Sunday, November 20, 2011

Cabo or Bust

I know it’s been a very long time since our last post, but I just couldn’t figure out how to make laundry, bill paying, and Costco runs even a tiny bit interesting. We loved our time in San Diego, we really did, but there was nothing much to report, so you’ll thank me for leaving out the humdrum details. That final week before we left was a bit frantic with much running to and fro from Von’s to Costco to Trader Joe’s and a dozen other places. The real HaHa kick-off was the Halloween costume party in the West Marine parking lot the night before the start down the coast. So many weird and fantastic getups had me wondering -- who ARE these people anyway? But it turns out that underneath the feathers, the wigs, the pirate gear and the Bay Watch fake boobs, are some very interesting and nice folks. Our group went as Gilligan—all eight of us, because well, we just ran out of steam to do any more running around for costumes.

October 24, 2011  San Diego to Turtle Bay, Baja California Sur: It was finally time to cut the dock lines and head down to our first stop in Mexico—Turtle Bay. The start of the “race” was at 11:00am, and after a lot of hoopla from other boaters following the HaHa fleet around in a parade through the bay, blowing horns and carrying on, and the dignitaries doing their thing, and the media boat filming our departure for the evening news—we were off! The sky was cloudy and the wind non existent, so Richard, the Grand Poobah of the HaHa fleet, declared that we would have a “rolling start” which meant that we were not required to sail until such time as the wind improved—which didn’t happen until 7:00am the next morning. I think there were 147 boats that actually started and after all the boats crowded over the start line, everyone quickly moved to their planned route to Turtle Bay. Some went nearly 100 miles offshore to the southwest looking for wind, and others, like Harmony, followed a more direct route. We had two nights offshore, good weather and no problems. It was SO nice to be underway again. The first night, with no moon to speak of, we had a sky full of stars from horizon to horizon, and Harmony’s wake shone with  stunning phosphorescence as we putted our way south. We had lots of time to read, listen to the talk-a-holics on the VHF radio, and plenty of time to not fish. It seems that not only are we not racers, we’re not fishermen either, but we heard about a lot of people catching all kinds of fish on the VHF radio, so we were happy to let them have all the glory, to say nothing of all the fish blood and guts on deck. Maybe manana we’ll drop a line in the water. Or maybe not.

October 26-28 2011 Turtle Bay Baja Sur California, Mexico: Ah Turtle Bay, the dusty typical little Mexican village, with the desolate mountains overlooking it. We were pleased to see that It hasn’t changed much at all from what we remember in 2004, except that they have a much nicer set of steps to get up onto the pier than the rickety rusty ones from before. The HaHa fleet was invited to play softball with the locals. Not too many locals showed up, but it was still great fun, except for the face plant I did running from home to first base. Then to add insult to injury, James put me out at third. After a mediocre meal at the restaurant at the top of the hill in town, we returned to the dinghy dock to find that someone had stolen our line off our dinghy, which meant that the $1 we paid the local kid to ‘watch’ our dinghy was money down the drain.  Terry was none too pleased.
We took a panga to the beach party the next day and enjoyed the potluck dishes everyone brought. The beach is huge with a small creek emptying into it. The women won the traditional tug of war contest as usual. There was also beach volleyball, a water balloon fight (biodegradable balloons) and plenty of walking and hiking and exploring. The only bad thing was that one of the fleet catamarans anchored too close to the beach and ran very firmly aground, with every surge of the waves bouncing it harder on the hull. Surprisingly, no damage was done.

October 29, 2011 Turtle Bay to Bahia Santa Maria: We made the trip down with light winds, partly cloudy, but warm. Wind finally picked up and we put up the sails and sailed through the night. That was wonderful, so nice and quiet. The next day was clear and warm and since no other boats were within view we took showers on the poop deck and worked on our tans in the cockpit. Terry got plenty of sun on his “cheeks”.
We reached Bahia Santa Maria at 0600 the next morning, and spent the rest of the day relaxing on the boat. There is no town here, just a few fisherman’s shacks and an eco tour cabin. The bay itself is magnificent, bordered with a white sandy beach/spit on one side and the ever-present mountains overlooking all. The only scheduled event here was a beach party with the meal cooked by local women and music by a fabulous local band. We made our first beach landing in the dinghy by following the cues from the local pandas on the best route in. For the first time in HaHa history arrangements had been made to have the customs officials from San Carlos come over and do our check-in to Mexico right on the beach. We had signed up for this in San Diego by email, but the customs officials ran out of tourist visas just as it came our turn in line. We did get the boat checked into Mexico though! Our former co-worker from Anacortes Marine Electronics, Fritz, hopped a ride with us in the dinghy back to the boat. We realized that our dinghy prop had spun making our dinghy motor useless, although we did make it back to the boat. We’ll be looking for a new prop in Cabo. Photos of Turtle Bay to Bahia Santa Maria leg:

November 2, 2011   Bahia Santa Maria to Cabo San Lucas: The fleet left Bahia Santa Maria at 7am, with very light winds. We decided to motor and got into Cabo by midday November 3rd. The water temp was 85 degrees, and we were hot and sweaty when we got into the harbor. We had elected to get a slip in the marina for a couple of days so that we could get internet and be close to the HaHa activities. Cabo has never been one of our favorite places—it’s noisy at night, crowded and just way too touristy. You see many many more gringos than you see locals as you walk down the street. We tried to check in to Immigration, but we got there at 1:40 pm, 10 minutes after closing, so we walked back to the boat. We kept trying to get onto the marina internet—no luck. Such is Mexico! After dinner at Poncho's (owned by Americans) with the Endeavor folks, we hit the sack early. The blaring rap music from the bars lining the marina didn’t let up until 3:30am.
The next day after going to Immigration and the bank,  we attended the final Baha HaHa beach party at the Baja Cantina. We chowed down at the buffet and listened to great music--no rap! We had a blast and took a ride on one of those banana boat things, where 8-10 people sit single file and a panga pulls you out for a short ride in the bay. The panga driver dumped us into the drink twice, but who could complain when the water is 85 degrees!
The final HaHa event was the awards ceremony, and both Harmony and Endeavor took third place in their divisions. Of course, no one gets less than third place at the HaHa, but we are proud of our trophy nonetheless. It was a successful and enjoyable HaHa, and now we are ready to really start cruising on our own.


  1. Sounds like a great time. I look forward to each new post. A heads up Terry on Mexican Fishing regulations. If there is fishing tackle on board, even if stowed and not being used, each person must have a fishing permit. Up until 2008 I believe the boat also had to have a permit.


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