Saturday, December 8, 2012

Our First Official Guests!

Susan & Larry - our first official guests!
So we’ve officially had our first visitors come and go and I couldn’t have asked for better people to test drive our guest quarters!  Since we’ve only had guests a couple of times before leaving, it’s always interesting to see how it turns out – what works and what doesn’t. 

Our good friend Susan and her boyfriend Larry came to visit us for a week, arriving on Thanksgiving Day.  Susan we know VERY well, but Larry is kind of “new” to us and he hadn’t been on a boat before, so we thought it might prove “interesting”!  I’m thankful to report that he did VERY well and was a kind, helpful and eager to please guest.  Both he and Susan were a joy to have on board and it was wonderful to spend some time with my much missed friend (have I mentioned how much I miss Susan and our daily walks???).

Between the two islands
After their arrival on Thursday we spent Friday provisioning for their stay and then wondering La Paz.  We had been invited onto our friends Mac & Catherine’s boat for dinner and a very nice time aboard Indigo was had.  On Saturday it was off to Caleta Partida – our first venture out to the island of Espiritu Santo, where our friends would also be.  Caleta Partida is actually located in between the island of Espiritu Santo and Isla Partida with a winding and shallow channel between them.  You can anchor on either side, but the Caleta side is a huge bay capable of holding MANY boats, so it’s a popular spot to join friends.   From La Paz it is about 4 hours of direct motoring, or about 6 hours of tacking up wind, assuming the wind is cooperating!   Unfortunately the wind was not cooperating, so we did have to motor.

Brett under one of the many rock formations on our hike
Wow!  What a beautiful anchorage!  We found our friends, set the hook nearby and then invited them over for a pasta dinner.  The six of us watched a great sunset and had a nice time.  The weather was perfect – just a light breeze, very few bugs and probably too much wine (I know, us?  What a shocker!  I’m going to blame the guests!).

The next day we decided we should go snorkeling.  I have to say that Larry earned my full respect here as he is clearly NOT comfortable in the water, but it never slowed him down a bit.  I really respect a big guy that is comfortable enough to ask for a life jacket and who is not be afraid to push outside of his comfort zone – I know it’s not easy, so bravo Larry. 

Beautiful cactus flower!
While snorkeling we saw some “puffer” fish (not sure I have the right name, but the ones that puff up when you scare them) and lots of colorful fish – but the best was when we got to follow some turtles!  What a difference it is to see them under the water – so much more graceful and free looking than when they are plodding along on land.

The next day we were all feeling like we needed some exercise so we decided to tackle the big hike up to the top of the mountain that looks down on the anchorage.  Brett and I were hopeful that we’d be able to get a cool photo of our boat in the beautiful blue water and we knew there would be a lot of great flora and fauna to see along the way.  It’s far greener than normal right now as the Baja received a lot more rain this year than normal – so there are tons of flowers and plants that are not usually in view during the dry season.  A perfect time to hike! 

So off we went to the white sandy beach at the bottom of the climb.  Thankfully the tide was in and so we didn’t have to drag the dinghy forever (not true later!).  After donning our hiking shoes and bug spray/sun screen, we made our way past thousands of tiny crabs to the base of the “wash” which is the easiest way to hike since there are no ”man-made” hiking trails.  I LOVE to boulder and this was a truly amazing hike – big boulders, small ones, plants, flowers and even a famed stick bug!  There were stunning views all of the way up!  We finally reached the top (or as close as we dared as the top looked a little dicey) and what a fabulous view – well worth the trip up. 

Thousands of tiny crabs!
While admiring the view we downed a much earned beer, took some of the great photos you see here and rested a bit before starting back the way we’d come.   After the long trip down, we found the tide had gone out (as expected) and so we carried our dinghy about 200 yards out to the water, trying not to step on the 1000’s of crabs on the beach – ick!  The funny part is that once we got to the water the dinghy would float, but it was too shallow for the motor to work!  So we poled, walked and paddled the dink the long way back until we were finally deep enough to motor the last couple 100 yards.  Guess we needed an arm workout after working our legs so hard!

Hikers (still pretty fresh looking!)
Time to go swimming!!!  How good did the water feel after we stripped down back at the boat?  You have no idea.  Hiking in 80 degrees for 4 hours makes for some very hot people and I was thrilled to jump in upon our return.  The crisp, cool water felt wonderful and quickly helped us cool back down to the normal 98.6 degrees we are supposed to be at. 

Sadly, our trip to the islands and our fun time with Susan and Larry had to come to an end.  Once back in La Paz we got a local recommendation for the best “authentic” Mexican food within walking distance.  Upon our arrival we all looked at each other questioningly as it looked exactly like a Las Margaritas at home – not exactly what we had in mind.  Plus we were the ONLY people there – yikes!  Now I really should mention that most people here make the afternoon meal their main meal – so not many folks go out to dinner unless they are tourists or other travelers. 

So we sat, perused the menu and then something dreadful happened…….

We ordered margaritas (which took up an entire page of their menu, so they were obviously a popular item) and were told there were none!  GASP!  What????  No margaritas?????  How can it be???  Well apparently they were out of a “crucial” ingredient and would rather not make a sub-par margarita – which I can totally respect!  It’s just so different because this would never happen at home – heads would fly if a restaurant was out of a mainstay cocktail!  But in Mexico it is simply no big deal to run out of something that is integral to your establishment – people will just order something else.  No big deal.  And you know what?  I have to say they are right, it isn’t a big deal!  Life goes on without margaritas and we still had an absolutely FANTASTIC dinner – with beer!  

Larry close to the top!
Sadly, we had to say goodbye to Susan and Larry the next morning.  I would like to thank them both for being wonderful, sensitive and respectful guests.  For not using too much water, for contributing to our food and beverages (as we have a limited budget) and most of all for understanding the concept that this is our home (it’s all we’ve got!) and that there is a reason we have some seemingly weird “rules”.  We couldn’t have asked for better guests and we miss them already.   

Caleta Partida anchorage from the top!
Next guests – the entire family of 11 adults and 9 kids (!!!) for Christmas!  They’ll be chartering two other boats for a week and we’ll have our two nieces (Gwyn and Kyndal) plus my sudo-sister Cheryl on board.  It’s going to be a crazy group – hopefully crazy FUN!  

1 comment:

  1. So. I am sitting in my living room and it is 25 degrees outside. I have the fireplace going and am enjoying a Sailor Jerry and coke so I decided to get caught up on your travels. Sounds like everything is going great.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. We are headed to the Bahamas next week for a cruise so hopefully we have good weather.

    Mike Benedek