We started the Baja Ha Ha rally on October 29 at 11:00 with a parade and sail past of the committee boat which had the dignitaries and press on board. It was similar to rush hour traffic if you can imagine 149 boats coming from several different marinas within the San Diego area, all trying to organize ourselves into a line 3 or 4 boats wide, close to each other without touching and trying to go about the same speed. We finally had a good parade set up and then the Navy sends a large ship in bound right through the centre of the channel. So much for our good-looking parade.
As we’ve come to expect, but quite contrary to most of the Baja Ha Ha rallies, there were very light winds for the first few days. Most of the fleet motored the entire way to the first stop at Bahai Tortugus, also known as Turtle Bay.
Fuel is available here. You have two options. Option 1, load your jerry cans into your dinghy, run to the beach, lug them 5 blocks to the gas station, fill them and then lug the now heavy jerry cans back to your dinghy and back to the boat. Option 2 take your chances with the sketchy fuel pier where you don’t tie up but anchor off and back up close to the pier and they send the fuel hose out to the boat.
We all anchored in the bay and then went ashore. The beach is amazing. A walking tour of the town, all 10 blocks of it doesn’t take too long so everyone heads in search of food and drink. The three or four restaurants / bars go absolutely crazy trying to keep up with the demand.
The Ha Ha tradition is a friendly baseball game between the residents and the cruisers. It’s a fundraiser for the town and afterwards all the baseball equipment the cruisers brought is donated to the kids in the town. A great time was had by all.
After a two day stop we are off again for a 48-hour sail to Bahia Santa Maria. Again, very light winds and lots of motoring sailing. On the way down, one of the boats in our group sailed into a large, poorly marked drift net. Of course, this happens at 2 in the morning. The fisherman cut most of the net away and then took off but still left a large chunk caught on the keel, prop, and rudder of the sailboat. We offered to tow them the 30 miles or so to the bay, so they could dive the boat and remove the remainder in the daylight and calm waters of the bay. There was no further damage and once the net was removed they were good to go.
Bahia Santa Maria is a large bay with a beautiful beach that goes on for miles. It is sparsely populated with just a few fishermen and their families that maintain homes here. For the Ha HA group these families all get together and prepare a meal of fish, rice and beans that they then sell to us cruisers. $15 per plate and 2 beer for 5 bucks. The dinner price might be a bit high for what you get but these folks probably make more in our 1-day visit than they do the rest of the year, so you think of it as charity rather than business. The really cool thing that the Ha Ha organizers do is to have a band brought out to the bay to play for us while we have our meal. Eating, drinking, dancing and socializing on a remote and gorgeous Mexican beach is a very surreal experience.
The third and final leg of the rally takes us to Cabo San Lucas. Finally, some wind. We had one of best sailing days ever. A sunny sky and warm winds from behind us allowed us to raise our spinnaker and run this way for 12 solid hours. We could have carried on all night like this, and some boats did, but with just the two of us on board we took the spinnaker down at dark. Safety first!
We arrived in Cabo San Lucas at 14:00 (2 PM) on November 8th. There is a sport fishing tournament on all weekend and with our 149-boat fleet showing up there is no room available at the marina so a whole bunch of us are anchored along Cabo’s beach. The tourists in the hotels are looking out over the water at us we and we are looking out of the water at them. We had a “I cheated death again” wind up party at the Squid Roe bar in town the other night and a beach party yesterday afternoon. Tonight, is the awards ceremony / party and then over the next few days we will all be departing to continue our trips on our own. The Baja Ha Ha has been a blast. Its been well organized and has made our first time cruising Mexico easy and fun.
We have exchanged information with many of the boats we have met and look forward to catching up with them at different ports along the way.