Friday, 4 January 2013

a dizzying waltz

First sight of La Paz in 8 months

An eight-month absence makes you forget. You forget the constant chatter on channel 22.1 You forget the evenings when loud music skips along the surface of the water and invades your cockpit. You forget the traffic, the mini-ferries and pangas, the busy-ness of the waterfront city.

On the way across Lorenzo Channel
 toward La Paz
At least, you smugly think, unlike the newbies you know the La Paz Waltz. When you had anchored that very first afternoon there, the boat next to you had been a nice distance away. The next day, when the currents start their swirling to and fro, that same boat had wanted to bump transoms with you. Newbie or not, it’s still a little unnerving at times how each boat at anchor seems to groove to its own tune here. As you now watch the familiar dance, you immediately begin to miss the mostly deserted anchorages in the northern Sea.

Then your mouth waters – as you think about your favourite eateries and hangouts in town. Only to be reminded that money doesn’t grow on trees. So you mostly visit old and new friends on their boats; reacquaint yourself with the little nooks and crannies that are free or mostly free. And you remind yourself you have to get through that list of boat jobs as long as your arm. The heat of summer is no longer an excuse you can use to procrastinate.

Incredibly, all the boats are pointed in the same
direction for once

La Paz has a “scene”. We are on the fringes, if that. We like the town’s energy, in small doses. We have found that’s the key for us to enjoy it. We balance most of our wanderings in town with quiet time on the boat; (unless we’re using power tools for some project or other, then it’s not so quiet). Upon re-entering civilization with a capital C, there are also those small pleasures that go a long way. The first week we were back, my friend Trisha (SV Interabang) and I would rave on and on about the green leafy lettuce at the grocery store and on our plates– you’d think we were talking about rare jewels. The variety and quality of fresh produce is that exciting after months of eating more canned vegetables than we thought we ever would. Just thinking about crispy carrots and ripe avocadoes makes my mouth water.

We met up with some great folks - including the SV Starship crew, who introduced us to the basics of kite surfing - Rick having attempted more than I had the chance to, will write about that experience soon.

Yet, it never changes, soon enough, we get the itch to “get away” again – La Paz reminds me what sailing was like for me back in Victoria. Gleefully escaping from the city, work, and schedules, for the quiet anchorages where we read, baked, and explored. La Paz is kind of like that for us – we feel a certain release as we head down its interminable channel to get out to the islands. We, perhaps I should say, I was giddy as soon as we once again pointed our bow toward Isla Espiritu Santo and Isla Partida.

1Channel 22 Alpha on the VHF radio is the internationally designated working channel for the United States Coast Guard, (the Canadian Coast Guard uses 83 Alpha). In Mexico, channel 22 was adopted by the cruising community as the general hailing channel. 

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