Buenas Tardes and Bienvenida a La Paz

Good afternoon and welcome to La Paz. I think that’s what the harbour master said in reply to me announcing our arrival at the anchorage at La Paz.

Thanks to our pioneering friends Liz and Steve on Aloha, Maria and I were pre-armed with a script in Spanish. That helped cover any questions before the harbour master had the chance to ask them. We later found out that the man could speak English. But, it seemed only fitting to give it a go in his native language, no matter how painful it might have been for him to listen to my slow Spanish.

The anchorage here is probably the strangest one we have spent any length of time. With the wind fighting against the current, the only way of avoiding getting so close to other boats that you could step aboard after a tide change is to double your usual distance away from them. We know this from experience. On the morning after our first night, I could have handed our neighbour (who was not our neighbour the previous evening) a cup of coffee from our bow.

We moved so far away later that day; it looked as though we were in quarantine. Although it didn’t last long, we were soon the meat in a very uncomfortable sandwich when another two boats anchored close to each side of us.

A stroll along the seaside

One of our first actions after moving Jamala was to get to the API office to pay our anchoring fees. That trip necessitated a bumpy dinghy ride to La Paz marina, followed by a pleasant walk down the Malecón to the jetty. The esplanade is decorated with permanent art installations all along its length. And, given the time of year, some temporary ones for Christmas.

Crazy anchorage

Crazy anchorage

Crazy art

Crazy art

Hello Sailor

Hello Sailor

Mermaids

Mermaids

Beach Volleyball

Beach Volleyball

Impressive

Impressive

The API office - and a nativity scene

The API office – and a nativity scene

Impressive 2

Impressive 2

Sharky

Sharky

Happy Christmas

Happy Christmas

Inside the API office (room for one only), I tried my Spanish to pay the anchoring charges but quickly found myself out of my depth. Fortunately, the man in charge of collecting the money used to work in hotels and was fluent in English. A relief for both of us, I think. I paid less than a cup of coffee at Starbucks for each day we intend to anchor, which we considered good value.

I blame Lewis Hamilton

Despite La Paz’s attractiveness, we only planned to be here a week.

Internet connectivity seems a rare commodity outside the main cities. Even in highly populated areas, Wi-Fi and cellular connections exhibit the behaviour of a stroppy 2-year-old: up for an hour and down for the next. That’s why it’s taken so long to publish anything new. I’ve even had to buy some additional software to write offline, add photos, and upload later. Because, after a few weeks, I’ve only a vague recollection of what we’ve been up to.

What I clearly remember, though, is hanging around in La Paz so that we could watch the Formula One final in Abu Dhabi. And for that, I blame Lewis Hamilton. If it weren’t for Lewis’s spectacular performance towards the end of the season – levelling up on points with Max Verstappen in time for that final F1 race – we would have left La Paz two weeks earlier. And we wouldn’t have a boat with a bow stuffed full of upholstery supplies. More on that later.

With four laps to go, the race descended into farce as it happened. The race director – whose competence was already under question – made the worst decision from the choices available after an accident. And that gifted the win to Max Verstappen. It would never have happened in Charlie Whiting’s days. The term: “A Michael Masi” is likely to become a simile for poor decisions under pressure. No wonder Lewis Hamilton is disillusioned. It’s hard to have a fair fight when the rules are made up during the competition. Michael Masi gives the impression of someone out of their depth. And shame on the FIA for not acting on it. I saw a comment the other day suggesting that dice will replace Masi for next season; at least the decision-making would be better.

Anyway, enough of that and on with our less TV-themed adventures.

Advanced Shopping

With an extra week on our hands, we decided to do something about the upholstery. Our original plan, after receiving comedy quotes from the companies in Anacortes, was to get the work done in Mexico. But the reality is we are unlikely to be in one place long enough to get it done by someone else. So, it’s up to us.

We found an upholstery shop with a good reputation and English-speaking staff not too far away from the marina – a mere couple of miles walk. So, off we hiked and back we came in a taxi with a roll of batting, some thread, more material and some other bits needed to do the job. These are now carefully stored in the forepeak, waiting for when we feel confident enough to start the work. We should have finished by 2023.

Batty

The other thing we needed to complete the upholstery project was a staple gun. But luckily, there’s a Home Depot in town. Unfortunately, that proved to be a short Uber ride there and a very long way back. It was mid-afternoon when we stepped outside Home Depot into the sweltering heat, and no Ubers or any other form of transport were available. So, we walked back to the marina – arriving pinker and a lot less perky.

La Paz City

Missions such as the upholstery supply one might seem like a daft use of time in exotic(ish) locations, but we find it’s a great way to stumble across places that otherwise would remain unseen. For example, the city of La Paz has a lot to offer. There’s no shortage of good, affordable restaurants and street food vendors. There is some beautiful architecture. And, in contrast to Cabo San Lucas, it’s possible to walk more than 50 paces without being hassled to buy a tour, jewellery, or a hat.

Light art

Light art

Cathedral

Cathedral

Cathedral interior

Cathedral interior

Street art

Street art

And more street art

Time to un-pluck the anchor and head to the islands.

Like Cabo, many cruisers drop their metaphoric anchor here for months, but two weeks here was enough. Besides, it was getting cold (again relative), and we had already booked into a marina in Mazatlan for 22nd December. And we wanted to see something of the national park before leaving the Baja Peninsula. So on 13th December, we hustled out of the anchorage, called the Harbour Master to clear out and headed off to Espíritu Santo.

Before we left La Paz, a National Geographic ship paid a visit, parking on the ferry jetty behind us. Maria looked up the ship on the internet and found it to operate adventure cruises. The rates seem good (for a cruise ship), and it gets to many places that others can’t. It’s worth looking for anyone who fancies a trip through the Panama Canal and beyond.

Nat Geo Ship

Nat Geo Ship

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