Recently, we had some friends visit us from Michigan, and their lovely photos from our trip together reminded us how beautiful the beaches are, how great the restaurants, and how wonderfully laid back the town. Here are a few of our favorites (all photos courtesy of Seth & Daniela)
Balandra Beach, which is north, nearly at the end of the peninsula from La Paz, is a picture-perfect place to spend the day, drink coconut water, kayak, swim and enjoy the crystal clear waters. We were there early during mid week, and we had the place almost entirely to ourselves.
After crossing the Sea of Cortez and making a near record beat south, we are happy to have settled back at Marina de la Paz, where we spent a few happy weeks last year and vowed to return in 2019.
La Paz is the quiet, authentic, hippy-sister to Cabo, without the Spring Break party scene and huge resorts. Incredible beaches are nearby as is extreme wildlife and protected underwater parks while also close to two international airports,
We welcomed our first visitors! Seth & Daniela came all the way from Michigan; it was the perfect way to enjoy re-entry back into the city we fondly remembered. We ate great food, enjoyed beautiful beaches, and each other’s company.
However, with lots of real work to do in the coming months, it will also be fun to be dock potatoes for awhile as we make trips back and forth to the US for work and enjoy being “residents” of Mexico again.
After being “on the hard” (out of the water) for nearly 6 months, we have decided that we are never ever leaving the boat again. <LOL> Well, probably not, but that’s how we feel right now.
We got stuck in San Carlos for so much longer than we’d hoped – there were only a few days in the month of January and February that we could even get our boat back in the water; the marinas are fairly shallow, and our boat has a deep draft, so with mere inches to spare, we needed to get the boat into the water right at the peak of high tide. We missed one date in January but managed to successfully launch her on 1/21/19. Taking the boat in and out of the water is one of the most nerve wracking things I’ve ever watched.
We spent 2-3 weeks doing nothing but cleaning and organizing and rebuilding the boat so she was ready to set sail in March. But, then we discovered that when the workers covered our solar panels last winter with a tarp – seeking shade – it drained our batteries to the point that they were destroyed and wouldn’t hold a charge. They don’t carry our batteries in Mexico, so it meant driving back to the USA again for us…..a very expensive lesson (many thousands of dollars later), we realized we have to be more vigilant if we ever leave the boat alone again.
After our final repairs, we finally set sail at midnight on March 18th, which is a national holiday in Mexico. It took us 17+ hours to cross the Sea, and we were happy to see our dolphin friends around 3am to keep us alert and engaged. You generally hear them before you see them at night – it sounds like someone blowing water out of a snorkel.
Our abbreviated itinerary in between tight weather windows:
Midnight on the 18th left San Carlos/Marina Real
Arrived Caleta San Juanico at 4pm 18th
Left San Juanico for Puerto Escondido at 8am on 19th
Arrived PE at 3pm & waited out the bad weather Wed-Thurs
Arrived Island of San Francisco at 5:30pm on 3/23 – very rolly anchorage due to strong NW wind that kicked up from 7pm-3am
Left Isla SF 8:45am on 3/23 for La Paz – arrived La Paz at 4pm
We saw whales and dolphins everyday – sometimes multiple times/day – keeping our pristine daily record in tact!
We have a van and a boat, and it’s impossible to get them to the same place at the same time, so we left Lodos safely floating in San Carlos while we made our way back to San Diego and then started our road trip down the Baja.
Traveling is humbling. You meet adversity, stay in dodgy places (Baja Cactus) and always experience something new and foreign. I continue to be in awe of meeting the kind and generous people of Mexico – they are patient with our poor Spanish, honest and almost always welcoming.
We traveled nearly 1,000 miles vertically down the Baja, stopping in Ensenada (at the Marea Vista) for a first short day, then two longer days, stopping in El Rosario, the infamous resting stop for the Baja 500 and Baja 1000 – an international desert road race that goes roundtrip from Ensenada to La Paz, traveling over the rough and tumble landscape of the desert sometimes at speeds in excess of 100 MPH and Santa Rosalia – an old Copper mining town with a French influence (and an outstanding historic bakery).
Kirby drove the entire way – all 944 miles of it. We were stopped 9 times by Federales and Military police wanting to know what we were doing on these quiet roads and why we were there, always waving us through with a smile and often well wishes. I think the new president is making good on his anti-corruption promises, which is why we encountered so many of these roadblocks.
Sometimes we slowed to give the charities a few coins at the toll booths that are often vacant and not taking tolls; the locals take the opportunity to gather money that goes directly to their communities instead of snaking its way inefficiently through the government first.
