3/3/2014 – Back in La Paz

We made the Guaymas-to-La Paz trip the easy way yesterday:  we flew.  Aereo Calafia is one of two airlines still flying out of the tiny Guaymas airport and, fortunately, also one of the few airlines still flying into La Paz.  We  got up early, buttoned Flipper up for her stay at the Totonaka RV Park in San Carlos and then Doug (s/v El Gitano) gave us a ride to the airport.  The security checkpoint at the airport, being very small, was also very easy.  Same drill as in the US (except that you can keep your shoes on) but with smiling, polite agents instead of the suspicious, no-humor brand we’re used to.  The plane was the smallest non-private airplane either of us have ever flown on.  It was a 12-passenger Cessna something-or-other and was considerably less roomy inside than a large airport shuttle van.  Lulu and I are well-suited to such an environment but most of the folks looked pretty uncomfortable as they stooped way over and tried to squeeze themselves down the narrow aisle.

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Once the plane got over to the Baja side of the Sea, it was fun trying to identify islands and such.  We were sitting just forward of the back door so, between having 2 big windows and no wing in our way, we had a pretty darn good view.  By 11:15 AM or so, we were on the ground in La Paz and finding a taxi for the trip back to the marina.

Marina Del Palmar looked pretty much the same as when we left.  A few boats have left and others arrived.  No empty slips.  They have gotten the new monstrous 100-ton travelift assembled so that’s different but, overall, same-o, same-o.  They did move one of the old Turkish-built schooners back to the end of the marina.  It had been here before and we’d been tied next to it on one of our previous stays.  Back then, it was notable for the incredible amount of bird poop on it and for the fact that its bilge pump ran for around 45 seconds every minute.  Since then it’s been hauled out and, we thought, they were working on restoring it. However, this time it’s notable for the fact that it’s in MUCH worse repair but its bilge pump doesn’t seem to be running anymore.  Carl, on m/v Verdict, next to us, said that when it came in, it was infested with rats.  He said that there were rats running all over the docks and he’d had to kill a couple that got on his boat.  Fortunately, Siempre Sabado was closed up tight and there was no evidence of rat visits.  He said that it looks like they are just slowly stripping the old schooner for whatever is salvageable.  

He also told us of some young guys off an old panga who have apparently been doing a bit of thieving, possibly to support a drug habit.  Carl lost two or three big, expensive deep sea fishing rigs and Benny (m/v Lucia Celeste) lost at least one outboard motor.  Everything we had on deck had been stowed below so the only thing anyone could have taken from us, without breaking in, was the dinghy.  Even our propane tanks were locked up and, of course, our little outboard was as well although it might be too small to be of interest anyway.  At any rate, looks like we came through untouched.

Everything on Siempre Sabado appears to be working and in good shape, other than a coating of dust everywhere, although not all that bad down below.  We toasted our arrival home with a beer that was nice and cold, indicating the fridge had worked just fine during our absence.  However, later yesterday evening, the beers were decidedly not so cold. We checked the fridge control panel and, according to the indicator lights, the compressor was running full bore, although the cooling plate in the fridge was definitely not cold.  We cycled the power but that didn’t seem to help.  It was getting late so we didn’t really have a chance to investigate.  Was it just trying to recover from the load of groceries?  Dunno.  This morning, the compressor is still running full tilt but, since there’s a bunch of stuff piled on top of the fridge, I can’t tell if it’s cold until after Lulu gets up and we can put all the stuff back on the bunk and open the fridge.  Guess I know what my first priority job will be today.

After we got unpacked, we donned our backpacks and walked down to the two big grocery stores near here, Chedraui and Mega.  We needed produce, tortillas, cheese, toilet paper, some meat, cereal, milk and crema.  Once we got this load back to the boat and unloaded we realized how hungry we were.  All I’d had so far was some pineapple.  All Lulu’d had was cereal and a banana.  So, we decided to combine our next chore with getting some late lunch.  We needed to go to Manuel’s for beer and Oxxo for drinking water.  The water in our tank is pretty stinky right now so we need to buy water until we get the tank flushed out.  We also wanted to pick up a couple of extra beers to have with lunch since the Super Burro that we like doesn’t sell beer.  So, we figured we’d stop at Oxxo to get water and lunch beers, stop at Super Burro for lunch and then hit Manuel’s for the rest of the beer on our way home.  Our first shock was when we found the beer coolers at Oxxo locked up.  The kid working indicated that they couldn’t sell beer after 3:00 PM.  Huh?  Never ran into that before.  So we just got our water and headed to Super Burro.

As we hoped she’d be, our favorite lady was working at Super Burro.  Always good to see her and she always seems glad to see us as well.  This relationship started back in 2010, when we first got to La Paz.  We ate here one day and I took her picture.  The next day, I returned and gave her a print of the picture.  She was delighted and we’ve been friends ever since, although, I confess, I don’t actually know her name.


