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Harbor-bound in La Paz for Christmas

We ended up making it to La Paz just a couple days before Christmas, excited to do a big re-provisioning since our stores were getting quite low since our run in Cabo. We anchored in the bay, along with over a hundred boats that are scattered in virtually any free space outside of the channel markers. There’s a decent amount of current that runs through the long, expansive bay which can make some boats swing at different times, depending on how much current is hitting their area so it took a second try to set the hook in a spot that we felt confident we wouldn’t swing into anyone.

Most of the marinas have dinghy docks, where you can tie up for a small daily fee ($30 pesos= $1.50 USD) and the dock at Marina de La Paz had garbage and potable water included for the dinghy dock fee, so it made being anchored out quite easy.

Most of our provision runs have been limited to what we can carry in 2 backpacks and a couple of cloth grocery bags on each shoulder. This ends up being a handful of canned goods but mostly fresh produce so once we got to La Paz we were ready for a big haul. We decided it was best to split provisioning up into a couple days, dividing it up by food type: canned goods, non-perishables like grains (which we got from an awesome zero-waste store we found) and fresh produce.

WOWZA. Within 3 days, we had walked our feet off all over La Paz, eaten out at so many different taco joints and stocked up our food supply. Gemini felt ready to set sail once again and spend Christmas at anchor at the nearby island, Espiritu Santo. Christmas Eve we woke up at 4:30am, preparing for departure to make sure we could arrive to the island at a decent hour to enjoy our holiday. We got on the VHF radio to announce to the Port Captain that we were heading out of the harbor, as they require every vessel to do as they enter or exit the port of La Paz. Unfortunately, the port captain answered our call saying that we could not leave because the port was closed, as the forecast for that evening showed winds up to 15kts from the North.

“We are a sailboat… We need the wind to get moving! Also, why would you close the port house before the wind is forecasted to start?” these were all the thoughts we had running through our sleepy heads as we slowly realized that we were not going to be leaving La Paz that morning. We had heard that the Port Captain closes the harbor quite regularly, though it’s only to vessels leaving the bay. Unfortunately, although we could have been well on our way to our island anchorage before the winds even picked up to a whopping 15 knots, we did not want to risk any trouble with Mexican authorities.

As the day went on, we baked cinnamon rolls and cooked up some Mahi Mahi we had caught on our way into La Paz into a delicious sweet and spicy Asian hot pot dish for an unconventional Christmas Eve meal. We kept the VHF on to hear if the Port Captain happened to change their mind and open the harbor, but by about 11am it was clear that they had left work early and gone home to celebrate the holiday. Well, we had been warned that NOTHING happens on or around Christmas time here in Mexico, and this was a perfect example of that. That is one of the challenges but also rewards of the sailing lifestyle - living with such flexibility and learning to go with the flow.

Christmas Day was no different, the harbor was closed once again. So, instead of getting upset, we enjoyed another cozy day at anchor. We took naps, watched all our favorite Christmas episodes of The Office, played Scrabble and hoped that the next day would bring better news from the Port Captain, being that they would be done celebrating and hopefully back at work in full swing.

At first light we hailed the Port Captain and luckily they reported that the harbor was OPEN! We quickly picked up anchor and made our way out the long channel, before they changed their minds…

La Paz was an enjoyable pit-stop, one of our favorite larger towns and we can see how many cruisers make it there and never leave. You have tons of great shops, restaurants, beaches and wildlife and a handful of nice marinas to stay in if you choose to skip the anchorage.

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