Ricks thoughts so far: Cabo and on to La Paz (with Cindy’s additions in Italics)
Cabo has retained its status as the least desirable and least Mexican place in all of Mexico, in my opinion. We only went there because that is officially where the Baja HaHa rally ends. Parties happen, stories are shared and awards are distributed. It is a place to bid farewell to some of the aquaintences we made and the beginning of a new phase of cruising.
The day we arrived in Cabo was a fiasco. We were one of the privileged who were allowed to stay in the Marina as opposed to anchoring out in the very rolly surf of Cabo bay. One friend who anchored there, fell out of their dingy into the sea while trying to board his boat because it was so rough. The reason it was a fiasco is that slip assignments were not valid, so people coming into the fray would get to their slip only to be waved or chased off with the slip already taken. Imagine 50 or so large sailing vessels coming into the marina and going into holding patterns in tight spaces until the corrections were made. Fortunately for us, Cool Change was sharing a 100′ slip with the mothership “Profligate,” the huge Cat owned by Latitude 38 and Baja Haha founder Richard Spindler. Additionally sharing our slip was the Islander 31 “Starfire” rafted up to us. It was cozy but workable.
In all fairness, at least part of the reason Cabo marina was so disorganized on our arrival was that they were hit pretty hard by hurricane Odile. Many of the docks were destroyed and it made it harder to work the logistics. They still managed to get premium rates for slips though, with renters stacked in as much as three to a single slip or side tie, each paying full price as though they had the slip to themselves.
That night (Friday) we went to the “I can’t believe I cheated death one more time” party at Squid Roe. The pictures and video tell the story best but suffice it to say there were 400+ gringos in this club where everything goes so long as it stays in the club. After a couple of horrible but expensive margaritas and seeing everyone that we wanted to connect with to say goodbyes, Cindy and I left and had a quality “Mango” margarita at Tres Gallos, a favorite little outside atrium style fine restaurant that we discovered last year on the 2013 Haha.
Saturday was the beach party and awards ceremony. Everyone who didn’t get first or second in their division, got third, so even Cool Change got an award, a small painted wooden fish. People went really crazy at that party – there were lots of drinks, smiles and laughs. At the close of that party, the Baja HaHa Rally was officially over.
As there was yet another tropical depression forming to the south and generating some big south seas, we held over in Cabo until Tuesday morning. Our next stop was to be San Jose del Cabo (Los Cabos Marina), which was another marina stop in what was purported to be a luxury marina under construction. It was only to be a 20 mile trip so we left leisurely at about 10am. As it turned out, the south seas that were kicked up by the depression were still big and on our beam all the way to Los Cabos. It was a long and uncomfortable 20 miles! The marina facilities were nice at Los Cabos; however, once again there was confusion when we arrived. They sent us to a slip that would have been fine but right after we docked, they told us we had to move as it belonged to someone else. I had to refuse the next slip they offered up as it was totally inappropriate for our boat. The water was marginally deep enough but there was not enough distance to back our boat out of the slip between the rip rap lined shore and an opposing dock. They found another that would work and we moved to it and got settled.
Surprisingly, the slip fees were more expensive than Cabo and we found that they had suffered some damage too, mostly to restroom and shower facilities that had literally been blown away. We were warned to be cautious walking on the docks and grounds at night as there were rattlesnakes. While we did not see any snakes, we were visited by what we thought were bats while we sat in the cockpit having a glass of wine just after sunset. As it turned out, they may have been very large black moths. It was strange in either case that they seemed interested in food? Go figure. We stayed 2 days in this marina, only because I wanted to have a day to go in and visit the town of Los Cabos as we had heard it was quaint and cute. Unfortunately, what we found (after a very long walk across the longest bridge in history on very hot cement with no shade) was that it was just like Cabo only smaller and minus the prostitutes. Street hawkers were everywhere as were tourists. Time to move on!
