La Paz

~ 28 March - 28 June 2019 ~

In the late afternoon we finally made it into La Paz and after a short survey of the area we decided to drop the hook near one of the marinas that seemed to be close to downtown. We had a great day coming around from Los Muertos, but after over two month of traveling we were happy to be anchored in a place which we could make into a home base for the next couple of months.

We hadn't done much research about La Paz, but we didn't need to, it is well known as a cruising strong hold. There is a long established cruising club, Club Cruceros here and so we were fairly confident where ever would be fine until we got our bearings. The sunset was great so we just relaxed in the cockpit and watched the clock slow down.

We had had a great time cruising down the peninsula taking way more time than a lot of boats do. We could have taken longer there were so many spots we really enjoyed, but it was good to be in La Paz where we wouldn't have to move the boat much. Ashley could catch up on work and we could finish off some projects.

As it turned out we already had one friend La Paz, Harry on SV Shala. I met Harry through my landlord Steve when I was living in Nanaimo.

He gave us a few tips about Club Cruceros; there was a radio network every morning at 8 am which anyone would participate in, we could tie our dingy up at Marina de La Paz for 20 pesos ($1) a day and that Club Cruceros was in this marina and did coffee every day at 10am.

Harry was only in La Paz for about another week, but we were able to catchup up with him for an evening, perfect timing really.

The rest of the week was spent getting the boat back in order.

Whilst we did clean the boat interior in the 50 days of cruising, we had used most of our provisions, had bags of laundry and not seen a single rain shower to help wash the boat down. On the outside of the peninsula we were able to use the first batch of every watermaker run to splash clean a small part of the boat, but once we turned north the wind covered every inch of the boat in crusted salt.

The marina that we tied the dinghy up in had free potable water so we decided that every trip ashore we would fill our jerry jugs and solar shower and bring 10gals of water back to the boat. We then took the solar shower and started to rinse the boat. Had we know that Marina Cortez allowed you to tie up and use their dock and water for 3 hrs for $20 we probably would have done that.

Marina de La Paz also had laundry service, 70 pesos ( $3.50) per load for the lady to wash, dry and fold the laundry, or 60 pesos if you did it yourself. An easy decision to make. We had only done Laundry in Abreojos, a sweet, old grandma charged us 80 pesos ( $4) for 3 loads, this time it was 8 loads. We took CJ's (one of the original owners) advice over the last 2 month - she suggested that we have sheets and towels washed when shore service is available, but the rest you could mostly wash in a bucket on the boat.

The second week was the start of Club Cruiseos Bay Festival, an annual celebration of cruising, seminars and social actives. A perfect time to arrive in La Paz. It was through this that we met so many of our good cruising friends. Mark and Cindy (Delta Swizler), Marty and Lynnie ( Perspective) both boats hailing from San Fransisco. Fred and Brenda (Gossamer) , Dave and Leiann on Chrysalis, Jimmy and Unlce Steve, Chris, Beth and their two boys on Avalon all from the Seattle area and Denny and Carla on Tambaran from New Mexico.

We attended several seminars, the most enjoyable were the freediving, mexican cooking, the seashell beading and the small animal knitting which almost didn't happen until Ashley, Brenda and Leianne told the radio net that it would happen and to bring your own crafts.

We only attended one of the dinner, Saturday night. It was a great night, thanks Delta Swizler, Tamberine.

After that week it was back down to business.

We had a bunch of projects we wanted to look at, La Paz being the capital of Baja California Sur (South), a common cruising place and the Clubs Service Directory would hopefully make it easy.

The first major project was unexpected, we had discussed getting a larger watermaker to help wash the salt off the boat when cruising, as it turned out Denny and Carla had posted an add for their friends on Manta at Club Cruceros regarding the sale of a Spectra Watermaker.

So in the third week we were in La Paz we made an unplanned road trip with hose cutters in hand, North to Puerto Escondido - 4hrs from La Paz.

After turning off the highway and driving through what looked like an abandoned development or maybe a naval base we met up with Terry and Dawn anchored just off an abandoned ferry terminal. After an hour or so of general chatting, not about a watermaker, we finally got down to business and ended up with a new to us/used watermaker, which we were able to take out in half in hour thanks to those hose cutters. Terry and Dawn offered us a bed for the night so we stayed and survived Terry's endless practical jokes.

They were super nice people and we had a great night, arriving back in La Paz with another project to do. Whilst the PowerSurvivor had served Randy and CJ so well, this watermaker once installed will make 70% more water for the same amount of power. It also has a second setting which should produce almost 3 time the water, but that is once installed - a project for another month.

We made it back from Puerto Escondido just in time for our first lot of stronger wind. We had already performed the La Paz Waltz several times with the boats around us, but we had a new neighbor.

The wind built quickly around 4 in the afternoon. We could see the dust rising out to the north. It hit the boat as a 25kt gust. It was almost calm beforehand. We had taken our solar panel down as a precaution, and we were fine. Our new neighbor however started moving backward. I asked Ashley to call it in on the radio. But by the time she had given the description of the boat, it had move 200ft backwards - it was just a boat length from the concrete float/ breakwall. There was nobody on board so the boat was bashing against the concrete breakwall. Thanks however to the club members and some staff from Cortez Marina help was already on the way. Our friend Marty from Perspective was heading around the breakwall with extra fenders.

