2010-11-21

We have arrived in La Paz!

Well here we are in La Paz! It's really crazy here because of the Baja 1000 race, which ended here a couple of days. There were loud parties until 2AM or later that last couple of nights (making it difficult to sleep), and then a parade started up around 8AM lasting well into the afternoon with bands, and music, and all that good stuff. We anchored off the Malecon - the waterfront road, so had a decent view of all the activities. Pretty crazy, and hopefully it will quiet down over the next few days. Though the parade was a lot of fun to watch...

Looks like we are stuck out in the anchorage. The marina in town is full, and one just on the outskirts, while having plenty of slips and end ties, won't accommodate our catamaran (even though we would fit just fine - they just won't let us rent the slips). As with Cabo San Lucas, anchoring in La Paz requires an anchorage fee paid via an API office. Marina La Paz has a nice dingy dock for 15 pesos a day, and then we can drop off our trash (and fill up water jugs if needed). We will keep trying for a slip as we have well over 1000 miles of accumulated salt buildup to wash off the boat! You have to have done some ocean cruising to really understand how much salt buildup you get on everything exposed to weather on the boat - and we do mean everything!

[UPDATE: We are now safely tucked into Marina de La Paz for the the next week or so. This will give us a bit better protection for the northern that supposed to blow in here later this week. Thank you SO MUCH Marina de La Paz for finding room for us.]

Yesterday afternoon we walked to a great supermercado and picked up about the max amount of food three people can carry a mile back to the boat without needing a taxi.

More from La Paz soon! We plan to be here until after Thanksgiving, which we plan to spend with some of the other Haha boats we've met and become good friends with.

Goofy statue

Yet another sky picture, over La Paz

La Paz from the anchorage

Balandra Bay

We spent several days in Balandra Bay before moving on, because we enjoyed it so much. Lots of great swimming and beach combing, Chris added some great shells to her collection from beaches around the area.

Here you can walk out about 1/3 of a mile at low tide in the sand shoals, but watch out for stingrays!

This is a pretty special and unique place, with lots of opportunities for activities...

Mushroom rock
All alone in the anchorage

Balandra Bay

Another beautiful sky picture, we can't get enough of these!

Bahia de los Muertos

Bahia de los Muertos was our next anchorage. This is traditionally called the Bay of the Dead, but in order to make it sound more appealing to developers selling real estate around the new golf course, it has been renamed to Bahia de los Suenos - the Bay of Dreams.

Muertos is a wonderful, beautiful bay, although not nearly as primitive as Frailes. Many houses are being built here (they have electricity), and there is a hotel and a great little cantina where we spent a couple of afternoons that turned into evenings over food and drinks with other Baja Haha'ers we've been cruising in lock-step with.

We left Muertos for Balandra and decided to fish using a lure that Valparaiso gave us, and we went from being skunked after days of fishing to having fish-on within 5 minutes! It was a small Black Skipjack, about five pounds. Weird fish, the meat is black. 

Great cantina overlooking the anchorage

The beach

Anchorage. Houses are being built all on the hill

Jacob's skipjack! A small keeper at around 5 pounds

Bahia Los Frailes

Bahia Los Frailes is one of our favorite places so far in Mexico. It's on the rugged frontier inside Pulmo Reef National Park. Basically a fishing camp, although there are a few beautiful houses (but no electricity). The hotel closed some time ago, and there is otherwise not much here but miles of beautiful beach.

The bay (Friar's Bay) gets it's name from a large rock formation which, with enough imagination, looks like a bunch of Friars climbing up the mountain.

We did lots of swimming here, and had a few nice walks on the beach.

Note that there is now a fee of 50 pesos per-person per-day to use the park, which includes anchoring. Collection of the fees is not clear nor consistent - they went around to many boats to collect, but not all - and they didn't end up charging us the full charge. I guess they've found out how much cruisers like the anchorage and found a way to profit, not sure, but just a note to others planning to anchor here.

A few pictures from Bahia Los Frailes:

The anchorage from atop the sand dunes

Incredible sun rises every morning here

Beach and Friar's rock (all the way on the right)

Landscape across the dunes. Reminds me of Wyoming badlands

Cabo San Lucas

We had a pretty relaxing time in Cabo, even though it's a busy place, as long as we stayed on the boat - despite constantly being buzzed in the anchorage by jet skis, parasailors, party boats, and pangas. Cabo itself is not a very inspiring or interesting city, as they go. It's hot, and way too touristy. You can't walk by anything without attempts to usher you into a restaurant with 2 for 1 drink specials, or asking if you need a taxi, or want to charter a fishing boat, or buy junk. "No Gracias" means NO, guys!

Still, we managed to get what we needed done - we are cleared into the country (except for the boat import which we can't do until La Paz anyway). We had all our laundry done, so we have fresh clothes to wear. We got a few provisions from the supermercado, and Chris and Scott walked 2 miles each way to the Wal-Mart for a few other things.

