Sunday, March 6, 2011

Visitors from the Great White North.

My dad and his friend John flew down to visit a week ago.  They flew in from Minnesota, and the days leading up to their flight were fraught with some uncertainty as in the days leading up to the flight Minneapolis/St. Paul was clobbered with a pretty big blizzard.  Originally they were to fly into La Paz via L.A.  But the airport up in the land of snow was buried the day they were to fly to L.A., so the alternate plans that coalesced were for them to fly into Cabo San Lucas, down in the southernmost tip of Baja California.  So the day of the flight I got up early and gassed up the 4-Runner and headed south out of town around 7:30 a.m.

Now La Paz isn't exactly noted for its excellent road signs, and before long I had a sense I was on the wrong highway.  When I went up a mountainside I knew it.  I pulled a U-turn and headed back to town. Now it was eight o'clock.  Their flight was to get in around 10:30 a.m. and I was pushing it to leave at 7:30.  Then came the overturned hay truck.  Arggh!  Down the coast I worked my way, tortuous mile by tortuous mile.  I drove into the airport at 12:00 noon.  I was imagining them sitting outside being hot and irritable.  What was I thinking.  This is Mexico.  They were still in customs :-)  They didn't miss me at all.

Now during the drive down to Cabo I crossed the famed Tropic of Cancer, and officially entered "the tropics."  It was perhaps slightly warmer in Cabo, or maybe that sweat was from being cooped up in a truck for four hours in ninety degree heat.  When I finally found dad and John ( a hometown buddy of my father's) they were well and glad to be away from snow.  I was really good to see dad.  Back we drove.  Out of the tropics, and back ultimately to La Paz.  The two of them had rented a Casa (house) on the north side of town.  It was a really nice place.  We stopped their and then went to see the boat.  Tamsyn and Griffyn were happy to see Grandpa, and John was in his element around the sailboats - he has one of his own up by Lake Superior.

The week they were around was quite nice.  In the mornings we did the usual boat stuff - some things just had to keep moving forward.  School took place, and laundry had to be washed.  In the afternoons we visited, with either them coming down to the boat or I picking them up and bringing them down our way.  We had some nice meals out, and one night they cooked a wonderful black bean soup dinner at their casa.

On one of the fine days when I had to work on the refrigerator doors on the boat, dad and everybody else went to one of the lovely beaches about 30 minutes drive to the south.  I drove them out to the beach with the promise that I would pick them up around 3 hours later.

They had a great time and Carrie took some beautiful photos that really capture the place.

Here's what Carrie had to say about the color of the water and the place:  "The color of the water changed as the depth changed, shallow water was clear, deep water was azure blue.  The volcanic land masses made me think of sleeping dinosaurs.  The place felt old and young both, stark and beautiful.  Full of contrasts.  It was a truly refreshing day.  Can't wait to anchor out in a place like this."


The changing colors are truly amazing.

"Lawrence of Baja"

For miles and miles - or is that kilometers?

The echos of vulcanism are everywhere.

So much to see...

Griffyn and Tamsyn found many sea cucumbers and even tiny moon snails of some sort.


Grandpa John and John H. explore the shoreline.

Here's one Grandpa took.

A good day...

Too soon our visit was over, and  I picked dad and John up at their place.  But instead of driving them to the airport something more interesting was about to happen.  I had transferred the title of my truck to dad for a dollar, and now we put on new Minnesota plates on the truck, and they said their goodbyes and drove north in our 4-Runner.  A last link with home.  The will be driving north, first to "Mag" Bay to see whales, and then to Loreto for a week.  Then the drive north and spending the next few weeks making their way home to Minnesota (hopefully less snowy by then) by way of many nature preserves and interesting places.  Thanks for coming down dad, and solving the truck dilemma.  We will miss you.

The two days prior to "losing" the truck we were making provisioning runs for stocking up on food for long ocean passages.  Canned gods are not at all fun to shlep around on your back.  So we made three big runs, and the main cabin of the boat is awash in big blue plastic bins full of food of various sorts.  Remember when I likened storage on the boat to one of those puzzle games where you have to move six other pieces in order to get one tile where you want it to be on the board.  So it was and is with all this food.

We had been waiting for the last of our engine work to be done before we store all the mechanical spares, many tools, and lots of lines, and various sundry items (including the kids' scooters) in the locker that makes up the "Engine Room."  In our boat, this locker is called the "Lazarette" and it can be accessed from the cockpit or the quarter beth.  Now as we had been purposefully NOT storing things there so that the engine could be accessed easily on all sides, those items destined for the lazarette were all over the boat - taking up valuable real estate.  Now that the engine work is complete, the big shift can begin.  Spare parts move out of three lockers under the port settee and food goes in.  Lines filling duffles in the cockpit now can be hung and organized, and so on.  So that is on the horizon over the next days.

Also "Carnival" is here in Mexico, and parades will march through the streets Sunday, Monday and Fat Tuesday.  We plan to attend, so that should be fun.  Today after putting the new name on the hull of our boat we went out for ice cream.  Tomorrow we will make a humble offering to Neptunus Rex so that he might bless our boat under her new name, and all that travel over the seas in her.  More about that to come.


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