Baha Ha Ha – Cabo San Lucas

We were warned ahead of time that going through immigration and the port captain would take hours with the volume of boats in the fleet. And because of the delay, we arrived on a Friday and both offices were not open on the weekends. So we quickly set anchor, lowered the dinghy and the four of us sped off to the dingy dock to catch a cab to immigration. Hurry up, hurry up, then wait three hours while they process your papers. Then catch a cab to the port captain, stand in line to submit papers, walk two blocks down and four blocks over to the bank to pay your port fees, walk quickly back to the port captains office because he is closing in 40 minutes, submit receipt for port fees, and wait while they complete your papers. Over four hours later we are checked in and worried that Sereno II had dragged anchor since we literally left her 15 minutes after setting anchor. So while our crew set out for lunch, Gary and I hiked back to the boat to make sure she was still where we left her. She was and now it was Corona time!

The following is Gary’s tale of the Baha Ha Ha after rally party.

The party at Squid Roe started at 8:00 pm the day we arrived in Cabo. After night watches and the crazy day with Immigration I was ready to tell the crew to go without me, but pull up my boot straps I did. We jumped in the dinghy and off we went into the dark inviting Cabo night.

Squid Roe Restaurant and Night Club is a funky 3 story unfinished ramshackle kind of place. The kind of place you could get lost or found in. As we walked in, who knew we were entering Hells playground. Beers were flying around the room like drones in Pakistan along with rum drinks and tequila jello shooters. Yes college kids were putting tequila in my jello and I loved it. I was drinking it down like some south of the border demented Witches brew. The throbbing ear piercing beat from the DJ’s  70’s, 80’s, and 90’s baby boomer sound track sent Yachties into a hot sweat lathered frenzy driving the conga line into the streets of Cabo and back into the loins of ‘Squid Roe’.
We were born again. The same age as we left but some how just a little bit younger I suspect. We had survived the Baja peninsula, a threatening hurricane and even the Mexican Immigration office. We were unbridled and bound for a good time. And if there is one thing that Yachties know how to do it is…  have a good time.

I was so happy for strapping on those boots.

The crew at Squid Roe

The crew at Squid Roe with our party hats on

The fleet at Squid Roe

The fleet at Squid Roe

Squid Roe party

Squid Roe party

The crew of Sereno II.  Thank you Richard and Greg!

The crew of Sereno II. Thank you Richard and Greg!

Sereno II at anchor

Sereno II at anchor

Baha Ha Ha – The Third and Final Leg

November 6th we pulled up anchor at 4:15 am determined that we would make Cabo San Lucas during daylight the next day. We picked our way through a bay full of boats, darn those who don’t have their anchor lights on. It was a beautiful day but no wind. Richard caught a yellowfin tuna early in the morning so fresh tuna sashimi for lunch :) Mid afternoon we all had a bit of a scare as a boat in the fleet came over with a Mayday that one of their crew was having a seizure. There were two doctors, a nurse, and EMT among the fleet so a doctor was able to help the captain. I must say the captain of that boat handled himself very calmly in a very scary situation. It really brings home how isolated you are on the ocean and is the number one reason many cruisers do the Baha Ha Ha. When you are sailing 700+ miles along a desolate shoreline, it is nice having 135 other boats with you. I’m happy to say that the crew member got to a doctor when they docked in Cabo and was reported to be doing fine.

After a brilliant sunset and the rise of a full moon, we crossed the Tropic of Cancer at the stroke of midnight on November 7th. We were now officially in the tropics. But with our weather getting warmer each day, we didn’t need no stinking chart to tell us that. I was no longer wearing a sweatshirt during my night watches! I came on watch at 4:00 am that morning excited to see Cabo San Lucas and watch the sunrise. Adding to the excitement was a cruise ship passing less than 1 nm off our starboard side. A bit close but I got a good view of how large it is. Anchor down at 8:45 am during daylight. After nearly 11 days we arrived. Let the celebration begin!

Richard's catch.  A yellowfin tuna.  Sashimi for lunch!

Richard’s catch. A yellowfin tuna. Sashimi for lunch!

