The nice part about this lifestyle is that there are very few firm timelines. That’s a good thing, as Avalon turned out to be a rather fun place to hang out so we stayed for 4 days. We even managed to catch a night of jazz music as the Catalina Island Jazz Festival was on for the weekend. What a cool venue for a live concert.
Weather is the prime motivator for us and with reports of strong winds headed for Avalon Sunday evening, we made the decision to leave Avalon at 3am on Sunday morning and head straight to San Diego. We had reserved 2 weeks of marina space in town at the Police Dock on Shelter Island so we could prepare for the Baja Ha Ha Rally which departs on the 29th. As it turned out it was a great location, close to all the boat yards, suppliers and provisioning stops.
After a benign 12 hour crossing we arrived in San Diego and all the hustle and bustle that comes with big city life. Currently, in the 26-space marina we are in, there are 21 boats taking part in the rally.
There is a comradery amongst all of us and we are all helping each other, whether that’s lending tools, suggesting fixes, trading recipes, happy houring, playing cards or just BS’ing on the dock. It’s great to meet like minded people on the same program as ourselves. While we were here, they had the National Junior Women’s sailing finals. These were high school girls and they had some very good boat handling skills. Crew changes on 15 boats on the fly right at our marina.
We are down to crunch time with the rally starting tomorrow. We worked on a few projects that required parts or expertise that may be more difficult to find along the coast of Mexico. In our case that included a new sea water cooling pump on the starboard side that just started leaking. We have purchased some spare parts to have on hand. Some kayak racks were added to the stanchions so we can store the kayaks inflated and ready to go when we are anchored. We installed a larger anchor (another Rocna) and are keeping the old one as a backup. We have made a Costco run and a few Supermarket blitzes to restock the pantry with our favourites.
Other errands included getting our TIP (Temporary Import Permit) for the boat, Mexican fishing licences and our exit papers from the USA, all from different government offices throughout the city.
Downwind Marine and West Marine are sponsors of the Baja Ha Ha and have both are offered seminars every evening this week. They cover a wide range of topics and we attended several. You never know what little tid-bit you may pick up. With all the work we have been doing there really is no need for another excuse to go to the boat store. Good marketing ploy on their part. I’m almost at the point where I suffer withdrawal symptoms if I leave a boat store without a purchase. West Marine even sponsored a Halloween costume party for Ha Ha participants. We went as pirates. Some of our friends really got into the spirit of it.
In between the work and the socializing, we are keeping our eyes on the weather. There were a couple of storm systems that passed through the south end of the Sea of Cortez and Mazatlan last week but things seem to be settling down now and it looks like there will be light winds for the first few days of our trip.
All of that said you can feel the excitement building as we all get set for the start of the rally. It looks like there should be about 150 boats leaving San Diego Bay on October 29th. First leg is to Turtle Bay, 350 kn. It should be a blast.