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Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Cruising again

May 17, 2005
No Name Cove, Isla del Espiritu Santo, 24o 30' N 110o 23' W
(Approx 20 mi NE of La Paz)

As usual, because we were 'in port' I let the blog go for a while. Sorry about that but I can't seem to get motivated to write when there are things like movie theaters, super markets and restaurants within walking distance.

The boat was in La Paz for almost a month after we returned from our foray into the Sea of Cortez with M/V Megabyte. Here are the highlights from that month:

April 17
Arrived La Paz, docked in Marina Palmira
We needed someplace to keep NAKIA while we took a trip back to the US and Marina Palmira has a good deal where you buy as many days as you like and then you can use them up over the next 8 months. We paid for a month of moorage and plan to come back in on our way south next fall.

April 19-27
Bus trip to San Diego
This was a biggie, our tourist visas were going to expire at the end of April so we needed to go back to the US to get new ones. The trip to San Diego involved a 23 hour bus ride. The bus was very nice, complete with bathroom and 4 DVD movies (half of which were in English). We arrived early in the morning on the 20th and went to Chula Vista to take our friends Ron and Anita to the airport. They were nice enough to let us use their car and sleep on their boat while they were in New Orleans for the jazz festival.
Instead of getting new tourist visas we got FM-3 visas, which cost $136 USD each and let us stay in MX up to a year without renewing them. Hopefully this means fewer long bus rides back to the US.
We also spent a lot of time and money shopping for things we can't get easily in MX like boat parts. This turned out to be the largest expenditure of time, as we ended up waiting for some engine parts to be delivered.
The bus trip back to La Paz was just like the first, except we left in the evening instead of the morning, so we arrived late in the afternoon on the 27th. Of course for this trip we had bags and bags of boat parts and supplies, the cause for much worrying about Mexican Customs which in the end was a piece of cake.

May 1
NAKIA, leaves Marina Palmira to anchor at 'El Magote'
One requirement for getting our FM-3's was to declare a domicile in Mexico, this turned out to be a week long process involving much paper work and some very un-becoming photos. It didn't cost any more, but it was going to take an extra week for processing so we decided not to use up our marina days and moved NAKIA out to the anchorage where we began our own 'La Paz Waltz' (the 'dance' boats do in the La Paz anchorage which is caused by the stiff currents that run through it).

May 6
Moved closer to town, internet access no good at 'El Magote'
Strangely enough, just about the entire La Paz anchorage is covered by wireless internet access. We had spotty service out at El Magote so moved closer to town to get better reception.

May 15
Depart La Paz
Our FM-3's complete, our good-byes said, we left the last big city we'll see until we return 6 months in the future. From here on out the towns are smaller, less prosperous, and farther apart then other places we've been in MX. Our favorites from La Paz: 1) fish tacos from Super Tacos of Baja California Hermanos Gonzales, 2) Arrachera beef from Rancho Viejo, 3) $2.30 USD for movies at the first run, first rate movie theater, 4) last but not least, hanging out with our friends Dave and Debbie from Megabyte and Rich and Jan from Slip Away.

We departed La Paz at about 0700. When we told one cruiser what time we planed on departing he was shocked and asked "Why so early?" I explained that a fair wind blew in the morning, which we could use to SAIL to our destination. This seemed a novel concept to him, even though he owns a sailboat. Like most sailors in MX, he prefers to wait for flat calm so he can motor to his destination. This summer we plan to make sure we sail as much as possible, even if it means going from anchorage to anchorage at less than 3 knots.

On the way we received a radio call from our friends Mike and Kay on Finisterre, who were anchored in Bahia Balandra. Without thinking I said we were already past Balandra and that we'd have to catch them another time. Of course if I'd looked at the chart, I would have found that we were right next to Balandra and all we had to do was turn and anchor to spend some time with them. Of course an hour later I was looking at the chart and noticed that we were then 5 miles from Balandra so we brought the boat about and began sailing for the anchorage where we did indeed have lunch with Mike and Kay. (We did almost the entire trip under sail too, including anchoring under sail, the only time we motored was to get away from the dock at Marina de La Paz).

Balandra is very pretty, but there's also a road that comes from La Paz, so it was crowded with tourists and we decided to stay only one night. The next day we hauled anchor and moved up the islands looking into anchorages trying to find one we liked. The first one was too small, the second one was too big, the third one, you guessed it, was just right. Un-named, and also uninhabited, cove #7 on Isla del Espiritu Santo was perfect. It has a small beach which we can easily swim to, goats roaming the hills backing the anchorage, fish jumping in the evening, and best of all we've spent two nights here without another boat in the anchorage with us so we can swim and bathe without the encumbrance of clothing. Nature boy and girl strike again.

The downside to #7 is the wind blasts into it at night making for a very uncomfortable place to sleep, so we plan on moving around the corner to one of the other more protected anchorages later this afternoon. I guess we have to get our swim suits out now.

John and Linda