10/29 - 10/31
Photo: Fleet leaving Turtle Bay
Leg 2 started Saturday morning, Oct. 29th. It was an idyllic scene with bag pipes and saxophone serenading the fleet as we weighed anchor and sailed out of Turtle Bay in light winds. Winds didn't hold though, and we were again motoring by late morning.
"Fish on" radio reports had been coming from the fleet since we left San Diego, but we had not yet caught one ourselves. Mid afternoon we finally caught our first fish, a Skip Jack. Not considered a good eating fish, we released it. Disappointing to say the least.
Photo: Another strike & no fish. Tore the hoochie apart this time.
About 3:30 that afternoon the wind picked up and we resumed sailing, running wing-on-wing (head sail poled out on one side and main sail prevented out on the other side of the boat) through the night. Seas increased throughout the night to a short period choppy 5 feet. Just after our 3:00 A.M. shift change the autopilot faulted and instead of taking his sleep break, John spent a couple hours head down under the bunk working on it while I hand steered. It continued to intermittently fail till we reached Bahia Santa Maria, when John finally figured out that it was overheating, thus shutting down. (He has now installed a cooling fan on the motor and it seems to have done the trick.)
We made our arrival in Bahia Santa Maria at 1:30 A.M. Monday morning. It is a beautiful place, wide open bay with dry rocky mountains along the north shore, long low sand beach reaching around the southwest shore, and mangroves separating the two. You could easily spend a week exploring this bay, then a couple more exploring Bahia Magdalena that opens to the south of Bahia Santa Maria and runs far to the north behind the rim of mountains. We only had two days to catch up on our sleep and explore what we could of the bay.
Photo: Bahia Santa Maria anchorage
Monday, we went ashore and officially checked into Mexico. It was a fairly smooth process, if not an exact one, as the fees seemed to be somewhat flexible. We walked about a bit, then returned to the boat for a nap. That evening we had dinner aboard S/V Hawaiian Sol with owners Les & Deb Cross and their Captain Lake Rickolt and his wife Jemma. We had met Les and Lake in San Diego at the marina we spent our time there in. They were preparing their beautiful new Beneteau 58 for the trip down to Cabo and were quite excited about it. Spending an evening aboard, it was easy to understand their excitement. It is indeed a beautiful boat! We enjoyed our evening together and a wonderful dinner of the fish they had caught on the 2nd leg of the rally.
Photo: Hawaiian Sol
Tuesday was our day to explore, so we took the dinghy in to the beach, through the surf, up through the mangroves, past small fish camps and around a small island. It was quite beautiful and amazing. Yes, a week would be nice here.
Photo: A fish camp in the mangroves
Later in the day there was a fish dinner and live music on shore. A tamale stand was also setup near the beach. We opted for the tamales over the fish dinner and were not disappointed. Only wished we had bought a dozen to take with us!
Photo: Beach party