We ordered our favorite La Paz comfort food: papas rellenas.  For those not in the know, this is stuffed potatoes.  Basically it’s mashed potatoes topped with butter, cheese, corn, and carne asada.  Then you can top up the rest with a variety of salsas.  So good.  While we were waiting, I walked down to Manuel’s to see if he was selling beer.  When asked, he said “¡Claro!”  So, not sure what Oxxo’s deal was but apparently it wasn’t against the law to sell beer after 3:00 on Sunday.  

While we ate, we watched a bunch of kids getting their float ready right out front.  Today is the parade that kicks off Carnaval.  The theme apparently was something like Infinite Universe so the floats leaned heavily toward space ships and aliens.  After lunch we took our liquid cargo back to the boat, grabbed the camera and headed to town to watch the parade.  We walked the length of the parade route checking out the folks who were waiting for it to start.

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And, of course, what says “Carnaval” better than a carny-type rug salesman with a LOUD PA system?

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Not being terribly interested in the parade itself, we had a beer at one of the many Tecate tents and then started walking back towards the marina.  As we approached Stella’s restaurant, we saw our friend John and Vickie (m/v Doña Elena) sitting at a table with some empty chairs.  We sat with them and watched some of the parade.  From where we sat we could see the tops of the floats which is really where the action is anyway.

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Partway through the parade we noticed smoke coming from somewhere around a block or so behind the malecón.  Shortly after, we could see the flames.  It was clear that a palapa roof was burning.

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Found out this morning that the fire was at Rancho Viejo mariscos restaurant.  It used to be a good place to eat, primarily for the great view of the harbor.  However, for the last year at least, it’s been closed.  The report on the net this morning is that the old wooden structure was pretty much a total loss.  

But, the show must go on, and go on it did.

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There’s another parade today and I believe that Carnaval goes on most of the week, so we should have plenty of opportunity to get some carney food.  But first, I need to figure out what’s the deal with the fridge.


About sryoder

Steve & Lulu... retired. Had enough of the cold wet dreary fall/winter/spring in the Pacific Northwest. Bought a boat, fixed it up, sold our home and sailed to Mexico in November, 2010. Been here ever since except for occasional forays to the States (summer only, thank you) to visit the kids, parents and siblings. If you're looking for a sailing blog, this is the wrong place. This is a traveling, hunkering in, eating blog. Sailing is just how we get from place to place when we can't walk.
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4 Responses to 3/3/2014 – Back in La Paz

  1. vraymond108 says:

    Steve and Lulu,
    Thanks for the update. Glad you made it back to the boat OK and that it was not locked up with a sticker on it like others in MX have experience.
    BTW the plane is a Cessna Caravan. Very reliable, easy to fly airplane but terrible in icing conditions. If it looks like there will be ice (hard to tell from the ground) but only occurs when flying through clouds or freezing rain, then best to wait a day to fly. Curious though how long the flight was. I had the thought that you were going to put Flipper on the ferry but had not thought about flying. I assume the price was reasonable.
    We would like to visit friends on the mainland and visit Copper Canyon when we do get down there.
    I have had similar issues with the refer that you are having and I suspect the thermostat to be the issue. If not then you probably have a leak somewhere. I am of course assuming that you have Danfoss. BDxx compressor. Online I have read that the power to the compressor is often the culprit and cleaning the contacts might solve the problem. Also the system itself is very fussy about it voltage so if your batteries are down a bit that might cause so issues.
    Good luck with troubleshooting.

    • sryoder says:

      We left Flipper in San Carlos because we want to sail Siempre Sabado up there for on-the-hard storage during our Epic Road Trip. If we’d brought the camper down by ferry, then we’d have two rigs to get to San Carlos. Plus, it’ll be great to have it there to stay in while I’m doing boat projects after we get to SC.

      The flight from Guaymas to La Paz was about 1 hour and40 minutes. The price wasn’t a screaming bargain but we didn’t feel ripped off either, considering all the alternatives. Must have seemed fair to others as well since 11 of the 12 seats were filled. Cost us about $150(US) each.

      As to the fridge, I’m still troubleshooting it. Could be (and likely is) some sort of blockage at the evaporator plate end of the capillary tube. I was feeling around and jarred the tube and the fridge started working again. For awhile. Then it quit indicating that whatever was blocking the tube that I may have knocked loose, got stuck up in there again. The book has 3 different ways the tube can get plugged and I was investigating those when a new issue came up. One of the things to do to clear one type of blockage is to turn the system off for a little while to allow the pressure to drop so the blockage falls out. However, after doing that, now I’m getting a “compressor non-start” code on the control panel. Time to dive back in.


  2. Raoul says:

    *I bet it is good to be back to the ship! I really liked the pictures of the parade. Some very nice costumes and such! What a nice treat for you! Best to you both…

  3. joan yoder says:

    good to hear you are safe and sound in La Paz. you are having fridge problems we are having transmission problems. Ours is costlier than yours though. Ugh. Cars. Love, Mom

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