Friday, October 30, 2009

Bahia de Tortugas

Thursday evening, another problem started – the head (toilet for you landlubbers) was VERY slow to pump (flush for you landlubbers). Probably either one of the valves going bad (the joker or the flapper) or something stuck in the hoses. We tried putting vinegar down the head – no luck. Try hot water, letting it sit for a while first – no luck. A call out to the fleet on VHF and we got a suggestion for baking soda + vinegar. It fizzed and spewed a bit – a couple pumps on the handle – and POP! One Heimlich manuever later... a couple pieces of guess-what popped up, and it was then flushing as well as ever. We thought about doing DNA testing to identify the offender, but decided we were just pleased that it was clear.

We had anchored towards the NW end of the anchorage (farther from town, but closer to the beach where the party would be). After sunset, it looked light a small city with all of the anchor lights glimmering.

Friday morning, listening to the net at anchor, we learned that the HaHa had lost their first boat ever. J-World, a J/120, apparently sailed through a pod of whales during the rough weather on Wednesday morning. They "encountered" one of the whales, causing their rudder to break, and opening a large hole in the boat. Within minutes they had to abandon ship into their life raft and the ship sank. They spent about 4 hours in the liferaft before being picked up by a US Coast Guard helicopter which flew them back to San Diego. We heard the skipper will come down to Cabo for the final awards party – we are anxious to hear more about what really happened!

We decided not to put the dinghy together and instead hailed a panga to take us to town – they were charging $1 per person (plus $1 to dispose of our trash).
The pier at town had improvements since we had last been there. There was no a dinghy dock sticking out from the end of the pier with metal stairs to go up (the first step was a doozy at low tide), instead of having to tie the dinghys to the pilings and climb up a straight metal ladder. We walked up through town.
The HaHa must be the big event of the year for the town. It is well off the beaten track, all dirt roads, and perhaps a thousand residents. There are probably 160 HaHa boats in the anchorage, with some 600 sailors on board.

We stopped into an internet café for a bit, where one of the locals seemed to latch onto us. He showed us to the local grocery where we bought some tortillas and limes, and then to the local bakery where we bought some fresh bread. There were two restaurants in town – one up on the hill and one by the water. We decided to have lunch at the one by the water. They were clearly not used to having so many patrons – it took us 2 hours for a simple lunch, with each of us getting their meal at a different time.

Since the beach party had already started, we went to the pier to get a panga to take us from town at the NW corner of the bay out to the beach party at the NE corner – stopping by our boat on the way to drop off our groceries and pick up our potluck contribution. The panga driver was a very pleasant older gentleman who had his 11-year old grandson (one of 14 grandchildren) helping him. The beach party was fun, talking with the other sailors, sampling the potluck dishes, drinking cold beer that the locals were selling, a stroll up the beach – we avoided the more strenuous activities such as the tug of war and volleyball.

Saturday morning start was delayed until 12:30pm due to the late arrival of many of boats that had stopped over San Quintin or other places on the way down. We spent some time in the morning on our wind instrument – first circling to try to recalibrate – thinking that perhaps in the wind and seas we had experienced, the mast had been circling and might have just whipped the anemometer around so quickly that it screwed up the calibration. No luck. We checked the wiring connections at the back of the instrument and at the base of the mast – looked good. And it was already too windy to try going up the mast to check the connections up there.

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