Getting out of La Paz 24d9.6’N 110d19.3’W

Posted by Admiral
Dec 06 2009
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I recently read a web post by another cruiser who referred to being sucked into the vortex of La Paz and having to work hard to break out.  It is very true!  We came for 7 days and will finally leave tomorrow, Monday, Dec. 7, on day 12. 

Larry fixed the starter problem (mostly) by fixing a loose connection on the solenoid valve of the starter.  It starts much more reliably now – not quite 100% but a great improvement.

We waited for some weather, then got involved in the bilge again.  This time, there was a LOT of water in there – all fresh!  Larry found the leak below the galley sink and fixed it fairly easily.  Then it took a day of pumping the bilge water into buckets, traipsing them up and out to our dock cart, and then over to the bilge water disposal station.  Then, the worrisome thing was that they would not actually accept most of our bilge water because it was not oily enough!  They made us pour it in the gutter – yikes!!  We put about four buckets’ worth into their disposal barrel, the rest into the street. 

Once we cleaned out the bilge, Larry investigated the bilge pump which had been working incorrectly.   He thought he needed to replace the sensing switch.   We had brought one with us so he put it in the circuit.  Nothing was changed.  Then he tried replacing the pump (also brought with us) – nothing changed.  So we went to the largest chandlery in La Paz and found replacement panel switches.  Replacing this didn’t help, so he finally considered that there was a problem with the wiring.  He ran all new wiring (through the short hall between the aft stateroom where the pump was located and the panel which is in the engine room), and voila!!!  It worked!  Yayy!  So then he disconnected and reconnected all the wiring through the bulkhead and the engine room bilge.  He had to have me hold him back from slipping into the bilge while he made some of the connections.  I was helping!

Since this is the most exciting, or at least important, stuff we did the last two weeks, it’s too bad I didn’t take any pictures while he was working.  Oh well, we did take a few pictures.  We took a tour in a small van to a town called El Triunfo which has an approx. 200 year old mining history.  We were joined by four other cruisers, and our guide spoke good English.  He was a very well-educated man and taught us a lot about culture, geography, history, birds, and cactus.  It was actually a pretty interesting day.  The highlight was an unexpected tour of a cactus sanctuary.

Muertos La Paz 047

Muertos La Paz 042 For reasons that I forget, this tower and some other structures in Baja California were designed by Gustav Eiffel – yes, that Eiffel.  I guess a man’s gotta make a living.

Muertos La Paz 053 The English cemetery.  There were separate cemeteries for each ethnic group that worked in these mines during the 1800’s.Muertos La Paz 052 Larry with Jose, the guide, in the background.

Muertos La Paz 056 Jose explained the biology of these large cacti to us and then showed us in the local homes and businesses where the woody interior structure was used to good effect as a building material!

Muertos La Paz 058 New cactus “sprouts” (my word) on a branch of a mesquite tree.

Muertos La Paz 059 A woodpecker in the cactus!  The green exterior plant tissue dries away over the years, and the wooden interior becomes the base of the largest plants.

One of our friends who went on this trip invited me to walk up a nearby (to the marina) hill to the top this morning (Sunday).  I took my camera, and we saw a lot of nice examples of the same cacti we had seen in the sanctuary plus others and some different aspects:

Muertos La Paz 065Can you see how the “bark” of this bush is flaking off like paper.  (Can’t get the computer to type a question mark all of a sudden – excuse that.)

Muertos La Paz 076  Elisabeth took this picture of me with the cactus.  I didn’t see it until I got lower on the hill.  We were going down at this point, and the footing was a little tricky – I was looking down at my feet and missing the sights.

Muertos La Paz 067 Small puffy  little cacti with beautiful red flowers.  The scale here is that the blossoms are about an inch long, the small cactus barrels about 4-6” tall.

Muertos La Paz 073The branch sticking out from Elisabeth’s feet at about a 20 degree angle is pretty much pointing at our boat in the marina below.  This picture is looking at La Paz Bay with La Paz in the distance on the left.  The picture looks southwest.

Muertos La Paz 077 A little cactus in a crevice.

This afternoon, we rode our dinghy to downtown and watched this very fine, large sailboat arrive at our marina as we returned:

Muertos La Paz 081 Notice the very unusual rig – the aft mast is the main mast with a boom.  The forward mast has a sail rigged to unfurl from the top of the mast – you can see the corner of it sticking out of the back of the mast.  Each mast has two forestays.  In case you’re asking, we don’t know what this rig is called.

We take taxis for most of our trips to town.  They’re cheap, and most of the drivers pride themselves on knowing some English.  They also seem to enjoy helping me with my Spanish, so that is improving.  The bank ATM machines work fine, the large grocery store is more like a grocery/department store, and we can find whatever we need without too much trouble.  Chandleries are a different matter – there are some here with a few items in them but nothing like the great selection of types and sizes at home.

That’s all for now.  We will go to a small bay called Balandra tomorrow.  We will try out our new snorkel suits and give you some underwater pictures (we hope).

5 Responses

  1. Rick Cloninger says:

    What – NO EPA down in Mexico? What a surprise. You know that if something could go wrong / IT WILL. Take Care.

    • Admiral Muggs says:

      Thanks, Rick. We are being as careful as the Admiral can make us (that’s me!). For instance, one of the reasons we are just now going out to play is that the Skipper (that’s Larry) had a wound on his foot, and I wouldn’t let him go swimming in the ocean until it was healed. Now it is healed.
      By the way, do you know what that funky-looking sail rig is called?

      Thanks, Muggs

      • Admiral Muggs says:

        Have since talked to the owner’s wife. the sailboat is a custom design without a standard rig.

        Please see our next posting for more insight on how “careful” we are being. We did a lot of things right on Monday, but we did a lot of things wrong, too. Learned a lot and added to our hard-earned store of knowledge, a lifelong task.

  2. Rick Cloninger says:

    and BE CAREFUL!

  3. John & Lisa says:

    Hi ya’ll:
    We’re enjoying your posted adventures :-) .
    I think the rig might be classified as a staysl schooner – the after mast being taller and no mainsail on the forward mast. I’m not crazy about in-the-mast furling but having the rest of the sails on roller-furlers is very nice, particularly off the wind.
    Fair winds, John

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