Friday, April 1, 2011

La Cruz to La Paz

A few notes on our recent crossing to La Paz...

We celebrated Chris's birthday a few days early with Jo and Rob in La Cruz.

The birthday 'boy'

We arrived safe but tired after an 8 day crossing ( 4 days straight at the end)  from La Cruz to La Paz,  beating into light winds. I wish I had taken a photo of the chart plot of Ladybug's wanderings over those days. She seemed to be heading anywhere but La Paz, tacking east and west. On our last day we ran the motor as the wind died almost completely and we were running out of time. Usually we wait for the wind to come up but this time we were expecting company on March 31st in La Paz.

En route, we anchored in the San Blas estuary to visit our friends Rich, Lori, Amy and Jay on their new 36 foot sailboat Third Day. Lori and Amy were busy painting mermaids and fish on the bottom.

Bottom Painting Third Day
We took time out to hike to the old fort which was built in 1770 to defend the town's extensive sea trade with the Philippines. Behind the fort are the ruins of the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary built in 1769. The church once contained the bronze bells that are said to have inspired Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem "The Bells of San Blas".  For someone who never actually visited San Blas he recalled the town's bustling past quite vividly.

Church of Our Lady of the Rosary

Inside of the church - beautiful stonework
It was fun sailing up the estuary in our little dinghy before celebrating Chris's birthday on the actual day with the Boren family on sv Third Day.

Local paddling in a pirgue type boat 

Back to the trip up to La Paz:

Passing through the San Lorenzo Channel north of La Paz in the moonless night was not as bad as I had anticipated since we did not have to dodge any tankers or ferries. Chris, to give him his sailors' due, did put up the sails for a quarter of an hour but the light head wind was no match for the strong current against us and he had to call it quits to save the sails from wear and tear.

 And, now, we are off to the islands - Islas Partida, Espiritu Santo and San Francisco. A couple of friends and their 13 year old daughter arrived from Victoria last night. They will be our first guests to live and cruise on Ladybug II for one week, if they do not mutiny first! Chris and I went to pick up the groceries yesterday after Chris planned the week's menu - all vegetarian except for the odd tuna/squid sandwich to prevent withdrawal. We hope that the pristine beaches, turquoise waters, dolphins and whales will more than make up for cramped quarters, lack of privacy, a vegetarian diet and Captain Curmudgeon!

We shall report back when we return as to how we all fared and maybe even bribe our guests to send their feedback.

Longfellow's poem, The Bells of San Blas:
They are a voice of the Past, 
Of an age that is fading fast, 
Of a power austere and grand; 
When the flag of Spain unfurled 
Its folds o'er this western world, 
And the Priest was lord of the land.
The chapel that once looked down 
On the little seaport town 
Has crumbled into the dust; 
And on oaken beams below 
The bells swing to and fro, 
And are green with mould and rust.
Then from our tower again 
We will send over land and main 
Our voices of command, 
Like exiled kings who return 
To their thrones, and the people learn 
That the Priest is lord of the land!
O Bells of San Blas, in vain 
Ye call back the Past again! 
The Past is deaf to your prayer; 
Out of the shadows of night 
The world rolls into light; 
It is daybreak everywhere.

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