After getting a healthy dose of history and culture in the capital, it was time to jump back on a plane and head to La Paz. Its never easy co-ordinating a group of 9 in a foreign country, so there were a few hiccups getting to the airport, but we all made the flight and buckled up for a short ride to the playa!
On the flight out Sabi and I had managed to get seats on the wrong side of the plane, not that there is usually a right and wrong in this, but we had wanted to check out Sea Raven from the air on our way out, so for the return we kept the same spot as before and sure enough, Sea Raven stands out from above too! I also managed to get some cool photos of La Paz and the nearby coast, It all looks so different looking down.
We arrived at the airport and split up, Sabi took her parents and aunty & uncle to their hotel and I headed to the marina with her brother and his girlfriend and another friend. It took a couple of trips to get all four of us and the gear out to the boat, and I let everyone chill out and check out the boat while I looked around to make sure everything was ok from her week alone, which of course it was!
Later on Sabi called up and between us we ferried out the rest of the family for their first look at our floating home.
The next couple of days were passed just walking around La Paz and unwinding after a hectic week of museums, galleries and markets in the capital.
Come Wednesday we were ready to load up and head out to Puerto Balandra, a nearby anchorage for the night. We had hoped to make it as far as our usual spot in Ensenada Grande, but time was short and with 9 people staying on board, we thought we’d take it easy!
We actually managed to sail once out of the channel for a while too, ok, so we were going in the completely wrong direction, but we were making good speed and it was nice to shut down the diesels and let everyone experience a little of what sailing is like, quiet and peaceful.
Eventually we dropped the sails and started the engines back up so we could actually get to the anchorage, all went a little pear shaped for a few minutes, but more on that later…
Once the hook was set, we unloaded the dinghy, and I went off to look for dinner, I hadn’t been to this anchorage before so I had no idea what was around, and it turned out to be pretty much like I expected once I got below the surface, slim pickins! I managed to get a snapper which I added to the pasta and salad for dinner, and a cabrilla that was marinated up for lunch the next day.
Luckily that night was one of the only nights lately with out a bad night time wind (corumel) blowing, so everyone slept well.
The next morning was swimming and laying on the beach (and shooting fish again for me!) before a late lunch and back to La Paz, the great thing about that anchorage is that its only a couple of hours out so its perfect for an overnite trip like this one.
That night, Thursday, we all went out to dinner at a local restaurant Los Tres Virgines to celebrate Sabi’s parents 40th wedding anniversary! Congratualtions Titus and Henriette!
40 years together, it got me thinking where we will be when our 40th comes up, its only 32 years away! But then I realised we don’t really know where we will be in 2 years, so it was best to just sit back and enjoy the meal, which I did, so far the best meal we’ve had in Mexico by a long shot, one of the few places we have eaten that I would happily go back to, well not counting taco stands obviously!
Friday we dropped our friend at the airport for his flight back to holland and work, guess someone’s gotta do it, and on Saturday Sabi and the rest of the family took a drive to Todas Santos to look around. No whales off the beach this time, but plenty of mangos in the trees and the cactus garden cafe was a great spot for coffee before the drive back.
We said good bye to Sabi’s brother and his girlfriend over a far less impressive meal, and spent sunday just relaxing with the family, lunch at a local seafood palapa and the afternoon talking at their hotel.
4am monday morning I dinghied into shore and dropped everyone out at the airport, a long day of traveling ahead for them and a short but wet dinghy ride back to bed for me…
It was also a good test for us. We still hope to charter Sea Raven one day, so to take her out with a full load of guests was a learning experience for both of us. We know we can never change a land lubber’s water habits, showers will always be longer and more often than with us and taps will get left running sometimes, and we can’t, and don’t, expect people to change for the short time they are on board. Yes we are on a boat, and things are done differently, but people are on holiday and not camping, so the creature comforts need to be available, we should have totally topped our water tanks off before we left, but the water maker kept us going and its not like we are likely to be taking out that many people in one hit too often!
Remember I mentioned there were a few problems with the sails? That was another good lesson for me, we were going along nicely in about 12 knots with full sail up, not a problem, then we went to tack. For some reason we keep trying to do it with out furling the sail up, and most times it works, not this time… she took to long to come around, and when we finally were on our new heading the wind had started holding up over 15/16 knots, time to reduce sail… at 7 months pregnant, Sabi isn’t as agile as she usually is, so I had to recruit 2 new sets of hands, one on the furling line and one at the helm, I didn’t want anyone new on the sheet winch, a 60 sq/m headsail has a lotta load on when its powered up and the last thing I wanted was anyone losing a finger, and I had to go up forward to get the furling line in faster…
Everything took a lot longer than I wanted and there was some confusion of course, my fault as I changed the plan when I got up front and noticed the wind building a little more. Anyways the result of it all was that I realised I need to brief people ahead of time on the basics – port/starboard, the difference between a sheet and a halyard, that kind of thing…. in my own defence, this was a family day trip with NO wind forcast,( the 5-7 knots we first picked up was a nice surprise, but I should know better than to trust a wind forecast around here!) but still, I need to be better organised and plan ahead….