Shenanigans in La Paz

Ah, La Paz. We fell in love with La Paz almost immediately (just after we anchored in massive current and coromuel winds). It is a big-ish city, but it doesn’t feel that big, until you have to walk to the grocery store. So why not take a cab? – which we did a couple of times, but hey, we got our steps in on most days – you know, back and forth to La Fuente (the best ice cream shop anywhere!). Anyway, what do we love about La Paz?

The people! They’re everywhere and most of them are Mexican. Sure, this a gathering place for non-Mexican cruisers, but other than in the anchorage or in the marinas, we really didn’t run into many of them. This made it feel like a true locals/Mexican tourists’ place, which we really enjoy (not that we don’t enjoy the cruising community – we absolutely do!). Despite the predominance of Spanish-speakers though, a lot of English is spoken, so we didn’t really have to test our Spanish skills to the degree we’d like to. We’ll get there, we hope.

The malecón and murals! Lots of the big touristy beach towns have boardwalks, and the one here goes on forever. And, similar to Puerto Vallarta, it has many wonderful statues along the way. Also, similar to PV, there is wall art everywhere. The artists are truly talented and the murals offer splashes of brilliant color to the city. So fun!

Good beer! Yay! It is so nice to get a break from the weak yellow fizzy Mexican lagers. Some beers are brought in from north of the border, but a nice selection of Mexican ales, some of which can go toe-to-toe with any US craft brew, were found here. Seriously. Lupolosa IPA from Insurgente? Wow (but there are also plenty that are no good at all.) There are a few small bars serving craft beer to a VERY small niche market, but it’s growing. Randy feels it is his duty to support these growing businesses with a substantial infusion of cash.

The food! So many places to choose from, too little time. We’ll have to revisit this category when we’ve had more time to explore, which will be in a couple of weeks when we return from up north.

Museo de la Ballena (The Whale Museum)! This place is impressive – from the large complete skeletons to the guided tours given by well-informed and articulate students. It is beautifully done and deserves widespread recognition and support. What a great excuse to visit us in La Paz! Or come on your own, you won’t be disappointed.

And we loved, loved, loved experiencing all of this with Ryan, Tom and Barb of S/V Ellie, Erin and Simon from San Diego, and each other. We were also treated to a wonderful locals’ night with Michael and Iram. Michael we met while in Barra for the sensing workshop with Lee, Vanessa, and Melannie, and Iram is his partner from Mexico. They live in La Paz and were generous enough to take us to one of their favorite dinner joints, their favorite bakery, their favorite cheese shop, and to the opening of an art showing by a young man who had won a national scholarship to create art. It was a truly memorable night. Thanks, M/I!!

OH! And speaking of shenanigans, FL was the incidental target of an errant sailor who lost steerage when the tiller/rudder linkage snapped on his trimaran. Here’s how it went down (Ry is drafting a short story on the incident). FL was sitting peacefully at anchor (with wind and current on the nose) and we’re minding our own business in the saloon, reading aloud another story Ry had written about another sailing fiasco. Out the window, we spied the sailor who had been enjoying a leisurely afternoon on the water, cruising his funky, slightly derelict tri around the harbor. He had just tacked off the starboard bow of FL. The boat stalled. Did we mention that the current was ripping? The current was ripping, combining with the wind to push his boat down on ours. Randy stated calmly, “This is going to be a problem.” We all got up from our comfy reading circle and headed out to the bow.

The boat was coming down on us in a reverse t-bone (i.e., broadside, with a 1/3 of his boat overlapping us); Rand sat on the starboard bow to absorb the impact and steer it off (luckily, the boat was moving slowly enough that he could do this – normally, you do NOT risk getting in between two boats about to collide). The captain was cussing and shouting that he’d lost his rudder. Awesome. The two boats hit lightly (no damage), Rand pushed him away, and his boat slowly started to parallel FL. Jody quickly got a fender out, anticipating that we’d raft him up to us so he could address whatever issue he was having with his rudder.

Instead, the errant sailor decided he should fend off from FL. Oooookay. Oh, did we mention his sails were still up? His sails were still up. So, he was pushing off our boat – feet on his boat, hands on FL – when his boat tacked and started sailing away. Then the stanchions supporting the life lines collapse under his weight. Awesome. Very quickly he was stretched out between the two boats, had to let go, and went in the drink. F*&#! The boat was now sailing away sans captain. He was swimming for his life (and his boat), fingertips just out of reach of the swim ladder that was bouncing along the water surface. Rand tossed his sunglasses and jumped in.

The boat accelerated away. Rand quickly swam back to FL and grabbed our dinghy; picked up the captain and went after the tri. The boat stalled again (whew!), the captain climbed aboard, and Rand shouted, “Get the sails down!” The captain instead went forward to deploy the anchor, so Rand tied CD up to the transom, climbed aboard, and doused the main sail. The crisis had generally been averted as the boat settled back on its anchor. They worked together to furl the head sail – by hand because the furler didn’t work – and Rand stepped gingerly around the deck to disembark. Gingerly because he was concerned that the deck would give way under his feet. So, the captain was relieved, high-fiving Rand and grinning, ready to hug him. Rand was having none of it. He just wanted off the boat.

In the midst of it all, the captain lost his hat and fellow cruiser, Brian from S/V Stray Catz, saved it and returned it to him. We also think he lost his shorts. We all have the recollection that when he was stretched out between our boats that he was wearing some khaki cargo shorts. Then when he climbed aboard his boat after being saved by Rand, he was only wearing a pair of blue boxer briefs. Curious. Rand surmised that he had no idea he’d lost his shorts. But at least he didn’t lose his boat. Geez.

Ok, here are the LP vids. We’ve gone back to amateur hour, mostly because of copyright issues with music. We certainly don’t want to violate those laws or the artists. Enjoy!


  1. Pam Ellsworth

    Try Bismarks and Rancho Viejo in La Paz.

  2. Mollie Clough

    Loving your photos and videos! You guys are living the dream! ???

    1. Jody Fraser

      ‘Tis true, Mollie. We truly are lucky!

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