You know you reached Cabo when you see the arches

You know you reached Cabo when you see the arches

Celebrating our arrival in Cabo San Lucas

Celebrating our arrival in Cabo San Lucas

Baha Ha Ha – Leg Two and Bahia Santa Maria

Finally on November 3rd we raised anchor and cleared the starting line for leg two at 10:35. Not the early start we hoped for but we needed to wait for the weather forecast to make sure Hurricane Vance was not a threat. And we had WIND. At 12:10 the sails were up and the motor off doing speed over ground of 7.1 knots. Later in the day Greg was able to deploy our beautiful spinnaker. We hit a top speed of 9.7 knots under full main and spinnaker. It was a great ride and in 8 hours we covered 72 miles. I know for you speed boat and racing fans that is sloooow but in a cruising sailboat, we were happy.

The forecast for that night was building wind and seas. For that reason Gary decided we would have two people on watch for 3 hour shifts. With four on board each person was doing 2 hour watches. The spinnaker was lowered when the winds hit 18 knots. At 1:00 am the jib was in with a second reef in the main. Winds were at 17 knots gusting to 22, which is a normal day for San Francisco Bay. It was wild but nice to actually be sailing! At checkin the next morning the fleet reported shredded spinnakers, torn main sails, a bent mast and a broken spinnaker pole. So happy our crew made the right decisions at the right times to avoid any damage to Sereno II.

By the end of this leg we were able to sail a total of 15 hours. We dropped anchor at midnight on November 5th. Yes another night anchor in an unfamiliar harbor but all went well.

Bahia Santa Maria is just a bay with no town. However, the Grand Poobah arranged for a band and food stand to travel 15 hours from the nearest town for our beach party. Their travel has to be timed with low tide otherwise the road is washed out. And if that wasn’t difficult enough, arrangements had to be changed due to the two day weather delay we had. I was impressed.
Now on to Leg Three and Cabo San Lucas!

A selfie at Bahia Santa Maria.  Greg had just finished climbing a mountain.  Richard, Gary and I, NOT lol

A selfie at Bahia Santa Maria. Greg had just finished climbing a mountain. Richard, Gary and I, NOT lol

Relaxing with Richard on my favorite seat on the boat.

Relaxing with Richard on my favorite seat on the boat.

Baha Ha Ha – Turtle Bay

Turtle Bay is about half way down the Baha Peninsula and is a normal stop for cruisers. Here you can get diesel and maybe find a few provisions in one of the small markets. This is a small village so the 3 or 4 restaurants offer few items but they do seem to have a lot of beer on hand.

Getting diesel from a panga. Who dressed him?

Getting diesel from a panga. Who dressed him?

Restaurant in Turtle Bay.  They were out of half their menu which was all the fish dishes.

Restaurant in Turtle Bay. They were out of half their menu which was all the fish dishes.

The waterfront in town is booming the two days that 135+ boats from the Baha are anchored in the bay. We woke up to pangas crossing every which way in the bay delivering diesel, water, hauling trash and providing taxi service from boats to shore and back. The sponsors of the rally arrange a baseball game with the locals who are so into baseball they had astro turf installed on their field last year. The field really stands out among the dirt roads. As a way to get to know the other cruisers, we had a potluck beach party and the local kids go trick-or-treating through the crowd.

The official departure time of the second leg was set for 8:00 am the next morning. We decided to head out at 7:00 am so we could get to our next stop at Bahia Santa Maria 240 nm away before nightfall the next day. That was the plan anyway. We raised anchor at 6:45 am really proud of ourselves for beating our planned time by 15 minutes. Right as we were exiting the bay the Grand Poobah came over the VHF to announce that we were in fact not leaving Turtle Bay due to a cautionary weather report on Hurricane Vance along with a high pressure system that was in the area. Well, additional practicing on anchoring can’t hurt. The weather delay lasted 2 days, which was not necessarily a good thing for a remote village short on supplies. We spent our time exploring the bay in the dingy and letting Greg talk us into hiking to the top of a mountain where the view was awesome but put us at risk of losing a crew member on the slippery trail!

Turtle Bay taken from shore.

Turtle Bay taken from shore.

Love our car (dingy)!  And we don't need a license to drive it LOL.

Love our car (dingy)! And we don’t need a license to drive it LOL.

These guys were trying to paddle to one of the boats to get some fish.  Greg gave them a lift.

