Baja Haha, leg one

I’m finally cruising, currently sitting at a beachfront palapa in Mexico, eating cevicha tostadas and drinking Pacificos. Somehow, I think I can get used to this. It is, on the other a little challenging to find good internet service. Maybe the downside of sailing in a rally with 150 other boats is half a dozen other people all trying to get online at the same palapa as I’m attempting to connect in. I guess I can live with it, I don’t have to finish up and get to work after all.

So far the Baja Haha is a great introduction to cruising. We’ve been hanging out with crew from boats we met on our way south, and meeting some new friends. While having four people on the boat is a tad crowded we are having fun and enjoying the shorter night shifts. Minion is enjoying having some new people to attack while they sleep as well. Our sail down here was very enjoyable, although we had to cheat with the motor for a bit of the beginning of the trip. I wanted to sail the whole way, but our wind lightened a few hours into the start, and we came to the decision that we would rather be in Turtle Bay to hang out with friends and explore Mexico for a couple days rather than sit in the ocean bobbing around. After motoring from 3:00 pm until 10:30 am the next day, we were able to hoist the sails and started cruising downwind. Since we had four people on board, including several racers and a Coast Guard captain who just sailed around Vancouver Island, we got brave and hoisted our spinnaker. After some tweaking, we got it dialed in enough to kick back and watch the nautical miles roll by. The wind was a pleasant velocity, wonderful direction and the seas were gentle rollers. We were able to relax, other than some of the racer elements among us trying to tweak sails and enjoyed sailing more than we have at any point along our journey so far.

We had about 300 miles to our stop in Bahia de Tortuga (Turtle Bay), and had a nice direct line to sail towards it. We rotated shifts, listened to other boats chatter on the VHF and talked to a friend or two ourselves. As the time passed we enjoyed beef stew and mashed potatoes, blue cheese and crackers, lettuce wraps and snacked on Crunch and Munch and potato ships. I believe some beer an wine may have also been consumed. At times, it was a struggle just to manage it all, but I powered through. Early on in the trip we kept seeing dolphins, and the Jenns and I laid on the bow watching as they swam, under the boat and jumped out of the water mere feet from the bow. The days started to warm enough for shorts and t-shirts, although the now well-used foulies were still making an appearance at night. While we had started in a cluster of about 150 boats, they rapidly spread out and we scanned the horizon day and night for boats, trying to guess if any of our friends were in site. With all the boats and space, the closest we came to another boat was about 1/4 mile as we finished, and after a brief chat on the VHF we bore away to give them room to deal with unrigging a wing on wing sail setup in the dark.

After finishing the race and a quick discussion, we slowed down the boat and started aiming for the entrance to Turtle Bay. The word was not to go in at night without experience, so we managed to arrive just at dawn (with a little mechanical assistance for the last 8 miles after the wind shut off). Our first anchoring experience went smoothly with a great hook on our first try. We inflated the dinghy, and headed to shore for some exploration. Turtle Bay has a larger town then expected, and we spent the day looking for an ATM – no luck, poking into little stores and playing an organized softball game with the cruisers and locals. After an appetizer with Leif and Jackie from Dodger Too, we met up with the Lightspeed crew, and Patrick from Deep Playa while Dawn slept on the boat and had drinks and dinner at Vera Cruz where most of the cruisers were hanging out.

Today is an organized beach party for the cruisers, and we are just wrapping up a trip into town for internet (where I can hopefully post this) and some ingredients for our potluck dish. I’m getting the “wrap this up” from Jenn, so I’ll try to get another update out when we reach Cabo San Lucas in a few days.

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