I left Bill at 0-dark-thirty to catch my flight to South Carolina. He was staying to see his brothers who were flying into San Diego and I was flying out to see my Mom and then my Dad. Mom couldn’t wait to share stories old and new, and Dad had planned a party months ago with all of us kids (twin step sisters and my twin brother) which everyone made the effort to make happen. Bill’s brothers had planned a visit to San Diego months ago and so it goes, you can only be in one place at one time! While I was gone, Bill would continue boat preparations because we leave for Mexico only four days after I return. I had a wonderful visit with my Mom. We stayed up talking until 2:00 am the night I arrived reliving fond memories. We went to some of her favorite restaurants and met up with friends. The visit went so fast. My bags were packed and everyone was in transit to Dad’s when I got a call at midnight from my step-mom barely able to speak through the tears. Dad had died. I have thought for several weeks about whether to share this on the blog. I know only close friends and family will read this so, I am sharing. It was good that we were all there to hug and laugh and cry and help, amazing, really. We did have the party. Dad had assigned everyone a job. He had a little notebook and had lists of food, what to defrost when, what needed to go in the oven, etc. down to the last detail. He pictured it all. He would have loved it. We all felt like he was there. My dad had a PhD in mathematics. He loved the math and physics behind wings. He found the Wright brothers and their experiments of flight fascinating. When I was a kid, we built model airplanes out of balsa wood and glue. We crashed them all! He found sails, a vertical wing, quite interesting also. He really took an interest in our new endeavor. He would have loved the drone pictures of us sailing with the pink spinnaker sail up. You are so very much missed Dad.
I returned to San Diego with a heavy heart. It was difficult to get excited and back into the swing of getting ready to go off shore and exploring again. Bill’s brothers waited for me to get back on the 11pm flight and we had hugs and a few drinks in the cockpit of the boat and laughed about shared fun times. It was good. Over the next three days we had to send off paperwork for our Mexican TIP and visas, provision for the trip, prep the meals, move to a new marina as our time was up at the Marriott, and welcome our crew who arrive on October 31st in the middle of the Baja Haha Halloween party. Shoot, we need to get our costumes out! The party was fun, our crew arrived in time to partake, and we returned to the boat at a very reasonable hour to let them settle in.
The next morning at 9am we were in a parade of 170 boats through San Diego Bay. We played “Celebrate” by Kool and the Gang over and over and blasted air horns. I danced on the bow waving and hollering woohoo!
Full of excitement we set off for Turtle Bay (Bahia Tortuga) with the Baja Haha Rally. There were spinnakers flying all around in the perfect breeze, and our giant pink sail joined in the kaleidoscope. Three nights at sea, 340 miles, off we went! After about four hours the excitement faded, most of the other boats were no longer in sight, and we were alone in the ocean, feeling so small. I appreciated the reminder.
The whole first day began with a gentle breeze, about 10 knots downwind, perfect for the big pink spinnaker. Our crew had a drone and knew how to use it. They got some amazing pictures. We have a drone and we have flown it once off of a picnic table. Oh boy! We need some practice! That whole day we flew Big Pink.
At dusk, with the wind picking up, we decided to change back to the white sails. Taking down the spinnaker requires going out on deck, not a good idea in the dark in the middle of the ocean with no land in sight. It turned out we were smart! The wind picked up to over 30 knots overnight and several boats tore their spinnaker or had great difficulty hauling it in with the big winds. Overnight one of our crew had a flying fish whack into the side of the cockpit enclosure right next to her and take about 6 years off her life. When the sun came up, we were surprised to find a dozen or more dead squid on the side decks, ewwww! The high winds continued. It felt like we were off the Oregon Coast again. What the heck, this is supposed to be the easy part of the coast?!? I was re-bruising my bruises! Usually sailors complain about not enough wind along this part of the coast.
Anyway, we were kicking butt and we had prepared well so we were ready. Our crew was awesome in ability and attitude. On the final morning we cleared the decks of squid and a couple flying fish once again, the winds died and for about two hours we used the motor. Later a nice 15 kt breeze picked up and we sailed the last bit into Bahia Tortuga. We used about 9 gallons of diesel for the whole 340 miles.
Let the partying resume! The remote bay slowly filled with rally boats and the little town was there to greet us. They expect the Haha every year so last year, COVID-cancelled, was a disappointment. The little cantina had beer on ice, the taco truck barbequed extra pork, and the baseball stadium was ready for the game! They have a fabulous little league baseball stadium. I am not sure why they have this beautiful facility but I think it may have to do with their team winning the Little League World Series a few years back. It has stands, Astroturf, concessions, flushing toilets, amazing! The next day was the “game”. No score, everyone hit, no strikeouts. At the end of the game the Haha group donated a giant pile of baseball gear to the kids. Tons of fun was had by all!
