Friday, February 3, 2012

Day 2 - The La Paz Waltz

The sound of VHF radio chatter on “channel 22” ended my restful sleep. Also known as ‘The Net’ to La Paz boat cruisers, it is more like a gringo news/talk show on a party line. Promptly at 8am, a moderator announces a check list of topics providing information on weather, tides, and general announcements. Cruisers call out to other cruisers by boat name, then briskly jump to another channel for a one-on-one chat, thus freeing up ‘The Net’ as the main call line. It’s fun to hop over to another channel and eaves drop.

Feeling less fuzzy this morning after being rocked through the night by gentle wave swells, the world outside the main hatch beckons. Overcast and brisk, the sleepy anchorage and marina was coming to the life – tiny inflatable boats zipping to shore, away from their floating mothers for the days’ duties and chores. It’s a hellova nice morning commute.

My health had slightly improved, and feeling refreshed, I tried to establish a sense of space for the next 3 weeks. The Compass Rose (visit the Compass Rose blog for more details) is a beautiful Tayana 37, built in 1983 and designed in the style of North Sea Cutter vessels used during the 1800’s for high sea rescues. The vessel has a gorgeous teak wood interior throughout and I can see that one of my later projects will be a detailed cleaning to make her sparkle.  

Morning chores began with bed-making, looking for cloths in a variety of cubbies, drawers and shelves that don’t resemble any organized bedroom, and getting myself dressed for a day of town chores. (Some of my cloths were stowed in the passage way, on shelves, under my bed and in a fruit hammock next to my bed.)

My rental car was due back in the afternoon so we had a few hours to scour the town and fill the boat with all that was needed for the next 2 weeks. It was a whirl-wind of stops and shops. The Mercado provided a local experience with vendors selling seafood, vegetables, meats, and other groceries, all fresh and out in the open.  Then there was laundry to do, park passes to purchase, fresh water to haul, more stores and shops, and cruisers to chat with (the term for gringos who live on their boats and hang out in the waters of Mexico and beyond).
A cruisers’ life is a busy one. We loaded supplies into the dingy for a ride out to the boat anchorage, unloaded, stowed everything away, tied knots, repositioned more stuff, and checked equipment. By then it was time for a dingy ride to town and a dinner at The Shack where Travis (from Texas) and his wife, Rosie, grill up the best wood-fired gourmet hamburgers this side of the Pecos. Their motto is, ‘Low class is better than no class.’ With encouragement from Capt. Mike, I grabbed a marking pen and added Compass Rose to the rest of the doodles on the wall.

Our last stop for the night was La Encantada (meaning something like “Enchanted”). Entering from the street, it is an art gallery which then reveals a hidden courtyard, a bar and a stage where local musicians perform. We were treated to an amazing three piece band with a beautiful singer – a young lady with an incredible voice. 

Tired from a long day of ‘hurry up’ and still feeling the effects of a lingering cold, I was ready for sleep. The mile-long walk back to the boat took us along the main promenade which was filled with a younger crowd cruising in cars instead of walking.  Funny… the meandering beach boardwalk is inviting and well lit, decorated with bronze statues, yet the locals seem to prefer driving.

Tomorrow, it’s a go - anchors aweigh to the north for 2 weeks of island exploring.

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