Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Baja Ha Ha - Third Movement

More Profligate
Originally uploaded by toastfloats.
Wind, wind and more wind for our third leg of the Ha Ha leaving Bahia Santa Maria on November 5 and finishing up in Cabo the next afternoon. The Poohbah says this was about the fastest leg 3 he’s ever seen, and a sizable fraction of the fleet sailed the entire way. We certainly did, though I’ll admit we were tempted to motor the last hour just to be done. I know that the Ha Ha isn’t really race, but there was something tremendously satisfying and thrilling about crossing the finish line. It was especially nice to complete a leg without motoring even a bit.

The Ha Ha is exhausting. You travel about 750 miles in ten days. Even with the stops in Turtle Bay and Bahia Santa Maria, it’s a long trip with many overnight passages. The trip took it’s toll on the family. As we completed this third leg, I looked around the boat in a bit of despair. The cockpit is disgustingly dirty. The boat looks like a child’s toy box, picked up, shaken, and upended on the couch in a vain attempt to find a favorite sparkly. Our sleep patterns are totally destroyed. School has pretty much ground to a halt, and DrC and I have trouble mustering the energy to care.

I’ve been maintaining a running calculation of our fuel consumption throughout the trip. Our hope was to avoid fueling until we got to Cabo. The wind was so fantastic on the trip, we changed our objective to La Paz. After completing the Ha Ha in Cabo with nearly full tanks, we’re now eying Mazatlan on the fuel we took on in San Diego. The really annoying bit is that fuel down here costs about half what it cost us in San Diego, so all this frugal sailing is financially not all that helpful. I’m not sure if fuel costs are so much less because world oil prices are dropping or because Mexico is net exporter of gas and oil. In any case, the low cost of fuel should be factored in to any cruisers’ Mexico bound cruising budget.

Herding Cats
Originally uploaded by toastfloats.
Our fishing woes continue. We caught a boat on the first day. It was of the species “monohull elegantistis”, commonly known as an Allegria. We also hooked something absolutely giganormous the second day. We saw it flashing silver right after the hook went whizzing out of the rod at high speed. I swear it was bigger than the Allegria we had hooked the previous day. The result, however, was the same. We lost our lure and a bunch of line. I have reached the point with fishing where I am resolved to catch all my future meals using a VHF line and fruit, coleslaw, and chilled beer lures. We caught ten pounds of prepped, deboned, and stunningly fresh ahi in Bahia Santa Maria using a Sierra Nevada six pack lure on a Walker Bay dinghy line. This method of fishing is highly effective and considerably less work.

We rounded the famous arch and spotted Neptune’s fingers early afternoon on November 6. Caba San Lucas anchorage and bay spread out in front of us, a beautiful resort on the south tip of Baja designed to entice gringos into spending all their money. Time to drop anchor and resist the lure of showers, provisions, and civilization. One night in the Cabo marina rafted three deep with other fleet members would have cost us $140. It is not going to happen. Civilization must wait until we get to La Paz.

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