Sunday, December 30, 2012

Happy Holidays

A few days before Christmas we drove down to Costco in Cabo via Todos Santos, a lovely town on the Pacific side of Baja California.  We ate lunch at Hotel California in Todos Santos before our big shopping expedition at Costco.  Having looked at the map which shows a possible round trip by heading down the Pacific side and returning to La Paz on Hwy 1 on the Sea of Cortez side, we set off on Hwy 1 at 3:30, hoping to arrive in La Paz by 5:30.  The road is a mountain road (not clearly identified as such on the map) with slow trucks, motor bikers, and sharp curves.  We arrived at "home" ar 7:30!  The scenery was beautiful, however!

Christmas came and went.  We had a nice breakfast aboard Damiana with Sue and Alex of Maitairoa and Lynda and Bob of Tahoma.  We served Roy's Kringle with, OJ, scrambled eggs, fruit and coffee.  We also had fresh fruit from Maitairoa, included fresh strawberries!  A little later in the day, about 17 people from 9 boats showed up for a potluck that we organized here at our marina which is quite distant from town.  We served the turkey mentioned in an earlier posting along with cranberry sauce, potatoes and carrots.  Roy made turkey broth, currently frozen in cup portions in our freezer.

Since Christmas we've shopped even more in town, including gifts for Cambria's birthday on January 20.  After driving around for 30 minutes we finally located UPS.  They couldn't take the package until we had it cleared through Mexico customs.  So we went to customs and realized that we needed to have a shipping box (we thought UPS would have sold us one) so we went to a shipping box store, bought the box and went back to customs around 4 pm -- closed! Back to customs the next morning, then to UPS and finally got it shipped off.

Yesterday we went to the marina office to pay our last bill (planning to leave early Monday morning), made arrangements to park our car near their office and Lupita suggested that we have a cover for it.  So, off on another adventure trying to locate Auto Zone.  Roy had a recollection of seeing one in recent history, and thought it was on the way out of town on Hwy 1.  After driving for a few miles past the commercial area we realized it wasn't there -- so on the way back into town we stopped and asked someone.  He shook his head, knowing what we wanted but couldn't tell us in Spanish that we understood -- we just headed back into town.  Lo and behold, Auto Zone is right next door to UPS!  No wonder it's image was stuck in Roy's head!

We're so glad to have our car here so we can have all these fun adventures.  Tomorrow we leave, heading north toward Loreto where we'll pick up Len and Norma on January 16.  It's raining today, we expect mild (10-15 kt) north winds for the next several days, but we'll take it slow and easy.....

~~~ Marlene & Roy ~~_/) ~~

track our route:

another tracker - input KG6UHL and choose 30 days:

Friday, December 21, 2012


One of our last projects to do before leaving La Paz was installing a new membrane for our watermaker.  Roy often comments about he becomes a human pretzel while working on our boat, especially plumbing.  The watermaker is installed under the forward bunk.  While his head and hands are under the bunk, his torso is on the floor of that stateroom and his legs are inside the bathroom!

All but a few projects to complete before we take off.  Strong northerly winds would make departure at this time unwise anyway, so we work at a leisurely pace and find time to spend with friends and hanging out in La Paz.

We were happy to spend some time, albeit a very short time, with Rob and Linda of Cat'n About.  A few dinners out, some shopping expeditions and a few hands of Baja Rummy, and before we knew it, they were off on another month-long job to deliver a mega yacht.  One of our evenings out included Lynda and Bob ofTahoma at Los Tamarindos, highly recommended by Alex and Sue of Maitairoa when we dined with them at Rancho Viejo.

Neighbors from Santa Maria, Ken and Ruth and Ruth's sister, Kathy, were visiting La Paz this week from their vacation condo in Cabo. We had a fun time introducing them to fish tacos in a typical open air lunch spot in downtown La Paz.

Christmas is approaching, so the grocery stores are stocked with fresh veggies and turkeys.  Today we purchased a "natural turkey" 12 pounds for $15.16.  Food costs here are substantially lower than in California.  For instance, limes cost 2 cents each, 6 tomatoes for 36 cents, 12 oranges for $1.30, 5 bananas for 65 cents, cantaloupe sold by the pound costs $1 per pound.

We plan to drive down to Todo Santos tomorrow, have lunch, then continue on to the Costco near San Jose Del Cabo to stock up on several items that will be impossible to find once we're north of Santa Rosalia, about one month from now.