For the next 15 minutes they worked to pull 200ft of chain out of the anchor locker so they could cut the anchor away and move the boat to a safer location.

Eventually they got the chain off the boat and tied to the dock. They then walked the boat downwind and around the breakwall to a more protected position where the wind was blowing the boat off the dock.

If the owner had put a little more chain down before he left the boat it is unlikely this would have happened, but it does highlight most people's fear in La Paz, which is not whether their anchor will hold but whether other boats around you will drag.

The La Paz Waltz is the dance that boats perform as the current that flows through the bay pushes the boat around. The wind pushes on the superstructure, and every boat is different above and below the water. So everyone is affected differently and the boats all start facing different directions. Some days you will start moving in different directions as well.

In the first week of May we were planning to leave the boat in La Paz. We would be flying to Cincinnati for a visit. After this incidence we decide that a marina would be safest.

We got a good list of things ticked off before we left.

  • Weld the Spinnaker Pole release mechanism! Thanks to Avalon

  • Took a road trip to Puerto Escondido to buy a new water maker ($2,000) but it should make 3x what we were making

  • Had our oven rebuilt and fixed (the leaking prism sunlight above it meant that saltwater had made a few of the ovens features no longer available)

  • Fixed the traveller which had broken while sailing over Easter

  • Ordered some part for the leaking toilet

We were told by Ernie and Emily who had circumnavigated that we wouldn't be working a 9-5 job, but we would be working. It’s a different lifestyle for sure, and one we have chosen - but it’s a lot of work - more than most people would think!

For instance simple trip to the grocery store is an all day activity. Take the dinghy, fill water, 1 mile walk to the grocery, come back, unload everything to the dinghy, then Royal Venture. Pass it all downstairs, rinse the vegetables, then stow. Very different from when I was working at Area 1 in Silicon Valley where meals were provided and I hardly stepped into a grocery store.

We did have two major excursions in the first month we were here in La Paz.

For Easter we went to Isla Partida with Club Cruceros and at the end of April we went swimming with the whale sharks with our friends from Perspective. Check out the links below

It was hot when we got back to the boat at the end of May, real hot. We had a great spot in the marina if there was a hurricane coming, but for now it was brutal. Sunny and zero breeze. We still had about 2 weeks left at the marina and so it was enough time to start on some more projects.

Luckily for us we had full boat covers and so for the first time we put them up. Whilst they are navy blue, they cool the boat down significantly during the day. It was too hot to walk on the deck or even wash the deck midday in the sun without the covers. Now we could trap the coolness of the night in the boat until at least 2 or 3 in the afternoon.

A few days after we got back our friends Fred and Brenda on Gosamer left the marina for the Pacific, a little late for a traditional departure but the weather this year looked like they would have a good crossing and so with most of the boats already leaving La Paz, so we started on the projects so we too could leave.


  • Fixed the bow roller, the main stainless steel pin had rusted through. We were able to find a piece of stainless and have it machined and re-install it before leaving the marina.

  • Repaired some gel coat chips in the freezer so we could install a new gasket for better insulation in the summer.

  • Fixed the dinghy, the floor had 2 pin holes in it with some 5200 and cleaned all the valves so hopefully it will stay inflated all summer.

  • Rebuilt and re-sprayed the toilet base only to find that the $160 repair kit lacked 4 bronze screws that we needed, we will have to order these next trip to the US.

  • We also managed to get a storage locker, we decided that we should take some of the spare sails off the boat and gain some space to be able to finish some of these projects that have been outstanding.

We were happy with our the progress we made and by the time the 2 weeks had passed we were happy to be heading back to the anchorage for several reasons. The anchorage has a nice cool breeze but most importantly, hopefully we would be free of cockroaches. We had found two cockroaches on the boat on two different occasions that must have flown in through one of our open hatches when we were trying to get some breeze into the boat in the evenings. No big deal, we killed them and all was good.

We continued with some projects that we had to finish before leaving La Paz.

  • We uses the Club Cruceros meeting room to do plenty of sewing. We repaired the bimini which had been damaged just outside Ventura, and adding in velcro for our solar panels.

  • Ashley was also able to re-negotiate her work contract, so we will be bouncing between anchorages with phone coverage all summer.

You are probably starting to think that all we did in La Paz was work. So yeah we were able to make some serious improvements to the boat, we also had plenty of time to enjoy the city.

La Paz is full of wildlife, we would often see Dolphins cruising past the boat while we ate lunch or were relaxing. We got to swim with whale sharks and paddle board around the anchorage a lot. We met heaps of cruisers, some starting out and others enjoying the safety of staying year round in La Paz.

We certainly are looking forward to bumping into some of these people who have already started to move north.

We also had time to explore the city. There are beautiful murals painted on many buildings. We loved the locally made ice-cream and frequently visited several of the stores. We skateboard along the water front on the malecon and visited probably the most luxurious cinema I have every been to. It had reclining chairs and they served you food and wine during the movie.

It was the start of hurricane season, and whilst many boats stay in La Paz at the Marinas and boatyard, it is probably safer and certainly way cheaper to head north.

And so on June 28th, we pulled up anchor and made our way out past the Magote and back into the Sea of Cortez. Our next stop ... just south of Puerto Escondido where we knew we could get good phone coverage. We had 3 days to do the 120 miles before Ashley had to start her new contract.