Señor Dave’s Baja Blast

We were excited to have our first set of visitors from the states come down to Baja for a few days of fun! Dave and Helen, you’ve met them before here. This time I asked Dave to be a guest blogger and share his story. Here’s Dave . . .

First the backstory . . .
I met Grant in 2009 during a week-long sailing class in Fort Lauderdale. Being computer guys we got on pretty well, so we’ve stayed in touch.

ASA Classmates

In early 2011, my life was upended when my wife unexpectedly died due to a complication with her health. I needed an escape and took to the road for several weeks. I passed through Iowa and spent an afternoon getting some hydro therapy at Lake McBride. This is when I first met Grant’s better half. Denise is wonderful! I heard them talk of buying a boat, but it sounded like the stuff of dreams.

Sailing In Iowa

In 2012, Grant and Denise invited me to join them on a 10 day charter out of St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. The three of us had a great time down there! It was during this trip that I heard the first serious rumblings about their plans to buy a boat. They were actually boat shopping!

Virgin Islands Sailing Charter

Later in the year I was astounded to hear that they had bought a boat and were shipping it to Ventura. They stopped by Denver for a day as they drove through to California. Pretty soon they were living on the water. About this time my employer offed me 16 weeks of pay to never come back through the door. That sounded like a free pass to goof off for a while! So I hit the road again, this time westbound. I had friends to visit with a boat in the Pacific! They might need a deckhand…

This visit was enlightening. Here we had first time boat owners with a solid older boat and ambitious plans. That meant there was a lot outfitting and updating of systems. At the same time they were learning how to shoe-horn their lives into 37 feet of hull. Knock, knock… visitors! It wasn’t idyllic cruising, basking in the sun, and quaffing cocktails in the cockpit. It turns out it takes work to manifest your dreams. We had fun anyhow.

California Sailing

After a while, I realized Maluhia had made their way down to Baja. Sounded like an opportunity to visit again… although it would have to be short and sweet since I’m a new employee again. It seems the honeymoon is wrapping up and they’ve come through it still in love with the boat.

Boat Love

One year prior at my 20th high school reunion, I was reacquainted with a girl I once vaguely knew… now an intriguing woman. I can tell you that sailing makes for an excellent first date! Helen jumped at the opportunity to join us in Baja.

Marina Stroll

We had pulled into town just before lunch. Mexican food is a favorite of mine, so I was happy to learn that Grant and Denise had been scouting for good eats. Our first sample was from a fish tacos joint. Yummy!

IMG_0211 (1)

After lunch the girls headed to the local market center for recreational shopping while us guys retired to the boat to cool off and catch up. In the evening we gathered under the palapa on the roof of our hotel to watch the sunset.

Hotel Palapa

Sunset

With the blazing heat of the sun gone, we wandered a round town checking out the local festivities. Dinner was had, and we visited a grocery store to lay in provisions for the following day’s boat adventure. We checked the tide forecast and found that the tidal current would be unfavorable for a casual morning departure through the channel. The solution? Get the boat out of the marina before sunrise!

Dawn Departure

Chatting

Early mornings are not known as the best time for sailing, so our trip out to Bahia Puerto Balandra was accomplished by motor. What’s the good part about an early departure? Breakfast on the boat! Offers to assist with food preparation were graciously declined… although I think it was mostly a problem of too many cooks in the kitchen. Literally. There isn’t much space in 37 feet of boat for 4 people to accomplish all the tasks of living.

Breakfast Prep

Good things can still come from a kitchen designed for one.

Breakfast

With contented bellies and the sun steadily climbing into the sky, we boarded the dinghy for some beachside exploring.

Dinghy Embark

Dinghy Landing

A dune and low rocky ridge provided an excellent vantage point.

Boatscape

Hiking

We stopped by the local geologic anomaly known as Mushroom Rock, long associated with the city of La Paz.

Mushroom Rock

The powerful, tropical mid-day sun leaves few places to hide. Even the cockpit under the bimini can be uncomfortably hot when the air is still. During our trip to the Virgin Islands I came up with a solution to staying cool and shady, which I happily repeated here.

2012 in the Virgin Islands:
Virgin Islands

2014 in Baja:
Dinghy Shade

Thankfully, the wind picked up in the afternoon. We pulled up the anchor and pointed the boat back towards town. The wind was at our back and we sailed lazily under the genoa alone… we finished the journey into the channel by motor. It was a lovely day!

Smooth Sailing

The following day was Monday. Both Grant and Denise had to work! That meant Helen and I were on our own for the day. We started out looking for breakfast by driving along the La Paz waterfront. The drive was so enjoyable that we just kept driving until we came to the end of the road at Tecolote beach. Immediately we were greeted and invited join a tour group departing shortly on a panga headed for Los Islotes an island group located 30 miles North of La Paz. We decided to go along.

Panga

The trip turned out to be excellent! There was much wildlife to be seen, including dolphins, sea lions and numerous birds.

Dolphins

Sea Lions

The mixed geology proved to be quite interesting as well. The boat even motored under a narrow arch. We made two stops for snorkeling and saw a lot of marine life! The trip even included a beach stop for a lunch of fresh trigger fish ceviche. Another excellent meal! The lunch beach was quite idyllic.

Lunch

Floating

That evening we gathered for a final dinner and stroll on the malecón. The following morning we had a farewell breakfast and parted ways. Helen and I had a flight out of Los Cabos to catch… although we did have some time to spare, so we drove the slow way back along the coast and enjoyed the beauty offered by Baja’s East Cape area.

East Cape

Last I heard Grant and Denise will be knocking around the Sea of Cortez at least until hurricane season is over. Why not stop by? They love any excuse to get Maluhia out of the marina!

Categories: Amigos, Cruising, Dolphins, Galley, Living aboard, Mexico, Passage Making, Sailing, Sea Lions, The islands | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Señor Dave’s Baja Blast

  1. Great guest blog! What a wonderful example of lifetime friendships established while sailing!

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