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2019 Baja HaHa Rally ~ Part 1

Hola from Mexico! It has been forever since I have found time (and WiFi) to sit down and actually write about our travels.

Frank and I were quite busy the last few weeks before the start of the Baja HaHa. We spent our last weeks in Long Beach, CA preparing to leave the country for an extended period of time which means we tried to buy some things we will need/want for the next year or two.  That means we have ordered a LOT of spare parts for TTR and stocked up on some routine things that we like to have and may not be able to find in another country (think favorite spices, shampoos, lotions or potions).

For anyone who owns Amazon stock, don’t be surprised when their monthly earnings drop after our departure! 😉

Our departure date was a firm one of November 4th with the 2019 Baja HaHa. The HaHa is a casual rally of boats that departs from San Diego and makes two or three stops on the way to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.  We joined the HaHa to meet other cruisers and enjoy the camaraderie of fellow sailors.

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This is where we are going!

We left Long Beach and headed south to San Diego where our dear friends, Ron and Mindy of s/v Follow Me flew in to join us for the 2019 Baja HaHa Rally.  Mindy and Ron left their boat in the Rio Dulce, Guatemala and joined us on TTR for the Rally.

The first official HaHa event for the four of us was the BBQ and Costume Party.  The parameters for our costume were: 1. it must be easy  2. it must be comfy  3. it must not take much time to assemble.

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Our costumes aren’t great, but they are met our criteria!

The result was our “Three sheets to the wind” attire. Happily, everyone knew what we were and assembly took less than 15 minutes.

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Perhaps our favorite costume was s/v Kalawa’s.  Kevin and Katie were Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un.  I believe they were the funniest costume of the event.

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Another favorite was the buoy and anchor chain!

Big kudos to Richard Spindler, the HaHa Grand Poobah, who put on quite the start for the 2019 Baja HaHa Rally.

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We trailed the HaHa pack and had a great view at the start.

As the 153 HaHa boats left San Diego, we had a Coast Guard escort, a mariachi band playing from a boat and a fire boat to celebrate the HaHa kick off; thus establishing a festive atmosphere for the Rally.

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Love this fire boat!

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Serenaded as we motor sailed out of San Diego, CA.

The first leg of the Rally was the longest.  We had great conditions for sailing and immediately threw up the Doyle cable-less reacher and main sail.  The wind speed and direction were perfect for a spinnaker but we do not have one on TTR.  The spinnaker would be too large for Frank and me to handle along, so instead we use the Doyle cable-less reacher which we had cut deeper than usual. We can pull the reacher tack toward the windward bow and increase the wind angle range for this sail. 

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Pretty decent speeds for a cruiser boat and less than 11 knots of wind.

Also, Frank had a small stay sail made by Ulman Sails just before we left Long Beach. This sail helps funnel the wind between the main sail and the reacher.  It worked very well and added about a knot to our deeper angled sailing.

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Pretty soon we were toward the head of the fleet and had a beautiful view of the kites.

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Neck and neck spinnakers.

Fishing on this first leg to Turtle Bay was excellent and the VHF was full of reports from HaHa fleet boats who were catching tuna, dorado, skip jack and more.

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Frank and Ron managed to land two tuna.

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Sunset our first night out.

Mindy and I took the first watch and enjoyed seeing this colorful sunset. Ron and Frank took over at 1 a.m. so Mindy and I could sleep until 7 or so.

Our first HaHa stop at Turtle Bay was two nights. The first night we invited the four gentlemen from s/v Day Dream to join us for sundowners. Since they had no dinghy or ice, they eagerly accepted our offer for a ride and chilled drinks.

The next day we strolled around town admiring the unique flare the locals have for appointing their homes.

HaHa in Turtle Bay-1An interesting combination of beads and curios at this home.

After “walking up” and appetite, we found a local taco spot and indulged in lunch and cervezas. Frank was truly happy to reacquaint himself with food from the Baja!

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Cell towers trump pavement.

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Ambling toward the baseball field.

We also participated in the annual Baja HaHa Cruisers Against the Locals baseball game.  The baseball game was silly and fun without many rules.  I was amazed how often the cruiser first baseman “missed” a catch!  The game allowed the local kids to show off their prowess on the diamond and some of these kids were very talented!

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Preparing to play ball!

Once the game was finished, the cruisers donated their baseball equipment and each of the kids was allowed to choose a piece of equipment to keep. I wonder if they agree to play just to get the new equipment? Not really though.  The kids were engaging and enthusiastic.  I think they had as much fun as the HaHa folks.

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Sunset at Turtle Bay.

