Thursday, November 11, 2010

Peaceful La Paz

After anchoring for the night next to Isla Cerralvo, a few hours south of La Paz, we all woke up feeling very well rested (especially Perk). It wasn’t too long after we’d hauled out the anchor that Luke noticed one of our fishing lines was heading in the wrong direction. Excitement grew as the line was pulled in and it became clear a large, shimmering, brightly colored fish was on the other end. We’d finally caught a Dorado! Also known as Mahi Mahi or Dolphin Fish, this guy is probably the most beautifully colored pelagic fish, and definitely one of the best for eating.

It’s been a long time since I, or any of us onboard, have eaten meat from an animal that we ourselves have also killed, although for many around the world it is a regular practice. Procuring meat yourself is a potent reminder to be grateful for the food upon your table. Also, the splendor and responsiveness of the fish we’ve caught has led me to question the reasoning of partial-vegetarianism, which involves eating no meat except fish. Beasts of the sea are no less impressive than the beasts of land.

After a leisurely sail into La Paz, we tied up at Marina Palmira, ate deliciously fresh Mahi Mahi ceviche for dinner, and went to bed. Marina Palmira is a quiet and lovely place, very clean and very friendly. A list of rules helps ensure it stays this way, the two most pertinent being #12: “It is prohibited the music in a high level and scandalous celebrations. After 20:00 hrs, avoid being noisy to have a respectful environment,” and #21: “Out of consideration for families, it is prohibited the prostitution in our Marina facilities.” On top of that, the water is remarkably clear in the marina so that schools of various types of fish (including bright baby tropical reef fish) may be seen swimming all over the place.

In the morning we took a cab to downtown La Paz to explore our new temporary town. There is much to be said about this charming seaside city and I will say more as I learn more. It is both bustling and tranquil, with plenty of English speakers but not nearly as touristy as Cabo. We’ve rented our slip until December 8th, so there will be plenty of time to discover the area.

While walking about, we ran into a local sailor who’d done the Ha-Ha and recognized Kitty from Cabo San Lucas. After chatting for a bit, he recommended a man named Mario with whom to talk about our engine troubles. Mario came aboard El Tiburon later that day to help us diagnose the problem. He was a gentle 70 year-old man of few words, all of them being in Spanish. Although passable Spanish is spoken by members of our crew, our linguistic capability does not include the vocabulary necessary to discuss a diesel engine. Luckily, I’d purchased the book Spanish for Cruisers (which includes sailing relevant terminology) as an afterthought while shopping for other necessities at West Marine before we left.

During Mario’s consultation (for which he refused compensation), he identified two important components of our engine problem.

1) The smoke from the engine was ‘gris,’ which although it sounds like ‘grease’ and we at first thought he meant we were burning oil, actually means grey, and that’s good because it’s not blue or black. So the engine is fine.

2) While in neutral, the cooling water output was healthy and increased as the engine revved higher. But while in gear, the water output was decreased by half and didn’t increase with acceleration, which suggests there is a blockage in the exhaust system.

Aboard El Tiburon, Mario is now referred to as “The Oracle.”

1 comment:

  1. It sounds like you had a wonderful birthday feast yesterday, Luke! Happy 40th, Sweetie.