performing stages were erected, matching massive speakers hung high, power and water utilities modified, street lighting improved, and portable baños strategically placed. The first few days of the Carnival included live performances, as well as street vendors offering food, drink, jewelry, and carnival apparel. Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday were the same, but this time there was the addition of a parade each day at 5:30 p.m. The parades included many semi-trucks with flatbeds of performers, bands, dancers, beautiful girls in gorgeous costumes and dresses (and even a few beautiful boys dressed similarly). The parade routes were crowded with spectators waving to get the attention of someone on a float to throw candy, a can of beer, or some other trinket. I waved enough to get a pen! We watched the Sunday parade from the 2nd floor of the Los Arcos Hotel with 20 other cruisers. While the view was good, we did not feel that we had experienced the street-level activity, so we went back on Monday and enjoyed the same parade again. This time, however, it started on the opposite side of town. After the parades, we wandered through the crowds to enjoy great hot dogs, tacos, churros, and, of course, a few cervezas. It was an amazing event, and we enjoyed being part of the excitement!

Unfortunately, the last day of carnival was accompanied by terrible news from the Brazos. A propane leak followed by an explosion at the Brazos Canyon Volunteer Fire Department killed retired Fire Chief Michael Hays. My time with the Fire Department this past summer had been a highlight for me. The news of this event is overwhelming, and I know that Michael’s family, all his friends in the canyon, and the fire department have suffered greatly. Michael had become a good friend, and we will miss him!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Marina Costa Baja

Well, we are here at Costa Baja Marina in La Paz, B.C.S. We arrived on Monday after a short motor down from Caleta-Partida. There are certainly a lot more boats here each year and many are big power boats. Caleta-Partida is starting to feel and sound more like the anchorage at Avalon than the quiet Mexican anchorages we used to have! We had been worrying about our steering chain/cable and upon inspection, we found that replacement would be a very good idea. While the assembly seems quite simple, searching around La Paz for the parts and pieces proved not to be simple. Fortunately, for the right price, a new assembly can be shipped in via FedEx, and so it is now on the way. Steering out on the Pacific seems to be something we would like to maintain!

Costa Baja is a very nice resort, and it is enjoyable here. There are many restaurants, shops, pools, and beautiful landscaping. Unfortunately, there is no jacuzzi, which would feel great. We do get internet on the boat and that is something that allows us to make phone calls and follow along with e-mails and news.

We are beginning to move toward our final checkout from Mexico. One of the procedures is to get your "Zarpe". It is a document that proves that we left Mexico legally, and the officials in French Polynesia will require it. We have learned that in the La Paz district, a health inspection of the boat is also required but that has to be completed within 6 days of our departure. After getting the health inspection, we will have the immigration office stamp our passports, and the Port Captain will approve and sign our Zarpe. We are hoping that the Zarpe will allow us to make short stops in Bahia los Frailes and Cabo San Lucas on our way out without the need for any more paperwork. Los Frailes makes a nice anchorage half way to Cabo San Lucas, and we would like to get last-minute fruits, veggies, and fuel in Cabo San Lucas. We won't stay in Cabo very long though, as the anchorage is terribly rolly and the marina is $125/night or more!

The weather here is great with highs in the low 80's and nights in the low 50's.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

San Carlos to La Paz

Hello everyone. We left San Carlos yesterday after a 3-day "norther" and had pretty boisterous conditions and good winds. The seas started out at 6-8 feet with a lot of breaking waves and winds around 25 knots from the NW. Over the course of the day and evening, the seas flattened and the wind slowed to 11 knots around 2200. By 2300 it was up to 25 knots with gusts to 28 (we have these great new instruments). It blew hard all night, and by dawn it was blowing a steady 25 knots with the 6-8 foot seas having returned. "All n all" it is a great passage. We have 146 miles under our belt and 20 minutes of engine run time (so we could get out of Marina Real). When we got to Isla San Francisco, we had traveled 189 nautical miles in 34 hours with minimal sails up.

We started the engine because the wind died and discovered a clogged fuel line. Steve found what he thought was a spider web in the fuel filter. It took him a few minutes to change filters, and we were on our way. We motored just 5.5 hours--just long enough to make water for the tank.

We anchored at Isle San Francisco on Saturday, moved to Caleta Partida on Isle Esperitu Santos today (had a nice sail), and will go into La Paz tomorrow. All is well here. We have been updating the YOTREPS website so you might check out and see where we have been - we hope!

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