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Archive for October, 2008:

Turtle Bay

Friday, October 31st, 2008

Our first day in Turtle Bay there was a no host party at Restaurante El Vera Cruz that started as soon as people trickled in. The restaurant was on top of a hill on the edge of town by the Pemex and the newly paved road to the transpeninsular highway. The wall was freshly painted, “Welcome Baja Ha Ha 2008” and there was an enourmous Corona bottle on the rooftop. I got the feeling this was the only day of the year the restaurant was open. At 2pm I knew I didn’t have the gas to make it into the night so Richard, Jordan and I left Nikki there and returned to the boat for a nap.

I returned to the party at 6pm, freshly napped and bathed. I paid $6 to shower at a motel instead of hassling with the shower-in-a-bag onboard the boat.

After 3 days at sea, everyone had a reason to celebrate. The servers dished up Mexican food. Drink prices were $2 for a beer (Negra Modelo, Corona or Pacifico), $3 for tequila (Don Julio) and $4 for a margarita. People were eating, drinking, greeting and talking shop about their first leg experience. Read the rest of this entry »

Haha Leg One

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

Monday morning. Day one of the official Haha. There was a Halloween party and BBQ on Sunday, which I missed due to laziness and Ali’s disinterest. Richard showed me the photos he took from it on Gary’s laptop and it looked to be a good time. I would have been upset at missing it except I knew plenty more parties were planned for the way down.

The bay was blanketed with a soupy gray cloud of fog, limiting our visibility to no more than 100 yards. On our way to the starting line, we stopped at the police dock on Shelter Island to meet Peter, one of the boat’s partners. He brought us some last minute supplies, mostly gallon jugs of drinking water. There’s a water tank and a new (read: untested) Spectra water maker, but my belief is that you can never have too much water.

We motored our way to the starting line and loitered with all the other boats. The so-called “Grand Poobah” of the Haha was on VHF channel 69 doing roll call. 10 of the 150 registered boats never made it to the start line, the first casualties of casualness. The fog was beginning to burn off and the wind was blowing at a pace fast enough to keep you from yawning. I never did figure out where the actual start line was and when the Poobah announced that there were 25 or so boats over the line, Larry reckoned that Crystal Blue Persuasion was probably one of them. While debating what to do and where we were, the Poobah pardoned the delinquent boats and cried, “Bang! Bang!” That was the gun and the race had begun. Read the rest of this entry »

A Weekend in San Diego

Monday, October 27th, 2008

San Diego was predictable. I went to University of California at San Diego for four years and worked in San Diego for one more. Since moving away, I’ve tried to go there at least once a year to visit my friend, Ali, and others. My visits are always enjoyable but usually consist of the same activities: Going to the beach or sleeping during the day and going out to bars at night, with some eating in between.

Last time I was in San Diego was for the Fourth of July weekend. I hoped to escape the depressing San Francisco weather but I got gyped. It was muggy and overcast the whole weekend. This time, however, made up for that. The weather was warm and shinny, how I remember San Diego most.

I wanted to shower. Ali was picking me up at 7 and he didn’t want to back-track to his place in Del Mar before we started our night so I gave in. We ate at the Old Town Mexican Restaurant, an originally named Mexican restaurant in Old Town. Afterwards we headed out to the Ould Sod in North Park to meet up with some of Ali’s friends whom I’ve never met. It was karaoke night so I grabbed a slip of paper and looked up my favorite karaoke number: Rhythm of the Night by DeBarge. They had it. It was only a few songs before I was given the mic. The crowd was mostly engaged from what I could tell, especially two cute girls in front. One of them mouthed, “I like your mustache.” After the song, I high-fived my way to the back of the bar where my friends were drinking. I told Ali about the girls, glaced back and saw that they had left. Ten minutes later, they appeared in the back of the bar, next to our table. We started chatting it up and I eventually sang a couple duets with one of them. I said I wouldn’t do any Grease and suggested Don’t You Want Me by the Human League, which we sang. Then she suggested Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me by Elton John, which I still don’t think is a duet, but we pulled it off. She gave me her business card. She was a masuse. I would have felt special at having pulled her number except for the fact that she had given her card to two other guys. Cards are impersonal anyways. That didn’t stop me from texting her the next day. We texted a few times back and forth and then nothing. I guessed she didn’t respond because I was leaving and perhaps because I was too young. I never would have guessed it, but she was 35. I knew this because she asked me my age, testing to see if my age was within her self-set boundaries, whatever those were. Read the rest of this entry »

