Woke up: Underway
Went to sleep: Bahia San Gabrielle, Isle Espiritu Santo, Mexico
We have now been underway for 16 days having departed San Diego, California, USA October 26, 2015. We are both toast.
The Ha Ha is a great way to meet people and share the excitement, pain, discomfort, fear, awe, and splendor of an 800 mile sail, south along the Mexican Baja Peninsula, but, it’s also exhausting. The rally is designed to support working people from the US and Canada who are able to take a two week vacation, perform as crew, sail the Pacific Ocean to Cabo San Lucas, and then fly home to resume their landlubber lives. The Ha Ha is surreal for many who have never sailed on the ocean under a full moon, visited an isolated Mexican fishing village, or drank gallons of inexpensive Pacifico with 500 fellow sailors.
The great rocks on the end of the peninsula are a fitting land’s end.
We’ve enjoyed the rally twice. We feel like seasoned cruisers, although, there are boats and captains who have participated 11 or 12 times and the Grand Poo Bah, Richard Sindler, of course, has led the fleet along this route for 22 years.
One of my favorite events is Friday night at El Squid Roe. The interior is unique and fun and the 70’s, 80’s music makes you want to jump onto a table and dance.
There are only a few boats who are “double handed” only two people on board, usually a married couple, as we are. The trip is particularly exhausting under these conditions. If Peter and I were alone we might choose to rest a week or so in Turtle Bay and or Santa Maria.
I always feel let down after the Ha Ha. For two weeks I was surrounded by, meeting and sharing good times with a large number of fun loving people. Once in Cabo, everyone disperses to fly home, or sail to La Paz, Mazatlán, or Puerto Vallarta and we are left alone. I collected a few “boat cards” but in most cases I don’t even know their last names.
We are making our way to La Paz where we will leave Penelope and fly home for Thanksgiving. I can’t help but acknowledge the irony. It took us three weeks to get here and only three hours to get back.
It’s 150 miles from Cabo San Lucas to La Paz and is typically traversed in three, 50 mile day sails. The first stop, Bahia Los Frailes, is a good north wind anchorage located at the Tropic of Cancer, 23 degrees, 27 minutes N. Another 45 nautical miles north along the east side of the Baja Peninsula is Ensenada de los Muertos. This north wind anchorage also boasts a restaurant and WiFi.
The last leg, Muertos to La Paz, is the most intimidating. Isla Cerralvo, sixteen miles long, lies roughly 6 miles off the Baja peninsula. The waterway between the island and the peninsula is known as Canal de Cerralvo. At times, wind, waves and current flowing through the channel can make it a rough trip. We were tussled about on this leg last year and we didn’t want to do it again.
After carefully reviewing PassageWeather.com, Peter announced we were leaving at 8:00 pm. I threw a conniption fit. Eight PM? “We just got here.” Another overnighter? “I can’t stand it!” I looked at the weather forecast and couldn’t argue with his sensibility. We left at 8:00 pm and enjoyed a completely benign journey to Bahia San Gabriel on Isla Espirtu Santo, arriving at 3:00 am.
As typical this time of year, the wind is expected to howl mightily from the north for the next two days. We know from last year, the anchorage in La Paz is not a comfortable place to be during a strong northerly so we opted to hide here at San Gabriel until the winds subside.
Yesterday was flat and calm. I peddled My Boat to each of the boats at anchor and introduced myself as the Bahia San Gabriel Welcome Wagon. I visited all the people aboard each of the boats which greatly helped to relieve my feeling of isolation. I came home satisfied.
As predicted, the wind picked up about 1:00 am. We are getting gusts of 25-30 knots and the bay is covered with white caps. No one is going anywhere. At times, Penelope heels 20 degrees simply from the wind blowing through the bare poles and rigging. Peter has 300 feet of anchor chain deployed in 18 feet of water and two independent lines securing the dinghy. He feels confident we won’t drag.
I just finished a John Grisham novel. There is nowhere to go and nothing to do. Finally, we are completely at rest.