Friday, February 24, 2012

Carnaval and a sideshow

Puddle Jump preparations are well in hand, so we've had time to get out and play a bit. For much of the past week, La Paz has been celebrating Carnaval. It's no Rio or New Orleans, but for a town of this size, we thought it was a very well run festival. The malecon was closed to vehicles, and a mile-long strip of food booths and stages was set up. Being the aging gringos that we are, we tended to go out early and come home early. We never even saw any of the headline musical acts. The highlight for us was the parade, which ran for the last 3 days of Carnaval, going in different directions each day. There were some great floats, good bands, and beautiful people.

On Fat Tuesday, we took a local Mexican family out for a ride on the boat. None of these folks had ever been on a sailboat before, so we were anxious that they have a good time. Things started out well enough - we spotted a pod of dolphins within minutes of leaving the marina. This was the first time we had ever seen dolphins in the bay. I had the family's 4-year-old son help me steer the boat, and he really enjoyed it.

After a downwind run past town, we furled the sail, headed over to the Mogote, and dropped the anchor for lunch.

After lunch, we were motoring back across the bar separating the mogote from the main channel when we suddenly ran aground! I tried to reassure our guests that "there's nothing to worry about, we do this all the time", while Vicki got on the VHF and asked for help from anyone in the area.
In the usual cruiser fashion, we soon had a flotilla of dinghies speeding to our rescue. Led by Rob and Kim on Keetya I, a group of three dinghies pulled on our spinnaker halyard, to heel us over and hopefully raise the keel out of the mud. Another dinghy pushed against the side of our bow to get us pointed down-current. The tide was ebbing and we didn't want to waste any time! Luckily we came free after a few agonizing minutes. As far as I know, there were no incriminating pictures taken! Our guests were a bit more wary but apparently not too badly shaken by the experience. I dove to inspect the keel the next day and all I found were a few spots where the paint had been worn off by the mud. All's well that ends well, thanks to our fellow cruisers.

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