While the days leading up to the rally were filled with work, there were plenty of parties and mixers to attend. At the West Marine send off party, we learned about an initiative to catalog wildlife sightings off the Baja coast. Apparently, it is one of the least cataloged coast lines in the world. Additionally, we were invited to join the Marine Debris project through NOAA. I eagerly signed up and downloaded the requisite apps. Shame on me, that’s as far as I got. Apparently I needed to create an account for each. So that’s now on my to do list. The girls were stoked. Homeschooling freaking ROCKS.
The day finally came for us to leave with the Baja Ha-Ha. We joined the fleet in San Diego Bay. The air was alive with the excitement of over 500 sailors who had been working for this day; some of them for years. The shot rang out signaling the start and all the vessels headed out to the Pacific together, with a lack of wind forcing use of the iron sails (engine). The fire boats showed off their pumps, spraying water cannons into the air while doing doughnuts, increasing the festive feel. Our kids enjoyed having free use of the air horn, adding the voice of a normally emergency only device to those of all the other boats. It was loud and crowded and sweeping in anticipation of the adventures we were collectively heading towards.
That evening was when I realized we were back on a 24-hour clock. <insert favorite expletive here> Have I mentioned how much I truly love sleep? There was nothing to be done about it, so I muscled up and put on my big girl panties. With little to no wind, we motored all the way to our first anchorage, Turtle Bay. (La Bahia Tortuga) We arrived in the dark, but anchored without mishap. Not needing much water, we passed the monohulls and dropped the hook right off the beach. In the morning, we were rewarded with beautiful scenery, locals buzzing around the anchorage in pongas offering everything from fresh shrimp to garbage collection, and fellow Ha-Ha’ers exploring.
The girls and I joined a celestial navigation class, which provided the kids with an opportunity to use a sextant. That gave Daddy the opportunity to fix… something. When the girls and I returned, we dropped the paddle boards and let the kids burn some energy. They certainly had a lot stored up.
The next day, after I took a turn on a paddleboard, we took part in the yearly baseball game: local kids vs Ha-ha’ers. I’m not going to tell you who won. I will tell you that Turtle Bay is a tiny town with dirt roads and…a PROFESSIONAL baseball field hidden in the middle of it. Apparently, the locals have a thing for this game. They certainly know how to make it fun. We ended the day with some local fish tacos and then got ready to take off in the morning for our next anchorage, Bahia Santa Maria.