Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Baja Ha Ha Ha Ha.....

We have made it to Mexico.  Go, go, go.  I feel like we have never stopped running since we left Santa Barbara.  For our trip down the Baja Peninsula we joined the Baja Ha Ha sailing rally, a group of 150+ sailboats that make the trip from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas every year.  The rally covers the 750-ish miles in one week, which is a lot of sailing, especially for our relatively slow boat and with only two hands aboard.  The schedule went like this:

San Diego – Turtle Bay, Mexico: 4 days/3 nights at sea
Two nights in Turtle Bay
Turtle Bay – Bahia Santa Maria: 2 days/2 nights at sea, arriving in the early morning hours
Two nights in Bahia Santa Maria
Bahia Santa Maria – Cabo San Lucas: 2 days/1 night at sea

Frankly, we are exhausted and Cabo is not exactly our kind of place to rest.  After spending our first day in town running between immigration and the Capitan del Puerto we are already sick of the cruise ship crowds, crazy night life and ridiculously expensive prices.  It is sad when you leave the US and the only place in town you can afford to buy groceries (and the place suggested by all of the locals) is Walmart. We wanted to run when we saw the large signs with a familiar slogan: siempre precios bajos.

The restaurants and grocery stores are full of employees with flawless English, but Adam and I have both enjoyed brushing off our Spanish skills at immigration, the cell phone store, plumbing shops and with mechanics.  As most of my vocabulary is medical and Adam seems to have spent a significant amount of time in high school coming up with naughty things to say in Spanish we occasionally have to pull out my dictionary, but together we can typically get our point across.  One of our major success stories was wandering around Turtle Bay attempting to find a welder to fix our Monitor Wind Vane.  This wonderful piece of equipment helps us to steer the boat, accounting for both changes in the wind and waves.  It is exhausting having to hand steer, constantly fighting the waves, especially when you are the only one on deck and you also have to run the lines and trim (adjust) the sails.  Someone (no blame here) broke the key piece of equipment which attaches the vane to the wheel while trying to dodge a wave the night before.  Our greatest impediment to finding a welder turned out not to be our language skills, but the fact that it was the day before the Day of the Dead and most people were on vacation!  Still, as the Ha-Ha fleet of 150+ sailboats is the biggest thing that happens in Turtle Bay all year, we were able to find a fuel man who handed us off to a little boy who led us to a closed mechanic’s shop where we wandered into the small tienda down the street where the shop girl got on her cell phone and instructed us to find a house with many small cacti where a man who could weld lived.  However he was not home and his wife called around town and then told us to find a street where he may be sitting and we walked until we heard the sound of saws and went around the back of the original mechanic’s shop where some men were tearing apart a rusty old wagon and were very proud that they could say “stainless steel” in English.  I am not sure if they every understood our broken explanations of what exactly the wheel drum and cog pin were for, but these wonderful men welded together our broken wind vane and then refused to accept our money.  We made sure to pay them in cookies and beer.

Hopefully when we leave Cabo we can get back to the glimpses of “real” Mexico that we saw as we rushed down the coast.  Oh yeah...and we caught some fish.