Uh oh

Montezuma’s Revenge. Yes, you know what it is and you know what the main symptom is. I can confidently let you know that it also comes with nausea, headache and overall malaise. They say its e coli. Amazing how in the US they recall tons of stuff and maybe even have deaths from it, and here they just shrug it off. Anyway, its no fun that’s for sure. No pics needed for this post.

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A Quick Take on the Haha…

Here are my thoughts on the Haha.

It’s really a boat race loosely organized as a rally.  There was a great emphasis on sailing the entire way and a bit of a stigma for using your engine.  There were 130 or so boats participating, of which only about 8 were catamarans.  Interestingly the cats were the fastest boats of the bunch, with only a few large racer-type monos competing.  In heavier winds, Neko was quite fast compared to all others so long as we carried a lot of sail, but almost uncomfortably so.  We are beginning our cruise and are quite heavily loaded.  In light airs we were slow.  The only cats consistently faster were a very well sailed Schionning 49 named Sea Level and a custom go-fast cat named Kalewa.  I don’t know if the latter is on the web, but suggest you google it.  Quite a boat.  At the very beginning we had about 20-25 knots on a close reach.  We and Sea Level easily left the pack behind doing about 11, with the Schionning slowly drawing away from us.

Leaving the fleet behind in San Diego

Leaving the fleet behind in San Diego

Pulling away

Pulling away

But Kalewa must have started late b/c it screamed up and passed us both.  Its basically a giant beach cat.  We had speeds over 15 knots surfing with the spinnaker up, along with consistent 8s, 9s, 10s and 11s in good winds.  It was the lighter winds that were our downfall.  IMG_5984

Spinnaker flying

Spinnaker flying

It’s already got me thinking of a better light air rig.  Also, a cleaner rig.  We have a staysail, genoa, gennaker on a sprit and symmetrical spinnaker that we fly from both hulls, all fractionally rigged.  This leads to a jungle of lines coming down the side decks – spin tackline, spin sheet, gennaker sheet if rigged, dagger lines, headsail furling lines (3 of them), preventer if you rig one.  We had use for both the gennaker and the spinnaker, so couldn’t really do without one.  I would really like to replace both the spinnaker and gennaker with a big deep reaching sail, preferably tacked to the sprit and furling and even better flown from higher up the mast.  Anyway it was fun to finally put this boat through its paces and see it perform well.

If you like group activities, you’ll love the Haha.  You can participate as much or as little as you want.  They’ve got parties and volleyball and chit chat galore.   Some people clearly can’t get enough of that sort of thing.  Some must have iron stomachs because we saw a few drunk souls the night before leaving on each leg.

Overserved...

Overserved…

Overall, the Haha made sailing down 800 miles of forbidding Pacific coast quite enjoyable and secure.  There were sailmakers and riggers and electronics gurus etc. among the fleet, all of whom were willing to help others for only a cold beer in return.  It had a good, positive overall vibe.  However, now that we are finally around the bottom of the peninsula, we are ready to go at it in a smaller group.   (more Haha photos)

Cabo, bitches

To join or not to join (the Baja Haha), that was the question we asked ourselves as we started our adventure.  Normally we aren’t “joiners”, but this trip is also about broadening ourselves, not just from the challenges of living on the boat and traveling to other countries, but to get out of our comfort zone and say yes to the the scarey, the cheesy and god forbid the small talk.  So we signed up and joined in on the reindeer games.   And guess what, we survived LOL.

Captain Pete

Captain Pete

The one thing they say about the Baja Haha rally is it gets you going, and boy did it do that.  It was time to stop all the putzing around and start this trip we’d been planning forever.   We sailed from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas at the bottom of the Baja peninsula  (about 800 miles) in 11 days, with two stops along the way.   For those of you who don’t sail, that is A LOT of sailing in a short amount of time.

About 130 boats left San Diego on a foggy, rainy and chilly morning.

Start of the 2013 Baja Haha rally

Start of the 2013 Baja Haha rally

Apart from the crappy weather everyone was in good spirits and ready to roll.   Happily our friends Mark and Lori joined us on this adventure.

Lori & Mark, true friends and fantastic crew

Lori & Mark, true friends and fantastic crew

We stopped in Turtle Bay and Bahia Santa Maria for some rest and aforementioned group activities  😉    Turtle Bay is a tiny dusty town in the middle of no where full of friendly folks.   We arrived on Halloween and the local kids trick-or-treated by just saying “candy” and were thrilled to get candy or better yet money from the gringos.

Angel, Ezekiel and Alan

Angel, Ezekiel and Alan in Turtle Bay

The Haha also set up a baseball game for all the sailors and the locals (who are actually excellent at baseball) and a good time was had by all.

Peter at bat

Peter at bat. Turtle Bay baseball game.

Lucy was THRILLED to hit terra firma and fit right in with the local dogs, just like the good old days in Belize.

Bahia Santa Maria

Bahia Santa Maria

Next stop was beautiful Bahia Santa Maria.   The opposite of Turtle Bay’s desert-like landscape, here the hills were alive and green and looked more like Ireland than the Mexican coast.   There are only a few fisherman and the lighthouse keeper and his family who live here, but they were ready to host a party, complete with band (who drove 400 miles for this), food

Peter on high

Peter on high

and of course cerveza.  We did a little exploring in the tide pools, kayaking and Peter went up the mast to repair a shackle that sent our spinnaker into the ocean during leg 2 of the sail.

Look out below

Look out below

Tide pools, Bahia Santa Maria

Tide pools, Bahia Santa Maria

Finally we arrived in the big city.  Cabo is exactly what you think or know it is (Disney, Vegas, Fort Lauderdale and Bourbon Street rolled up into one Mexican-accented frat party.)   Don’t get me wrong, the locals are extremely nice, but did we really come all this way for Señor Frogs, jets skis and 2-for-1 Coronas?  (Ok, maybe the 2-for-1’s)  But, we also needed to clear immigrations, check in with the port captain and wait out some bad weather before moving on.    We said goodbye to our fearless crew and yes, even attended the Haha closing ceremonies where we came in 3rd in our division (more photos)

DSCN0575

On the hook

Sha, sha, sharrrkkkk

Sha, sha, sharrrkkkk

If you have only cleared into a country through the airport, never complain about long customs lines again.  The immigration office is about a 15 minute walk from the harbor, where you wait on line, pray you have the proper paper work, then walk another 10 blocks to the port captains office to let him know you are here and who is on your boat, pay a fee and blah, blah, blah.   Long story short, computers were down, so credit cards didn’t work, they won’t accept cash and after 3 hours of waiting we have to go back on Monday.  Ahhh, the beginning of not sweating the small stuff.  We’ve got nowhere to go and plenty of time to get there.

Watch Dog

Watch Dog

So, as I type this entry -after a long warm day of swimming, and fixing the boat – the good and the bad of this life, Peter and I settle down with a cocktail to watch yet another gorgeous sunset and to quietly reflect on the day and the trip. The ice cubes clink and the surf breaks and we hear the approaching roar of a power boat towing a giant inflatable banana and the rider’s war cry, “Cabo, bitches!!”

Cabo, bitches indeed…

Neko crew in Bahia Santa Maria

Neko crew in Bahia Santa Maria