We left Los Cabos the morning of November 13th with no wind, so we motored to Los Frailes anchorage, a 32 mile trip. We arrived at about 2 pm and when we got here there was only one other boat in the anchorage. Los Frailes anchorage is on the part of the Baja peninsula that is the easternmost tip of land. For that reason it is a popular jumping off point for boats headed to Mazatlan on the mainland as it offers the shortest distance to get there. It is a nice anchorage over sand and there is a beach with many campers and fisherman as well as a nice hotel back off the beach. We did not go to shore here, and only spent the night as did the rest of the boats that showed up after us. There were 9 boats in the anchorage by the time the sun went down, which is close to capacity for this small anchorage. It was as we had been warned: fairly rolly as it does not offer much protection from the anything but north wind and sea, but it really was fine. The anchoring felt secure and the movement rocked us to sleep. We watched the fisherman come in to shore in their pangas by going at high speeds then raising the engine at the last moment to fly up the beach above the high tide mark. It was fun to watch and Cindy and I both had the same feeling.. that we had finally arrived in Mexico!
The next morning we set out for Bahia de los Muertos, which would be a 50 mile day. We had some nice sailing on the way and arrived late in the afternoon. Muertos anchorage was beautiful and calm when we arrived. We were invited to our friends boat Andante for a dinner party that night. They were serving Yellow Fin Tuna that they had caught on the way there from Los Frailes. While we were on Andante, Kevin, who owns the boat, showed us that the water off the side of his boat was teaming with fish, attracted to a light he had indirectly shining down on the water. It was pretty amazing as there were thousands of fish darting around. At the edge of the fish swarm you could see eye shine reflections from what we think were Dorado that did not venture in to the lighted area but were feeding on fish at the edge of the pack. Very eerie!
The next morning we left on our final leg to reach La Paz, which will be our new home for the next couple of months. And we have found salsa dancing venues here 6 nights per week! We wished we had spent another day or two at Muertos as it was really nice but we plan to go back before we cross to the mainland.
The journey to La Paz the next day would be a long day and we hoped to make La Paz before dark. Coming out of Muertos, we entered the Canal Cerralvo, which is a 27 mile passage between Isla Cerralvo and the Baja peninsula. Because of the narrows between the two land masses, there can be and were strong currents and winds. Luckily for us, the currents were in our favor and the wind made for some great sailing for at least a few hours until we started getting wind on the nose. We had to pass through another narrows between Isla Espiritu Santo and the peninsula and here it got really rough. We had 20 + knot winds on the nose and short steep seas. It was a wet ride. We were traveling along with a big-sister ship, a Pacific Seacraft 34 named Indigo from Oceanside, California. The skipper of Indigo is a young, just retired Marine helicopter pilot named Bryan and his wife Marya.
As we rounded the bend to start heading into Bahia De La Paz, we heard a familiar voice on the radio. It was Rob and Nancy from “Shindig,” who were neighbors on our beloved “B” dock in Sausalito. They have been sailing in Mexico since they left the Bay Area on the 2012 Baja Haha. We hailed them on the radio and moments later we toasted each other as our two boats passed by each other in opposite directions. They were headed out to Balandra anchorage along with Rob’s parents, who were recent arrivals to La Paz on a motor yacht called “Elegante.” It seemed amazing to be passing by them so far from home! It made us feel so welcome, to be greeted by old friends from the same Sausalito dock whose occupants escorted us out of the Gate three months before!
We continued on towards La Paz looking for the start of a 5 mile long channel that lead to our destination, Marina De La Paz. As we were just about to enter the channel, something hit on my trolling line, which I still had out, and line started zinging off the reel. We stopped the boat and worked to land our fourth dorado of the trip! We continued motoring up the channel while Cindy processed the fish and we arrived at our destination moments before sunset. When we found our slip, to our surprise, Susanne from Adventure, the Island Packet 38 we sailed to Mexico on last year was on our dock to greet us! Adventure, owned by our good friend Frank aka Richard Stair, is berthed two boats up from our slip. Yes its a small world! We had a reunion that night with Richard and Susanne aboard Adventure and Cindy brought over some freshly made dorado ceviche as we shared a pot luck dinner and traded stories. It has been an awesome trip, but it is great to be in what feels like home for the next few months before we make our crossing to the mainland, if that is how our plans roll out.
A few days after we arrived in La Paz, a Baja HaHa Reunion was scheduled in a local restaurant a few blocks from our Marina. As always,the party was a ball, but Marina de la Paz made it extra special by arranging for some wonderful entertainment, including a Ballet Folklorico dancers and the best 8-piece Mariachi band we have ever seen.