Once we arrived in Cabo San Lucas (CSL) we used the Baja Ha Ha’s quick method of immigration and clearing into Mexico. We’ve cleared in and out of countries before in the Caribbean. Our experience is, nothing happens fast. Walking around to find offices can be exhausting in the heat, and did I mention nothing happens fast? So, rather than spend half a day running around with paperwork, we took advantage of the few agents that came to the CSL IGGY Marina specifically dedicated to helping the Ha Ha fleet. The next day we went back and picked everything up. It was both fast and efficient.
We decided it was time for a little relaxing. So, what did we do to relax? We sponged out the bilge, got down the dinghy, put up the sun shade, attended a few parties, and got the skinny on where our friends were headed after Cabo. We also went searching for a mystery Marine store. I made the mistake of asking for directions again before learning that in Mexico, the people are so friendly that they would never tell you they didn’t know where something was located, they just want to help you in some way, even if it means you got just a little bit closer or farther from your destination.
“Estamos buscando una tienda dónde se venden cosas para los barcos. No sabemos el nombre de la tienda, Usd. sabe dónde esta?” (We’re looking for a store where they sell things for boats. We don’t know the name of the store. Do you know where it is?)
This time four different people tried to tell us they knew exactly where the store was, and ended up leading us on a wild goose chase. We took a bike taxi the last mile only because he insisted he knew where the store was, and after weaving through traffic at a few busy intersections, he dropped us right at the front door.
The Baja Cantina beach party was on the beach about a mile in front of where we had anchored. There were no pangas around so we put our own dingy to use. The waves crashing on shore from the boat looked minimal so instead of getting the outboard down, we decided to row. (A decision we’d regret later.) As we approached the beach we started to see that the minimal wave action was quite the opposite. We were about to attempt our first surf landing! From that point everything happened fast. Dinghy was lifted up on a wave and I abandoned ship, diving over the side and tumble rolling into the sand. From the ground a quick premonition flashed before my eyes, keep moving or risk a broken leg. I ran up a very steep beach and saw another breaking wave toss our 9′ hard bottom dinghy up onto its back like a rag doll, and slam in down into the sand hard. So hard, that I thought one of our teak oars had broken in half! Grant quickly abandoned ship and we tried to get the heavy beast up a steep side of beach before another wave snatched our dingy away from us. That’s when I looked down at my ankle and noticed I was bleeding!
The extent of my injury was minor, just some missing skin. We were happy to be at the beach party but neither of us were looking forward to our exit. Instead we put it out of minds and enjoyed the party. We joined Fais Do Do and met the crew and wives of the men on board. The men sailed the boat down on the Ha Ha while their wives flew to Cabo to meet them. (An interesting concept, just proof there’s more than one way of doing things.) We enjoyed discounted food and beverages, played with water balloons, and watched people reenact a popular kissing scene from an old movie called, ‘From Here to Eternity’ in the surf on the beach.
Soon the time we’d been dreading arrived. Time to head back to Maluhia and cross off another first, launching our dinghy in the surf. With the help of a friend we got the dingy back into the water. I hopped in and assumed position with the oars. The waves were still pretty big, the only way to get anywhere was to quickly get past the breakwater. (The engine would have came in handy here.) Grant swim the dinghy out past the break water while I rowed hard. Past the breakwater, Grant hopped in and we switched spots. Rowing upwind in a 2-3 foot chop, progress was slow. In fact it was so slow that at one point it appeared we were rowing in place. (At this point the rower got a little peeved.) We were about three boat lengths away when familiar faces on Moments yelled out at asked if we wanted a tow to get back to our boat. Um. . . yes, please! They got in their dingy and with a little help from their outboard, returned us to our boat. That night they joined us aboard Maluhia where they shared their fresh caught Mahi Mahi for dinner! Yum! (Some people were lucky enough to catch the good stuff!)
At the Baja Ha Ha awards ceremony everyone received well deserved kudos for completing the rally. Awards were given out in all different categories, including the youngest and the oldest crew members. This year the youngest was only three years old, and the oldest? Well, take a guess? The oldest person to do the Ha Ha this year was a woman who was 86. Yes, an 86 year old woman sailed 780 miles on a boat with the rest of us. If that isn’t something to write home about, then how about a guy who did it blind? Also starting from Ventura (that’s where we started from) was a blind captain with one crew member who made the trek. While the rally attracted many West coast entrants, the furthest travelers came from Sweden by way of the Northwest Passage, just to join the event. With that, the rally concluded and everyone was on their way.
Plus one for anchoring outside of the marina in Cabo San Lucas: We did not get boarded by the Department of Agriculture like many of those in the marina, who had to take inventory of all uneaten fruits and veggies, and had to trash any meat they brought down from the US. Minus one for anchoring outside of the marina: It costs $17 a day to anchor. Plus one for anchoring out: It’s cheaper than staying in the marina and if your not at your boat, they can’t collect.
Anchoring out: plus 1, Staying in the marina: 0
I actually thought the fee was a myth until one morning they arrived at our boat and knocked on our hull wanting to know how many days we had been there. “Um….,” we stammered. “Dos dias?” they suggested. (two days?) That sounded good enough for us and we promised we’d be gone by the morning.