~~~ Marlene and Roy ~~_/) ~~

Monday, December 17, 2012


After a nice evening out with friends, we returned home to Damiana early and for once, had showers and were in bed by 9:30 p.m.  This was good news since we'd had several late nights and were looking forward to a good night's sleep.

Around 10:30 p.m. we woke to the noise of our water pump running non-stop.  We'd heard this noise twice before (last year) -- it means big trouble -- the water supply pipe under the sink in the galley became disconnected.  We turned on the light in our bunk and the floor was flooded -- ankle deep!  What next?  Everything in the lockers near the floor in our stateroom, everything in the lockers near the floor in the guest stateroom and the kitchen cabinet under the sink were under water!  First: turn off the water pump circuit breaker.  Second, bail out water in the floor of our stateroom by tossing it into the motor compartment and having the bilge do its job.  Then, removing everything from the lockers (Roy handing them one at a time to Marlene who sorted them by degree of wetness), including a huge number of boat parts, shoes, and several bottles of wine.  Once empty, Roy sopped up remaining water in the lockers while Marlene removed everything from under the sink.

Once the water was removed, Roy got out plumbing supplies and fixed the problem.  Marlene started setting motor supplies, hardware, belts, o-rings, tools, filters, out to dry both on the salon table and on the seat in the cockpit and  hung pads and other cloths out to dry on the lines.

By midnight we had our flood under control.  Being creatures of habit we were awake by 6 (Marlene) and 7 (Roy) so went on our usual 2 mile walk before breakfast and spent the rest of the morning drying things still damp, putting away those we could, and as I write this Roy is using WD40 on saws and other metal tools.

Hopefully this time, the repair is the final one (we brought down a bunch of new plumbing supplies that were put into action last night).

Another "adventure" on Damiana!

~~~ Marlene and Roy ~~_/) ~~

Thursday, December 13, 2012


Rain was predicted for today, even thundershowers.  During our morning walk to the lighthouse the sky was cloudy, the temperature a little cooler than yesterday, but we weren't convinced that we'd have a lot of rain.  Miguel, who has been polishing Damiana came by around 9 a.m. to continue his job, went to the tienda to get a bottle of water, got back to the boat and, oops, the first drop of rain.  He left, hoping to return tomorrow.  And here we are, 5 p.m. and it's still raining, no thundershowers yet, but a very dark cloud looms overhead.  What to do on a rainy day?  Read a book, peruse the internet (Roy) bake some brownies, set up bread dough for baking tomorrow.  That, plus listening to soft jazz -- a nice quiet day "at home" on Damiana.

~~~ Marlene and Roy ~~_/) ~~

Monday, December 10, 2012

Tis the Season

A bunch of cruisers have purchased gifts for children at Rancho San Antonio, the poorest area of La Paz.  The children wrote letters describing what they would like.  The little girl that wrote our letter asked for sturdy long pants.  Two days ago while out at Walmart with Rob and Linda we found wrapping paper, ribbon, and gift bag.  The one high end department store had Levis for 559 pesos (close to $50 U.S.).  We put a "nix" on those, especially since the letter specified "economical."  So yesterday, Rob and Linda and we went downtown to shop for pants.  We first went to Sears and found a very cute pair but they were priced at 319 pesons, still a lot, so we did an exhaustive search at many stores within a four block area but didn't find anything that was anywhere as sturdy or cute as the pair at Sears.  When we went back to Sears and had them rung up we were pleasantly surprised to learn that they were included in a 20% discount promotion, costing 255 pesos, a price similar to some of those that weren't quite as nice in the other stores.  Our gift bag includes a box of pencils, a flashlight and spare batteries. We were asked to include a  letter with our gift and have it written in Spanish.  Gabe, the manager at Costa Baja Marina, where Damiana is currently located, is helping with that!

