A yacht? How often do those of us of the non-1% get to cruise the Sea of Cortes aboard a 96-foot yacht? It just sounds elegant and exciting to be among the the beautiful people. A once in a life-time experience for our Guinea Pigs.
Filled with anticipation, and not knowing any better, we ate early at the restaurant next door to our Posada de las Flores. At 10 am, Rafael, a scrawny, older Mexican wearing the Baja Charters logo, appeared to pick us up to take us to the yacht. When we clambered aboard the immense boat, the cook had laid out an entire meal for us. We stared at it in abject misery. It wasn’t the meal that was bad, it was our bulging bellies.
Scrambled eggs, crispy fried bacon, a platter of luscious sliced fruit, and piles of doughnuts, muffins, and sweet bread. Very little of which our full bellies could accommodate except for the fruit which was particularly welcome.
Yachts, it is true, are made to impress. Teak decking and rails, sparkling chrome, spacious seating on the several decks, comfortable cushioned banquettes, and a large elegant salon/lounge. Two of the cabins have King-sized beds with all the amenities. The other two cabins (probably crew cabins) are smaller with V-berths and bunk beds. Since there were nine of us, we got all the berths. The crew had to make do with pads and sleeping bags in the lounge.
Speaking of the crew, there were four at our command–which is part of that sense of superiority, I suppose. Captain Chris is a young, slender, blonde Oklahoman, by way Portland, Oregon. It was there he met Terry Neal, the owner of the Baja Charters. Chris had worked rebuilding yachts and working on his Captain’s license. Terry tempted him with a job here in La Paz and he, along with his retiree parents, have been here ever since,. Chris captains for Terry and plans on reworking our yacht which has evidently been mistreated over its mistreated over its forty year history.
The rest of the crew included:
a. The cook, a portly graying Londoner named John with a wonderful English accent who insisted we try Baileys in our coffee for breakfast. He is married to a Mexican girl with a 6 month old baby and has given up distance sailing to stay in La Paz. He made us excellent meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner. The problem was the quantity. Llasagna for our 3 pm meal with scrumptious garlic bread and veggies. That ended at 4. Then, it seemed like minutes later, he tried to feed us pork loin and tomato squash at 7 pm which was way more than we bargained for. He even offered Bananas Foster for desert which we thankfully refused.
Breakfast, in the salon, was pancakes and sausage. Also excellent.
b.Second crewman was a youngish muscular Mexican deck hand named Jesus who hauled us in and out of the water and on and off the small boat. That took some major muscle effort since we are mostly older and not good at jumping in and out of boats or on and off deck. The small boat took some of the group out to see the Blue-footed Booby. They saw one female and a male but couldn’t see the blue feet in evidence during the mating dance.
Finally, the last crew member was a pretty young girl named Ana who is working on her Marine Biology degree. She did her best to entice people into enjoying snorkeling. We did better just sitting on deck and admiring the seals on the island of rocks nearby.
Several things worked against the snorkeling – only a few of us had ever done it before, the water was cold and choppy, and the swim vests kept riding up our necks and knocking our masks askew. Almost everyone in our group tried it which says a lot for their courage and fortitude. It didn’t work well, however. Some were shaking with terror and cold. Some fighting the snorkel. Some seeing nothing but great gray blue empty depth below our fins. Only two of us finally got to see actual reef fish but no seals came to play with us or any whale sharks either.
That night a storm rolled in. Now this is a desert area where it NEVER EVER rains. It poured! The yacht bucked and pitched, rolling us from side to side in our bunks, slamming closet doors in the cabins, and dumping all the lovely decorative trinkets crashing onto the deck. The ride back was a continuation of the same. Luckily we had not gone far and were able to make it back to port in three hours. Three hours of pitching, rolling, heaving yacht.
Land never felt so good and our little hotel such a wonderful haven! And of course, the skies turned a beautiful sunny blue by afternoon. Of course!