S/V INTREPID II - Cape Dory Intrepid 40

My photo
Intrepid II is a Cape Dory Intrepid 40 sailboat, hull #2, designed by Chuck Paine and discovered by the Captain in Blue Hill Maine in 2006. The crew are Kelly (Captain) and Carol (Admiral and Blogger). In 2009 INTREPID II embarked on her West Coast journey from Victoria to San Francisco, the Baja Sur Peninsula and into the Sea of Cortez. In 2010/2011, we sailed ifrom Guaymas, south to Bahia Banderas and back. In 2011/2012 she left Guaymas, headed south to La Paz, spent three weeks at anchor on our northward journey and rested on the hard in San Carlos. Her 4th, 5th and 6th seasons were Boat Projects related. Season 7 - we are hoping to cruise again at long last.

March 24, 2012

La Paz Art and Cultural Festival

The City of La Paz was sponsoring the "6th Festival Internacionnal de Arte y Cultura por la Pax" these past few days.  We cycled downtown to see some of the activities last night.  There were dance performances scheduled from 17:00 to 21:00 horas; we thought we'd catch the earlier ones and enjoy the sunset from the downtown malecon.  The wide sidewalk brings out families, tourists, cruisers, to stroll along the waterfront, meet friends, take in the sights and enjoy the lovely evenings.

While we waited for events to begin, we propped the bikes up outside the open air restaurant of the La Perla hotel and had a great view of the beach area in front of the Muelle Fiscal.  That is a long pier which houses API, in effect the harbour master, to whom anyone anchored should be paying fees for the privilege, hence the 'fiscal'  muelle title.  We sipped cold cervezas and shared a plate of ceviche while we enjoyed the view in comfort.

Highly decorated ceremonial costume
A tall pole, possibly 90 feet in height, was already in place. Soon we saw people climbing to its top.  After a time, when 4 costumed men were in place around a flat platform, a 5th individual climbed to the top, balanced on the platform and began to play a flute.  At a prescribed time in this ceremony, the 4 other members flipped backwards to begin a controlled descent towards the ground. They somehow rotated around the pole, to the sounds of the flute - quite spectacular!  These performers are the "Voladores de Papantla" (the Papantla Flyers).
"Totonac myth tells of a time when there was a drought, and food and water grew scarce on earth. Five young men decided they had to send a message to Xipe Totec, god of fertility, so that the rains would return and nurture the soil and their crops would again flourish. They entered the forest and searched for the tallest and straightest tree.  When they found the perfect tree, they stayed with it overnight, fasting and praying for the tree to help them in their purpose.  Blessing the tree, then cut it and took it to the village next day avoiding touching the earth. The men stripped the tree of its leaves and branches, dug a hole to stand it upright, then blessed the site with ritual offerings.  The me adorned their bodies with feathers so that they appeared like birds to Xipe Totec, in hope of atracting the attention of god to their important request.  With vines wrapped around their waists, secured to the pole and made their plea to fly with the haunting sound of the flute and drum."

Voladores descend - ropes tied around their feet

El Caporal - the flute player - begins his descent 

Dock 4 Gathering

Thanks to the initiative of the Tanque de Tiburon folks, last Thursday Dock 4 had a great gathering of cruisers, pets, good food, conversation and music.  There are a few logistical difficulties in setting out munchies and chairs along a 5 foot wide dock, but no one fell in!  People dropped by from the other 'muelles' and as it was a warm and calm evening many of us stayed past 'cruisers midnight'!
A variety of tasty food
Everyone has a boat project to discuss
Mike and Steve - a great musical collaboration

Graduation Day!

On Friday morning we cycled to our Spanish school on Madero, "Se Habla...La Paz" for a special event.  We were presented with our Diplomas "por su participacion en clases en el curso immersion total en el idioma espaƱol con una duracion de 22 horas".  The school regularly holds an informal graduation ceremony for those who have completed whatever particular series of lessons arranged for and each graduate makes a brief speech, based on their level of fluency.

We are pleased with our efforts, although each day brings another example of what we still have to practice or become familiar with in day to day encounters and shopping.  Only the beginning.