Small world time:  During our search for pants, Roy's stomach alarm went off (signaling lunch time), so we went to a "food court" in downtown.  This is a roofed, but open air place that has about 8 or 10 different vendors with a few picnic tables near their counters.  Each vendor has a menu board.   Near the entrance was a table with a Mexican family plus two English speaking women eating lunch.  One of the women looked at the 4 of us and said, "this place is good, we ate here yesterday as well."  She moved closer to  her friend on their side of the table and the Mexican family scrunched together to accommodate us as well.  So we're sitting there, talking with the two women who mentioned they were from Nanaimo, B.C. and had driven down west coast, the Baja (we compared stories) and planned to take the Ferry across to Mazatlan the next day and then continue on to Manzanillo.  We asked them "what is the attraction in Manzanillo?" since that town is mostly an industrial port town, not a highly sought after tourist destination.  One of the woman said, "well, I have a house there."  Turns out that she knows MJ and Stan (previous cruisers -- Solmate) who we had reconnected with earlier this year.  MJ and Stan have set up permanent residence in Manzanillo and are engaged in a variety of local activities, most notably PATA, an animal welfare organization.  Stan provides weather reports for cruisers we well.  These two women claimed they met some of their friends with a boat and are quite sure they met Linda and John on Nakia as well!

~~~ Marlene and Roy ~~_/) ~~

Friday, December 7, 2012

A little bit of socializing...

Our friends, Rob and Linda on Cat'n About, arrived in La Paz yesterday.  Already with plans to meet with Bob and Lynda on Tahoma for dinner at a Chinese restaurant, the six of us enjoyed a reunion -- had been several years since all of us were together at the same time.  Dinner, then Paletas at Michoacan next door to the Bus Station on the Malecon, then a walk around town made for a perfect evening.  More galavanting tonight, but in the meantime, the usual chores.  Roy is rebuilding raw water pumps for our motors; Marlene continues setting up everything inside the salon and galley.

This morning's walk was cooler than usual -- a sign that colder weather is on its way.  Time for long pants and sweaters!
~~~ Marlene and Roy ~~_/) ~~

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


Yesterday morning after breakfast and before starting in working on projects we walked first up to the marina office then back into the marina and around its perimeter to reach the lighthouse at the entrance.  A quick run into town to pick up yet a few more provisions, lunch, a few more projects, and then while taking a break in the afternoon we turned on the computer to pick up e-mail.

First email was from son, David:  Jerry, their most adorable young pup mysteriously died the night before!  This little dog stole the heart of anyone who knew him.  He was playful with everyone, always excited to greet his family members, even us.  We called and spoke with David, Linda, Amber and Cambria, all of them very broken up.  Jerry will live on in our hearts.  

This morning, in the cool of the morning, we omitted the walk to the marina office but did get out to the lighthouse: 1.7 mile roundtrip -- pretty good for a "before breakfast" walk.

Roy, unfortunately had to rebuild the other toilet today after discovering a minor leak.  Plumbing -- his least favorite job -- but hopefully it's DONE for this season!  Now on to more important jobs!

~~~ Marlene and Roy ~~_/) ~~

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Shopping in La Paz

Many people say that chances are you'll find everything you want here in La Paz.  So, I (Marlene) left at home the new set of toothbrushes that I use (Oral B vibrating).  I've been using them for a few years, have replaced them when the vibration stopped, which was about every month or two and buy them in bulk at Costco.  I had confidence that I'd find them here in La Paz -- and if not, then at Costco down at Cabo San Lucas.  After carefully scrutinizing all the toothbrushes at Chedraui (the first market we went to), we went to Mega (a bigger, better equipped super market) and found one!  Yea!  Well, I asked Roy to keep the package so I'd know what to buy next time we go to the store (mine was running out of steam and would soon stop altogether).  Curious guy that he is, he read the description in Spanish about it  having a replaceable battery.   He then noticed a separation in the base, unscrewed it, and, voila -- a AAA battery has been delivering the vibration in these toothbrushes all these years and could have been replaced -- chagrined I am.

This morning we went to the annual Subasta, a sale & auction to benefit the poorest of the poor in La Paz.  Mary from Marina de La Paz has been running this event for years and people from the community support the event along with cruisers and expats living here.  Our boat is so loaded down with more than enough of everything that we spent our time there visiting with friends.

Weather has been gorgeous -- we're pleased to report.  Nonetheless, the projects must get done, so we work on and on......

~~~ Marlene and Roy ~~_/) ~~