Friday, October 30, 2015

Bahia de Tortugas

We have been having fun during our Bahia de Tortugas rest stop.

Yesterday we played baseball in the small town's ball park, which is quite impressive. It's a modern lighted field with good quality artificial turf. Amazing for a village with a population reported of around 1,200 people. We played a unique version of baseball, one where everybody gets a pitch until they get a hit. Yachties and town kids lined up for their turn at bat, the kids in full uniform and trying to look impressive, the yachties trying to figure out if it is possible to bat, catch and throw without putting down their beer.

The rest of the town around the ballpark is made up small homes, some small shops, a gas station and a modern medical clinic. While the town dusty (no paved roads) and the people quite poor, most of the homes and shops are kept up well and there's a friendly, small town atmosphere with lots of smiles and welcoming greetings. It seems like a nice place to live, although I bet its hot as hell in the summer.

We started off today with a "fancy" egg breakfast at anchor. Then I spent the rest of the morning taking apart and rebuilding our electric head (marine toilet). It was making a sound like a piece of metal somehow got into the macerator, which would quickly damage the blade. It wasn't a piece of metal. Here's a tip for those of you who have an electric head or install one in the future: Don't swallow olive pits. I won't elaborate further.

After that lovely task, I was ready for the Baja Ha-Ha beach party so we piled into the dinghy and took off. It was a bring-your-own picnic with BBQ grills provided and a beer stand set up by some locals. We brought some ranch beef steaks and salad and Jeanne and I drank a bunch of beer, punctuated with a little rum. I handed out our extra steaks to Mark, a friend I made in Morro Bay, Jeff, who shared his ceviche with us, and two young women who I thought looked rather hungry. I'm enjoying conversations with my dentist and friend Jim Forni, who is sailing with five other hotshot sailors. I've always enjoyed our sailing conversations during my dentist visits and I'm enjoying getting to know him while not reclined and wearing a bib.

The Ha-Ha organizers were selling hotdogs to raise money for victims of Hurricane Patricia. During the morning radio check-in, the Grand Poobah (Ha-Ha boss) touted that the hotdogs were imported from Costco in the US and the food handlers would have plastic gloves "and stuff like that, so the food will be semi-sanitary." I figured that having just rebuilt a head, I would not volunteer to help with the fundraiser and thus potentially compromise the "semi- sanitary" conditions.

We had been commended for how well we landed our dinghy in the light surf at the beach. Unfortunately, our departure was not as elegantly executed. All started off well. We timed the waves and got the dink out into the water during a lull. However, I'm still having trouble lowering the outboard while standing outside the boat in thigh deep water. I can't see the release tab from that angle and don't have the muscle memory yet to feel my way through the operation. While I was fiddling with the motor, the surf decided that it's lull was over and two waves crashed over and into the boat. That by itself would just be wet and inelegant, but the patch of water we were in was choked with fine, red seaweed. So the three of us and our boat were covered in it. The Mexican panga (open fishing boat) drivers and the people on the beach got a laugh or two out of that. We suffered through it in good humor, but it took us about half an hour to remove the seaweed from ourselves and the dingh
y. We're still finding strands of it on and around us.

Tonight we heard splashing outside the boat and got the flashlight to investigate. There were a lot of small fish swimming around the boat and one big white pelican. The fish were attracted to the light from the flashlight, which the pelican appreciated as it made catching them much easier for him/her. While we were clearly upsetting the natural order of things, it was quite entertaining for us, satisfying for the pelican, but clearly a foul deed from the fishes' perspective.

Leg 2 of the Ha-Ha starts tomorrow at 0900. It's 230 nautical miles (nm) to Bahia Santa Maria. So far, we've been logging about 110 nm per day in variable winds and some motoring. If we keep that up, we should arrive before noon on Monday.