We listened to Michelle Obama read us her book Becoming, and I felt like I was changing listening to her story and voice, seeing the serene nothingness of endless miles of cactus, saguaros as old as the redwoods and millions of desert flowers blooming. We even spotted a few notable birds (tanagers, hummingbirds, hawks, orioles, ospreys, herons, vultures and shrikes), no doubt migrating this landscape for cooler weather north.
We visited towns by road that we’d only seen by sea and on foot – participating in a glorious small town Mardi Gras parade in Santa Rosalia showcasing their finest dancers, princesses and princes on top of handmade floats while friendly Federales cleared the roads and parents cheered their support, trying to catch candy and prizes tossed to cheering children lining the roads.
We finally arrived in La Paz today (Sunday), where we will drop the van, get some sleep, see some friends at the marina and then catch a flight back to San Carlos on Tuesday to begin our slow sail back south again.
A blog is nothing more than a vanity project. I know, I know – some of us might say it’s a way to inform, educate and entertain, but at the heart of it, it’s a way for the author to broadcast personal and/or narcissistic thoughts or ideas. 🙂
When I started this blog, I always envisioned it would be singularly focused re: living on a boat/sailing our boat, but I realized that as time has passed, it took on more meaning and intention; I wanted it to reflect our lives and everyday activities, as well as act as part diary, part notification for family.
It is with this spirit that I get back in the saddle and start to write again. It’s been a long time since we posted anything – maybe you’ve been following along on Instagram (living_on_a_boat) – but if you haven’t, then let me explain what we’ve been up to.
As some of you may remember, our last post was from Turkey, where we were spending 3 months escaping hurricane season in Mexico. Our visa allowed us to be in the country for 90 days, and we left by ferry on Day 89. As the Turkish immigration guy reminded me: “You cannot come back!!”
Since leaving Lodos in June, we traveled from San Carlos, Mexico to Dallas then to: London, Paris, Amsterdam, Datca (Turkey), Kos, Symi, Rhodes, Santorini, Naxos, Athens, then back to the States for 2 months with a trip to Canada, the Copper Canyon and Russia somewhere in between. We recently landed back in Mexico where we have been getting Lodos ready to sail again. And, now, I write this on a plane to the Dominican Republic where I’ll be working for a week.
In each place we traveled this year, we tried to act as if we lived there: not as tourists, but as residents. Yes, we did some touristy things, but mostly, we did very little or we focused on the mundane and pedestrian aspects of everyday life (e.g. taking a walk, sitting in a park, riding a bus, eating like locals, going to a laundromat, grocery shopping, binge watching 7 seasons of The Good Wife….). We love traveling like this as we get to see the world in a more personal and vulnerable way.
When we left Mexico in June 2018, we bought two wheeled suitcases at Walmart for ~$11 each. Somewhere in Paris, the blue one lost its wheels, and we drug it unwillingly the rest of the way to Turkey where it died a quick death; however, the red one is going strong, and I’m still using it.
Truth be told, I quite hate this suitcase. I have been living out of it for 6 months. Aside from a small shopping spree at Kate Spade and Nordstrom in order to have something to wear for work trips, I’ve been wearing the same clothes for 5+ months (although some of them I did have to throw away because I have literally worn them out).
For me, the glamour of traveling and living out of an $11 red rolling Walmart suitcase (Big Red) got old around month 3 1/2. But, we are lucky to have good friends and family who have put us up and let us stay at their glorious homes resplendant with real beds, soft linens, endless hot water, steady electricity and wifi. We tried to follow the rule that visitors are like fish: both start to stink after 3+ days, but I’m sure we overstayed our welcome many many times, and for that, we’d like to especially thank:
Karin – who’s flat in London was the perfect resting and jumping off point for our adventures
Dick – proving that a 30 year friendship is just as fresh and fun today as it was back then
Mar & Shar – letting us takeover half your houses (in two states!), multiple times, demonstrating that only family can tolerate you as a long term guest
Dilan & Sam – getting to meet Asa was a top highlight of our year, and we can’t wait to watch that gorgeous little baby grow up
Adam & Aleta – for being such great sports by hosting us so soon after that very long and adventurous trip to Sinaloa cartel country in Mexico (we’ll remember it always, I’m sure!)
John, Elizabeth, Leo & Lucca – it was a special treat spending time with your beautiful family and playing Catan with you!
Jeff & Cindy – our peaceful Christmas palette cleanser
Vince, Adrienne, Mia & Vincent – making us feel so welcome, at home and ringing in the New Year together
I look forward to getting back to a regular schedule that chronicles the joys, triumphs, and frustrations of living this nomadic life, and in the meantime, we’d love to hear from you!