March 22, 2012

The Neighbourhood

Photos to show our marina neighbourhood:

INTREPID II in slip 409 - dusk is falling - sunset alert

Reel Joy to the east 
Kelly heading out on First Tracks - up to the dry storage yard

Our front yard - looking north

Overhead, our feathered neighbours:

Astern - this cormorant frequently lands before sunset on an unoccupied boat - happy with his perch!
At dusk - a fast swimming little fellow we have yet to identify

Overhead a flock of brown pelicans wing over the harbour
Through the lines and rigging - another fabulous La Paz sunset
We rode the 09:00 am marina shuttle in to look for hardware odds and ends: various colours of paint to remark our anchor chain, brushes, a funnel, sandpaper, Armour-all for the bike tires.  This shop had almost everything we needed:

Compact hardware store - almost all we needed

Still no luck finding just the right fabric to replace our boat curtains, but we take pictures to remember prices and fabric possibilities:
Walking back, the fine sand in driveways and on sidewalks has a way of getting in your sandals!
Walking hazard
A decorative candle holder in the entrance to Corazon restaurant 
A long walk home - a shady spot on the malecon to stop for a rest
That's what cruisers do....enjoy the small things, do a lot of walking, looking and shopping for boat projects.  Most importantly, we appreciate that we are able to this where the sun usually shines!

March 19, 2012

Sebastian: Happy 11th Birthday!

We miss you very much Sebastian!  Enjoy your special day March 20th.  Hope it is warm and dry enough for your siesta!
Well - Dad wasn't using it!

Is this cute enough for a treat?

Catching a well earned nap - using the scratching post is hard work!

Rosie enjoying her down time 
Thanks Lois and Rod for spoiling both Sebastian and the lovely Rosita while we are away from home.

Benito Juarez, Spring Equinox and other things

Hola!  Where to start this sunny Monday?  We finished our final  Spanish class last Friday and will return at the end of this week to receive our diplomas.  It's been a rewarding accomplishment if we do say so ourselves.  Although 11 classes of 2 hours each is only a start, we received a very good grounding in grammar.  Lots of 'verbos' in the present tense, with a few tricks about how to indicate something 'will happen' in the future.  We have more confidence in initiating conversations in complete sentences, sometimes.  The next step is to become much more proficient in deciphering what is being said to us; the journey into a different language continues.  Our instructors, Marco and Alexsa, are excellent teachers and we highly recommend them.

Dock 4 has become quite the busy place as boats have returned from some time in the islands and others have left for anchorages both north and south.  Our neighbour Lance is busy getting his O'Day 40 ready to go on the hard, while other folks are busy with their specific projects.  The canvas work we've commissioned from Danny has been delayed a few days (hmm...but we still see him here and there on the other docks....time for another chat about business practices; when you are so in demand it is hard to say 'no' to folks).  The cushions for our cockpit may not happen.  Hector has dropped off a sample of the sunbrella, but we've seen no sign of the foam samples we asked for.  Our attempts to catch a ride to the wholesale supply store to see the various options for foam and upholstery fabric have yet to be successful, so this may be a 'next year' project.

The SV Shannon crew - Sophie, Cathy and C.J. - arrived back in the marina for a quick provisioning run and we enjoyed a great 'catch-up' chat in our cockpit.  We last connected by radio  February 16th as we were heading south from Isla San Jose and they were heading north from Isla San Francisco. Before that, it was back home at a BCA meeting when they were busily preparing to depart on their own big adventure.
The SV Shannon crew 

Mamacita -a sweet cat who survives near the marina restaurant
Last Thursday the winds shifted to the south and blew strongly all night, Friday and into the evening.  We kept our fingers crossed for all those folks out in the open anchorages on the islands; exeriency very rocky-rolly nights.  Sunday was calmer, hot and quite still until early evening.  A good day for quiet chores, including laundry, visiting with "Mamacita cat" and making up lists of supplies we still need to tackle projects.  Kelly found the acetone at the small marina chandlery; it comes and goes and you need to buy items when you see them.  His initial work on the first portlight indicates it will be a challenge to remove the gasket and clean all the rubber residue, before inserting the new one.  But it is a boat project; of course it will be a challenge!

Benito Juarez
Today is the official bank holiday to acknowledge Benito Juarez (whose birthday is March 21st). He lived from 1806 to 1872.  We could not discover any actual events to attend over the weekend, but on our visit to the Cultural Museum a few weeks ago, we saw how well-revered and respected this first indigenous President of Mexico remains.   Although we didn't wander down the malecon yesterday, we heard music, voices and activity.  On the cruisers' net this morning, we learned that the fisherman took out their pangas in a procession behind a statue of their patron saint, St. Jose, around the harbour.  Tied into that celebration, as well as the coming Spring Equinox, several cruisers spotted a children's parade, where the little ones were dressed as flowers and butterflies to celebrate the seasonal transition.  There are flowers blooming all through the city, but we assume these are the winter blossoms and only a small example of what is to come.