These guys were trying to paddle to one of the boats to get some fish. Greg gave them a lift.

Baha Ha Ha – Leg One

After months of preparing the boat for Mexico, we finally came down to the last few days. Austin and crew member Richard both arrived on Friday, October 24th. We had a great time that evening celebrating Austin’s 22nd birthday first at Bali Hai for their great Mai Tai’s, then on to Stone Brewery for their great beer, and wrapping up the evening at Queenstown Bistro for a great dinner. On Sunday we said goodbye to Austin as he set off with our car back to school in Arizona. Our fourth crew member Greg arrived that night so now we were ready.

The Baha Ha Ha Rally is quite an event for the San Diego bay as 135 plus boats prepare to depart at the same time. On starting day, October 27th, we formed a parade as we passed the Harbor Patrol Fire Boats to the starting line. I never did see the actual starting line but start we did at around 11:00 am. The sails were up just for show as there was no wind. But we were excited just the same.

The crew of Sereno II.  Cindy, Gary, Greg and Richard

The crew of Sereno II. Cindy, Gary, Greg and Richard

Harbor Police Fire Boats gave us a great send off

A view of a boat in the fleet and the Harbor Police Fire Boats giving us a great send off

Parade of boats while CNN filmed overhead

Parade of boats while CNN filmed overhead

We had pirates in the fleet

We had pirates in the fleet

Gary and I as we leave San Diego

Gary and I as we leave San Diego

At 12:30 pm we crossed into Mexico and celebrated with Tequila shots. On this leg of the trip Richard caught an albacore tuna and a Mahi Mahi. We enjoyed some great sashimi on board.

Richard with his catch referred to as Mahi Mahi or Dorado

Richard the mighty fisherman with his catch referred to as Mahi Mahi or Dorado

He was still moving and right after the picture was taken I was out of there LOL

He was still moving and right after the picture was taken I was out of there LOL

Directly from the sea

Sashimi directly from the sea

I started my first ever night watch at the stroke of midnight on my birthday. It was an uneventful two hours as the seas were very calm with no wind. Motoring along I scanned the horizon every 15 minutes for other lights and checked the AIS for other vessels. Lucky the moon was almost full so it wasn’t totally dark. During the day my focus was on the water looking for sea life, boats and just the beauty of the ocean. At night my focus was on the stars. Just beautiful. Gary managed to bake me a birthday cake and we had one of my favorite meals at sunset, a fish pot using the Mahi Mahi Richard caught that day. Can’t get any fresher than that! Later that night at 11:00 pm after 60 hours at sea we dropped anchor in Turtle Bay. Coming in to an unfamiliar anchorage in the dark is not ideal. The lights from the small town and the anchor lights from the other boats is very deceiving. When I got up the next morning, the bay looked nothing like I pictured the night before :).

If I had to describe this leg I would say uneventful and a good calm introduction to off shore cruising. There was no wind for the duration of this leg so we motor sailed (sails up motor on) the entire time as did most of the fleet. We saw whales breaching, had dolphins playing around the bow of the boat and Greg saw a sea turtle. The seas started out choppy, which took me out of action for a time :(. But by the second day the seas calmed down and we had a pleasant passage down to Turtle Bay, though some wind would have been nice. We were all looking forward to walking on land, showers and meeting the rest of the fleet at Turtle Bay…………

Greg cleaning fish blood out of the dingy.  Dirty job but someone had to do it

Greg cleaning fish blood out of the dingy. Dirty job but someone had to do it

My birthday cake.  You can't tell from the picture but it is slanted to match the heel of the boat LOL

My birthday cake. You can’t tell from the picture but it is slanted to match the heel of the boat LOL

One of many beautiful sunsets

One of many beautiful sunsets

We Made Agua!

We fired up the water maker today. Left the dock and started the commission sequence at 1:00. At 1:45 we were putting new water in the tank. No leaks, no issues all thanks to Gary! Produced 20 gallons in 35 minutes which is 25 minutes less than advertised. We are very pleased. Celebrated with Cerviche, Corona’s and Tequila at our favorite local Mexican restaurant!

