November 18, 2006

Ha-ha to Puerto Vallarta

Greetings everyone,

Let us just give you a wrap up of the Ha Ha. It was great fun, making new friend and seeing some old friends. There were over 600 Ha Ha participants so we never did meet everyone. But with Bill and I circulating separately we did meet a large number. In Turtle Bay we had a major pot luck and a good time to meet other cruisers. imagine a pot luck with 160 dishes.

One dramatic moment came when the crew of one boat attempted a beach landing in their dingy. It was instructional in how NOT to do a beach landing. The boat actually went vertical end over front with arms and legs flying. They were fine and even the salad for the pot luck survived. You can see a picture of this on 'Lectronic Latitude at:

Bahia Santa Maria was especially nice. The water was perfect for swimming. The surf was not too bad for landing the dingy. And the party was great. There's no village, just some fisherman's shacks. A super band from La Paz showed up with their amplifiers and a generator to power it. They were just asking for tips. They did well.

Also cooks and helpers arrived with lobster, shrimp, fish and all the trimmings, including lots of beer and ice for the party. They had to wait for low tide to be able to drive their trucks across the hard sand. We liked this bay so much that we were tempted to stay for a few more days. Some people did.

But we did push off for the last leg of the Ha Ha, to Cabo San Lucas. The wind was quite light so we motored the entire way, getting in just after dawn, as all the fishing boats came rushing out of the marina. Last time it was very noisy in the marina as the fishing boats left each morning. This time we were well positioned and did not have any of the noise. The same agricultural inspector as in 2004 came and was much more pleasant. She was only looking for beef. So we were fine. She didn't take any meat and I was able to keep the racks of lamb that we had. Hooray!

Cabo is very built up, and not a favorite of ours. Some call it Mexifornia. But we still had a good time. We had been getting lots of calls for information (which was fine) but by this time it was getting to be a bit too much. One morning we were getting ready to go up to the dock for breakfast and Bill hardly had time to get his pants on. Calls were coming in one after another. Our favorite restaurant in Cabo is NikSan (Japanese). We had excellent meals there. The first night it was a big gathering at Squid Row, lots of music and dancing. They even have the tables built extra strong for all the dancing done on top of tables. Somewhere around 11PM it just got too crowded so we returned to out floating home. All the other folks in our age group agreed that, while fun, we did not need to repeat that for several years.

The next day was another gathering at the beach with music, food drink and games. At this point we were saying good byes to some new friend and making arrangements to keep in touch or figure out where our paths would cross in the next few months.

It was all winding down now. The only thing left was the awards ceremony. Bill, along with Debbie from Sailor's Run, took a prize by popular demand for being on the radio the most. Bill also got a really great bottle of Tequila for running the radio net during the Ha-ha since the organizer's radio broke down. We came in third for our division. That may sound good but you must know the truth. For each division there is a first, a second and everyone else gets third.

The way to win is to sail all or most of the way but this was not so much a race as a rally.
The very next day we were ready ready ready to be on our way to Puerto Vallarta. To be continued...

Have a great weekend ya all,

Mary and Bill

November 5, 2006

Fish on!

Hi Everyone!

We're almost to Bahia Santa Maria and we caught our first fish! Actually two.

Just as we sat down for lunch we started across a seamount and caught 2 Dorado in 5 minutes. These are our first fish on this trip (we didn't really try until today).

The bigger was 42 inches and 18 pounds, the small 25 inches and about 12 pounds.

Fish in the freezer for dinner ;-}

Regards to all,
Mary and Bill

November 3, 2006

Bahia de Tortugas - Turtle Bay


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