Saturday, November 19, 2011

settling in to La Paz

After a day anchored at Muertos, where we were surrounded by recent arrivals from the Baja Ha-Ha, the wind subsided. We got up very early and started motoring back up the Cerralvo Channel. Before noon, we had passed through the San Lorenzo Channel and decided to stop at Balandra to go snorkeling.

While we enjoyed exploring the rocks and seeing a great variety of fish, what we didn't enjoy was spotting a small crack along each side of the trailing edge of the keel. For the ten years that we've owned the boat, there has never been any sign of trouble with the bolt-on external keel. But we've heard many stories of people needing to deal with loose, corroded, and/or leaky keel bolts. Guess our time has come.

Balandra is a popular fair weather anchorage, with turquoise water due to the shallow sand bottom, and terrific scenery. Today it was relatively undeserted, with only one other sailboat. But by the time we left, an enormous motor yacht had dropped the hook not far away, and began deploying a small armada of inflatables and jetskis. This was our cue to head on in to La Paz!

We were fortunate to get a side tie at Marina de la Paz. We had originally thought we might stay at Palmira, which is a very nice marina, but farther from town and, more importantly at this point, the boatyard. Marina de la Paz is one of the original marinas in Mexico, and is a hub of boater activity, because of the dinghy dock used by boats anchored out, the Club Cruceros, and its proximity to a myriad of boater services, restaurants, etc. Its also one of the cleanest marinas I've ever seen, where we share our space with plenty of wildlife. Here's a night heron fishing from our neighbor's bobstay,

and a trumpetfish watching for its chance to snag one of the smaller fish swarming around our keel.

The first order of business was to head out for a walk along the malecon.

This is a good place to walk not only in the day, but in the evening. Here we are with a gaggle of prep school girls who were practicing their English by having gringos fill out questionnaires for a homework assignment.

Unfortunately our next order of business was to arrange a haulout to deal with the keel. We're hoping its nothing more than re-torquing the aftmost keel bolts, but we may need to drop the keel and inspect the condition of all the bolts. We're waiting for bottom paint and an upcoming Mexican holiday, so we won't haul until next Tuesday. Meantime, we're meeting many new boating friends, and working on a myriad of other planned and unplanned repairs and regular boat maintenance items.

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