notes from the boat
By the end of October 2004, almost six months after originally leaving Los
Angeles, it was time to have a holiday from the holiday! After enduring the
climatic challenges of the Sea of Cortez we decided to pack up the fishing
rod for a while and head back to shore for the festive season. We left
Indigo Moth safely docked in Marina Palmira in La Paz in November and
ventured off in search of... winter.
Before leaving La Paz, we decided to take our old nemesis, the water maker
back to the States for an overhaul by the manufacturer and so we rented a
car from Thrifty (Carl having worn out his welcome with Budget) and drove
the 1800 kilometres or so, up the Baja peninsula to the US. Baja has
basically one narrow road which runs its entire length. Along this road are
extremely large trucks, extremely unreliable Mexican trucks (one of which
was on fire when we passed it), cows wearing camouflage gear (especially at
night), fog and torrential rain. Needless to say, we encountered all these
conditions and even managed to combine them on several occasions. Overtaking
a large semi-trailer in torrential rain at night while aquaplaning was one
of the more memorable moments of the trip and definitely had one of us
clutching our seatbelt in what seemed like (and probably was) a near death
Arriving back in Los Angeles, we decided that it was snow we were after and
with a great deal of good fortune, we were offered a log cabin near Big Bear
for the holidays, a mere two hour drive from LA. With great excitement we
packed up the Mexican rental and headed off to the mountains, 7000 feet
above sea level, quite a change in altitude for us.
Arriving in the disastrously-named village of Fawnskin (don't say it
quickly), on the shores of Big Bear Lake, we found a gorgeous log cabin
surrounded by pine trees. We were a little disappointed at first as there
was no snow but we had an open fireplace, an outdoor hot tub and an entire
forest to walk the dogs in.
Two days later however, our wish was granted, we awoke to the magic of snow
falling and continuing to fall almost nonstop for a week. Several inches
became a foot or more and we settled in to enjoy a week of solitude. The
Mexican rental wasn't going anywhere and in an unfortunate moment of
attempting to defrost the foot of snow on top of it, we managed to crack the
entire windscreen. We think we might try Hertz next!
The day before New Year's Eve, Catherine and Tony joined us and in true
festive spirit we decided to celebrate the new year a night early. Well,
that wasn't the actual plan but after several drinks in the hot tub, a mad
dash in bathing suits up and down a frozen hillside and other drink-induced
acts, none of us were in particularly good form for the actual event.
Viktor and Inna joined us for New Year's Eve and we all enjoyed tramping
through the forest in knee deep (depending on one's height) snowdrifts. An
afternoon spent sledding in perfect powder was hilarious fun; for once no
serious injuries resulted and meanwhile a goose and all the trimmings
roasted slowly in the oven awaiting our return.
It turned out there was something nasty in the hot tub. As a result, we
ended up on antibiotics and we're absolutely sure it had nothing to do with
drinking copious amounts of alcohol. It really wouldn't be fair to go into
more detail. Needless to say, it wasn't pretty and we feel much better now.
Early January saw us heading back to Los Angeles where we waited for rain
storms to abate before attempting to face the Baja drive of death. A new
windscreen, the rental car was as good as new and it was time to get back on
the boat. Carl bravely reassembled the water maker, only to find a part
previously unbroken had somehow cracked in our absence and the resulting
geyser was an unwelcome water feature in the main cabin. After a call to the
manufacturer, we discovered a roaming rep would be in Puerto Vallarta around
February 10th and would be carrying spare parts for us.
And so on February 5th a reservation awaits us in Puerto Vallarta, in a
place appropriately called Paradise!
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