Mirador is still anchored in the virtual marina in Bahia La Paz. My brother Jim flew back to the states on Thursday, April 22 but left behind a beautifully cleaned and polished boat. Since Jim left I have been lounging about La Paz waiting for the spirit to strike so I can start cruising north into the Sea of Cortez for the summer. My casual plan was to leave about Thursday, April 29, and make my way 120 miles NW in time to be at Puerto Escondido for the start of LoretoFest on May 7.
LoretoFest is the traditional gathering of cruisers that marks the start of the summer cruising season. During late March and April the 60 to 80 cruisers who migrate 600 miles south down the Mexican Riviera (Puerto Vallarata to Acapulco) during the winter head back NW into the Sea of Cortez for the summer hurricane season. The 10 to 20 boats that spend the winter here in the La Paz area also head north about this time of year. About 50 to 75 of the boats will meet in Puerto Escondido, which is about 15 miles SE of Loreto, for three days of parties, music, games and renewal of friendships.
There are four islands and about 25 great anchorages within 35 miles of Loreto so most of the boats will hang out in the Loreto area for several weeks before continuing their trips north. Many of the boats will continue on 100 miles NE to San Carlos where they will be left, most in dry storage and a few at docks, for the summer while their crew retreat to the cooler summertime weather in the United States. About 25 to 40 of the boats will continue on NW up the east coast of the Baja Peninsula as they seek cool anchorages in which to spend the summer.
I had planned to leave La Paz a little earlier but boat insurance issues have slowed my departure. Mirador is now 10 years old and has not had an out of the water survey since new. Bluewater Insurance wants to see an out of the water survey before they will renew the insurance on November 1, 2004. The local marine surveyor, who is accredited by SAMS and Bluewater, did that survey while Mirador was being repaired in the Abaroa boat yard but all he wrote up was a letter stating that Mirador was fully repaired to like new condition and she was fully sea-worthy for offshore cruising. He said that letter is all that Bluewater would need for the renewal. I sent the letter to Bluewater but they now tell me they want a formal survey document. The surveyor will need about a week to put together that document so I may not be able to leave here before next week.
Here are some more pictures along the the La Paz Malecon - the waterfront walkway and beach that extends 1.5 miles from Marina Santa Cruz to almost Marina Palmira.
This is looking ENE with Hotel La Perla and many of the tourist restaurants in the orange/yellowish building on the right side.
The Sea of Cortez is about 10 miles beyond the hills in the distance.
There are several nice beach volleyball courts along the Malecon. This is the most popular one where, almost everyday, there is an ongoing game from late in the afternoon to after dark.
As I described in other WEB pages, La Paz has installed a lot of nice bronze sculptures along the Malecon.
Click on the following link to see some more of the sculptures:
If you want to cool off while waiting to get into a game there is usually a shaved ice vendor parked next to the court.
Or, you can get corn in a cup, corn on the cob, or ice cream from vendors each using a similar bicycle powered cart.
There is also a beer store, pizza parlor, and Internet cafe, with Espresso coffee drinks, across the street from the volleyball court - just about everything I need for a happy life!
These kids were playing casual but highly skilled two person games. I had thought about asking if I could play but after watching them for a few minutes I realized they were far beyond this old man's ability.
It appears that many Mexican kids learn to play volleyball at a young age and receive excellent coaching. They all know how to dig, set, hit and block better than most of the beach players I have seen in Southern California.
Rick, a 6' 3" player from SV Agape, and I played Nancy, his 5' 4" wife and two mid-30's Mexican women, less than 5' 6", on this court earlier in the week and lost 2 games to 3 games.
All three women had strong overhand serves and could retrieve anything we hit.
The low yellowish building behind the court is a nice restaurant with beachside tables where the players waiting for a game can sit and drink beer.
This is the bandstand area of the Malecon. Almost every night there is some kind of musical performance offered at this square.
The festivities start shortly after sunset and continue until 11 PM or midnight, about five days a week.
An interesting presentation that occurs several times a month at the bandstand is the giant projection screen showing of off road racing films.
La Paz is the start or finish of at least three major off road races each year so there are a lot of very serious dirt racers in the area. Alejandro Abaroa, the yard manger who took such great care of Mirador, has won his class several times in the Baja 1000.
Today I will begin gathering provisions for my trip north. This evening we have a cribbage tournament planned for Mr. Azukars (Mr. Sugar) restaurant. A lot of cruisers play cribbage and we usually get 10 to 15 players for the weekly matches.