El Hongo

Enjoying La Paz

There was one thing I never accounted for when I agreed to start this great adventure. I spent plenty of time researching many of the ever popular scary topics such as storms, pirates, and for good measure, boats lost or abandoned at sea. But, despite all of my “advanced catastrophe preparation” and “expert pirate training,” there was something no one ever warned me of. Accelerated friendships and the subsequent parting of ways.

There have been many times since the beginning our sailing journey that I’ve wondered, have we unknowing entered ourselves into some sort of social experiment? A shared sense of community among boaters helps to accelerate friendships in a way I never imagined. When personalities are compatible the connection becomes automatic. Other boaters understand the hard work that goes into boat ownership. They appreciate the journey, share inspiration, demonstrate extreme generosity, and let’s face it, they aren’t afraid to talk about poop.

But, just as suddenly as these intimate friendships begin, they are abruptly put on hold. Until we meet again we like to say, as each of our journeys continue to unfold. Even more crazy is the fact that this process never stops beating to the same drum. It hasn’t since we’ve left Ventura. In fact, one Thursday evening Grant and I spent sulking at Hawker Board Shop over 2 for 1 mojitos about the our most recent friends departure. During our walk back to our boat along the malecon, we noticed some excitable screaming coming from the direction of a recently beached dinghy that held four shadow figures, and a dog. The figures came running towards us full force delivering hugs. Of course, once it all registered, we joined in on the happy dance occurring on the beach!


Emma Bell and crew had made it to La Paz!  Our friendship with Emma Bell started in Ventura with a simple anchor. Literally. We sold our 25lb CQR anchor to Eric and Pam. From there we became boat buds and E-dock neighbors in Ventura before we left. We shared the same goals, head South to Mexico, but on different schedules. The next few weeks consisted of catching up on boat stories, sharing a few pot luck dinners, and wandering the streets of La Paz.

The "Retchmo"

Beach bummin

Eric astounded us all with his uncanny ability to break thin plastic in half!


Fixin stuff

Liars dice anyone???

Too soon this cycle was beginning to close as they made plans to go North. At the same time we were ready to leave the slip for a long weekend. Buddy boat for the weekend? Sure! We packed up and headed to Puerto Balandra. The wind was light as we motored through the channel to leave La Paz.


Outside the channel we unrolled our head sail, killed the engine, and slowly made some progress upwind. Using the head sail alone upwind in light air was a new experiment that proved to be successful. There was no flapping from the large main, but just enough wind to fill the headsail and power us forward at 2-4 knots.

Meat Line Ready?

It was useless at this point to throw out the fishing line since we weren’t traveling very fast but we did it anyway just in case there was a bored fish out there that wanted to join us for dinner.  None came forward.

Dinghy boredom

The wind was so light that Grant decided to have some fun and jumped in the dinghy we were towing on the side of the boat. But then I convinced him that he was probably providing enough drag to slow our speed by another knot.

El Hongo

Puerto Balandra is home to El Hongo the famous mushroom rock that appears at the center of the bay. El Hongo appeared after many years of rock being pounded by sea surf and washing away the rocks around the bottom. In fact, at one point the top fell off but was resurrected and reinforced by locals.

A Hidden Island

Seven separate white sand beaches surround the area waiting to be explored by way of dinghy. Heading to any of the beaches near the inner part of the cove proves interesting due to how shallow the water can get at low tide. In fact, a hidden island emerges in the middle of the bay!

Taking In the View

But even our attempts to extend this departure among friends didn’t ultimately defeat the cycle. So, we parted ways for now, as Emma Bell headed North to the Islands and we turned South back to La Paz.

Exploring at low tide

Only 7 deserted white sand beaches?

As fun as it looks!



  • Dear Denise,
    Hi from SV Terrwyn we love your blog and your PSC 37 , looking at yours after living in our PSC 37 its a funny feeling. Please check out Cathy’s first YOUTUBE upload from our Indian Ocean Crossing last year ( from the back of our PSC37 ) just search YOUTUBE : :” sailing south of Madagascar 2013″

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