Sunday, November 16, 2014


November 6, 2014

Punta Tosca
Everyone’s phones were charging on the chart table next to my head, so I was the only one awakened when the alarms went off at 06:00.  (From here on out, I will be using a 24 hour clock per a reader's request.)  The radio came to life shortly thereafter.  Boats barely had a chance to check in before the official start of 07:00.  We lifted our anchor by 06:45 and motored out of the bay with the rest of the fleet.  Winds were light, so nearly everyone ran their engines so as to make some progress.  We motored out of the bay and along the rocky spine of peaks between Mag Bay and the Pacific.  Almost no vegetation grew on the mountains, but the rocks varied in color from grey to white to red.  The landscape looked almost lunar except for the very blue water.  The fleet kept closer together on this leg than previously and we had boats around us all day.

Don and Kathy saw three whales just after noon, but they had sounded before I could get out of bed to see them.  The skies were finally clear of clouds and the weather was perfect.  I rested until early afternoon and then came up to enjoy the sunshine.  The wind increased and we killed the motor and sailed along, listening to music and enjoying the scenery.  We passed the mouth of Mag Bay and gradually made our way to Punta Tosca.  From there, the coast curved away to the east and we were out of sight of land.  I came back on watch at 16:00 and really enjoyed sailing until it was time to make dinner.  Dinner was stuffed acorn squash so, once they were assembled and popped in the oven, I was free to return to the helm until they were done.  The evening was so balmy that I stayed up for an hour or so after my watch was done just to enjoy the full moonlight.
Full Moon Rising

Richard had informed us of the results of the election and I found it truly depressing that the Republicans had taken control of both houses of congress.  I suppose it will now be the Democrats’ turn to block all proposed legislation, but I fear for the rights of women and am heartily glad that I am no longer of reproductive age.  A large part of me doesn’t want to return to the United States, but I have yet to find a stable place to move my assets. (Not that I don’t worry that the United States isn’t stable, any longer, either.)

November 7, 2014

Sunrise on the Way to Cabo
What little wind we had had died the previous night and we motored most of the way to Cabo San Lucas.  The weather was finally clear and warm.  Even on my 4 am watch, I didn’t need my jacket.  The sunrise was gorgeous.  I stayed up after my watch to drink a cup of coffee and then went below to read, but fell asleep and didn’t wake up until we were rounding the corner into Cabo San Lucas.  A giant cruise ship half filled the bay.  We thought about stopping for fuel, but decided that the fuel dock would be mobbed with arriving boats and instead headed for the anchorage.

Coming into Cabo San Lucas
The Arch at Cabo
Don's Diving Form
The anchorage in Cabo has a fabulous view of the arches and the sandy beach lined with hotels.  We anchored in about 25 feet of water so clear that we could see the bottom.  The only downside was that the anchorage was rather rolly.  We spent the afternoon lounging on the boat and then called a panga and headed in to shore just before dark.  We walked over to Squid Roe to have dinner before the Ha-Ha party started.  Squid Roe hadn’t suffered from Hurricane Odile, but the club next door had been heavily damaged and was still under construction.  Hurricane damage was visible everywhere.  Traffic lights hung at strange angles and construction workers were making repairs even on a Friday night. 

Party at Squid Roe
Ha-Ha participants kept trickling in until, by 8:00, Squid Roe was packed with dancing, drinking sailors.  It looked like a scene from “Seniors Gone Wild.”  The Ha-Ha class of 2014-2015 hadn’t been big partyers, but they made up for lost time.  It would have been a lot of fun to stay, but the deafening music finally drove us out.  Fortunately, we were able to find a water taxi to take us back to our boat.

November 8, 2014

We wanted to get our grocery shopping done before the beach party started at noon.  The swells in the anchorage were quite large, making the transfer from the boat to the panga challenging.  Fortunately, it wasn’t a long walk from the dinghy dock to the grocery store.  The store had only a limited amount of fresh meat and produce.  Chicken was the only available meat and we were only able to obtain a couple of tomatoes and some bananas.  They did have a large selection of junk food, which made Kathy happy.  She was able to stock up on Cheetos, cinnamon rolls and sodas. 

After shopping, we headed back to the boat.  Getting back on was even more challenging with several bags of groceries.  At one point, the nose of the panga slammed down onto our deck and left behind a big chunk of fiberglass.  We had to be quick to avoid getting body parts trapped between the boats.
Cabo Anchorage
It took us half an hour or so to stow our purchases and get ready to go to the beach party.  Don decided to stay with the boat.  By the time Kathy and I were ready to go, we couldn’t find a water taxi anywhere.  After at least a half an hour of fruitless waving at every passing panga, the driver of a glass bottomed boat took pity on us and picked us up.  His other passengers were entertained as we leaped down onto the deck of the furiously heaving panga and then tumbled out onto the beach in front of the restaurant where the party was being held.  The Ha-Ha usually holds their Cabo beach parties at the Baja Cantina on the beach but, because we had been delayed by the weather, they couldn’t accommodate us because they had a wedding reception happening.  The party was moved next door to the Mango Deck, which turned out to be very loud.  They were running a competing program of entertainment that Richard said made one want to swear off sex and drinking for at least a month.  We couldn’t hear what prizes were being awarded, but had a good time talking with crew from a couple of other boats and eating a tasty lunch.  We stayed until it started to get dark and then grabbed a water taxi back to the boat before we got stranded again, once again making a death-defying leap from the bucking panga to Comet’s deck.

The boat rocked and rolled all night.  None of us slept well but, fortunately, none of us got sick, either.  I gave up on sleeping and read from two to four in the morning and Don was up, also.