We were very happy to be leaving Cabo for a few quiet anchorages before our next stop in La Paz.

A word to Cabo San Lucas bound cruisers - the marina is VERY expensive, expect to pay US$125-150 a night. We stayed in the anchorage the whole time, which also is not free. Each anchored boat has to find their way to the port's API office and pay an anchoring fee, which depends on the size of the vessel. The actual policy on anchorage fees is not clear, nor is it easy to find the necessary information on where and how to pay.

Here's a few more pictures from Cabo:

The Cabo anchorage
Hotels... Hotels Everywhere!

The cape - neat rocks!

2010-11-07

Leg three of the Baja Haha

On November 3rd we started the final Leg, 180nm from Bahia Santa Maria to Cabo San Lucas. This turned out to be quite an interesting leg due to some unusual Easterly winds of 25+ kts around the cape which made for some very slow and uncomfortable motoring (no sailing for us in these conditions). The swell and waves were huge, as we pounded into them, water splashing up between the hulls and all over the boat. Fortunately it was warm, no foulies needed! It took a maddeningly long time to round the cape, as the boat would crash down a wave and stop, and by the time the boat started to accelerate again, we'd be on the next wave. Finally, we made it around and got the hook down around 2:30PM off the beach in Cabo San Lucas!

We got Third Place in our division for the Haha!!! Which sounds really great, except that the worst you can do is Third Place! :-) Actually we did better than expected, honestly, as we sailed the entire Leg two, which we didn't really expect to do. As with most of the fleet, we were here to get to Cabo, and not in any competition.

The Baja Haha was great! We met lots of great people, and had a great time. It's a great group of people, pretty mellow for the most part, and pretty family friendly overall.

Sunrise over the Baja peninsula

Approaching Cabo San Lucas in lots of wind

Pounding through the waves

Cabo San Lucas Lighthouse

The Cabo San Lucas Arch


From the Haha Beach Party - People are selling things everywhere

Bahia Santa Maria

Bahia Santa Maria is a desolate bay, there's nothing here but some small fish camps. Rugged and beautiful, it's a very well protected bay, although a bit windy at times.

Here we had another beach party, with locals selling big plates of food, beer, and margaritas. They even trucked in a band from La Paz - which doesn't sound like a big deal until you find out they have to get here by driving along the beach for 50 miles, and they can only do it at low tide!

The anchorage at Bahia Santa Maria

Walking the dingy across the bar (our approach wasn't quite right, but we made it)

Looking out at the bay. The tide came in quickly here, and this beach disappeared very very quickly

The Haha Beach Party. We helped move at least a dozen dingys up above the tide line as the tide came up

The fantastic estuary. The water was warm and a great swim (but watch out for the Pangas!)

Leg two of the Baja Haha

On October 30th we started Leg two of the rally, from Bahia Tortuga to Bahia Santa Maria, a distance of about 240nm. We arrived a couple of hours before dawn on November 1st. We sailed this entire leg, never starting the engines between the official starting time and the finish line!

A couple of pictures from this leg:

The start of Leg two

Check out how many boats there are on the radar!

Another fantastic sunset, what can be better than this?

Bahia Tortuga

We had two nights in Bahia Tortuga before starting the next leg of the rally. On October 28th there was a great just-for-fun baseball game between town locals and the Haha fleet. It was a lot of fun, and piles of baseball gear was donated to the locals. We didn't get any pictures of the game, or the town - but it's a small Mexican town that has seen much better days. The folks of Turtle Bay are very friendly, and gave us lots of smiles and "Holas" as we walked around town.

October 29th was a beach party for the fleet, which was a ton of fun. It was a potluck with everyone from the fleet bringing a ton of food. We relaxed on the beach, and Chris went for a 4 mile run on the beach which she really enjoyed.

Some pictures from Bahia Tortuga:

The anchorage at Bahia Tortuga

Haha Beach Party

Haha Beach Party

Leg one of the Baja Haha

On October 25th we started Leg one of the Baja Haha, along with just over 150 other boats. Leg one of the rally is from San Diego to Bahia Tortuga, a passage of roughly 350nm. We arrived in Bahia Tortuga on October 28th around 7AM.

The first couple of nights were a bit rough and the winds not all that favorable for us, but it was a good passage. On the evening of October 27th, we had a very close encounter with a whale off Islas San Bonito, when one surfaced about 20 feet off our port bow! A bit exciting and a bit scary, but really neat to have such a close encounter.

Here's a few pictures of Leg one:

The start of the rally, across the San Diego waterfront

Our new friends Dale and Dena on Double Dharma - great people!


Sun setting down on Islas San Bonito. Beautiful!!

2010-11-04

We made it to Cabo San Lucas!

We successfully made it to Cabo San Lucas! The Baja Haha was great! We met lots of great people and had lots of fun. The first thing that Jacob and Scott did once the anchor was down was go swimming in the 83 degree water! More blogs and pictures soon, but for now we need rest!
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