To San Diego by Sea

Saturday, October 25th, 2008

We left Santa Cruz right after my last post at 2:30pm. Captain Gary called me on my cell phone while I was using the free internet at the brewery. I walked down to the harbor, we pulled up the bumpers and pushed off. Gary waved goodbye to his son who spent the previous night on the boat and had been helping us prepare. Jordan, the other crew member is Gary’s son’s friend.

The wind wasn’t generous but we were moving at a decent pace, 8 knots or so. After two hours the wind became stingier and we slowed to 2 knots. This wasn’t fast enough, so Gary made the decision to fire up the engines and motor until we encountered better wind conditions. Read the rest of this entry »

Preparations in Santa Cruz

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

I’ve been in Santa Cruz for the last day and a half. I thought the boat would be more or less ready to go on Monday. We’re supposed to shove off in and hour or so, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if it turned out to be later this evening or tomorrow. I’m using the free internet at the Seabright Brewery to take care of my blogging and Internet fix. I doubt I’ll have access again until San Diego.

Yesterday I spent preparing the boat: Stowing gear, cleaning the fridge and tightening the nets between the hulls on the bow.

The Drive Down

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

Kelly offered to drive me down to Santa Cruz where I was to disembark on my journey. Luckily the captain scheduled for us to leave on a Monday which means I could travel down on a weekend and bum a ride from a friend. I thought that I was going to have to take the Cal Train to Gilroy and figure out a bus from there. I have faith that I could have made my way from San Francisco to Santa Cruz by public transportation, I just think it would have taken me a full day. I never bothered to look into it.

Since Kelly was driving me, we could leave any time on Sunday and I could tarry tying up the last loose ends before I left: I put my gigantic mint-colored cabinet on the street, dropped off a couple boxes at my brother’s, bought guitar strings, and got cash from the bank. I even had time for one last brunch with my friends and a shower before I left.

Read the rest of this entry »

Bon Voyage

Friday, October 17th, 2008

I’m finally doing it. I’m getting on a 55′ Catamaran and sailing down to Cabo San Lucas. I found a crew list posting online at Latitude 38 and found a skipper that would take me. The vessel is called Crystal Blue Persuasion and she will be accompanied by 200 other boats, starting in San Diego, as part of the annual Baja Haha rally.

There are many ways to travel and I’ve done most of them: airplanes, cars, trains, buses, and bicycles. All that leaves is motorcycles, boats and hot air balloons. Boating (more specifically, sailing) is probably the least popular method of transportation due to its expensive and inconvenient nature. It is also the most romantic (or so I’m hoping). Being propelled without motor on the open ocean and nobody and nothing but who and what’s on the boat. Historically sail boats were the only efficient way to transport cargo and men would labor on them for a meager wage. Now sailboats are toys and men sail them for recreation, paying for the opportunity.

Read the rest of this entry »

Welcome to Sailust.com

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

Welcome to Sailust.com, the blog that I’m starting for my sailing trip to Cabo San Lucas and beyond. Since I just finished setting up the site, I’ll write first about the technology behind it, then about the trip in the next post.

The content management system (CMS) software I’m using is the ubiquitous WordPress. I’ve been using an older version (2.1.2) over at nerdcereal.com. I’m always too lazy to update versions. The version here is the most recent 2.6.2 and the admin interface far prettier and more user-friendly.

I modified the default theme and customized it to my liking. If anyone is interested in the source, I can release it as a public theme. This was my first experience working with the Blueprint CSS framework and I’m quite impressed by it. This design of this blog is not that complicated, but it made making the vertical columns very easy. For the colors, I found a template I liked at colourlovers.com called Mar.

The header, I know, is boring. This is a work in progress. I’m getting the nuts and bolts done first. Later I’ll add baseboards and crown molding. I should probably be focusing more on the content anyways.