Before we left on this adventure, I remember being curious about what one did all day with their time when living the life of a cruiser. I remember being somewhat nervous about the subject, thinking it might get boring having nothing but swimming, fishing and reading to do. That has turned out not to be a problem. We at first joked with other cruisers when we got to La Paz about not trying to take on more than one task per day; but as time went on we decided it was not a joke, it was our motto: “Never try to get more than one thing done per day.” For example, food shopping.
We have learned that food shopping takes up much of the day, so we do not even try to include buying liquor on food-shopping days. The first part of food-shopping day is of course debarking from La Roja. That means lowering the dingy, loading our shopping cart (it is a folding cart with wheels) into the dingy along with insulated bags for the refrigerated items and motoring to shore. Then we have to find a secure spot to leave the dingy while we set out to shop. One of the things we first noticed about Mexico is that its economy seems to be based around selling food to each other. Even in the smallest of towns there will be two or three food stores. Each store will have its own specialty; one will be good for fresh fruits and vegetable, another one for bread, another one for staples, etc. Then there are the fish markets and meat markets and water stores (yes, stores that just sell water to the cruisers). Bahia de Los Angeles is no exception, so having a car is a real luxury. (Normally we are walking from store to store, pulling our folding cart.)
Once we complete our food-shopping, we have to cart all our purchases back to the dingy, load them into the dingy and get it back out to the boat. Sometimes it will be calm at the anchorage, so passing the loaded grocery bags from the dingy to La Roja will go fairly easily, but more often than not, just as you get to the boat the wind and the fetch will pick up, making it challenging to pass the bags up and down. After putting everything away, we find ourselves exhausted! The day has been pretty much used up.
The next day may be Water Day. Water Day often proves to be a tough job. We have five 5-gallon jugs. We usually do about three water runs in a day. That means that we have to again load the empty jugs into the dingy, get to shore, secure the dingy, either manage to borrow a car or lug the jugs to the water store, ferry them back to the boat. Of course they are very heavy fully loaded with water. I don’t need to go into further description. It is a big job and it takes a good part of the day to re-liquefy.
And, Laundry Day. This again is an all-day job. All the dirty clothes have to be stuffed into duffels (for the life of me I never know why we have so much laundry. We hardly wear any clothes!) along with the soap and bleach. We then load the dirty clothes onto the dingy and motor to shore, find a secure spot for the dingy, and then cart all the baggage to a laundry mat. By the time we get everything there, the next challenge is to find enough machines to do everything at once and the right tokens to do the wash with (every place is different.) We actually tried to combine “Liquor Day” with “Laundry Day” but we found trying to cart both the clean clothes along with the liquor was just too much. So we have gone back to giving liquor buying its own day.
Liquor Day for us is exhausting as we have decided to go the bottled beer route. A lot of cruisers have given this up as it gets to be too much, but we are still hanging in there as the beer is so much cheaper. Doing the bottle beer routine means we have to cart all the empty bottles through the streets to the liquor store, turn them in for full ones, and then cart the full bottles back through the streets to the dingy to La Roja. We also have to buy our hard liquor. This takes some comparison shopping as prices really vary from shop to shop.
In between these basic necessities item shopping days, other things come up. For example, we might need gas. Depending on where we are, this can take hours. If we need a specific item, such as a certain size fan belt, that always takes a whole day. We have yet to score finding anything at the first spot. We usually are walking, so we go from place to place looking for whatever it may be that we need at the time.
So, in summary, there is a lot to do besides swimming, fishing and reading!