Friday, May 30, 2014

La Paz Again - I'm Not Surprised

Entrance to La Perla Restaurant, La Paz, home of the best-ever chilaquiles con pollo

We spent many hours in Mazatlan discussing our plans for the summer. We both agree that our first year of cruising has been spent too much in marinas and not enough actually cruising. The marinas are just so tempting with conveniences like restaurants and internet access, salsa dance classes, potluck parties, and real bathrooms with real showers. Once you get in, it's hard to leave.

So, our plan was to avoid marinas and cities for the summer. Once we reached Baja from Mazatlan we most definitely were going to head north to spend as much time as possible on anchor, thoroughly exploring the islands, bays, and fishing villages far away from cities and resort developments.

It is often said that cruisers' plans are written in the sand at low tide and, there's a reason for that. Most of us don't even talk about "plans". We say things like: "we were thinking about maybe going..." or "we've talked about possibly heading towards...". There are just too many variables to think that plans won't change.

So, I'm not surprised to find us tied up to a dock in Marina Cortez in La Paz. Mike felt that the boat needed a few minor repairs and spare parts so we agreed to deviate from our planned course for a few days. 

I'm also not disappointed to spend a few days here. Once the decision had been made I knew what my first order of business would be, a trip to the tamale stand outside the Aramburo Grocery Store in Centro.

Costing about $1.25 (American) each, these are the best ever. They always have at least 4 varieties and it's always hard for me to choose - chicken, pork, beef, rajas with cheese, pineapple? Yes, pineapple tamales, so sweet that it is impossible for me to eat a whole one.

The Shack menu - best burgers anywhere!

Interior of The Shack

We have so many favorite restaurants here that it is hard to decide where to eat. On the recommendation of friends we decided to try some place new.

The Shack, a burger restaurant and popular cruisers' hangout on the La Paz waterfront did not disappoint.

Hopefully we leave on Saturday and our summer of cruising the Sea of Cortez will finally begin.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Catedral Basilica de la Inmaculada Concepcion - Mazatlan

I had to include this photo because there is a Pulmonia in it, my favorite mode of transportation, unique to Mazatlan. I will write more about Pulmonias in another post.


On our last trip into Mazatlan's Centro Historico I was finally able to see the inside of the Basilica. It is perhaps the most beautiful cathedral that I have ever seen. The construction was started in 1856, completed in 1899, and the church designated a basilica in 1937. In addition to its stunning beauty, the stained glass windows are very unique. Each one contains a Star of David as an expression of gratitude to a wealthy Jewish family of Mazatlan who donated money for the construction. It is a very active church, located across the street from a restful little plaza, the Plaza de la Republica - definitely worth a visit.
Our last few days here have been a whirlwind and we leave Mazatlan in a few hours, headed for Baja. Our precise destination will depend on the direction and velocity of the wind, but we expect the crossing to take about 48 hours. The next few weeks will be spent in the islands of the western Sea of Cortez and we will probably be without internet access for several weeks. I'm sure there will be a lot to write about once I am on the computer again.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Carpa Olivera, Playa Olas Altas, Mazatlan

                How Cool Is This?

Mike and I were walking along the Malecon at low tide in the Olas Altas (High Waves) area of Mazatlan when we saw what looked like a building foundation in the water. We decided that there may have been a restaurant there at one time, probably destroyed by a hurricane.

Later we walked past at high tide and saw that it is, in fact, a public swimming area with the walls of the foundation breaking the high waves and protecting swimmers from the nearby rocks.

For some reason I was fascinated by the structure and did a little research. Named Carpa Olivera it was originally built in 1914, a salt water swimming pool under a restaurant and bar complex. In 1957 a huge hurricane hit Mazatlan, all but destroying the building and forcing the closure of the restaurant and bar.

Another hurricane blew away what was left of the structures in 1975 but the swimming pool remained. In the early 2000's the city of Mazatlan created a mini-park at the site and it continues to be a popular destination for Mazatlan families 100 years after its creation.

The city has announced plans to renovate the pool beginning this month. Renovations are supposed to be completed in time for the winter tourist season. I look forward to swimming there when we return in November.

Saturday, May 3, 2014


We returned to Mexico from the States two weeks ago and for some reason it has been really hard for me to get back to the blog - largely due to the fact that I still have not made friends with my new computer. I'm just not loving Windows 8. So, excuse my rambling as I try to catch up and get back into the routine of writing at the same time as I try to get comfortable with this unfriendly operating system.

Our stay in Seattle was more than twice as long as we had planned. Mike was there to oversee the repairs that were necessary after two separate wind storms dropped 5 large old hemlock trees on his house. I was there to do taxes and visit with friends and family. Three weeks should have been long enough but things never seem to go as planned and we've learned never to book round-trip flights.

One Sunday afternoon when Mike had gone skiing and I was just relaxing at the house, his daughter called from the hospital emergency room. Mike had fallen on the slopes and suffered a serious concussion as well as a badly sprained neck. Neither she nor their skiing companions actually saw the fall and we will probably never know what happened because Mike has no memory of about 3 hours before, after, and during the accident. A few follow-up visits to various doctors were necessary before he finally got a clean bill of health and clearance to travel.

Although we are both anxious to cross back over to Baja and spend another summer exploring the Sea of Cortez, we have decided to stay in Mazatlan until a few major projects are completed. It's impossible to get these things done in an isolated anchorage with no access to shops and services.

We got back to Mazatlan just in time for Bike Week. Thousands and thousands of motorcycles come from all over North, South, and Central America for the event. Even though neither of us is into the biking culture it was fun to take the bus into town to watch the parade and be a part of the energy and excitement.

Motorcycle Week in Mazatlan
Having lunch while we wait for the parade to start.
Mike checking out the bikes parked in front of the restaurant.
From our restaurant window seat we watch the crowd's excitement as the roar of thousands of motorcycles grows louder.
Mike has been diligent about keeping the project work moving forward but all work and no play makes Mike a tired boy so we've gone into Mazatlan a few times to wander the streets and relax. The photos accompanying this posting are somewhat random but all have been taken in these past two weeks.

Mazatlan is one of our favorite places and, although we haven't left yet, we are already looking forward to our return in November.

I apologize that there is no photo of the actual dive. I wanted to experience it in real time rather than watch it through the view finder of my camera.