Blog Post 23 - La Paz

Tue 15 Dec 2015 00:52

Blog Post 23 – La Paz


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Hernan Cortes, the famous explorer and circumnavigator, discovered La Paz in 1535. The Sea of Cortez was named for him. Somewhere along the way the S was changed to a Z. He was unsuccessful in establishing a permanent colony here as he did not treat the Indians well and they responded accordingly, and La Paz did not really become a viable city until 1851. It is a historic city, with an old city downtown and many historic buildings and churches. IMG_5065 It is a large, by Mexican standards, with a growing population of 275,000. La Paz means “The Peace” in Spanish and its citizens are referred to as “La Pacenos”. It is an authentic city, nothing like the fabricated tourist meccas of Cabo San Lucas, Cancun and Puerto Vallarta. There are no mega hotels or resorts, just small local hotels and pensiones. It has lots of great restaurants, but again, no large chain restaurants like other tourist area. No Ruth Chris steak house here. There is a farmers market every Tuesday and Saturday and it is filled with local delights and specialties as well as organic produce.



There is an interesting thing about Mexican agriculture. Farmers are fiercely opposed to genetically modified fruits and veggies. The watermelon here has seeds in it. So do the oranges and the grapes. They do not genetically alter the food to make it easier to eat or for it to look better. As a result the food is much tastier and from my point of view, healthier.


We arrived in La Paz the day before Thanksgiving. I had not made any plans, bought any food, not that I could even cook a turkey in our tiny oven. I asked around about Thanksgiving festivities and DSC07135was told they was a cruisers potluck at the Marina de Palmira. We did not get our hopes up as you all know how iffy potlucks can be. People don’t bring enough food, or there is too much of one category like deserts; but not this one. It was fabulous. The turkey was amazing and all of the sides were incredible. Everyone made their best side dish and the variety of food and the presentation was perfect. It was one of the best Thanksgiving meals we have ever had.  I am a huge stuffing fan. When was the last time you had a Thanksgiving dinner with 10 different stuffing options? It was the same with the potatoes. There was the traditional mashed potatoes, but there was also potatoes au gratin (mine), stuffed, baked, scalloped and fried. The dessert options were amazing. It was truly a feast. And here I was stressing about providing my family with a decent Thanksgiving meal. We spent Thanksgiving with our new dear friends Mark and Cindy from the Delta Swizzler. There is an interesting custom among cruisers. People are always referred to by their first names and the name of your boat becomes your last name. We are Jirig & Teresa from Savarona. When Figure 1 -Nico with the Heineken girlyou check into a marina your boat name is your reference number. You have accounts for the bar, laundry, food, water and fuel all based on your boat name.


Figure 2 - Sunset on ThanksgivingThere are 4 main marinas in La Paz. One, Costa Baja (we call it Baja cost a lot) is a 5 star marina and resort that even has pump out stations in every slip. It is a little too pricey for us and we don’t like hanging around with rich boaters. Then there is Marina Palmira which is still kind of pricey and the one we are at is Marina de La Paz. It was the first marina built here. It was built by cruisers who came here in the mid-1970’s when there was nothing here. They foresaw what a fabulous cruising destination it would become and built a marina to support that vision. It was started by the Shroyer family. It is now run by their sons. It is an amazing community. It is a moderately priced but it is the community that makes it what it is. There is a cruisers club here called Club Cruceros and they and the marina staff have supported cruisers DSC07131for decades. They have free yoga and Pilate’s classes every day, which I fully avail myself of. As I am aging gracefully, I find that I am very stiff in the morning. I figure I can take an 800mg Motrin every day to get moving or I can go to a free yoga class and stretch and build my flexibility and strength. It is a great way to get to know all the women cruisers. Every day at Club Cruceros all the salty dog sailors that have been here for years as well as new arrivals sit around and shoot the shit. They have put together a Directory of Services that allows you to find anything you could possibly need for a boat or yourself. They have a lists of Doctors, Dentists, Dermatologists you name it you can find it in their directory. If you want to know the best time and place to cross the Sea of Cortez, just hang around Club Cruceros for a cup of coffee in the morning. Jirig has found workmen for the rigging, varnishing, electricians etc. Every morning there is Cruiser’s NET on VHF channel 22 where they give the weather, the tides, important info, new arrivals and departures and any local events coming up. The club also has many events that support local charities, especially for children. One I particularly like is the one where you sponsor a needy child for Christmas. They make a list of what they want and you go shopping, buy it, wrap it and give it to them. They do not ask for things like an X-Box or a bicycle like our kids would, but they ask for things they really need like shoes or a jacket or sweater or soccer ball. We are definitely going to sponsor a child. There is a real sense of community here that I have not seen anywhere else. People share cabs, rides, bring mail to the US and back; it is truly inspiring.


The Mexicans refer to cruisers as yachtistas. So that is how we are referred to by them. I think it is a pretty cool name.



Nico has come into his own and has settled in to the cruising life. The only thing that was missing was other kids. In La Paz and especially in this marina he has hooked up with 4 other teens. I call them the ‘pack of 5’ as they are inseparable. They do everything together. Go to the movies, snorkel, go to the beach, you name it they do it together. Two of the families with kids are Armenian! What is the likelihood of hooking up with probably the only 3 Armenian families cruising Mexico and they all end up in the same marina?


We are planning on staying here until mid-January. Daniel is coming for a week over Christmas and my sister Liz and my nephew Max will be coming in early January for 10 days. We will make La Paz our home base but will be cruising out to the many islands near here for 3-4 days at a time. Then we are loosely planning to head up the Sea of Cortez for a couple of months. After that we are open.


Next week we are headed out to Espiritu Santo Island to do some snorkeling, diving and exploring.


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