We had a great time at the Mark Mulligan concert at La Concha restaurant downtown.  His beach music is relaxed, fun for dancing and often is based on 'true stories' of gringo life in Mexico.  A significant amount of pesos were raised for a local charity with the restaurant owner topping up the final amount.  We enjoyed sharing the table with Linda and Bill of SV Tanque de Tiburon and meeting several of their amigos.
Kelly, Linda and Bill at La Costa - waiting for the music to begin

Mark Mulligan - onstage at La Costa
         Enjoying the evening

On Thursday we took the marina shuttle in to the daily coffee hour at Club Cruceros.  There we met up with BCA cruisers Kira and Rick of SV Nyon, who were going to be hosting Barb and Bjorne from 'back home'.  If all goes well, we might have a mini BCA 'burp' (Bluewater unofficial rendezvous party) on the horizon.
Enjoying a laugh at The Shack
Next stop was the radio repair shop, where we were told our newest VHF radio needed to be returned to the distributor to be repaired. That will wait until our next visit to West Marine.  A walk east of Abasolo, we located "The Shack", the latest incarnation of an outdoor venue we last visited as "The Roadhouse".  The owner had suffered a serious fall from the roof the night before when trying to hang old sails across the open area.  Only a table and chair 'cushioned' him from landing directly on the concrete floor.  Just before we left, he came slowly into the restaurant with help from a walker; obviously in pain, but determined to keep things running.  His wife was doing a commendable job of opening up the restaurant, with help from a few friends.  We met some regulars there who offered new information about where to shop for good steaks and ground beef, among other things.

Excellent carniceria on Revolution
After an enormous serving of an excellent hamburger - which we split - we were guided to the carniceria around the corner to purchase ground beef and a very thick steak.  We enjoyed the steak Saturday evening and expect the quality of the rest of the meat will be as good.  Next stop was to Snug Harbor Sails, where we were introduced to Doug, the long-time owner for a quick chat.  Thanks to Paul of SV Coppertop for showing us around on Thursday.

Visiting Snug Harbor Sails - a very busy sail loft
A new week....we will see what unfolds.   Happy Spring Equinox.

PS:  To those 'in the know' - our furry Sebastian turns 11 tomorrow - Feliz CumpleaƱos to our very special gato.  There is a rumour that Rod and Lois have a special treat in store for you.

March 13, 2012

Scenes and sights

Sunset watch - important daily activity
The sunset itself - over a field of masts
Art on display - a malecon bench
Balls of 'twine' (at Costa Baja)

Winter blooms in La Paz

Life is good...all is well in La Paz

Hola nuestros amigos!  The days seem to melt one into the other as we continue our daily routine in the City of Peace, but it is time for an update and to wish you all well as you cope with winter in various climates.

We are feeling better each day, although neither of us has totally shaken the deep-seated cough which catches hold and doesn't let go.  Our stock of Fisherman's Friend cough drops are quite depleted, although there are all sorts of lozenges and cough syrup as backup.  You would think with all the sunshine and warm weather we'd bounce right back - that still is the plan! This appears to be a week of milder winds, or almost no winds and flat seas. Several boats are taking advantage of this to travel to the nearby islands for a few days and enjoy the lack of swell and bouncy anchorages...how boring!  (We'd love to head out too, but still have a week of classes to complete.)  There are many "puddle jumpers" who have or will be setting sail down the coast towards Cabo San Lucas to make the jump to the Marquesas.  We wish them all fair winds and not too many squalls along the way.

Gathering for safety meeting
Last week we attended an important 'safety meeting' on Dock 3. While proper lighting and safety items were on the formal agenda, there were also great appies, good conversation and excellent music as the late afternoon melted into a warm, pleasant evening.  Mary Lee of SV Sea Story entertained us with her lovely voice as she accompanied herself on keyboards; she was soon joined by Chris of SV Ladybug and Jack from SV Waterdog.  Ian of SV Salish Sea brought out his harmonica and added his voice to various renditions of sea shanties.   There was even some spontaneous dancing along the dock as the serendipitous evening drew to a close.
"The Last of Barrett's Privateers"
Chris, Jack and Mary Lee - great musicians
On Saturday we rode our bikes to the 'Postal Park' to check out the organic market and crafts for sale. This event is a newer addition to La Paz and offers the chance to buy organic produce, meat, deserts, bagels, as well as admire jewelry, pottery, artwork and other hand made items.  Now that we both have baskets on our bikes, we can carry a small amount of provisions home with us.  It was a treat to have fresh cherry tomatoes and a mixed green salad on our return.
Organic market at 'postal park'
Our Spanish lessons continue at Se Habla...La Paz.  We are now studying with Alexa.  It remains a challenge to express ourselves with fluency only in the present tense and to recall an abundance of verbs. Today we were composing a diary of the day's activities and are finding this an intriguing exercise.  Our last class is this Friday; we've promised ourselves to continue to practise daily.

