Held Captive in La Paz

Help! I’m being held in La Paz against my will! I’ve pleaded with my captors (Capn Marina and his sidekick, Playdate Girl) but they just don’t want to cast off the lines and head out to the islands! I’m hoping to make them leave today by telling them that, as it is International Workers’ Day, all of the taco stands will be closed. I figure by lunch time, they’ll be so hungry that they’ll do anything to get me to cook!

The sail over from Mazatlan was one of the tougher passages we’ve had. Our plan was to sail northwest until we reached the latitude of La Paz, then turn due west to cross the Sea of Cortez. The forecast called for 20 knot winds from the north on the day we’d be crossing, so we hoped for a good sail.

Well, to make a long, bumpy, sea-sick story short, our plan didn’t quite pan out! The wind was more northwesterly, and with the rough seas, we got pushed quite a bit to the south. About 55 hours after we’d left Mazatlan, we ended up anchoring at Muertos (about 50 miles south of La Paz) to get a day of rest, then came up to La Paz the following night.

We were lucky to get a slip at Marina de La Paz, which we prefer because of its convenient location near the carnivorous crewmembers’ favorite restaurant, Rancho Viejo. After a filling breakfast and several cups of coffee, I spent the afternoon doing load after load of laundry and Toro washed the salt off the rigging.

The next morning I overheard Todd telling another cruiser that we’d be in La Paz for about a week, because “the old lady needs a lot of work”. When I asked him what exactly had to be done, Capn Cro-Magnon made his “thoughtful” face (furrowing his considerable brow and rolling his eyes back; think Frankenstein without the neck bolts). Finally, he said, “I think we should hire some young Mexican guys to do most of it.”

Well, my ears certainly pricked up! “Really?” I squealed, imagining myself relaxing in a cream and rose petal wrap, having my nails done by Miguel and my neck rubbed by Alberto, while Juan mixed me a refreshing cocktail. Todd quickly dashed my reverie, saying “Yeah, we can get the boat washed down, and the stainless polished, the deck and hull waxed… the works!”

So while Sugata got a freshwater rinse and good soaping, I got a lukewarm shower at the marina. While her stainless steel got polished, I painted my toenails. Her fiberglass got rubbing compound and wax; I got my teeth cleaned and a cavity filled. She got two new coats of cetol (like varnish); Todd and Koiya did my hair with two colors of dye.

Todd had a bit of a scare when it seemed our refrigerator pump had conked out; it was not moving enough sea water over the motor to cool it. But I’m happy to report that, after making his “thoughtful” face a number of times, Todd figured out that the problem was with the salt water intake. He went around to the various hoses, sucking in sea water (eeewww!), blowing into them vigorously (ooohhh!), and poking into them with a metal claw (huh). Turns out the culprit was a bit of sea weed that we must have picked up in the marina. Todd was sure relieved to get that out of his pipes!

For the first few days, I felt bad for Koiya, because we weren’t doing any fun kid stuff. The most fun she had was going to the panaderia to buy bread and pastries. Luckily, there were some cute puppies to play with, and after a few days our friends on Theophilus arrived. Soon, Koiya was plugged in with a number of kids, and busy playing all day.

Over the weekend there was a kid’s birthday party at the Mogote, which is a stretch of beach right across from the marina. It has been so hot here (high 90s), that Capn Delicate Flower began whining very early in the day. “2:30?” he whimpered, “It’s going to be so hot then!” “Don’t worry,” I reassured him, “We can just go for a bit, then leave the girl to play on the beach while we come back and work on the boat.”

Well, the air was hot, but the water was perfect, and there was a keg of beer…. so I ended up bringing Koiya and three boys back to play a game on the boat, while Todd stayed on the beach with Captain Ron to drink beer.

Koiya is really in heaven since Sassona pulled in a couple days ago. She doesn’t want to leave her friends in La Paz and head north. Though she knows the water has warmed up and the snorkeling should be good, she asked me, “Why do we have to go to the islands?” Oh, the things I put her through!

See all of our latest La Paz photos here:


Many of you have been asking about when we’ll be back in the US. Our current plan is to have the boat hauled out in San Carlos (in the northern Sea of Cortez, on the mainland side) in the end of May. Our friends on Sassona left their van there, and we’ll be driving it back to Sacramento. We hope to make it back in time for Uncle Bumper’s birthday, June 6. We’ll come back to the boat around November; those plans aren’t solid yet.

One Response to “Held Captive in La Paz”

  1. Uncle Bumper says:

    Time for my birthday!!! Do keep us posted if you are near schedule. That would call for a serious party to welcome the sailers back to the harsh cold world of…uh four months at Bachan’s soaking up sun and the river and the pool before it is back to the grind of further exploration and, lets all hope, crossing the Big Blue to the enchanted isles of Hawaii! I still have dibs on interisland cruising Toro! Tell your hippie Canadian cousin we’ll leave him in Kona working the Kava bars.