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  • Capt. Eric

La Paz

The channel into La Paz is wide and well marked with buoys, though they are in a slightly different position from the charts. I assume they were moved after the recent hurricane, when the sand bars probably shifted.

With our incredible luck in getting a slip for 7 days during Carnival, we ended up with a Port tie-in slip, and didn't push our luck any more asking for a Starboard tie-in. Enfin has only one access cockpit gate, on Starboard, so to make everyone's life easier we need to end up Starboard side alongside.

We would have loved a Port side gate as well, but this was an option at built which the first owner of Enfin didn't choose. It's on our list of the few things we'd done differently.

A pleasant walk away from the marina.

Luckily, another previous owner installed an articulated rudder, which makes maneuvering easy, so in the rare occasions we need to back in a slip, it's not all that difficult. La Paz marina even sent out line handlers to assist, which were appreciated in the strong crosswinds.

It had been a long time since our last marina, so on top of sightseeing and checking out Carnival, Di ended up doing many runs to the various big stores (Walmart and Chedraui in particular) to re-provision. Bags and bags of food, from fresh food to cans, flour and so much more. It'll take a while to inventory and store in the right spots on board.

And Di even found some rather decent pains au chocolat and croissants. We ate a whole bag of them in one go, as if we hadn't eaten in days!

Marina La Paz restaurant.

For me La Paz was an occasion to buy a number of items off my ship-chandler's list. There are 3 good and large marine shops within walking distance of the marina, the most and best shops we've seen since arriving in Mexico. I felt like a kid in a candy shop and came back to the boat with a trolley full.

These disappeared pretty fast.

The best part though were our frequent walks, often strolling the Malecon, seeing the festivities, eating out, and not forgetting the hot churros!

Another gorgeous sunset.

Carnival was a lot of fun. Loud music, colorful floats, and plenty of happy families. Many of the kids wore special outfits. As usual Princess was a huge hit and our ambassador: We kept being stopped and asked to pet her, and we got to meet plenty of people that way.

I was glad that I had trained her years ago in Houston to behave nicely in large crowds, which do not scare her or phase her in the least. She's patient with kids when they approach a little too excitedly, and always happy to meet people. It's real fun to see people smiling when they notice her, and kids pointing at her.

Music and dance everywhere.

Feeling we had been good with our finances in the last months, we treated ourselves regularly to the many restaurants to be found. We had delicious shrimps, fish, and burgers. Best of all we can eat outdoors where Princess is universally accepted. This is such a nice change since our cold weather cruising of the last years where eating outdoors was impossible.

The whole area around the marina and the waterfront is geared towards the many gringo tourists, and our dock at the marina had dozens of Pangas to take them out for diving and sightseeing trips.

It seems a great number of them make La Paz their winter place, which is reflected in the prices of local real estate and the scarcity of marinas, especially after the recent hurricane.

The malecon at night.

I can definitely understand the appeal. We are so far from the cold, snow and rain. People are very friendly and cruising life is particularly easy around here compared to more distant destinations.

And, just looking at a map, Baja California is to the Western States of the USA a little bit what Florida is to Easterners. An escape from the cold, and a slightly cheaper cost of living.

Colorful and joyful floats.

We'll make La Paz our provisioning and repair stop for a while, at least until Di has traveled to Puerto Rico and is back on board.

We're close to the many famous islands and anchorages further North, so it's a good base of exploration. We're only about 135 miles to Puerto Escondido where we have a slip reserved for the summer now. So our long days of cruising are probably behind us for the near future. They'll likely be replaced with long days at anchorage, enjoying the beautiful waters and abundant marine life.

Good fun for all.

On the last scheduled day of our stay, the last day of Carnival, winds came up a little bit, just above 20 knots. Nothing serious for Enfin, and we were all set to go when I realized the blue and yellow flags flying from the marina office meant the port was closed.

Asking around we were told that regrettably there had been an accident with a tourist Panga a while back, and while nobody died, everybody was shocked. Pangas are fairly small, long outboard that typically carry 12 passengers with a couple of crew, so of course there is a limit in what weather they can safely take passengers out.

Soon after the investigation into the accident, port authorities decided to close the port to tourist Pangas when winds were above 17 knots, leaving all other boats like Enfin free to leave the port as they wished.

This didn't sit well with the Panga operators who made a stink with the port authorities. Their answer was to extend the port closure to all vessels when the winds exceed 17 knots.

A lot of work and preparation went into these.

After almost 8,000 miles on Enfin, we know that 17 knots is a gentle afternoon on our boat, especially in a sheltered bay like here. So it's kind of funny and weird to be forbidden sailing in those conditions. With the fine set at US$5,000 for leaving the port when closed, they really mean it. In any case, when in Rome.... So we had no intention to leave, but the marina had to find another slip for us, or we could go to anchor. Luckily they found an available slip.

I loved this one.

Of course the funny part to me is that cruising was completely forbidden, but intra-port movements were not. So basically they were fine with us doing 2 maneuvers in tight marina waters with more than 20 knots crosswinds, a far more risky option in my experience than just leaving.

Our new slip was on the outside floating dock of the marina, more exposed to winds and waves. The end portion of it had been damaged during the last hurricane, and under repairs, but luckily Enfin's weight and heft meant we were fine. Not our first time at an exposed dock.

The malecon has a number of statues and sculptures along the way.

The extra day allowed us to see the final evening of Carnival festivities, including the big fireworks. Our La Paz stay was just a big happenstance of luck!

Final day's fireworks.

Next morning, the wind had died down, the marina had taken down the yellow and blue flags, and we set off for the island, without a precise idea of which bay we'd end up in. Let's explore!

The outside pier under repairs from the last hurricane.

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