Plus, the La Paz cruisers' community is well established with a few long-term wingnut residents colorful characters; very congenial and willing to help newcomers and transients alike with all their cruising-related needs. Come for the lively all-day chatter on VHF 22, stay for the marine hardware that you won't find again until you get to Panama. Hang around the dinghy dock at Marina de La Paz long enough, and you'll tap in to the days Imelda arrives to sell her homemade tamales and rellenos, when the nice German lady sells her down-home bratwursts and sauerkraut (hint: Saturdays, back gate), and where Les The Bread Guy has his European-style bakery. It's all just like mama used to make, and worth every peso.
Thanksgiving of '08, we anchored in La Paz harbor near their municipal dock, and in 2 days had filled our propane tank, jerry-jugged some water, did laundry, shopped for fishing tackle and marine hardware, jerry-jugged some diesel and gasoline from a nearby gas station, used the Internet in a local coffee shop, and loaded up on provisions, all by dinghy. In 48 hours we were done with our chores and outta there, back to pristine anchorages in nearby islands. It can be done that quickly in La Paz.
This winter things were a bit more complicated. We had a lot of time-consuming projects on our list, such as some minor repairs to the main sail that needed a professional's touch. We had to tweak our visas and vessel registration documents. GB had a pesky gum infection that had developed after an otherwise uneventful root canal in Mazatlan and now he needed a dentist, stat. And as long as we were waiting around for all these and other things to come to fruition, MS decided what the hey, why not take the test to get a Ham radio license? Thus it came to pass that we laid at anchor in La Paz harbor, across the sandy shoals in the spacious El Mogote anchorage, for over 2 weeks this December. Which for the likes of us is a very long time to stay in one place. But if your boat must stay put while things get done, La Paz at Christmastime is a pretty good deal. La Paz is a cruising hub and you're guaranteed to meet old friends here and make some new ones.
The Baja winter weather was how we like it - cool, generally sunny, with only the occasional brief blows of wind and chop from the north. We got to hang out with new cruising friends - including Hello World, who we'd just recently met in the flesh, and the generous folks on Two Can Play; and we got to get reacquainted with other friends, including Anna and Gary on Trumpeter, who we'd last seen all too briefly in early July up in the northern Sea. Trumpeter invited us to spend Christmas Day with them, and I'm here to tell you they are excellent hosts who know how to celebrate a holiday. They had an open-boat sort of thing going on, everyone in the anchorage welcome to join in (and there are a lot of boats in El Mogote). The festivities moved along splendidly with good conversation among folks and fine beverages all around. We eased into a classic afternoon nosh in which roast turkey figured prominently - as did boat-grown basil and Agua Verde goat cheese so mild it doubled easily for the finest mozzarella. What a nice way to spend a Christmas: thinking fondly about the loved ones who were not there, and enjoying good times with those who were.Yes, we got a lot done and had a lot of fun while anchored at La Paz. It's a busy place in winter; and its city lights twinkle in the clear, cool night air across to El Mogote. Sea lions, dolphin and large schools of fish rush through El Mogote's strong currents and shallow depths, trying their best to dodge the diving pelicans, boobies, terns and osprey. It's understandable why cruisers linger here longer than they expect -- but we have promises we've made to ourselves, and now's the time to keep them. It's Boxing Day as I write this, and time for The Fox to move on....