November 9, 2014

Comet in Cabo Marina
We got up, ready to take off for Puerto Vallarta and get out of that rocking anchorage.  Before we were even completely awake, Richard came on the radio to tell everyone that a tropical storm was headed straight for Puerto Vallarta and that we shouldn’t leave for at least two days.  This was disappointing, although I was secretly glad to have another couple of days in Cabo because I wanted to see Carlos, our crew member from the previous year, who lived in town.  We had had it with being stuck in the boat, rolling constantly and having to pay $5 each way every time we wanted to go to shore.  We decided to try to move into the marina.  We called the marina office, but they said they were closed on Sunday and couldn’t help us.  We knew boats were leaving, so decided to head in, buy fuel, and try to talk to security about finding a slip.  The security guard said we could come in if we could find someone willing to let us raft to them.  Kathy tried hard to find us a spot, without success.  Someone told us that the office had decided to open because of all the Ha-Ha boats trying to check in and out, so Kathy called again and was told to call back at noon.  Since it was only 11 am, we decided to putt around the harbor for a bit.  When we reached the end of the marina where the office was located, they saw us coming and sent a boat out to direct us to a slip.  We tied up at 11:20 and our escort even hauled away our accumulated garbage.  We were very happy.

Hurricane Damage in Cabo
Kathy was tired and wanted to catch up on sleep, but Don and I headed out to locate the Telcel store so that I could get a Mexican cellphone and he could get a SIM card for his tablet.  After walking for several blocks, we finally located the main Telcel branch for Cabo San Lucas.  Cabo was eerily devoid of tourists and the neighborhood seemed deserted on a Sunday afternoon, but the Telcel store was crowded.  We waited in line for over an hour, but I finally managed to purchase a basic cellphone for about $25.  For another 200 pesos, I got 200 minutes.  I could also call the U.S. for 2 pesos (about 15 cents) per minute.  Don got a SIM card for about $6 and then got 3 gigabytes of data for 399 pesos.  We left, feeling very satisfied with ourselves, and repaired to a local taqueria where we each got two tacos and a couple of draft beers for a whopping total of $14, which is about what one lunch entrée cost at the Mango Deck.  It really pays to walk a couple of blocks inland to find a restaurant if you want to save money.

George, the Resident Sea Lion
Kathy was still sleeping when we returned to the boat.  I read and Don played with his tablet until Kathy woke up and we went up to the Baja Cantina for dinner.  We hoped to meet other Ha-Ha participants there, but it was late for dinner and very quiet.  We did have a lovely dinner.  The evening was balmy and perfect for a stroll around the marina.  The vendors along the marina walkway had been hit hard by the hurricane and few were operating.  There was almost no one out.  I remembered the previous year when the area was thronged with tourists.  Large sections of dock had been destroyed.  Some of the Ha-Ha boats were moored to pilings without docks and had to use their dinghies to get to shore.  We were very content to be safely inside a still marina, even if our dock was inhabited by a large sea lion named George, who often waddled around the dock and barked at passers by.

November 10, 2014

Having decided to remain in Cabo for another couple of days, we could no longer avoid checking in there.  Don and I got up and, after stopping at the marina office to get the weather forecast (a firm “wait and see”), we headed off to Immigration.  The crews of several other boats were there before us and we all chatted amiably while we filled out forms and went back and forth with the officials until everyone’s paperwork was in order.  Fortunately, we had plenty of copies of everything we needed and the Immigration office was kind enough to supply us with a crew list form and then to make a couple of copies so that we would have three copies for the Port Captain.

Port Captain's Office Was a Bit Worse for Wear
Scott and I had had a devil of a time locating the Port Captain’s office the previous year, but Don and I managed to walk straight there from Immigration.  The Port Captain’s office was a bit worse for wear after the hurricane and most of the houses along the way looked pretty down at heels.  Fences and gates leaned at crazy angles and vegetation looked ragged.  We filled out our forms and then had to make a four block detour to a bank to pay our port tax before returning to the Port Captain’s office to complete our check-in process.  We also checked out at the same time.  The Port Captain was not issuing zarpes (exit documents.)  For the duration of the Ha-Ha, he just had a log book where we entered our boat information and check-out date.  We managed to complete the entire process in about three hours.

Kathy Working on the Dodger
Our next mission for the day was to complete the dodger that we had been working on since before we left Marina del Rey.  We took it off the frame.  Don produced a hot knife and Kathy held the seams taut while I melted the edge of the fabric to prevent them from raveling.  There were several layers of fabric in many seams and none of them seemed to be the same length, so we had to go over each seam multiple times.  It took us a couple of hours to complete the task and we melted the duct tape holding the battered hot knife together before we were done.  Next, we dragged Don away from his tablet and installed the remaining snaps on the dodger.  We finished just before Carlos arrived to meet us for dinner.

We all piled into Carlos’ SUV dubbed “the Zombie” because it had been killed several times (was struck by lightning), but kept coming back to life.  He drove us to a local taco joint where we had delicious tacos with all the fixings.  Carlos and I got a chance to catch up on all that we had done in the past year and he regaled us all with stories of the hurricane and its aftermath.  Carlos, who normally works in tourism, was temporarily working in construction, helping to rebuild homes after the hurricane.  It was great to see him again and he promised to visit me again in La Cruz, as he was headed there to visit his other Ha-Ha friends later in the season.

Back at the boat, a downpour sent us scrambling to determine the source of the leaks that sent water dripping onto the head of my bunk.  When we removed the dodger, we had left screw holes in the fiberglass that allowed water in between the deck and the head liner, which then ran along until it dripped out through holes in the headliner where a traveler had once been installed.  We eventually solved the problem by covering the holes with a tarp.  I went to bed feeling quite satisfied that we had made good use of our extra time in Cabo.

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