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Haha Ceremony & Diaspora

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

Sunday night marked the end of the Haha. There was free beer and an awards ceremony in the parking lot of the Cabo marina. Every boat was reckognized and the lowest award given was 3rd Place. There were a lot of ties for 3rd Place in every division. All it took to win, apparently, was sailing the whole way, because so few boats had the patience. Most boats fired up their motors, especially for leg one. Crystal Blue Persuasion actually came 2nd in our division because we sailed the last two legs.

Other goofy awards were given like Worst Boat Bite (injury), Worst Dinghy Diasaster, Worst Snorer. According the the Poobah, the boat bites this year where pretty whimpy. My favorite was the snoring award because people had to get up and imitate them. My captain was nominated but Nikki was the first to present and didn’t know she’d have to do an impression.

From Cabo there are typically three different routes that Haha-ers take: 1) Sail up the Sea of Cortez to La Paz and beyond. Richard and Nikki jumped ship to go there. 2) Sail to mainland Mexico, usually Puerta Vallarta then on down to Zihuatanejo. 3) Sail back up to Alta California known as “bashing back” because you’re going against the wind and current. A forth option would be to park your boat somewhere and fly back.

Right now I’m in Mazatlan. Our next definite stop will be Zihuatanejo but hopefully Puerto Vallarta as well. I’d like to meet up with the super kids on Gypsy that I met on the way down. It seemed most Haha boats going to the mainland were going to PV, including Profligate. Sailing here, however,  we were almost side-by-side with Thumbs Up, so we are not the only ones in Mazatlan.

Haha Leg Two

Saturday, November 1st, 2008

The Grand Poobah announced that the start of leg two to Bahia Santa Maria would be a “rolling start,” meaning all participants motor out a bit to catch wind until a deadline to kill the engines was announced. A half hour later the wind was blowing generously and the Poobah gave the order to kill the engines. We killed the engines and started to cruise. The conditions had been the best of the whole trip at that point and, according to the weather report, it would last at least till our next stop.

We cast our fishinglines to see if anything was biting. We caught a tuna on leg one, which we already devoured. 30 minutes into leg two the line started zipping and Gary reeled in a fish. It didn’t resist much and turned out to be a 20 lb. dorado. I’d never heard of that fish before then Nikki told be it’s called Mahi Mahi in Hawaii, which sounded familiar. Nikki eventually cooked it into something delicious with the random rations we have aboard.

The wind kept going and the waves started to pick up, sometimes splashing over the bow. Crystal Blue Persuasion rolled like a marble maze box that from front to back and left to right. The monohulls were taking more of a beating, rolling left and right, at sharper angles, through the trough of the waves. One cruiser complained it was difficult to sleep unless you had the berth at the very front of the bow where you can roll against both sides of the boat. Nikki left her porthole window open, which was safe when her cabin was on the windward side of the boat, but we gybed and it wasn’t long before a wave gushed in and soaked her and her mattress. Read the rest of this entry »

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 »