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Baja Ha-Ha Day 9

02 November 2010
We awoke to the gentle rocking of the boat at anchor. Ahhh. We had coffee in regular cups with biscotti out in the cockpit (aka the lanai) and we laid out our plans for the day. There is going to be a beach party from noon till dark and food is being prepared and beer and margaritas provided by some of the locals. We voted to go in early and do some exploring and maybe even walk over to the other beach and check out the boat that went aground. We quickly did our chores. Greg washed the dishtowels, I made breakfast and Ronnie did the dishes. We were ready to go by 10 am and we quickly hailed a panga to take us to shore. We were glad we didn't take our dinghy as there is a very tricky, winding channel into the lagoon where the fishing shacks are located.

The beach is absolutely gorgeous here. Lots of sand and a mangrove forest at the back of the beach (not sure forest is the correct word as they aren't much taller than me), with channels from the lagoon forking throughout it. We walk up towards the fishing shacks where the fishermen camp out when they are fishing here. We see bags of salt piled around and also spilled over the ground around some wooden drying racks. As we study these, an American man comes up to us and tells us they use the drying racks for shark fins. That is their main cash fishing crop. It unsettles us to hear this but then I look around at how poor the people are here. How can I judge how people make a living and try to improve their lives? The man introduces himself as Bob, the owner of Mag Bay Outfitters. He owns these fishing shacks and is also the man who is attempting to get the sailboat that's aground back into the water. He tells us that the Ha-Ha people really messed up stripping everything off the boat, that he is confident that in a couple days when the tides are higher they can get it afloat again. We get directions on how to get to the boat and start off walking. Just follow the road he says.

After about a mile of walking the dirt road that is the width of one pickup and lined with lots of rocks, sparse vegetation and two different kinds of cactus, I'm thinking I should have put sun screen on and boy is it getting hot. I suggest maybe not going all the way to the boat but maybe turning back. Ronnie encourages me to continue, that after being cooped up on the boat for so many days, this walk is just what the doctor ordered for us. Hmmm. As I think about how healthy this hot, sweaty walk is for me, we are overtaken by two suburbans, one of which is driven by Bob. He stops and offers us a ride. Greg and I quickly over-rule Ronnie and agree. It's a good thing we did as it is not 3 miles to the boat, but more like 6 or 7. Plus we get all kinds of information from Bob about the history of the area.

We drive through two more fishing villages and one of them has two burros walking around. Bob tells us they are left over pack animals from when they built the lighthouse out on the point. I mentioned that we were just talking that morning about the wild donkeys on the Big Island in Hawaii. Bob tells us he used to live there in the late 60's and he is very familiar with the Big Island. He and I chat about what a great place it is. The road soon ends on the beach that runs along the north side of the island. We are now on the "freeway" and speed picks up quickly. We slow down once to watch a coyote standing by the bones and carcass of a dead baby whale. The coyote doesn't even run away as we drive by. Bob mentions how they are not as afraid of us as they used to be. I would have liked to stop and examine the whale remains but we speed on to where the boat is aground. The Mexican Navy has posted about a dozen marines to guard the boat and all the stuff moved off and stored up on the beach. We get the cameras out and start snapping pictures. Bob even took a picture of me with the Commandant. He was very uncomfortable having the picture taken so I asked Bob to tell him I was going to post his picture on our blog on the internet. That made him and all his men laugh.

What a heart-breaker to see this beautiful sail boat leaning on its side with its keel buried in the sand. The owner, Mark, was still in a state of shock. Bob was explaining to Greg and Ronnie how he planned on pulling it back into the water at high tide. The Navy boat and one of Bob's boats are going to pull on the lines already set. Yesterday with just Bob's boat they were able to turn the boat so the bow is facing out towards the ocean. The owner of the boat is a single hander out of San Francisco who had just started out on his dream cruise. It was just him and his cat on board. He said he had fallen asleep with the auto pilot on and got caught by the strong current and pulled in to shore. This beach is notorious for shipwrecks. You can see a rusted wreck farther up the beach. Greg and Ronnie mentioned later that with the number of empty whiskey bottles they saw on board his boat that either he has been drowning his sorrow since the accident or maybe the whiskey contributed to the accident.

After awhile we decide to start walking back along the beach. Bob said he would stop and pick us up a little later, bless his soul. It is a beautiful beach and there are lots of shells. Sand dollars all over the place. I have got to go to the bathroom so bad I'm going to have to just squat behind something and go. I haven't done this since I was a kid. What a relief. Soon Bob picks us up and we head back to the party. Again he tells us stories about the area. He has lived in Mexico for 11 years and here for 8. You can tell he loves it here.

We arrive back at the party around 2 o'clock. I have been out in the sun without sunscreen for 4 hours. I am sure I'm just fried and some people offer me some sunscreen which I quickly lather all over my face, neck, arms and legs. (I don't understand why but I discover that night back on the boat that I only burned a little on my neck. Maybe I am not such a "whitey" as I thought I was.) The food line is a mile long out in the hot sun. I stay with Greg for awhile then go to find some shade which I find right in front of the band. We are almost at the end of the line and by the time we get our food they are out of beans and the portions are very small. We get marlin fish, shrimp in a yummy hot sauce, rice and tortillas. We also found a lady selling Cokes so Greg and I had something to drink. We are out of luck at these beach parties since we don't drink alcohol.
After we eat we go down and watch the activity on the beach for awhile but we are tired and decide to get a panga back to our boat. The wind has picked up again to 15-20 knots and we get drenched with salt water. Luckily there is enough shower water left that I can wash my hair and wash off my arms and face. We finish the Star Trek movie and have Kraft Macaroni & Cheese for a snack. I can't believe some of the stuff we eat on a boat passage. We decide to watch another movie as its only 7:30 and choose The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Then off to bed for a good night's rest. We are leaving at 7 am tomorrow for the last leg to Cabo. It was a really good day today filled with lots of laughs and interesting experiences.
Vessel Name: Otter
Vessel Make/Model: Westsail 32
Hailing Port: Scappoose, Oregon
Crew: Greg and Joyce Parfitt

Who: Greg and Joyce Parfitt
Port: Scappoose, Oregon