Thursday, February 2, 2012

Day 1 - Crew to La Paz

View from the Compass Rose anchorage in Marina de La Paz
A nasty cold caught me unaware the day before leaving for a sailing adventure in the Sea of Cortez, and dampened my excitement considerably upon arrival. My lunch on the flight to Cabo San Lucas was a dose of cold medicine with a side entree of tissues. "Soy mucosa", I think is the term here in Mexico for my condition.

I picked up a rental car at the Cabo airport and yet another car rental scam story.  Note to self:  bring print-out of reservation confirmation. But that’s another story.   

Fuzzy with cold meds, I made my first mistake by heading down a one-way street - the wrong way, of course - as a I left the car rental agency.  Someone is yelling at me, “ Hey Lady! You going the wrong way!” A nice local set me straight so off I go down Hwy 1 to La Paz. Naturally, I was in such a hurry that I neglected to call ahead as instructed by Captain Mike, to let him know I was on the way.   

With no cell phone and not sure where to find a phone booth in the deserts of Baja, I speed ahead making good time thinking a solution will come to me.  Forty-five minutes later the familiar fishing village of Los Barilles appears.  I visited with family several years ago on a fishing vacation so this might be a good place to find a phone. A bank stop was required to exchange currency and there they pointed me to a gas station down the street. I missed it and instead turned into a little shopping complex with a Real Estate office which looked more promising. (Their signage was in English.)

As I approached the entrance I saw a note hanging in the window and, at the same time, a voice to my left called out, “Honey, they’re closed – can I help you??” God Bless You! It’s Maggie - a Gringo with a cell phone. She and her compadres where enjoying 'Happy Hour' at the Cantina next door. I explained my phone predicament. No problem! Maggie, who apparently enjoys a good rum and coke, took over. She made my call to a surprised Captain Mike. 

Shyness did not appear to be one of Maggie's faults as she quizzed Mike about boat details and cruisers she knows before finally handing the phone to me. I barely got the words out to Mike regarding my arrival time when the phone died. Okay, it was progress. I'd made contact, sort of.  At least he knew approximately when I would arrive, but little else.   

The rest of the drive took me through San Bartolo, a charming oasis hamlet, and then a desert village or two before descending into La Paz. Rush hour traffic put me behind but I eventually arrived at the marina to find a guy sitting at the entrance reading a book and it looks like Captain Mike. He gives me a quick tour of the small marina facilities then we head to the dingy dock for a quick ride and an introduction to the Compass Rose, my home for the next 3 weeks. Right now, I need a NyQuil, a box of tissues and a good nights sleep.

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