Our transportation - complete with milk carton baskets!
On Sunday we moved INTREPID II over to slip 409 on Dock 4.  The marina office had asked us to move citing a 'reservation' for our spot on Dock 5.  A short trip and we are resettled in our slip, which is the same as what we had last year for a week.  We've now reached the top of the wait list for Danny of Pacific Threads.  He arrived yesterday afternoon to take measurements and discuss some additions to our canvas inventory.  As much as we didn't think we needed side curtains for the cockpit, this season we did feel the wind and cold on our overnight passages and have decided it would make life more comfortable.   So that task is underway and we look forward as always to Danny's cheerful approach to his work and his excellent workmanship.

Later today we are treating ourselves to a concert at La Concha restaurant with Mark Mulligan.  He is a 'singer and writer of beach ballads' a la Jimmy Buffet and donates much of his concert revenue to local charities. It should be an enjoyable evening of good music in the open air palapa restaurant.

Hasta luego...INTREPID II back to "22A".

March 4, 2012

March already!!

Sunday morning, March 4th already!  We are in the cabin enjoying a steaming cup of tea.  Listening to the second day of the latest northern 'blow' with winds gusting to 18 or 20 knots at times. INTREPID II is being pushed and pulled against the dock as small waves slap at the stern.  However, this is occuring under beautiful sunny skies and warm temperatures with colourful flowers in bloom. So what is our problem? There's been a small glitch in paradise.  Kelly is hopefully on the mend from a heavy-duty cough and congestion which came up suddenly last weekend; Carol couldn't quite escape her turn.  So lots of tea, juice, soups, meds and resting this past week.

We did attend our 3rd, 4th and 5th Spanish classes.  Hving the bikes is great with only a ten minute ride, even if we do have a headwind at times.  The ride along the malecon is a wonderful vista as the La Paz harbour is an extensive one.  When the tide is out we can see shorebirds on the rocks and appreciate just how shallow the waters are in places. Our heads have been a bit fuzzy all week, so we haven't absorbed as much Spanish as we'd like. A steady diet of new verbs and irregular conjugations requires some concentration and definitely much practice and review.  Our instructor, Marco, seems amused by the somewhat convoluted phrases we provide for our homework.  These are the things we need to know and it is helpful to learn the correct phrasing and placement of words.

Example:  "I count the expenses of our vacation to find if we have the money to extend our stay for one more week."  I came up with this sentence because we decided to add more time to our stay in La Paz once we were hit with this 'bug'.  There is a very friendly, helpful staff person in the marina office who is very patient with my attempts to converse in Spanish, but I lost her when I first tried to say we wanted to stay two more weeks.  Now I'll be able to see if she understands me when I have all the verbs in the right place.  We are using more complete sentences at times with the locals. As a treat we had planned to attend the "9th Festival de Cine Todos Santos" which also offered showings in La Paz.  Hearing and seeing the films and having the backup English subtitles would have been a great experience; perhaps next year!

S.V. Salish Sea arrived in the marina a few days ago. It was good to finally see Ian this season.  We've had a chance to catch up with him and his latest single-handing adventures, while we relaxed in our cockpit.   We traveled up to Marina Costa Baja Friday afternoon to visit with Anita and Jay, of S.V. Karina C and admire the sunset from the pool area - quite a site.  This condo/marina complex is impressive.  We've heard it referred to as "marina costa-lotta"; apparently weekly or longer stays are somewhat more reasonable.  All is relative!  The setting is right out of a Conde Nast magazine with  infinity pools, colourful poolside chairs and Carol's favorite, leaf shaped lounge chairs sitting in a few inches of water looking out into the harbour.  A few photos to warm up your winter days:
Poolside at Marina Costa Baja

Colour and form 

Great view for sunsets

I could get used to this!
We enjoy seeing friends from home and sharing our experiences and plans.  Everyone is on a slightly different schedule it seems, so these opportunities are to be savoured.  Thanks for the tasty Italian dinner Jay and Anita!  Fair winds as you head northward on your lovely Karina C.

As soon as we feel up to speed we hope to take in the organic market near the Post Office, check out the Whale museum and the anthropology museum, enjoy some more tunes by Laura and the Baja Boys.  Eventually we will get to the galleria/deli/patio spot called La Encantada to listen to Felipe and his jazz trio "7 Clouds". There are still those boat projects on the list - "poco y poquito" - little by little.

Sending you sunshine and best wishes from lovely La Paz.