We left our dock space at Marina Palmira in La Paz on Sunday April 6 for the first time since our friends visited in January, 2-1/2 months ago. We certainly weren't planning on staying in one place so long when we went there, but I've since heard a phrase for the phenomena that occurred, we were La Paused. In my last update, last February, I focused on how we found La Paz after arriving from 3 months of cruising from San Francisco. I now think of that cruise as Phase 1. Phase 2 was of course, wintering in La Paz. We have just stepped into Phase 3, spending the spring time in the Sea of Cortez anchorages.
So how did we get La Paused? Unlike Cabo San Lucas, which is a stop over, transient destination where people party, rest up, get reprovisioned, then continue on in different directions after a few days, La Paz is one of those destinations. I believe what we are experiencing is similar to what all first time cruisers go through. We developed a common dream goal, spent years focusing on it, all the time working 5 days a week providing some kind of service for other people. When the year and the month came to go, we had been through a feverish pace of outfitting the boat, selling the house, and getting rid of most of our land based lifestyle possessions, all in our spare personal time. When the day came to go, we had just ended our careers that had been the culmination of our efforts since starting college. And then we left and spent sensational nights on the ocean and days exploring exotic ports along the way to get here. And then we tied our dock lines in La Paz.
When we arrived, we signed up for 3 days of slip fees. At the end of 3 days, we converted that to a month. At the end of the month, we signed up for another 6 months to take advantage of the special cruisers rate. Once we got to La Paz and had a few days to recuperate from the journey, we realized this was the first time in our lives we had control of our own time, without working and no schedule. And you've probably surmised from my last update that we found La Paz to be quite cruiser friendly. I don't think I can expound on La Paz much more than I did in that update, other than to say we were able to penetrate deeper into it's depths and make it feel more like a home.
Speaking Spanish is coming along very slowly. We've picked up many words out of necessity, mostly surrounding food. Reading menus in restaurants, speaking to merchants in the process of buying food, and reading preparation instructions on food labels. Conversational Spanish is many miles away. There are Spanish lessons available near by but 9:00 am hasn't seemed to fit into our program. There is a large English speaking community here, almost entirely made up of other cruisers. These are our neighbors and the pool from which the friends we are making come from. We all have much in common. Conversations usually start around something like broken auto pilots, easily. From there compatibilities are discovered and friendships are kindled. We have seen several boats leave La Paz to head to the South Pacific. Rick from Eskimo should be in the Marquises by now. But we've met more people that had that plan when they got here, but have since decided to delay the decision to leave Mexican waters for another year. We've actually met one boat that arrived in Marina Palmira two years ago and have only left twice, both time for maintenance reasons.
In many ways, life became much like it was before we left, except we have bicycles and back packs instead of cars, and the work we do during the day isn't determined until after the morning coffee with the VHF net, vs. punching the clock. There is still work though. I mentioned I was trying to complete a book project I had been working on as a hobby for years, that took the best part of a month. Then there is maintaining your home. When you live on a boat full time, you have to clean it regularly, especially when you live with a 60 pound canine that sheds. The brightwork outside takes much time, more so in the manana land of sunshine. More time is spent with food preparation that before. We're finding that having more time to invest in thinking about what we are going to eat next leads to exploring through recipe books to find new ways to prepare food on the ready list. For example, it was time to use up the hot dogs that didn't have buns and we were planning on throwing them in a can of beans. I found a recipe for soup that was based on beans and franks, but added celery, onions, halipanio peppers, chile powder and milk. It turned out to be a delicately delicious lunch.
So after all of the adrenaline of realizing a dream goal and working a yacht 1400 miles down the coast with most of our worldly possessions, we are still us and life isn't too different. Except that we no longer identify ourselves by our job title. All of the yachties we have run into have cards to exchange, but they don't have job titles on them. Some don't even have last names, because you rarely use last names in this world. It is "first name" from "boat name". Most of the time there is a mailing address on the card, along with some kind of boat graphic. Another thing that identifies people is how long they plan to be cruising this time. If people are on a time budget, 6 months, a year or whatever, then they tend to have more of an agenda. Since we have gotten ourselves into a position of we'll do this until we are not having fun doing it on a mid life sabbatical, we tend to meet more retired people. We are also meeting people that have seasonal jobs that leave their boat here for X months a year to go work. The Alaskans tend to work July to September, then come back before it gets too cold, which seems like a good idea. They avoid what will soon be our Phase 4, beating the summer heat.
But for the next several months, we will be enjoying the best of the Sea of Cortez. I'm not sure yet when you will be reading this, but I probably won't have an update about the spring until later this summer. We do plan to have plenty of good photos from the Sea of Cortez, and I'm going to redo the page format so you don't have to download the images to see the page. The graphics will be individually selectable. Our internet access this spring will be limited to 300 baud ham packet radio access to a bulletin board with a La Paz based ham operator posting my messages back and forth to the internet through his phone line. You can send email to Spirit that way though. The instructions to send mail are to use the following email address and make the subject line KF6GKZ/Spirit:
1. Address to: email@example.com 2. The subject line: KF6GKZ/Spirit
Because it's using HF, High Frequency radio, it will work from just about anywhere, depending on the current sun spot activity. We look forward to hearing from you and will respond to all messages received so you know yours got through to us.
The following are write up's on the three times SPIRIT left the dock since getting here plus notes on our ferry trip to Mazatlan:
10 Days in Cruising Area D
Bye for now...