Sorry in advance for the long post coming up- here are some of the highlights and pieces of our story leaving San Diego heading south. Hope you enjoy!
We are participants in the infamous Baja Haha Rally that leaves San Diego October 30th, 2017! We signed up for the rally for a couple of reasons. Reason #1- we needed a hard date in front of our faces to adhere to. It’s easy to dilly dally and come up with excuses as to why you’re not ready, but we really wanted to be part of this rally. Reason #2- we were looking forward to meeting fellow cruisers and being part of a large, safe group during our first big passage.
The day before departure was one of the most stressful to date but we had plenty of help to make it a little easier. Sean helped me empty out the house while Jesper and Brad continued to get the boat ready and packed. Sean was my lifesaver that day, making stuff happen! We got the house emptied, our trash picked up by a local hauler, and made a Costco run to provision. On top of that he had to drive home to Pasadena! We are very thankful for all of his help and are looking forward to having him aboard in Puerto Vallarta!
The day of departure…We were accompanied by Brian, Michelle (brother and sister in law), our great friends Jessi (Jesper’s wife) and Donny (Del Mar neighbor). Donny was a surprise and I am so happy we saw him on our way out! Anywho, the morning was pretty crazy with last minute to do’s and everyone was so generous to help in any way possible. They untied our lines from the dock around 9:45 so we could make our way to the Rally Parade. Once again I found myself overwhelmed with emotions and the tears began to roll.
All of the boats made their way to the parade and we were instructed to get as close to each other as possible. It sure was neat seeing all of our “competitors” up close. There was a media boat that saw us out and then we were on our way past Point Loma heading south towards the starting line. The start was signaled with a booming cannon. We already had our mainsail and headsail out and ready to go!
Aside from just heading south you may be wondering where we are headed to first. We are going to a place called Bahía Tortugas, also known as Turtle Bay. I was excited to get there as I’ve heard great things about it by our friends Chris and Beth.
We caught our first fish on day one, we believe it was a Bonita. Catching a fish while under way gets exciting in a hurry! First you hear the zip of the reel, everyone jumps up, one person handles the reel, the other slows the boat down and grabs the gaff/cameras. I attempted to gaff the fish while Brad was handling the fishing pole- no success! We switched places and he took care of business. We ate Mr. Fish and were very thankful to have caught him.
Nighttime was quickly approaching so we had to come up with our watch schedule. Jesper was on first watch 9-12, I was 12-3 and Brad was 3-6am. It was my first real overnight where I would be on watch by myself. Eeeeeks!!! Jesper gave me the scoop when I came on deck for watch. He showed me the other boats on the horizon, and on our radar. He reminded me how to use the auto pilot to dodge other boats in our path and left me feeling pretty confident that it would all be ok. At around 2am I noticed bioluminescence in the water as it was displaced by our boat. It looked like glowing fireflies in the water! I had a couple of boats to dodge during my shift and then 3am rolled around quickly. Brad came on deck for his watch and I gave him the rundown of where other boats were, showed him the sparkly waves and then the most magical thing happened. A dolphin covered in bioluminescence jumped out of the water off our starboard side! The best part was that we both saw and enjoyed it together. What a great way to leave my watch and pass it on to Brad. I made my way to bed and quickly drooled myself to sleep!
We survived our first overnight of the trip with no problems and continued our journey to Turtle Bay. On day 2 we caught 2 beautiful dorado! Jesper reeled up the first catch of the day and I handled the second. It was exciting, especially when you finally see what you’re reeling in. Dorado are a beautiful green/yellow fish that shimmer in the water as they get pulled in. Brad was suddenly inspired to install the BBQ on the rail and we had excellent grilled fish tacos for dinner that night.
We repeated the same watch schedule and things got a bit exciting. Jesper warned me that if I came in to any sort of weather to slow the engine down. Good thing we talked about it because I did run into weather on my watch. First I felt the strong breeze, then the rain came. I waited a few minutes to see how it would evolve and eventually ended up waking Brad for some help. He quickly sprung to action, shut the port lights, cleaned up all the water in the cabin and decided we needed to reef our mainsail to get the boat under control. It was a bit stressful if I’m being honest, but it all worked out! The little system we passed through lasted about 45 minutes.
It was finally the day to arrive in Turtle Bay! As we pulled into the gigantic anchorage we were greeted by dolphins and sea lions. We dropped the anchor and got down to business of getting to shore with the pups. We loaded everyone up in the dinghy and went to shore. The girls were thrilled to be on land again and use the bathroom! Neither are big fans of our fake grass patch on the back deck.
Turtle Bay is a small town with a few restaurants along the beach, WiFi and an amazing baseball field. Every Baja Haha rally plays a game with the locals and there are no rules, only to have fun. On the other side of the anchorage is an amazing beach. The rally hosted a beach party there and the locals bartended up a storm! It was their chance to make some money for the season. The drinks were strong and the scenery beautiful. We took the opportunity to hike up a small hill for a better view. The mountains are soft and squishy under your feet, yet they stand steep and tall.Turtle Bay was a great experience and we would have stayed longer if we weren’t part of the rally!
Our crew mates have a few words to share- I told them they could vent. Anything to get them to cheer up! 😉
Sydney- what have my humans done?! First they removed me from my beach house, stuck me in a place without a yard and no beach in sight. Now I’m on this thing that never stops moving, and I’m stuck with my parents 24/7. I haven’t pooped in days and I’m on a hunger strike. This will teach them! Although I might be sending mixed messages because I keep cuddling with my humans any chance I get. I also enjoy stealing their seats. If I fits, I sits! Did you know they tried to feed me raw fish?? Ewwww!!!! I have standards! Then things started looking up. The boat stopped moving and my parents got my shore car ready. They took me to a beach, a B-E-A-C-H! Can you imagine how excited I was?! I ran like there was no tomorrow! I fetched, dug, barked, played and made new friends with other boat dogs. Wait, did I just call myself a boat dog?! Oh crap!
Zorra Bear- I’m not sure what’s going on these days. My parents took me to a couple of spas before taking me on this boat thing. Things are weird! They keep picking me up, walking me to this fake grass patch and want me to do something there. I can’t figure it out, but they don’t stop trying! I’m not feeling all that great and my belly sure is swelling, the only good thing is my humans are close by at all times. I’m getting extra pets and I do like that! They took me to the beach and even put a life jacket on me- I was the only one with a jacket. The jacket accentuated my big gut and I was a bit embarrassed about that. I had fun playing in the shallow water and sniffing all the new smells. Oh! I also got fed some fresh caught fish. It was the best thing ever and I didn’t even have to share with my annoying sister! Let’s see how long this lasts!