Hola
Cindy

Cabo or Bust

Back in the 70’s when we had the oil crisis with cars stretched for miles at gas stations and you had to choose between heating your home and feeding your kids, there was all this talk of solar energy. The plan was for every home to have an array of solar panels on their roofs and the USA would no longer be dependent on rich oil nations. Out of college I worked for Exxon Corporation in their Solar Thermal Systems division. I really believed this was our future energy source. But heck, my favorite cartoon was the Jetsons and as a kid I believed when I grew up I would be jetting through space to get to work, Ha! Fast forward 40 some years and I can finally say that Gary and I are off the grid. We installed solar panels capable of generating 500 watts of energy which is enough to power a small refrigerator, small freezer, lights, and our instruments plus phones, IPAD and laptop. It feels good!
solar 10-13-2014
Solar2 10-13-2014

Today marks our 2 week countdown until we leave for Mexico. The last month has been hectic getting projects finished. We have the water maker installed and this Wednesday we will go out in the bay and start her up. Keeping our fingers crossed that all the connections are tight and we have no leaks! Our list of things to get done is getting smaller. There are so many details for a trip like this going down 800 miles on the third longest peninsula in the world which is very desolate. We need to estimate the amount of extra diesel to carry because frankly you can never depend on the wind. Adding to the list is the fact that we are not returning to California or the USA right away. Getting our life in order making sure finances as well as Austin are taken care of and we continue to have reliable communication has taken some planning. We are both so ready to cut the dock lines and just relax! I won’t even go into all the paperwork and bureaucracy involved to allow us to enter Mexico :(

We have assembled a fine crew of accomplished sailors for the trip. Our friend Richard from San Francisco Bay just recently returned from a sailing trip in Croatia. Greg who is a dock neighbor here in Chula Vista, spent many years in South Africa and has sailed on Lake Erie and currently participates in races off the coast of San Diego. He helped us launch the spinnaker for the first time yesterday. Our menu is planned which is important since a well fed crew is a happy crew :). We get our Mexico fishing licenses tomorrow so we can catch a few dinners. This week the captain (aka Gary) will be working on our crew shifts as well as our sailing course. For the last month Gary and I have been taking a navigation course through the US Coast Guard Auxiliary. So hopefully this will help us to arrive in Cabo San Lucas as planned rather than the Galapagos Islands (just kidding Barb)! As we add more things, Sereno II is looking more and more like a cruising boat as you will see from the pictures below.

Over dinner yesterday I happen to glance at my phone and noticed for the first time the date, October 12th. Gary and I went on our first date 40 years ago to a dance at Lenape Valley Regional High School. Who knew 40 years later almost to the day we would be starting on our cruising adventure! How life just keeps evolving.

Hola
Cindy
Dingy 10-13-2014 Our new dingy hanging off the stern davits

Will we have enough diesel

Will we have enough diesel


Baha pic Cabo or bust

This is Oakley Here – I Am Back at College!

I have hacked into the blog to let you all know that I am back at college with my bro. Had a great time on vacation with the folks swimming and playing at the beach and I was really liking those dingy rides. But I had to get off the freaking boat. The rocking kept putting me to sleep. I needed to get back to nacho’s, pizza and beer pong. The guys depend on me and bro needs a study partner even if I’m just snoozing next to him ;) Mom snapped the picture below of me on my last day. This was my favorite place to relax after a hard day of watching dad and mom work on the boat. I would catch the sea breezes and it was good night Louise! Say hi to Dakota, Bam, Peca, Mollie, Mickey Mantel, Lefty and Bogie. Was sad to hear about Princess, give Jeff and Veronica my condolences. See you in Mexico for Christmas, Mom and Dad!
Happy trails, Oakley

My favorite spot on the boat

My favorite spot on the boat

Only 7 More Weeks YIKES!

We set sail for Mexico on October 27th, 7 weeks from today. We have quite a list of things to get done and several big decisions to make. One decision is on our communication needs for keeping in touch with Austin for emergencies if we are outside cell phone range. Right now we are considering a satellite phone. We will be able to purchase a modem and data through a Mexican company so we will have internet and email in most places. But there will be times when we will be in remote areas with no cell coverage. What to do?

