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While we were still holed up in Ballandra, Mike found a huge stash of our favorite kind of scallops. It was like we had struck gold. We gave some to another boat and then feasted on the plunder. We finally headed out and spent a fun night at another island called Monserrat where we snorkeled as soon as we set anchor. We saw lots of eels and cool fish. There was also a cool swim through. We again left early the next day and headed farther south O. One of the stops that we had wanted to make was on an island that has an extensive mangrove estuary on it. We spent a couple of hours in the dingy, looking at birds and these cool upside down jelly fish. Again we took off for the next anchorage. We are sort of on this race to get to La Paz to get our work done and then get across to the mainland where the kids will be flying out of for Christmas. Timing is difficult when you are traveling by boat! We did stop for a night at an anchorage at the islands outside of La Paz. We wanted one more day of summer before hitting town. Mike and Nancy did their best scuba dive ever at Los Islotes. This is a marine reserve where there is tons of sea life. It is amazing. It is also home to a sea lion colony. We had sea lions swimming right up to us and practically kissing us. We stayed away from the big bulls and had fun with the juveniles. After the scuba dive, the kids jumped in and we all snorkeled with the wildlife and had a great time. It was a wonderful way to end the summer.
The next morning we went for one last snorkel before heading into La Paz O. We got hauled out and have been busy getting everything that we can think of taken care of in La Paz. Pets have been to the vet, we have all seen the dentist and the dermatologist for Mike and Nancy, just to check on our coverings. Speaking of the vet, he gave us some eye drops for Hopper and he is seeing again! Not 100%, but he can follow hand signals and even retrieve sticks if they are not thrown very far. When we really noticed that his sight was coming back was when he began to watch TV again. He is the funniest dog, anytime that a real or even animated animal is on TV, he will jump up and watch the action. He will even run outside to see where the heck the critter went when it runs off the screen. So, just a couple of days ago we had a slumber party and the kids were watching a movie and Hopper jumped up and was following the action on screen. Talk about ecstatic, I was giggling and going on about this, all the kids thought I was nuts, but it was so cool to see him respond to a visual stimulus! It is a minor miracle in our books (or maybe we should consider it a major miracle), either way, we are very grateful to the powers that be for this gift of sight. And Hopper, who has endured the whole ordeal quite valiantly, is ecstatic also. He is jumping around like a puppy and just so happy. It is really fun to see. While he did not seem that dejected by the whole episode, he sure is enjoying his sight now! OK, enough pet stuff.
While in La Paz, we finally had some more kid boats to play with. One of the boats that we had met earlier in the year with an eight year old boy on it was in La Paz. Fletcher was so excited to be reunited with his friend. They played and had sleepovers for the next few days. What fun. All the kid boats seemed to be on a rotation of kid sleep-overs so that the parents could have date night. It was sort of like normal life. During this time, we hauled the boat out at a great boat yard O. While there we found that our fuel tank was leaking and that was mind boggling. This meant tearing the table and floor out of the boat, while the boat is twenty feet in the air and we are living aboard. Yikes. It was a bit overwhelming. Once we got the tanks out, which was no small feat, we were so glad that we had gone ahead with this major repair. The tanks had to be cut out of the hull O. It was one huge tank and there was no way that it could be removed in one piece. Once the tanks were out, we noticed a tag on the tank which said, "INSPECTED AND REJECTED" O! We thought that was pretty funny. Well, the tanks lasted 25 years, so it could not have been that bad, but the fact that it had been put in the boat even though it was rejected gave us some pause. The tanks were in terrible shape and would have developed a major leak very soon. We were grateful that we fixed the problem before it became a huge problem underway. We would have had 200 gallons of diesel sloshing through the boat! The yard we were in fabricated some beautiful new tanks for us out of fiberglass. We had them remade as two connected tanks so that we could remove them in the future if we ever needed to. We lost some capacity, but it is a much better system. This was the main reason for our delay in La Paz.
Also during this time we met several new kid boats that are cruising this year. There were two families in particular that had kids the same age as Dana and Fletcher. (We liked the parents too!) Since we were in the yard and it was hard to cook and do dishes, etc... we had many meals out with the other kid boats O. It was very fun to be so social. At one dinner, a fellow came through that plays the saw O. He is Mexican but does all the Saw festivals in the states. He spoke very good English. He was amazing. It was just a regular old saw that you would buy at the hardware store. He gave Mike a quick lesson and let him have a shot at making music O. One of the boys developed a very deep crush on Dana. He even made her a bead bracelet as a parting gift. Her first gift of jewelry from an admirer. She is a charmer! It was sad to see them pull out, but we hope to see them again farther on down the line. During the haul out time we also had an unexpected visit from the kids Aunt Tari O. She flew in and stayed on the boat with us in the boat yard, quite an experience for a visitor. If you want a taste of someone's reality, boy was that it. It was so fun to have her here and the kids were ecstatic. While she was here, the Baja 1000, a huge off road race through the Baja desert came into La Paz, which is the finish line O. Tari was here for less than two days, but boy did we pack it in, it was a great visit. Also while we were floorless and table-less, we were trying to maintain school so that we do not fall behind. Since the kids will be gone their whole Christmas break, there will be no time to make up any work. So, Nancy has been keeping on schedule even though there is so much to try to do in La Paz. We decided that since the tanks would not be ready for awhile, that we would rather wait in the water than in the boat yard. The yard has a dock attached to it, so it was very easy for them to just tow us around to a slip. It is so much nicer to be in the water. We can do dishes, use our own bathrooms, (rather than going down a ladder and across a dirt yard to go), we can make our own water again and have a bit more normal life, and the kids can play on the dock O.. After being in the yard, the boat was filthy. Mike scrubbed down the outside, while Nancy did the same to the inside. It sure felt good to have a clean boat.
Nancy shopped and got ready for Thanksgiving, including cleaning up the boys with fresh haircuts. We were again going to Encanto's with two other boats for the feast. Nancy made two pies and baked another one that someone else had made. It takes so long to get these small boat ovens up to temperature, that once it is hot, you may as well bake a bunch. We had a very nice dinner and came home appropriately stuffed O. There was a flu going around that it seemed that one person on many boats got. Well, Nancy was the one on Desiderata that got it and it happened Thanksgiving night. Boy, did she give, and give, and give. But, all in all, our health has been good. We have had a couple of colds, but that has been it until now. The rest of the month was spent finishing up boat projects, keeping the kids on track with school and finishing everything that was on our list to do or get in La Paz. Another thing that we got while in La Paz was a used dive compressor. We think that it is a good one and we got it for a very good price. That is our Christmas present to each other. Now we also have to get a few parts for this like, oil, hoses and filters. Oh boy, some more things to add to our list, but we are so excited to be able to dive more once we get it set up. It was a pretty frantic pace, very exhausting and we could not wait to get back out sailing and to get in the water again.
Please click to enlarge!
A pelican hitching a ride as we sail towards La Paz
Sia, catching up on her (and our) favorite reading while underway
Hauling the boat out
The tanks get cut out, after our beautiful floor was cut open
Inspected and rejected
Aunt Tari survives a boat yard visit
A beautiful sunset and ice cream walk before dinner with Aunt Tari
Some of the other boat kids that we found in La Paz, perfect ages for our kids
A fellow came to entertain us at dinner. He has been playing the saw for 42 years and was really good
Mike got a saw lesson, he needs some practice
The Baja 1000 finish line
A Baja 1000 road rally vehicle
Kids playing on the dock
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