01 November 2009 | Turtle Bay, Baja California Norte, Mexico
The town of Bahia Tortugas (Turtle Bay) inside the bay of the same name is an ugly town with apparently zero civic planning, but we love it. The natural surroundings are spectacular and the architecture can't diminish it in anyway. The people are also friendly and polite which in our dealings is typical of Mexicans.
It was great to arrive here after rocking and rolling our way south. We had winds in the upper 20's and ocean swells of 10 to 12 feet on our second day at sea after leaving San Diego. The forecast called for more, so about half of the Baja Ha Ha fleet, including us, spent that night in Bahia San Quintin. It turned out to be a mistake because the weather waited to get really nasty until we all emerged from hiding the following day. We ended up with 25 to 30 knot winds (our biggest gust was 34 knots!) and 15 foot seas with an occasional 20 footer thrown in for fun. That lasted for the whole day and night and into the next day.
It was a baptism by fire for Melanie and the boys and they handled it well. All three of them fed the fishes at some point and felt queasy for most of the first passage, but they got their sea legs under them before the big weather hit south of San Quintin. Mel has now done two night passages and has been in seas that every Ha Ha veteran says are likely worse than anything else we'll see this year. So she's feeling pretty good. The boys mostly stay below and read and play video games. But Marcus pops up occasionally.
The highlight for Marcus was definitely our first attempt at fishing. We got a bunch of lures and advice from West Marine in San Diego since we have zero experience with fishing. Perhaps it was beginners luck as in about 10 minutes after setting out our line, Marcus caught a fish! Again, since we're not very experienced, we were not sure what we caught.but after hearing other baja haha sailors on the radio, we think it was a skip jack tuna. It was about 15 lbs and fought like crazy. It was highly exciting. We filleted him and took him to the beach party to be BBQ'ed.
The Baja Ha Ha beach party in Turtle Bay was great. Two or three hundred people and about 25 kids. Marcus and Jordan made some friends and had fun playing with water balloons and the waves. Jordan even got a surfing lesson from another sailor. I haven't seen a grin on him like that in a while, so don't be surprised if there's more surfing in his future.
This morning we're headed out on 2-day & 1-night passage to Bahia Santa Maria. Apparently it is so small it'll make Turtle Bay (population 1000) feel like Seattle! The weather is supposed to bring "typical Baja weather" of 10 to 20 knots and small seas. So ideal sailing conditions. Currently we're two hours out from Turtle Bay enjoying mellow conditions.