SAILING the SEA of CORTEZ - Chapter 1.2: La Paz

Getting Acclimated...

The world was upside-down, but it had potential... Excerpts from the journal and ship's log of the sailing vessel LOCATION. A single-handers memoir of voyages and adventures sailing the Gulf of California, the Sea of Cortez, Baja California, and the Mexican Riviera...

A quiet morning at the Costa Baja Marina, La Paz
A quiet morning at the Costa Baja Marina, La Paz | Source

Ship's Log - s/v LOCATION

March 19, 2009 (Thursday)

OK, second day… what the hell! I’m here... I’ve spent the last year trying to figure out how to reverse it all, how to turn around what has happened, get off on a different foot, a new direction. My life has felt like I was walking through a combat zone...

If all the failure was no fault of mine, how can I know how to fix it? The doubt has frozen me in place… back in combat again… move, move or you’ll die! When Ledean called me a ‘fucking asshole’ after I asked her why she had lied about not filing five years of tax returns for our charitable foundation, I figured it was pretty much over… like stepping on a landmine – you hear the click, but it takes a moment to register. I suppose I could blame this on her, but that wouldn’t be true. If you’re any damn good at all at what you do, then it’s all your damn fault”… I think Hemingway said that. If he didn’t, he should have. I used to be good at what I did. The audit, the taxes, the penalties, and fees were just one more insult in our personal financial crash. Some marriages manage to survive that type of abuse. I couldn’t find a way to do it myself. I do miss the dog though.

I didn’t have time to say good-bye to many of my friends, and the last night we went to the Club didn’t end well. I’m sure those who witnessed my wife’s meltdown don’t see me in a positive light. I don’t blame her actually: this whole thing just tumbled out of our grasp, out of control. With everything falling apart, I could remain in Newport Beach and sink into the mire or use this somehow… focus on a new direction… find the inspiration to be the writer I once thought I might be… follow that primal urge I always pushed to the back of my agenda – doing the right thing, building a future, success, security, comfort, love, and respect – all gone now.

So, enough feeling sorry for myself… it’s time to move on.

The little store at Costa Baja is on the brink of closing, or changing ownership, depending on who you talk to. They have very little inventory on their shelves, and worst of all, no coffee – ok, life is still out-of-control! I was able to buy milk so I had a bowl of cereal for breakfast, and a cup of two-year-old instant hot chocolate with hard and stale mini-marshmallows that melted in the microwave looking more like bacterial flotsam than anything edible. I scooped the goop off the top and threw it away, then turned on the VHF marine band radio.

It was like I never left. The cranky old expatriates were still entertaining, griping about the economy and U.S. politics on their early morning broadcast… it could have been Fox News. They made me feel a little better about my own disgruntled attitude. After a half-hour or so of that discourse, the Cruiser Net took over VHF channel 22 with news about recent sailing trips to the islands, the weather forecast, tidbits from local authorities and merchants, and cruiser comings and goings, and goings-on. Boats checked-in and checked-out, and after the organized conversation, parties of two or three split off to other channels to continue their chatting. It was fun to surf the channels and eavesdrop on the various discussions.

LOCATION's twin helms, cleaned and polished, ready to go...
LOCATION's twin helms, cleaned and polished, ready to go... | Source

I threw away the rest of the hot chocolate, reminding myself to check the dates on other food-stock packed away in the boat's cabinets, and started a shopping list for supplies. It’s spring-cool in the morning still, but warms up quickly during the day. I spent a couple of hours washing the boat with soap and water from stem to stern, all forty-seven feet of her, including her hull, the canvas, and as high up the mast as the water would spray. She is a beautiful sight to behold now - gleaming white fiberglass, stainless steel, navy-blue canvas, and orange teak. There aren’t many boats to compare with LOCATION on the Sea of Cortez. I am blessed with that at least.

After noon, I unpacked my luggage and the two boxes of parts and supplies I had left onboard when we drove down in February. It took me several more hours to inventory and organize the storage lockers, cabinets, and drawers as I put things away, and threw out some old food. We started two and a half years ago with the boat well supplied, thinking we were going on a world-wide cruise, and she has everything now I think I could possibly need. The medical supplies are the only thing I need to go through again; some of those antiseptics and drugs are probably way beyond expiration. I’ll take a taxi to the Super Mercado tomorrow and pick up food and other provisions, and then start thinking about where to go sailing.

At sunset I walked to the marina village with a magazine to keep me company, and ate a salad and crab enchiladas at a little cantina overlooking the boats. The enchiladas weren’t very good, but I was hungry and washed them down with a beer. After dinner, I strolled back to LOCATION, along the lit promenade, listening to sounds of the marina and the muffled conversations of other boaters, enjoying the ambiance, the glistening water and starlit sky. I took F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short stories to bed with me, thinking what a wonder it would be to write as truly as he does. I read three or four pages and was asleep by nine.

The Bahia de La Paz anchorage and city waterfront
The Bahia de La Paz anchorage and city waterfront | Source

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