Baja Ha-Ha: Bahia Tortugas to Bahia Santa Maria, then onto Cabo San Lucas

Turtle Bay to Bahia Santa Maria

We left Turtle Bay on a bright sunny morning, all set to go with the fleet under a Spinnaker Start. The Latitude 38 host boat, Profiligate, is a big Ocean 60 Catamaran. They leave a little ahead of everyone else and position themselves in order to take pictures of everyone sailing past with their colorful spinnakers flying.

We did a lot of work that morning to get ourselves set to fly our cruising spinnaker and kept it up until it was too uncomfortable to try to keep the boat both on course and the sail full. I was glad we did because the wind piped up later that day. We sailed nearly all of this leg, including some really sporty conditions at night. Other boats reported hitting a squall farther out to sea, but we just trucked along with our headsail and a reffed main. We did finally get the Hydrovane dialed in and ran in following seas.

We arrived at Bahia Santa Maria just before sunrise and slowed down some in order to see the potential crab pots that were near the entrance to the bay. We didn’t see any. Bahia Santa Maria is especially scenic because it’s a really large bay, and there is absolutely nothing out there to hinder the view for 360 degrees. There’s a tiny camp on the hillside for the people that come into cook and hoist the beach party, and a small fish camp tucked into the estuary at the beach.

One of the great events we had here was a Portlanders dinner on SV Talion, hosted by Patsy, a veteran cruiser who was also taking on the role of Assistant Poobah this year. Richard, the Grand Poobah was rather laid up this year pending surgery after the rally. We had a great time on Talion meeting a bunch of nice people. Two great rules of attending a cruiser dinner: 1) leave your shoes at home, and 2) bring your own drinks and some to share.The beach party was also well attended on the hillside, and we enjoyed an afternoon of cold beer, conversations, and some dancing. Well, Carrie did most of the dancing for the three of us.

We spent a night inn Bahia Santa Maria and then in a new twist for the 2020 rally, we departed for a quick day sail over to Man O’ War cove the following day. We fished along the way, catching ~ 7 Skipjack, until we got tired of rereleasing them and stowed everything. Man O’ War cove has a smallish fishing village, and Carrie & I went ashore to see all four of the sites: the church, the community center, the water desalination plant, and the tienda that was serving beer and drinks to all the gringos.

Profligate hosted a dinghy raft-up off the back of their boat and it was well attended. Our highlight was watching Jacques jump from dinghy to dinghy pouring margaritas for whoever wanted one. That dude is one spry guy. 

The weather forecast induced quite a bit of drama into the equation over the next several days. There was a tropical storm brewing to the S-SW. The Grand Pooba had a tough job – relaying the weather forecast information from their hired weather service to the fleet; and giving advice without making routing decisions for those in the rally. Ultimately, the decision on where to go or stay is yours, and you should be able to do this independently. We decided to head for Cabo San Lucas.

Man O’ War Cove to Cabo San Lucas

Roughly a dozen boats elected to stay in Man O’ War and wait out the pending weather. The Ha-Ha fleet was split and would splinter more in the next few days. We had a fantastic Leg 3 – sailing under a bright, full or nearly full moon. We kept going until the wind all but died on us then fired up the engine. We motor-sailed the remainder of the following morning, bringing Cabo Falso and the land’s end of Baja California Sur into sight – we had made it to Cabo!

We had a slip reserved in the inner part of the marina – the challenge was now getting into it and sharing it with the 3-4 other boats sharing the same slip. Approaching Cabo is just nuts – there’s party boats going one way, those boats where they drag tourists with a parachute going another, some phony pirate ship thing coming at you, a busy fuel dock … I hope I’m painting a colorful picture for your mind’s eye. We made it past the general chaos, and then Bam! a quick right turn and a quicker left and we’re just about shoehorned into our slip. Whew.

One of the key reasons we were in Cabo was to leverage the rally’s resources; you can opt to hire Victor Barreda, the excellent ship’s agent, who took care of our paperwork and got our Tourist Visas, and got us cleared into Mexico.

We did end up staying a few extra nights because of the impending bad weather. It didn’t generate the forecasted winds, but did dump a bunch of rain on us for one night. The bad news is that the big Ha-Ha parties kinda fizzled out. For us, the big fiesta at El Squid Roe was pretty tame this time around. There was no awards party either, which was a bit of a disappointment too. Carrie and I did walk the malecon, where we got pedicures from the fish tank (the fishies eat all your dead skin …?!), and ate some really expensive Haagen Das at the fancy place in the mall. We hung out at Baja Cantina quite a bit (since it was three steps from our gate), and the three of us had some nice meals there.

Monday came and it was time for Pat to depart and get back to his regular life. We saw him off at the airport shuttle and Carrie & I were both sad to see him go. We left for La Paz the following morning, after doing the undocking dance with eight other boats who all wanted to get underway at basically the same time. 

Carrie and I decided to skip the anchorage at Los Muertos and overnight up to La Paz. We hit some rather memorable wind in the middle of the night on the northern tip of Isla Ceralvo, but otherwise we made it into Pinchilinque just outside of La Paz proper. We were officially cruising in Mexico all by ourselves… !

3 thoughts on “Baja Ha-Ha: Bahia Tortugas to Bahia Santa Maria, then onto Cabo San Lucas

  1. Done! I’ll show you how to play around with the photos options and you show us how to add the button to our site to allow sharing. And we would really enjoy a visit your floating home. And meeting Quincy will be a treat for us.
    You have my cell number – let’s continue via texts.


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