Day 4, November 3

Dear Friends—We woke up to a gorgeous sunny day. Breakfast was Mike’s classic “cheesy eggs” and the usual delicious coffee. After, we all sat around the VHF radio to hear the morning net hosted by the leader of the Ha Ha, the Grand Poobah. It was amazing in its diversity; full of mundane life details such as how to get ice, what channel to call for panga rides to the beach, where to get Internet access and how much the local folks charge to take away your garbage ($1 per bag). We did get a weather report for the next leg of the trip and everyone was relieved to hear that only moderate winds were expected, 9-13 knots with 5-7 foot seas. Sounds like a mill pond after the last two days. We’ll see!

There were reports of equipment problems of all types including blown out sails, ripped spinnakers, busted vang, broken boom, inoperable engine and electrical problems. Most of the problems seemed to be solvable. In fact, several boaters volunteered spare parts and their expert labor to put the wounded boats back to rights. The spirit of the Ha Ha is something to behold.

The bad news was that one boat was wrecked on rocks the previous evening. Summerwind (out of San Diego) apparently did not navigate properly and, by some reports, relied too much on a GPS chartplotter where they got the distance scale wrong. We did not mention this in the previous blog because it was confusing, but Harmony received an AIS distress call about the time we were getting ready to enter Turtle Bay. The alarm kept blaring and it was not clear what it was for or who was in trouble. Worse yet, it did not give a Lat/Long for the location of the boat in distress. It turned out to be about 8 miles behind us. The radio traffic on Channel 69 was also confusing, but it appeared that other boats were much closer to the wreck than we were. We heard later that a ketch called Jersey Girl launched a large inflatable with a big engine and they were able to rescue the crew of three—a dad and his son plus another crew member. The boat (Newport 41) was a total loss. This is the first boat loss on the Baja Ha Ha in 23 years.

After that sobering news, we cleaned up the boat and put away all of the flotsam that had accumulated inside the boat during the rough seas. Damp clothes were spread out on the deck. While Barbara went ashore to look for Internet access and Avghi searched for showering facilities for the crew (which she found), Mel, Jeannea and Mike worked on the alternator. It was not a good idea to continue our journey without getting a proper charge on the batteries. The refrigerator had been off for many hours but the food was still ok. We would lose the food if we could not get the electrical system working. Melody’s engine and electrical system skills came through again and after a couple of hours work, all was well again.

Most of us made it to the baseball game at 1500 hours. The folks in Turtle Bay are crazy about baseball. In this town of about 1500, they have a beautiful baseball stadium (that must hold 700 people) and they field six teams of all ages that tour Baja California to play in the various leagues. Today’s game was played by Ha Ha rules which means that everyone gets a chance to get a hit, no score is kept, there are about 15 infielders and 20 outfielders and no one takes it seriously. However, one group of sailors were in a cluster in left field and appeared to pay more attention to the beer being consumed than the balls hit in their direction. The players were a mix of Ha Ha’ers and young Mexican boys. Everyone had a great time. One bizarre aspect was a guy flying a drone above the baseball diamond taking video of the action.

We met back on the boat for cocktails and snacks followed by a wonderful steak and salad dinner. Shortly afterwards, we were all in bed. We still need to catch up on sleep.

Captain Melody, Barbara, Mike, Avghi and Jeannea