The next day we were preparing for the second leg to Santa Maria and we realized that we had not downloaded any maps for our chart plotter for the rest of the trip. Also our fresh water pump was on the fritz. It started being problematic once in a while and then that turned into all of the time. When we turned off the water at the faucet, the water pump didn’t shut down it just built and built up pressure making a whining sound like it would explode if it wasn’t shut down immediately. I was going to go crazy soon! Someone needed to man the breaker on the pump while I took a shower. My hands were soapy washing dishes and the thing would start. Ugh! At least we had water, but… Bill and Andy replaced that (yes, we had a spare) and Tess and I kayaked in to get some Wifi and download charts. We were successful, as were the guys. Problems solved, Yay! We were ready for leg two to Bahia Santa Maria, a two night sail 230 miles to an even smaller tiny fishing “village”. But first, a beach party!!
November 6, we started the trip with no wind. But Mother Nature slowly came through with a beautiful 10 to 15 knot breeze and up went Big Pink again. We saw sea turtles, dolphin, and a huge sailfish hunting at the surface. It constantly amazes me how fast the sun travels across the sky. My watches are 5 to 8am with the sun rising on the port side of the boat and 5 to 8pm with the sun setting on the starboard side of the boat, another day is done. Crazy! What did I do all day? I can’t even tell you! At dusk we changed back to white sails and sailed all night until 9am when the wind took a break. We did the same dance again starting the motor until the wind returned and sails back up all night. At 8am we were greeted by a “flock” of flying rays as we entered Bahia Santa Maria. Leg two is in the logbook!
Bahia Santa Maria is a fishing hamlet. There are only a few tiny buildings that we could see from the bay. Experienced Baja Haha-ers say that most residences are small box-like dwellings in the Mangroves. So how will a party for 400 plus people happen here?!? They say it will. There are pangas that run out to the anchored boats to bring people into shore at the mouth of the river. The day we arrived, it was too rough for anyone to go in so we spent the day cleaning up Sacagawea. Poor salty girl needed it! The next day we hailed a panga as it zipped by toward another boat. We climbed into the sturdy open boat with the others. Bill struck up a conversation with the captain. It turns out that he has kids and we had some more baseball equipment to give away. We gave half of the stuff we bought in San Diego at the second-hand store away at Turtle Bay and kept half to give here. The skilled driver timed the wave perfectly and rode it into shore smoothly. Not his first rodeo! Bill returned with the driver to our boat for the gear and I explored the beach while I waited. Our crew went to explore the mangroves and sand dunes. When Bill returned, we hiked the ridge to the other side. How flowers and plants grow here is beyond me but there were some beautiful flowers along the way. As we returned, we could begin to hear music and people laughing, and we could smell some cooking! Wow! Let the party begin. We met our crew in the beer line, paid our $12 for a large plate of food, and had a fabulous Mexican meal: fried fish, stewed fish and clams, rice, beans, tortillas. Soon after, the live band from Cabo, a 7 hour ride for them, was warming up. Crazy! So remote! They only had a generator for electricity! Of course, I shook my tail feather from start (Down on the Corner by CCR) to finish. Back to the boat before sundown and ready to start leg 3 in the morning.
November 10, anchor up at 6:45 and on out for the final leg to Cabo San Lucas. 190 miles, only one night out at sea. There was good wind the whole way until 6am when we started the motor and used it the rest of the way into the bay at Cabo, arriving at 1:42pm. Along the way we saw more whales! None were real close to us but they were breaching fully out of the water. Other boats like our friends on Avocet ended up quite close and got some amazing photos! There were a few injured boats making their way to the end. We checked in on two of them when we were nearby. One said they were able to continue gingerly on a repaired motor, and another was in the process of arranging a tow from the Mexican Navy after their rudder failed. Wonderful! Once we were anchored, it felt fast and crowded to be in population again. Condos and resorts lined the beaches. Jet skis flew around the anchorage, motor boats with tourists and loud music floated by, and giant cruise ships shared the bay with us. This is where we are supposed to officially check into Mexico through customs. Only one person per boat was to go in bringing all of the necessary documentation. Bill cleaned up, changed into a clean shirt, gathered all of the documentation into a big zip lock bag and powered off in the dinghy. I felt a little nervous. What-ifs jumped around in my head. It was hard not to text him every 5 minutes for an update. I kept busy cleaning up and inventing other things to do. The crew and I stowed all the lines and sails, set up the hammock, went for a swim, and got beers and champagne on ice. Finally he returned with good news! We had our TIP, visas, and all the stuff. We were legal! We all got ready to hit the town. There was a Baja Haha party at Squid Roe so we headed there. We got our balloon party hats, had dinner, met with friends, shared stories and drinks and of course danced the night away. So much fun!
In the morning it was suddenly time to say good-bye to our amazing crew, now good friends. How did that happen so fast?! We were suddenly “Just the Two of Us” again. We will make it cuz we try!