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The La Paz Waltz…..

They say you can’t change the name of your boat unless you have run it aground three times.  Well, we don’t want to change the name, Just Dandy, but we are on the way to being able to.  I should clarify, I ran her aground.  I am claiming rookiehood!!!  Let me explain…

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We made it safely into La Paz and checked with the marinas but there were no slips available.  That meant we needed to anchor or be on the hook in the bay for the night.  The water around La Paz is very shallow so we headed to were other boats were anchored.  When you anchor, you need to make sure that you are far enough from the other boats to swing with the wind and current.  I saw a nice space in between several boats were no one was anchored so I headed over there.  Bill started to drop the anchor which only dropped 4 feet and at the same time I felt the rudder hit sand.  Oops, I hadn’t been checking the depth as boats were around us.  I hurried and put her in reverse and was able to get her off the bottom, whew!!!!! First grounding!!!!  Now we know why no one was anchored in this area.

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We found another place to anchor, got out the dinghy and went ashore to check things out.  While walking down the Malacon, or boardwalk, we noticed our boat was facing a different direction than the others.  Not a good sign.  So we headed back to the boat.  By now it was dark.  We also noticed that we were much closer to the channel bouy than we had been which meant we were dragging.  And why was the anchor line under us, not in front of us, like everyone else’s?  We tried redropping the anchor but just couldn’t get a grip and the wind was crazy.

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Poor Bill has to pull up 150 feet of rope and chain with the anchor each time we try and reset it.  I am at the helm.  I can’t see him because of stuff in front of me and the dark, so we are using walkie talkies (Thanks Dan and Debbie for that tip) to try a maneuver.  The current and the wind are pushing the boat so I really have no control.  Finally we decide to move to a different section of the bay.  Eventually, we get a grip with the anchor, but are still sometimes facing different ways than others.  We are noticing, however, that other boats are going different directions and I remember reading about the ‘La Paz Waltz’ were the current and the winds do what they want with your boat depending on size and weight and anchor type.

We are not trusting our anchor so we set the alarm for every hour all night to check that we haven’t dragged and are about to hit another boat.  Well, we made it through the night, got a slip the next morning and are grateful every night for being in the marina.  The best part is that we are still speaking to each other!!!!!

As I am writing this, I notice this big Turkish ketch motor by.  A couple of minutes later, I hear on the radio that in turning into the Navy dock, it has hit a couple of anchored boats.  The ketch got caught in the La Paz Waltz, trying to fight the current and the wind. Within minutes, everyone jumps in their dinghies to go out and assist.  It turns out the boat that has the most damage is owned by a couple, Dave and Sam, Bill knew at Marina Cortez in San Diego, Islenia.  It is amazing this boating community, how helpful they are.

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So, what have we been doing since getting to La Paz and escaping the dreaded La Paz Waltz?
Well, after getting the guided tour from our friends, Dan and Debbie Lewis, from Oceanside, we have
settled into a routine.
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We get up, messy hair and all, to listen to the net at 8:00.  This is for the cruising community to share
weather, who is coming and going, swaps and trades as well as any other questions that can be
answered.  I go to yoga at 8:30 and Bill is off to coffee at 9:30 at Club Cruceros.  This is a club
sponsored by the boaters to provide coffee, a library of books and DVDs for checkout, support to
kids in need in the community and any other fun activities to be had.  A great place to socialize and
find out stuff.
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We then work on the boat or wander around town to the bank or store or just to sightsee.  We are
doing a lot of walking, which is hopefully tightening up those leg muscles so we can ski at Christmas.
After our naps, a must, we wander up to the Dock restaurant with our computers and our Spanish for
Cruisers book, have a beer and try and learn a few new words and practice on the waiters.  They are
soooooo patient with us.
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We have discovered Wednesday night dancing at La Costa restaurant, and as Bill claimed early on,
he loves to dine and dance, we kick up our feet on the dance floor.  Thursday nights, at a
restaurant across the street, is Open Mic night.  Whoa, great instrumental musicians but voices, well
let’s just say, I could even get up there and sing.  Pretty scary but entertaining.
We met my friend Judy and her friends, Diana and Robert, in Todos Santos one day for lunch.  It is
across the baja on the Pacific side and a great artsy town, although is was hard to get Bill to do any
shopping.
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On Judy’s  recommendation, back in La Paz, we wandered over to Tequilla’s.  It is owned by a friend
of Judy’s and we happened in when both Pete and his dad, Tom were there.  Way too much fun!!!
We now will make it our Monday night Football location.
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So needless to say, we are not bored.  The weather has been really windy so we haven’t sailed but
are anxious to explore the islands around here. We are off to our respective families on the 19th, Bill
to Calgary and I am going to Park City.  Can’t wait to hug my precious little granddaughters.  We will
be back in La Paz on January 13 to continue our adventures.
We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year’s!!!

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