Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Baja Ha Ha 2012 - San Diego to Cabo

We pulled anchor and headed into the marina which was to be our "home" for the 8 days prior to departure. This was a welcome change that allowed us clean shower facilities, access to a swimming pool, on site laundry and a short dinghy ride to Shelter Island with the chandleries, cheap eats and pre departure seminars. We had a lot of things to accomplish prior to our departure including bright work, vet appointments for the furry crew, provisioning and parties. The marina was just perfect for all of the above. Approximately 30 of the 115 boats in the fleet were tied up at the marina so it gave everyone there a chance to get to know each other. One night we had a group of boats coming from the Pacific Northwest gather for dinner and drinks. There were lots of stories to share about the run from the NW to San Diego. I took care of the dreaded provisioning by utilizing which offered free delivery to the marina. It was better than I had hoped as far as quality and convenience. Everyone one else was renting cars and spending their day grocery shopping. I ordered online and went for a swim. Bill and Claudia joined us before the party and were settled onto the boat in plenty of time for departure.

The Talos IV Ha Ha crew the morning of departure, Bill, Paul,
Claudia and Janet.  The furry crew was down below.
The following morning we pulled out of our slip and headed toward the parade route. The fireboat was spraying a salute, local dignitaries and media were on hand to take pictures and be seen by all. We positioned ourselves for a good starting position and readied the new drifter for a quick start. When the start was announced we popped the shoot and headed south with the rest of the fleet who also felt they were perfectly positioned. To my knowledge no one was injured and there were no stories of boats getting banged up. The next 72 hours was a pretty mild sail with drifter, main and various other sail configurations, all for the sake of picking up a little speed as the wind settled and freshened. Unlike the Haha in 09, we did not see any pangas, nets or other navigational hazards during the night. We were not fishing but many of the fleet were and the fish stories were being broadcast throughout the days into Turtle Bay. The first leg did not seem as tiring with the help of a good crew and one hour night watches. This schedule allowed us each to get 3 hours sleep between night watch. Sailing into Turtle Bay we were fairly well rested and ready for shore leave.

The 2012 Baja Ha Ha fleet heading out of San Diego
We had to negotiate a larger freighter inbound.  Bet
the Captain wihes he'd wait a few hours to come in.
There was much fan fare and many dignataries were
on hand to see us off.  We even made the evening news.
Bill and the rest of the crew were ready to go.
Paul was pretty excited to on the way as well.
Paul and Janet enjoying breakfast at Maria's Restaurant
in Turtle Bay.
Turtle Bay is a small community with very friendly residents. They have a medical clinic, several stores and a several bars serving food. Fuel was not a problem. When you drop anchor the competing fuel providers come over in their pangas and service the boat quickly. Water is delivered in 5 gallon jugs and the provider "guarantees purity". We had a Panga take us into town for a cold beer, breakfast and a walkabout. The next day was spent watching the baseball game between yachtistas, town folk and kids. It was not your usual baseball game…and I think the kids whooped the yachtistas. I had an unpleasant experience of falling thru the jagged metal stairs that lead from the dock to the pier. It laid open my shin with about a 3 inch gash. So far it is healing well and has not become infected.

The beach party.
The crew enjoying a stroll down main street in
Turtle Bay.
Everybody enjoyed the beach party.
The local panga taxi service made it easy to get from the
boat to town and to the beach.
Departure for the next leg was early. We headed out and really got into the groove with the drifter. Talos IV was smoking along while the others in her division floundered under light winds. We had a 48 hour passage with very little excitement. We arrived in Bahia Santa Maria a little more fatigued but ready to explore the bay, attend the beach party and rest. The layover is 48 hours.

Talos IV at sunset enroute to
Bahia Santa Maria.
We arrived in Bahia Santa Maria at sunrise.  Many of
the fleet was already there, but there were quite a few
boats still behind us that trickled in throughout the day.
The fleet at anchor in Bahia Santa Maria.
Yet another party to celebrate the passage.
Janet heading back to the boat.
The last push to Cabo San Lucas was about a 30 hour run. We sailed most of the way making about 5-6 knots. Paul spotted a sea turtle swimming beside us. It was headed north. The last few hours at sea we started to really feel the heat. Arriving in Cabo we were hot, tired and ready to get off the boat. We were one of the lucky boats in the fleet to have registered early. We had a slip assignment which allowed us to motor into the marina and tie up without delay. Bill and Claudia were able to head into town to gain internet access. Paul and I settled into the slip, registered with the marina office and found a cold beer in the Baja Cantina. We all had to rest up in preparation for the party at Squid Roe….I will not be able to share details about this party. I will just say there were a lot of sailors celebrating.
The closing ceremonies had many surprises. The most unexpected was finding out Talos IV finished 2nd (plus) in her division. She got special mention from the Grand Poobah who said the "plus" was due to the amount of sailing combined with her overall time. I think she is a fine vessel indeed!

The last night out enroute to Cabo started with this
beautiful sunset and it was warm enought to wear
shorts and tee shirts on watch.
Los Arcos marks the entrance to Cabo.
So here we are in Cabo. It is hot, expensive and everyone in the fleet wants to be on their way to somewhere else. We moved out of the marina yesterday and dropped a hook off the beach. It was good to be away from the dock but the huge numbers of jet skis and tour boats keeps the bay rolling in swell. Stealing a line from a famous author who commented on the weather in San Francisco, we felt as if the roughest passage we ever made was the anchorage at Cabo. There is a weather system creating a bit of mess in the Sea of Cortez which has delayed our departure. It looks like it will be letting up tomorrow. Our plan is to head north into the Sea of Cortez to Los Frailes.

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