Monday, November 12, 2007

Baja Ha Ha - San Diego to Cabo San Lucas

Sorry for the long delay in posting anything to our blog. Through a combination of limited internet access and being busy doing whatever retired people do it just didn’t get done. We departed San Diego way back on October 28 in the company of 156 other boats on the first leg of the “Baja Ha-Ha” race/rally to Cabo San Lucas located at the tip of Baja California. Our first scheduled stop was Turtle Bay some 360 nautical miles from San Diego. The wind was almost non-existent until about 5 minutes before the 11:00 start and then filled nicely so we took off like a shot near the front of the fleet. Was a real thrill for us to look back on the fleet with Point Loma in the background. We were fortunate to have good winds all along the course enabling us to sail all the way for just over 2 days while most boats resorted to using their engines at some point.

With our hand trolling lines we caught two very nice yellow fin tuna (maguro for you sushi fans). Rod and John wrestled to subdue the fish and then Gilly did a great job of filleting them. Sashimi was soon the order of the day. We arrived at the small village of Turtle Bay after dark at 8:00 PM on October 31 and had to feel our way in using radar and some assistance from our fellow boats. The very important auto pilot died during our last night at sea, but fear not as “Mr. Fix Anything”, Rod Kidd, was able to trouble shoot the problem in Turtle Bay (broken magnet in the drive motor) and repair it while John stared on in amazement. Although it worked fine on the next two legs we decided to replace the whole unit so as to avoid any future problems. While this was going on Gilly was ashore passing out candy to the very cute village kids. These people have very little but could not have been more friendly and helpful to the 500+ gringos invading their village for 2 days. On the second day in Turtle Bay we were part of a large pot luck beach party for all the Ha Ha-ers, which was totally fun. Gave us a chance to talk to our new friends and catch up with people from the 4 other Encinal Yacht Club boats in the rally.

We departed Turtle Bay at 9:00 AM on November 3 for the 240 mile leg Bahia Santa Maria. We again had good wind which unfortunately didn’t last long enough and we ended up motoring for a total of 13 of the 37 hour leg but still had a another night arrival. We had a successful day fishing and this time it was 2 big yellow tail tuna (hamachi) which made up for the lack of wind and by now our catching and filleting skills were much improved when dealing with these great eating fish. Bahia Santa Maria is huge with an easy entrance so coming in at night was not much of a problem for us. The area is uninhabited save for a few small structures which we understand house some transient fishermen. Despite the remote location someone not associated with the Ha-Ha drives for many miles over dusty roads to put on a dinner for the fleet accompanied by a small rock band. Because of huge swells coming through the bay making beach landings difficult we decided to stay on the boat. Probably turned out to be a good decision as more than 70 people we unable to get off the beach before dark and were forced to spend the night ashore. We enjoyed a good night’s sleep and departed the next morning for the last 180 mile leg to Cabo San Lucas. By this time the weather had turned much warmer so our last night at sea was spent in shorts and t-shirts while moving down the course under a beautiful star filled sky with a good breeze directly behind us.
Unfortunately the wind starting dying around 3:00 AM and by 8:30 it was down to almost nothing so we started up the engine for the last 4 ½ hours to Cabo and arrived in the early afternoon to a beautiful setting. Because of movie filming, starring Adam Sandler, in a location where they didn’t want to see any boats we were forced to anchor in close proximity to other boats with jet skies, pangas, and para sailing boats speeding all around us. An unbelievable scene….. Despite all of the commotion and confusion around, we’ve enjoyed our stay in Cabo.

We bid farewell to our able crew of Rod and Peggy on November 11 and plan to leave here on November 13 for an anchorage called Los Frailes which is about 40 miles away. From there we will go to Mazatlan where we’ve arranged welcome space in a marina for 6 days and will spend Thanksgiving there before heading down to Puerto Vallarta.

To see larger photos and captions, click on one of the photos...