San Diego to Bahia Tortugas: Leg One of the Ha-Ha

This was a relatively low key set of days for us. We were basically motor sailing our way south and clawing our way back into the rear of the rest of the Ha Ha fleet, who had gotten a days worth of sailing done in front of us.

I don’t recall a whole to going on for this part. When we did this leg with Pat & Melodie back in 2014, sailing at night was so new, surreal, and really disorienting. Carrie and I had slept on our off watch and woke up in the pitch black in the middle of the night. 

Now we’re both really comfortable sailing at night, including leaving in the middle of the night, or getting up before dawn in order to get somewhere. It’s really pleasant for the most part, and with a full moon it’s great.

We arrived in Turtle Bay in the morning and found a good spot in the anchorage. There’s not much to the town here, a big fuel dock and what used to be a cannery. The cannery is now completely torn down.

The big event on arriving in Turtle Bay is getting diesel fuel from Enrique, the local legend. Enrique owns the local fuel business. He’s legendary for his high markup on price and scientifically calibrated tank in his panga. This tank is calibrated with a Sharpie pen and is commonly known to dispense 6 gallons of fuel into a 5 gallon container, if you get my drift. Se la vie.

So usually everyone arrives nervous about getting fuel, then jumps on the radio hollering about when they can expect prompt service. We’ve come to realize that down here, there’s a way of doing things that always works out, it just might not work out the way you thought it would. So it goes with getting fuel – you make your call, you wait your turn. You flag down the panga when they see you, and maybe you wait some more. Remember, mañana does not mean tomorrow, it simply means not today. But in the end, everybody gets their fuel.

That’s how it went with us in getting both fuel and water in Turtle Bay. We had some very helpful fishermen get us some garafones one day, then had to pay the gringo tax on some more water from a different guy a few days later. Oh well.

The other big event is the annual All Hands, Everyone-gets-on-Base Softball game at the stadium. Turtle Bay is really a small, rather poor fishing town, but they seem to have a great respect for baseball, and keep a nice tidy baseball field. All the Ha-Ha’ers play a game where everyone who wants to hit can’t strike out – adults and kids included. My favorite was a little boy dressed like Peter Pan who didn’t know where to run after he hit the ball — he ended up with a ground rule double. There’s a pile of donations of sporting goods for the town’s kids, and then usually a dinner party up at the restaurant on the hill ( the name escapes me). We ate dinner in town where some ladies had setup a little loncheria.

The next day we went to the beach party and had a good time, playing Frisbee with some of the kids and chatting up a bunch of people we had only previously known as AIS targets.

Other highlights from our days in Bahia Tortugas included bending on our new mainsail, and we departed for Bahia Santa Maria with the Spinnaker Launch.

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