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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.

“When did you get in?”
“How long did you motor?”
“Did you catch any fish?”
“Yes, two bonita and a bluefin.”
“How big?”
“This big, 20 pounds or so. We made some sushi and ceviche.”
“I think I reckognize you from the Halloween party.”
“What boat are you on? How many crew?”
“Where are you from?”

Enrique, the Haha’s ambassador to Turtle Bay and local business owner, provided us with a 4-story cake that looked more suitable for a wedding. On top was a big “15” for the number of Hahas. The Grand Poobah said some words and people commenced partying.

Inside there was a bar and an empty dance floor begging for a feet with American pop and flashing lights. It wasn’t until the party was winding down until the floor’s wish was granted and still there was never more than 6 people gracing it. I was practicing my Spanish with some locals who came to watch the spectacle of obnoxious United States Americans getting shit-faced. One of them called me Nacho Libre and they all started busting up. I’m okay with this nickname. It beats Harry Potter, the nickname I was given when I was last in Cabo. My appearance has changed significantly since then. At midnight the crowd thinned to only a handful so Gary, Nikki and I walked back to the dock and Gary rowed us in the dinghy back to the mothership.

The next day a potluck party was scheduled to take place on the beach at 10am. It doubted it would get going that early so I cooked some banana pancakes and eggs for the crew. After cleaning up, we moved the boat as close as we could to the beach. A few people Richard met the night before stopped by to check out our bucket. Then there were some folks from Profligate, the host boat, a big catamaran like ours. Profligate had been on all 15 Hahas. Gary, Larry and Nikki were honored when they got a chance to board their boat. Nikki came back saying that for 12 people, their boat was much tidier than ours.

When the beach party gained momentum, everyone but Gary took a panga taxi to the beach. Gary swam. For the potluck, Nikki made some gespacho, a cold tomato soup with shrimp and cucumber. I had been worrying that the gespacho wasn’t enough of a contribution and brainstormed what else we could bring. It came to me in a dream the previous night: Peanut butter and banana sandwiches. They turned out to be a hit, or at least they were all munched up. Everything was munched up. Most people forgot utinsels and were sharing and eating off of tupperware lids. The sandwiches had the advantage of not needing any dish- or silverware.

The same bartenders from the night before were in a stand on the beach selling the same $2 beers. HavingĀ  adequate rest, people were imbibing more than the previous day. There was a volleyball game and some people were kicking around a soccer ball. The rest were having the same conversations as the night before but with new people. Everyone got together for a group photo. It was the largest gathering of Haha-ers I’d seen yet.

After the party I swam back to the boat for exercise. I went ashore that night but nothing was doing. People must have been exhausted from the beach party and resting for the 8am departure to Bahia Santa Maria.

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