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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

La Fuente: The BEST Ice Cream in the world


Mama, Michael, and I agree, the ice cream at La Fuente, on the Malecon in La Paz, has to be some of the best we've ever eaten, probably because it's made right on site. We took a quart of mango sorbet with us when we went to the islands for the second time, but we ate the last scoop two days before we returned to the city. We decided we had to have one last cone before driving Mama to Cabo and her flight home. Here she enjoys a scoop of banana and one of mango -- her favorite combination. Can you believe she ate the WHOLE thing? Not bad for 81 years. I just hope I'm as agile and excited about life when I'm her age. Go, Mama!
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Lovely bird, lovely water

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We stopped in Caleta Partida, a bay between Isla Partida and Isla Espiritu Santo, on our way back to La Paz for a quick medical visit and then for the last week of Mama's visit. It offers the most protection from the nightly corumuels, besides being quite lovely. Boats came and went while we snorkeled, ate well (including two red snapper we traded for two flashlight batteries and a gallon of gasoline), read, and marveled at the clarity of the water. Snaking between sand bars in the dinghy, we found perfect snorkeling on the Sea of Cortez side of the islands. I saw a Reef Cornetfish, a surprise find, as well as a small octopus. Beautiful black, yellow, and blue Cortez Angelfish, schools of Panamic Sergeant Majors, shy Damselfish, including the gorgeous juvenile Giant Damselfish with their iridescent blue spots, abounded near the rocks. We didn't want to leave.

On the trip back to the boat, we caught sight of a blue heron and took several pictures, including the one here. Check out the other lovely photos of our trip on the link to the right: Mama's 2009 Visit to Sea Venture.

Sunset, June 10, looking out the anchorage. And following, Michael getting ready to clean the barnacles from SV's bottom. His homemade hookah works wonderfully. Gloves, scrapers, and he'll be set.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Ella spies out the land

Mama’s trip on Sea Venture:

We motored out of La Paz harbor on Tuesday, May 26, as soon as the wind had died enough to assure easy access to the fuel dock. We made an appointment at Marina Costa Baja for noonish. Slipping between anchored boats, passing into the channel to cross the bar, turning toward the harbor entrance, gliding past the Malecon, past Marina Palmira, we arrived at the entrance to Costa Baja only to see two huge motor yachts already there. Michael called the dock. “Two hours, senor,” the fellow said. Obviously, boats needing several hundred gallons rated above our measly need for 100.

Palmira’s gracious crew said they could serve us. We turned and headed back. At the entrance, Erwin from Thea Renee greeted us in his dinghy. A small boat was just finishing; Michael slowed us to a crawl, bringing us into the dock just as the small boat left. One hundred and ten gallons later, we edged out, helped by Erwin’s dinghy tug service when the north wind tried to push Sea Venture’s nose in the wrong direction.

And we were off. The wind was light, but we hoisted a few sails and played around in Bahia de la Paz, having decided to take our chances in Bahia Falsa for the night, even though a good sized corumuel was predicted. (Just for interest: Corumuel’s were named after a British fellow named Cromwell, whom nobody liked, it seems. Corumuel was the closest the locals could get to pronouncing his name.)

Bad choice of anchorage. We closed in on the southeast corner, hoping for some protection when the nightly winds blew. Instead, waves slapped the hull, and Sea Venture danced. I worried that Mama wouldn’t sleep. We had the anchor watch on, so whenever one of us got up, we could look at the screen and see just where we were in relation to our anchor and a rocky lee shore. She bucked, but didn’t budge from above the well set 120-lb Spade.

The next morning we decided to hoof it north to San Evaristo, about 40 nautical miles away, or 51 nautical miles from La Paz. This is the first anchorage on the mainland side, the first that would offer protection from the winds. It meant bypassing the islands, but we needed the rest. Motorsailing most of the way, we arrived around 6 that evening to find the best spots already taken. The swells rocked us, but we had no breaking waves. By ten the next morning our neighbors had left. We tucked in behind the eastern cape where the water was calm and the living good.

We watched birds in the cool of the morning, pelicans plopping, gulls swooping at tossed morsels. In the afternoon, Michael ferried us in to shore so we could walk and check out the activity. Pangas sped in and out of the bay, bringing their catch for the markets. We came across a lovely young man in the process of filleting a yellow-fin. He sold us a quarter of it for whatever we wanted to pay. Sixty pesos? He nodded. That was probably more than he would have gotten for it at market.

We barbecued the tuna. Mama pan fried some jumbo shrimp I’d bought in Mazatlan and frozen. The fresh green beans were a tad tough, so we boiled them in broth with onions. Baked beans rounded off the meal, with English muffins for corralling the food.

Boats arrived to tuck in out of the wind. A lovely little ketch and a big ugly white one. A 25-footer that must have been shoal draft or equipped with a centerboard slipped in just under the cape. Lastly came a big power boat that nosed in to our port side and dropped a few feet of chain. Michael glared, imagining us and our 100+ feet bouncing off his side in the middle of the night. Fortunately we continued to swing in the other direction..

Now the beast has gone. We’ve breakfasted. Mama’s about to have her morning latte. Michael is trying to fix another pump. This afternoon we plan a little snorkeling. Maybe some dinghy sailing.

May 31, Mama and I sail Sea Venture's Number 2 dinghy. Barely any wind, but she scooted along nicely as we checked out the anchorage. Two sets of white legs, but mine were covered with sunscreen. Mama said she was fine. She goofed.

Isla San Francisco, June 1, 2009

We've moved across and south to Isla San Francisco. This is the beginning of a smashing sunset. Picture the daylight scene on June 2: aft of us, a sandy beach; across the channel and rising out of the sea, mountains that have been pressed and sliced for centuries into striations of rose and mauve, grey and tan, then decorated with clumps of moss green; a rocky shore nearby with cutout cliffs echoing the mountain colors; and below Sea Venture, twenty feet of blue that melds into azure closer to shore…. It’s like glass now at 11:29 AM. During breakfast, we watched a procession of boats head north through the San Jose Channel from Bahia de la Paz. Behind us, two boats have left the anchorage, one heading north, one back to La Paz. Sea lions bark from rock islands at the channel edge. Gulls, frigate birds, and pelicans cavort around us.

Michael has the floorboards up. He has already made labels for his sight glass so we now know how many gallons remain in the water tank without having to look up the conversion. He cleaned the water filter for the refrigerator, which he had defrosted two days ago. Good man. Now he’s messing with what looking like the oil filter on the main engine. He says there’s very slight oil leak, so he’s fixing that. Then he says he’ll raise the filter slightly so it doesn’t interfere with the hoses. Clever man. Oh, yes, and the paddle wheel needs cleaning. Things grow down there faster than one can blink.

Today is a projects day. I think. I’m planning – though who knows what will happen -- to use up some of our nice water to douse the decks and wash windows. Perhaps do laundry. Then read. Mama is napping after having had her morning latte. Soon it will be lunch time. We took the dinghy out to investigate the neighborhood last night. Glorious water. If we feel like it, we may snorkel this afternoon. Or put out the fishing rod.

Tough life.