This was the extent of our brief first stop of the 2019 Baja HaHa.  I’ll share the remainder of the HaHa in our next blog.

In the mean time, thank you for stopping by. I am truly sorry for the lapse in posts, but travel plus preparations to leave California severely limited my opportunity to write. Hopefully things will settle a bit and I can catch up on some of the things I missed, like our hands-on safety at sea class in Rhode Island!

All the best from Mexico!

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Scooter Time ~ E-sploring Coronado Island

We arrived in San Diego, CA from Ensenada, MX just after the sun came up and quickly dispatched with the clearing in process. (We used the Border Control app “ROAM” and it was very easy and efficient.) 

We motored TTR through San Diego Bay to Glorietta Bay, a public anchorage right across from the Hotel del Coronado and overlooking the Coronado Golf Course.

Our youngest son, Clayton, happened to be in San Diego that day so we were delighted to get to spend the day with him on board TTR.  Even though the trip from Ensenada to San Diego was an easy one, Frank and I were a bit tired from not having much sleep, so we all just hung out on Ticket To Ride and spent the day catching up and enjoying time together. 

Enjoying this view from the boat was delightful!

Frank and I spent the next day exploring Coronado on our e-scooters**.  Coronado is charming and picturesque. Plus the drivers are accustomed to bikers, skaters and pedestrians, so we felt comfortable puttering all over on our scooters. 

We stopped at one beach that turned out to be the dog beach. The area was teeming with pups cavorting on the sand and in the water.  I swear you could see the smiles on the faces of the dogs as they ran, sniffed and played to their hearts content.  Pictures didn’t capture it at all! (Seeing all the dogs made my heart ache for Captain, but also lifted my spirit just seeing them play.)

Not as busy as the Maleçon in La Paz, but a nice place!

All told I think we scootered about eight miles this day, so we saw a good sampling of Coronado.

Looking across to downtown San Diego.

Of course we stopped at the very famous Hotel del Coronado so we could see it for ourselves.

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See our trusty e-scooter waiting patiently? 😉

The Coronado Hotel is the second largest wooden structure in the U.S. and when it opened, it was the largest resort hotel in the world. The hotel architecture is classified as “American wooden Victorian beach resort” and is currently undergoing some renovations; but these are being handled very tastefully and are as unobtrusive as possible.  The grounds of the complex are beautifully groomed; both the sand areas and the lawns and gardens. 

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Just one of the elaborate flower arrangements inside the hotel.

Inside the hotel, the woodwork is extremely rich and the old fashioned metal elevator gate gleamed.  Greenery and flower arrangements abounded. 

It is interesting to imagine what this hotel was like when it opened in 1888;  ladies were wearing bustles and gentlemen sported top hats in the 1880’s.  Today the attire, including our own, is incredibly casual and the patrons are exceedingly informal. Think how many changes in fashion, protocol, laws and customs that lobby has seen over the last 130+ years!  The Coronado had been open for 30 years before women were even allowed to vote. I find it fascinating to imagine all the changes that have occurred during those 130 years the Coronado has operated.

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The lobby was opulent but understated.

The Coronado has had an impressive number of influential, powerful and famous guests ranging from presidents to princes to movie stars, as well as military personnel and their families during WWII.  The Coronado even claims to have a resident ghost! (Source: Wikipedia)

After an arduous (not!) few hours of scootering, we stopped at Clayton’s Coffee Shop for a late lunch. Clayton’s feels like a 1950’s coffee shop with its U-shaped counter seating and just a few booths. The menu is wide and the food was great, though sadly, the little juke boxes on the counters no longer work.  Clayton’s is a popular spot that also sports a walk-up, order-out window if you don’t have time to sit down for a while.

Clayton’s Coffee Shop.

I am always glad to be back ‘home’ to the U.S. and San Diego was a special entry spot.  The Navy has a large presence there and as a result I could hear the National Anthem played early each morning as the flag was raised.  Listening warmed my heart and reminded me of how fortunate we are to have the opportunities and freedoms we enjoy here in the U.S.

All in all, I would say we scootered the stew out of Coronado and had a great time doing it!  Exploring Coronado was fun and it’s nice to settle in and enjoy our own country for a couple of months before we join the Baja Ha-Ha in November and head back to Mexico.

**We bought Glion foldable scooters. They fold up and can be pulled along like a suitcase; they weigh about 22 pounds so they can also be carried and they store easily. We decided to buy the scooters to replace our mountain bikes which we found tiresome to transport to shore in the dinghy. So far the scooters have been a good compromise, though on rough road surfaces the ride can be really bumpy. We are not affiliated with Glion or Amazon.

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