Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Family Vacation: A Visit to Loreto

Our month of stay in Marina Palmira is almost up, here in La Paz. It's been a speedy fours weeks, starting with kiteboarding in La Ventana, a trip back to the states, a bus ride up to Loreto (a 4.5 hour drive north of La Paz on the Baja and a week long visit with Clif's parents, Rob and Barbara, as well as some of their friends. We have three full days left in the slip that we paid for, and quite a lot to do before we enter into the next phase of our "cruising season." We have made a couple decisions about the spring, while some are still up in the air, but once thing is for sure: we will be in the Sea of Cortez for the rest of the spring and we will put the boat "on-the-hard" (aka dry-dock... or out-of-the-water storage) starting in April. This process of choosing a "dry storage" spot for one's boat is more of a chore than we thought it would be, so some of our time will be consumed looking for the best prices and availability in marinas farther north in the Sea of Cortez.

We did bring a new fridge down to Mexico for our boat, which means the next couple of days will be all about installing the new compressor and making it work. After the fridge is installed, we will work are to clean and re-provision the boat for some longer periods of exploration. The thought of having a fridge is exciting and gives us a little more freedom as far as diet goes. However, it will not be consumed with any cervezas for me, as I am giving up all cervezas or alcoholic bebidas (drinks) for two months as my beginning of the new year resolution. I'm also giving up caffeine for that time as well. Clif and I are attempting to be more heart and blood-pressure conscious after spending Christmas with Dad and checking blood pressures daily.

Cultural Experiences in Loreto...

Ken and Rosie's House in Loreto
Loreto is a small Mexican town that makes money off of both tourism and fishing. It is now accessible by Alaska Airlines Horizon plans, which has created a major boom in the amount of homes owned by Americans in the area. It has a nice malecon by the harbor (the main street along the water), a large city square full of restaurants and shops, and many homes of bright colors and lush plants, fueled by their increasing economy.

We were lucky enough to meet up with Clif's parents and stay with their Reno friends, Ken and Rosie, who own a home on the water very close to the town center. We had a full house, but enjoyed the company and the great meals made (one in particular, which we had on the top deck while the sunset). We spent three full days with Ken and Rosie, having several awesome cultural experiences that we wouldn't have done if we had explored Loreto by ourselves.
Clif, the caballero.

We spent one full day driving out of Loreto into the mountains to deliver groceries to several families of caballeros (cowboys/homesteaders). We drove in Ken's Land Rover through small winding dirt roads, over rocks and shallow springs, passing cows, pigs and many... many.. catci, before arriving at a group of homes far out in the Baja desert. The families were generous, social, offered us coffee and sweet fried tortillas. The children played with a donkey, and convinced Clif to take a ride and channel his inner caballero skills. It was almost surreal to be conversing with these families, that live without electricity, plumbing, and have dirt floors. The walls of one home were made out of an old sail with a palapa roof (grass hut rood). They had goats, cows and many vegetables that they would grow and then sell in town. They preserve a way of life that is very foreign to many of us Americans.

Clif with the baby turtle...
The next day, we were taken to a long beach, far away from any tourist access and did some shell collecting. Rosie, Barbara and their friend Julie (another Reno-ite living in Mexico) managed to find a baby sea turtle on their walk of the beach! It was still alive, barely hanging on. They walking the turtle back to where Clif and I sat near the cars, dowsing the turtle with water every couple of minutes, giving him rest in the palm of their hands. We were shocked to find him alive, since so many baby turtles hatch and never make it to the sea. Clif commenced sea turtle rescue mission, setting the turtle gently on the paddle board with brought and slowly paddled him out beyond the surf. He let the turtle free and watched him begin to spring into action, flapping his fins on the surface, showing great potential. Later, after Clif's successful return, we walked the beach to make sure he hadn't washed up with the tide. Thankfully, no, he was still swimming strong (or so we hoped)!
I can't post enough baby turtle photos! They're too cute.
Clif Paddling the turtle past the waves (Do you see it on the board??)

We also had the chance to attend a local Sunday market before leaving Ken and Rosie in Loreto. We ate gorditos (fat tacos), drank himica juice (hibiscus), and got a treat of fresh Mexican churros, which I remembered fondly from the first time I was in Mexico with my Juneau Girl Scout Troop.

Sunday Loreto Market

Clif and his parents buying veggies and fruit at the market in Loreto.

Carnitas: Roast pig... the whole pig!


A Little Outing in the Bay...

Back in La Paz, after a long afternoon drive with Rob and Barbara, we all cuddled back into the boat at Marina Palmira. It felt good to be back in my bed again, falling asleep soundly with all the windows open, as to let the heat of the day escape while we slept.

The next day, we took off for a day sail in the La Paz Bay, hoping to view some wildlife, and decided instead to find a little cove and anchor for the night, creating our day-sail into a sleepover. We had plenty of food for dinner and breakfast, and anchored early enough to take the dinghy off the bow and row shore, exploring the mangroves that surrounded the cove and shells the littered its tiny beach. What a prefect surprise. Great weather, a little sun set, some casual star viewing and a full nights sleep! We woke up in the morning lazily. I rowed back into shore to check out the mangroves again and get a little morning exercise.

We sailing out of the bay, downwind, all the way back to the La Paz channel entrance, which took us a couple hours. It was an easy, breezy, no-nonsense sailing outing. No motor troubles and perfect wind... the way it should be. It also gave Clif and I a chance to get back into the swing of things, rekindle our excitement for leaving the marina and start exploring more around La Paz.

Later that afternoon, after arriving back in the slip, we said goodbye to Clif's parents and waved them off as they headed down to Cabo, to catch their flight in the monring.

Just Us Chickens...

So here we are again, just the two of us. Ready to recharge and regroup for our spring in Mexico. We have 3 months of play with before we really need to get the boat our of the water and head back to the states. We will have a couple of friends visiting in that time, which will be fun and encourage us to plan a little better for the months to come. We've got plenty of sunscreen to last us for a long while, we just need a little more food to give us the freedom to move around a bit more. We will also fill the propane tank, fill up the diesel and water tank.

Other then that we're ready to go! Go where?! We don't know! We have a guidebook, and Mexican charts. Looking forward to seeing some new landscape and meeting new cruisers down the road.



...and...MORE PHOTOS!

A hat we found on our drive into the mountains...

Laundry and vegetables at the caballeros home.

My new amigo, Jesus, on his donkey. Note the cowboy boots :)

Look who decided to keep the hat!

We found a baby hammerhead shark head! With it's baby jaw attached.

A lone starfish on the beach... which remarkably resembled....

My tattoo!! Crazy! It's almost identical coloring. Pretty neat.

One more of the baby turtle...

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