November 3, 2006

Bahia de Tortugas - Turtle Bay

Hola,

We are happy boaters, smiling broadly with the sun shinning down on us in Turtle Bay.

When we left San Diego we were still bundled up. We also had a nice breeze once we past the Point Loma lighthouse. At the start we were only doing 4 to 5 knots with our spinnaker up. Past the light house it got to be more fun as we passed one boat after another...not that we are racers by any means...but that is still too much fun. Soon we found ourselves looking back at most of the fleet. We are the smallest boat in our division, so we figured the larger boats were far ahead.

We were moving right along with the spinnaker until after dark. Then the winds lightened so we choose to start the motor. We also planned to sleep (3 hours for Mary, then 3 for Bill) and we did not want to fly the spinnaker single handed. But as soon as possible in the morning we had the spinnaker flying again. Yahoo! As the wind shifted to directly behind us we changed our sail plan to wing on wing. This means having the main out as far as possible on one side and the jib on a pole out on the other side.

Wow! This was great. We were flying right along over 8 knots. That's good. We stayed with that through the night and into the morning. Only when we were ready to pass between Isla Cedros and Isla Benito did we pull the main in and drop the jib. This made it possible for us to change course as needed more easily. To our surprise, this was the only place where we could see other Ha Ha boats on our radar. During the night we did cross paths with cruise ships and fishing boats.

Night sailing is special in it's own way, the moon on the water and the brilliant starts (particularly after the moon sets) are majestic sights that most of us urban dwellers don't usually see. Sailing along with the phosphorescent glow of the boat's wake are simply fantastic.

As we approached Turtle Bay the sun came out and we could shed our coats. Ah. After we passed the finish line we still had more than an hour to go to the anchorage. There were only a handful of boats in the bay at this time. It certainly felt good once we were anchored, even if we were a little short on sleep. We actually managed the night shifts better this time. We tried to get a little nap during the day, which helped. Also the seas were more gentle than when we did the Ha Ha in 2004.

The beach and the palapas called to us. So did all the children on the dock vying for our attention to "watch" our dinghy. They watched and we went to the nearest little restaurant for a lunch of pesce con mojo de ajo y cerveza fria (fish in garlic sauce and cold beer). Yum! There we met and joined the folks from a couple of other boats who arrived before us.

We got right into the swing of things, seeing friends, meeting new boaters, checking out the town. Once Bill's expertise was know, we were swamped with calls for help with radios and VHF etc. Luckily there was another boater that actually fixes radios for a living. So he helped some folks too. Last night the folks on Salt Whistle shared margaritas and their fresh catch of tuna with us, after Bill helped them with their radio. They were the Cave Clan at the "kick off" party.

Interestingly Profligate's Marine Radio was acting up, so Bill volunteered (or got drafted, depending on how you look at it) into being net control for the HaHa Fleet. All the expertise available was not able to fix their radio in Turtle Bay, so Bill is now officially net control for the Marine SSB net for the rest of the Haha. If you have a radio and are interested in listening in, it's at 4.146 Mhz (Marine 4A) at 730AM PST.

This will be our last day in Turtle Bay. The plan is for a pot luck beach party. Can you picture over 700 people on this beach, lots of food tables, music and local Mexican beer concesiones.

Warmest Regards to all,
Mary and Bill

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