Thursday, March 20, 2014

Just Someplace
By Michael
LA PAZ, MEXICO

 
We celebrated Frances's eighth birthday
at the end of February. By request, her
birthday dinner was at Tim and Nancy's
house, our friends who live here in La Paz.
Where will you be next season?

When are you taking off?

You’re still here?

Cruising implies motion; it's hard to voyage with your anchor buried in the sea bed. Among cruisers I feel the expectation that we move, to reach the next port, hopefully more exotic than the last.

Or not. There’s no shame in still being anyplace, so long as it’s where you want to be. Nobody will strip you of your cruising badge if you slow down to give people and their cultures time to reveal themselves. But this is easier said than done.

Last year, way up in Alaska, I suggested to Windy that we plan a Pacific crossing this season, join the 2014 Puddle Jumpers. She wouldn't commit, wondering how we could know at 59 degrees north latitude what we'd want to do when we returned to the tropics a half-year later. I clearly have the desire to add miles to our log, to add destinations, to experience as much as possible in the time we have. Surely we didn’t buy a boat and upend our lives just to sit in one place.

By the time we reached Southern California, she argued that she was ready to slow down, that we'd done nothing but move, almost daily, for the past several months. Every day had been passage planning, guidebooks, and discovery. It was exhilarating, but exhausting. The Sea of Cortez beckoned like a shimmering Siren of calm and ease.

I agreed. There is a trade-off to unceasing motion.

I thought back to the richness of our long-term stays in Victoria, B.C. and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Frances swinging at her pinata.
The family of Dawn Treader joined
the festivities.
But even that richness doesn't mean long-term stays are indicated for every attractive destination. This past winter, our two weeks anchored off Bahia Magdalena’s Man O’War Cove (Puerto Magdalena) was sublime, but then we were ready to leave. And that's when we left, no matter that we might have discovered more had we stayed two months.

Obviously, budgets and seasons and personal factors play a dominant hand in determining the pace and compass headings of cruising sailboats. We’ve been at anchor here in La Paz since mid-January. It’s our third time visiting this interesting city by boat, and we’re still learning more about it each day. We have close friends who live in a house here. We’ve met other cruising families. It’s a great place for family and other close friends to visit. There are lots of things for the girls to see and do.

But all that said, I’m itching to move. Perhaps it’s spawned by the radio bon voyages to the folks who sail out of here daily, bound for the South Pacific. This afternoon came a knock on the hull, another cruising family dropping by in their dinghy to tell us they’re leaving, headed north into the Sea and then on to Panama.

Windy is now away in Thailand for nearly a month. We have close friends coming for ten days in April. The girls are enjoying their tennis lessons. But soon we will pull our anchor and sail deeper into the Sea of Cortez. And we’ll give it several more months at least, to revisit old haunts and soak up as much of her wonder as we can. It's where we want to be now.

--MR

For her birthday breakfast, Frances requested smoothies and crepes at
the crepe place with her sister and Sophia from Dawn Treader. For the
perfect Frances day, this was followed by a trip to the shelter to
visit with and walk dogs.

4 comments:

  1. Good onya guys. After a season of fast, slow is wonderful.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Happy Birthday Frances! Your special day sounded perfect! Slowing down is good for the soul too, Mike. Enjoy the Sea for us. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Happy birthday Frances!

    I think you are either a person who requires motion or a person who requires a slower pace. It gets interesting when you have a married couple and one partner is the former and one the latter ( as in Mark and I's case!) Sounds like you and Windy have worked out a good balance for the two of you,

    ReplyDelete
  4. I dunno - it's pretty great out here in the South Pacific...

    Frankly, I just object to anyone being cool with their plans, because we change ours so often. :)

    ReplyDelete

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