150 boats parade out of the San Diego harbor for the 23rd annual Baja Haha on the 27th of October. We were among the rally headed south as the hurricane season ended and the Mexico cruising season officially began. Again, we were plagued with light wind conditions and the entire race started with a rolling start.....no wind to start. We continued to motor cruise for the first day and even into the second day we only had about 12 hours of sailing. Fortunately there is a lot more to cruising than just sailing. Late on the second day we passed a section of ocean that looked like it was boiling. Hundreds of feeding dolphin broke the surface, completely unaware of our presence. Immediately following the feeding frenzy we had a hit on the fishing reel. Normally we just troll for fish, letting a lure trail us. This time the boys convinced us to put out a reel and it made all the difference in the fight. Not that I am a huge fan of forcing a fish to fight, but I had to admit, it was pretty spectacular. We had caught a dorado between the size of 20lbs and 80lbs. Obviously I’m not good with weight estimates, but it was big! It fought, jumped and eventually Mike was able to land it. If you’ve never caught a dorado (mahi mahi) they have an iridescent color that disappears completely as they go into their death throes. One fish was plenty to fill our freezer and kept us eating fish for several days.
Although we didn’t have a lot of wind we were able to get about 15 hours of sailing in total. The sailing keeps us busy; trimming sails, coiling lines, navigating and adjusting courses. One of the biggest battles while cruising, especially while motoring, is filling the hours. You generally get in a groove after a day or so, but the first day is always slow. The kids don’t feel like doing homework and I certainly don’t feel like helping them with it. Porter and Ana get sick almost every first day on big water. But they are troopers; they look green for about 20 minutes, hurl up their breakfast and then they are fine the rest of the trip. Zander handles the rolls better, but he is also pretty lethargic the first day. We fill our days with reading, playing games and trying to entertain Ana. The nights are nicer. We watch the sunset, look for shooting stars and usually have some good quality time with one of the kids. Their version of keeping watch is keeping Mike or I company as we complete our first watch. Mike and I then take turns standing 2 hour watches. Normally it is pretty leisurely and if visibility is good you can read, lay back and we’ve been known to take a light cat nap. With 150 boats headed to the same location we had to stay pretty vigilant on watch.
At 9pm on the third day at sea, we entered Bahia Tortuga, the first stop after the first leg of the race. There were already about 50 boats anchored in the bay and the anchorage twinkled with all the mast lights.
We spent two full days in Turtle Bay. There is nothing particularly fantastic about Turtle Bay. It is located 1/3 of the way down the Baha Peninsula which makes it a very strategic place for cruisers to stop as they head south. That said, the people are very friendly and we had a nice visit. The first day consisted of checking town out, which took all of about 15 minutes to see the dusty little Mexican fishing town. We later participated in a baseball game; cruisers against the locals. There were more beers being held in the outfield than mitts, and Ana was a designated runner for some of the older cruisers, if that gives you some indication of the caliber of play. On the second day we joined the other cruisers for a beach party at a nearby beach. All the cruising kids were playing in the surf. They broke out all the gear we all schlepp around on our decks; kayaks, paddle boards, boogie boards. It was the first time our kids really got to know some of the other kids and they were happy to each have a couple of kids their own ages to play with.
We spent Halloween in Turtle Bay and the kids took the dinghy around to other boats to trick or treat. Some where prepared, some had to dig into their precious stash of American candy to be able to hand treats out to the 15 or so kids that were trick or treating.
|Sporting all her Pelagic gear|