We’ve just crossed the two month mark of departing Seattle on our cruising adventure, and so far despite some learning experiences and a bit of a continuing battle to keep the engine running at the desired temperature, we are having an amazing adventure. As we sit in La Paz anchored in a fairly protected bay, we are recouping a bit from the push to arrive here and slowly moving back into boat project boat. There is a routine to the cruising life, the morning VHF cruisers net, visiting or being visited by other crews on dinghies for chats, the constant quest for information on the weather and trips into the marina to fill water jugs and wander around town. It certainly isn’t going to work everyday, but there is a routine to it. We are both working on adjusting to darkness at close to 6:00 pm, and laughed when someone referred to 8 pm as “Cruiser’s Midnight” the other day. It is kind of true, by 10 it is almost hard to stay awake even though it really isn’t that late and we don’t need to get to sleep so we can get up the next morning. But with dawn also coming near 6:00 am, we often are awake earlier than we would think to arise with nothing we have to be doing.
So far the most impressive thing about cruising has been the people. It started on the trip down the coast, as we ducked in and out of the harbors on the Oregon, then California coast. It wasn’t just the fellow cruisers we met, although they were certainly wonderful people. Starting in Newport, we were given a ride to the gas station by someone we just met. In Eureka, we were given a ride, loaned a car, and given fresh tuna by one of the fishing boats. A boat I just met in Oxnard gave me a ride to the local West Marine, and turned out to be a fellow Haha boat that we’ve hung out with since. Another couple gave us a ride back to our anchored boat in Cabo after we miss timed the last water taxi to the anchorage. Just the other night when we closed down a local eatery the crew of Double Diamond invited the group out to their Lagoon 440 (or something like that) catamaran to continue hanging out. When we have heard calls for assistance on the VHF, other cruisers have volunteered help, advice and parts. Everyone shares information about their discoveries, be it a great little bay to anchor in, overall advice on a particular cruising route, or a cheap tasty local establishment (although I do find it amusing that one of the pro’s of a restaurant a couple we met were walking to was “We’ve eaten there three days and not gotten sick”). I suppose there is a bit of an attitude that we are all in this together so we better stick together.
I’m sure we’ll run into a few people that we don’t enjoy hanging out with, and there are a few cranky ones out there. It feels like there may be a couple people in La Paz sitting with their hand on the VHF ready to offer corrective comments for radio usage they don’t agree with, although so far their “advice” is more amusing than annoying. And the boat ahead of us yelled at us on our first anchorage attempt here, but while gruffly issued his information that a boat near us was moored, not anchored, was important. At a somewhat crowded anchorage with some building weather, a late arrival with children on their boat came in, dropped anchor and radioed to see if their location was okay. The boat behind them protested, which I suppose was their right as they were there first. The boat that had arrived sounded almost cheerful about pulling the hook and moving, and several boats jumped on the radio with advice about locations near them they could move to.
I’ve been thinking about writing about this for awhile, as the people have been the most pleasant, unexpected surprise of
cruising. I was inspired to write this today after yet one more incident last night. Jenn and I had finished up what I believe is the last official Baja Haha event, a welcome to La Paz party. As we walked back to the boat we swung by a little convenience store to pick up and 8 pack of Pacifico, something we had done there several times. Sadly, they were out of Pacifico, and we aren’t that thrilled with Modelo or Tacate. Since The Shack, the place we had enjoyed tasty burgers and 15 Peso margaritas a couple nights before was just a block away, and the owner was American and obviously spoke great English I suggested we duck up there to ask if they knew another place nearby for Pacifico. The owner not only knew a place, but volunteered to drive us there. We protested, but he insisted, and on the way informed us this was the best place for tacos, so good that when they closed down for the night they headed there to hang out. After we grabbed some beer, he drove us back to the marina where our dinghy was tied up. We had already been telling our friends we should meet up for margaritas at The Shack, so we will definitely set that up now. And while I feel slightly guilty, we can’t wait to try the tacos at the place he took us to, even if it is just a little cart grilling meat out front of a convenience store.
So if anyone is reading this with the dream of going cruising, just know that the people you will meet and support you will receive are wonderful. The friendship and communal spirit have really enhanced our cruising experience, and we are eager to continuing meeting new people and experiencing new kindnesses, and hopefully we are doing our part to contribute to the community.