Monday, December 07, 2009

The Sweet Sixteen Baja Ha-Ha

Clark & Nina joined Roz & Russ Worrall aboard “Worrall Wind”, their motor-sailing ketch, for the Baja Ha-Ha. This annual cruiser’s rally is sponsored by the popular sailing rag “Latitude 38”. A record 193 boats signed up, only one of which was a power boat (gasp!). On October 26th, about 165 boats crossed the starting line at the mouth of San Diego Bay. Excitement was high, spinnakers were loosed, crews whooped & hollered as they passed the Port of San Diego’s photo/news boat. We were off and rolling (literally)! We crossed the finished line on November 5th, but continued around to La Paz a few days later, stopping along the way.

Warm sun, fresh fish, sandy beaches, new friends. Sleepless nights, big and bumpy seas, relentless rolling, bruises, spilled coffee...

Our most enjoyable memories of the journey down the west coast of Baja California are of the spectacular skies. We reveled in glowing sunsets and sunrises, softly lit clouds at dawn, a sublime full moon rising over Bahia Santa Maria, night sailing in bright moonlight, jeweled clouds over Cabo. We were fortunate to see the green flash at sunset too! We did not imagine it– several other sailors reported seeing it the same evening, including Roz. Russ unfortunately missed it.

Not so enjoyable were the rough seas of October 28th. Clark managed not to get seasick while steering, cooking, making coffee & using the head by taking Meclizine. Nina, who is very prone to motion sickness, wore SeaBands® and dosed herself every 4 hours with Dramamine. She kept her stomach busy digesting raw nuts & kept her head as still as possible by hunkering in a spot in the pilothouse with the least motion, on the centerline of the boat with good visibility of the horizon. She used the head as quickly as was possible under the conditions. Night sailing would have been sheer torture for her. It was good we decided to dive into the large bay south of Punta San Carlos. Even so, she kept up the preventive regimen even at anchor.

We had fun exploring the capitol city of Baja California Sur, La Paz, on foot. The sidewalks held much of our attention due to two things… every few yards the construction & design of the walkways would change in very artful & creative ways, and they were treacherous to navigate due to holes, elevation differences, chunks missing, and uneven surfaces. The people were very friendly & several stopped to greet us as we rested on benches. Our Spanish is nonexistent but we managed to communicate in a small way. The malecón, a waterfront promenade, is extensive and is adorned with many lovely works in bronze. It was a pleasant place to people-watch. We noticed how very few Mexicans own dogs. We saw only one, a chihuahua, on a leash, though there were a few obvious strays. All other pet dogs were attached to gringos.

In La Paz, we found the stores fascinating as we wandered down the many narrow streets. The dress of the women was quite flashy, sexy even. We looked at crafts and weavings but we purchased only provisions at the Costco in Cabo and at the Super Mercado Aramburo in La Paz. We did not buy anything to eat except a cup of coffee– no ice cream, no tortillas, no restaurant fare. We came home without any souvenirs though we do regret not being able to haul back a gigantic chunk of New Zealand butter we found at Costco! We turned just $30 into pesos & spent most of that on a taxi ride, tips, the coffee, and groceries at the mercado.

If we decide to travel to Mexico again, we will learn to communicate in Spanish. We were unable to talk to the drivers of the Marina Costa Baja free shuttle, unable to ask questions of anyone unless they spoke English. Truly pathetic. We had a little Seiko translator and it helped us figure out a few words, but it was inadequate. Next time, we will also bring fewer and lighter weight clothes!
Cabo San Lucas is inundated with families of obvious poverty hawking cheap silver jewelry, whistles, trinkets and assorted tacky items. They are positioned every few yards along every walkway & it’s difficult constantly waving them away with a polite, “No, gracias.” When we managed to get a decent number of blocks away from the hotels and the marina, this distraction was minimized. Even so, most of the goods for sale were ugly, gaudy or crass, such as the frog coin purses. We did not see this type of hawking in La Paz. There were established “booths” along some streets such as the plaza in front of the cathedral, but we only saw a couple of artists with their finely made macramé jewelry laid out along the sidewalk. Nina was tempted to purchase a necklace but we merely commented on the quality of the work and walked on.
We've published a small website about our "Month to Baja by Water" at
Rikki-tikki-tavi is patiently waiting for us in Roche Harbor. We'll return to the Pacific Northwest in the Spring.
Clark & Nina

1 comment:

Birgitta Höglund's Mat said...

Hi, Nina and Clark. What lovely pictures from Your boattrip.
Seems that Youve had a great journey, despite all the bad weather..
Beautiful sunsets.
Take care./ Birgitta


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