We are working on installing a water maker and solar panels at the same time. This was not the plan, however, the guy who is making the stainless steel structure for the solar panels has been shall we say not very customer oriented! The water maker we choose produces 20 gallons of water an hour. I think that will get us each a shower every day don’t you? The system is designed and manufactured by a small company here in San Diego so we met the two owners when we picked the system up. Both are cruisers who were not satisfied with the water makers that were on the market. We know several boats, some as far away as the Caribbean, who have installed one of these systems. We had Sereno II hauled out last Friday so two thru hulls could be installed. One for intake and the other for discharge. Didn’t really want to put new holes in the boat but it was recommended by the owners that the intake not share the same thru hull as the engine. Seemed like sound advice :)

With the clock ticking we haven’t really maintained a good balance between work and play. And the last week or so has been stinking hot and humid. We did have visitors though and that is always fun! An old friend from high school (old as in “from way back when” LOL), Dave Piemontesi, was in the area on business. We enjoyed a great German dinner along with great conversation. Having retired from the Navy, Dave was excited to see Sereno II and I think he liked her. He officially was our first east coast visitor.

Over the weekend we had lunch with a couple from my past. I worked with Mac and Georgia McCarty back in the 1980’s. We have kept in touch over the years and since they were in town for a wedding, Gary and I were able to meet up with them. These are two people who have enjoyed their retirement by traveling, visiting friends and family, (I think they enjoy the racetrack as well), and opening their home up to anyone that wants to come and visit them. Their annual Christmas card is never dull. We enjoyed great conversation and were happy the planets were all in alignment so we could visit with them. As it turns out, the work on the water maker kept us in town so things do happen for a reason. The one bummer though was right after we said our goodbyes I remembered I wanted a picture with them :( Next time……

Fair winds,
Cindy

Mission Control

Mission Control

Dave Piemontesi, Cindy, Gary

Dave Piemontesi, Cindy, Gary

Stingray’s, Sharks and Toys

Gary found out the hard way that the waters here in San Diego are full of stingrays. While walking in shallow water at the beach near the marina he was stung in the side of his foot by one. Anyone who has been through this will tell you it is extremely painful and in his words worse than going through two child births. Since I have never been stung by a stingray, who am I to argue :) A trip to the emergency room confirmed that the best immediate treatment is soaking the foot in hot water. He is still experiencing swelling so we may be making another trip to the doctor to see if an infection has set in.

Austin and a friend went snorkeling yesterday off the cliffs in La Jolla. I guess you go snorkeling here for the chance to swim with leopard sharks. Very tame if you can use that word in the same sentence as shark but apparently they are bottom feeders. Anyway, Austin was impressed with the size of them and wants us to give it a try. Cold water and sharks. Sounds like a fun time LOL.

And we now have some toys! We never had toys at the house so this is pretty exciting for us. We got a Stand Up Paddle board and a two person kayak. Good core exercise for us and is fun paddling around though it can be quite challenging when the wind is up. Add those to the lifelines along with the dingy off the back and we’ll look like traveling gypsies on the high seas.

DSC_0151

DSC_0099

Have you ever sat in a bar and watched people pull up to the dock in a boat, tie up and come in for a drink and think how fun would that be? Last week we actually did just that at the Bali Hai restaurant on Shelter Island. We have been there many times for their famous Mai Tai’s which according to a friend of ours is the Mai Tai that all future Mai Tai’s will be judged. The Bali Hai does not use any fruit juice so if you arrived by any mode of transportation besides walking, one is your limit. Gary, Austin and I had a great time and afterwards hopped back on Sereno II and enjoyed a relaxing sail back to our marina.

Bali Hai

Bali Hai

Sereno II docked at Bali Hai

Sereno II docked at Bali Hai

Even with all this fun, we still continue to work on getting the boat ready for Mexico. We installed AIS (Automatic Identification System) which identifies ships within range and transmits our position and information to other vessels in the area. This is a safety feature that we felt was really important to have to keep us safer while traveling at night. The system itself was easy to install, it was pulling the wires through the boat that was the ‘fun’ part. We spend a fair amount of time with our heads in tight places.

Still waiting on our solar panels and stainless steel structure that will support them to arrive. Here are some random pictures from the last few weeks.

San Diego Bay

San Diego Bay

Austin taking Oakley for a ride

Austin taking Oakley for a ride

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Getting some last minute instructions

Getting some last minute instructions

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Fair winds and calm seas.
Cindy