Our friend and crewmember Matt, along with his wife Kristin, arrived in La Paz last weekend. This means several things: (1) the cockpit finally got cleaned out so they have a place to sleep, (2) the girls adore them both which has left Michael and I more time to prepare for the crossing, and (3) it’s nearly time for us to start our life-changing passage across the Pacific Ocean.
Kristin will travel with us over the next week to San Jose del Cabo where we will check out of Mexico, complete a run to Costco, and load up our fresh produce. Matt will stay onboard with us for the next 2700 or so nautical miles to Hiva Oa. Having our friend along will be an enormous help, as each of us will take only one 4-hour watch at night, allowing us to get at least 8 hours of sleep a day for ample energy to cook, sail and take care of and enjoy time with our girls. Matt also likes to cook, splice and he is a much better fisherman than we are so we plan to put his skills to use. He is also hilarious and we already enjoy his (and Kristin’s) fresh company onboard.
Yesterday afternoon we motored out of La Paz in calm waters. We’d had a slip at the dock for the past two weeks while we got the boat ready and piled on six heaping grocery cartloads of food. It was quite like the day we left Olympia over eight months ago; we knew we were ready to go but kept feeling like we’d forgotten something, along with the knowing that we were starting out on something really really big. Our friends on Del Viento tossed our docklines onboard and I was torn between the sadness of not wanting to leave our good friends who we shared so many fantastic times with over the past few months and the excitement of us each going off on our own adventures and meeting up to share our stories in another year or two.
We are now anchored one last time at Bahia San Gabriel at Isla Espiritu Santo showing our friends one of our favorite beaches ever. There are a few things remaining on our list of things to do before we step off the continent but today we are enjoying the chance to wind down after a truly whirlwind last three weeks of final preparations. At the end of February, we flew to San Diego for the weekend to pick up a number of items we didn’t trust to ship across the border (i.e. a new autopilot, our repaired HAM radio as well as a used spare purchased on ebay, a New Found Metals portlight to install at the end of our bed which opens into the cockpit, South Pacific guidebooks and charts, and most importantly: pounds and pounds of Trader Joes dark chocolate).
Back in La Paz we checked the boat over from top to bottom, installed the new autopilot and portlight, fixed loose stitches on our sails, got dental cleanings, fillings, a crown, and an eye exam, enjoyed five crazy days of Carnaval, filled the propane and dive tanks, went to meetings with the other La Paz Puddle Jumpers, helped with the girls’ bake sale for Baja Dogs, picked up more clean, dried and folded laundry, shopped for, piled on and stowed food, food, and more food, paper towels, toilet paper and sunscreen.
Even so, we definitely found ourselves on Mexican time: by 5 pm every day we’d wrap up our work, go and find Leah who was off playing with her girlfriends, and meander down the malecon to our favorite beach restaurant. Here, the margaritas were excellent and, more importantly, had an impressive playground right in the sand for the kids to run around in while their parents unwound.
It was sitting here two nights ago that I realized how truly much we are going to miss warm, easy Mexico. We’ll be back. But for now the Pacific is calling and we’re on our way.