KatieKat 2006 Cruise Chapter Four

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GoBackTo 2006 Chapter Three
11 November, 2006Baja Ha-Ha
15 November, 2006Bahia de los Muertos
18 November, 2006La Paz
31 December, 2006Year-End Summary
GoFwdTo 2007 Chapter One

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[Map of California and Baja] Map of California and Baja

11 November, 2006 -- Baja Ha-Ha

The Baja Ha-Ha is an annual cruising rally from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas at the tip of the Baja Peninsula, with stops in Bahia Tortugas and Bahia Santa Maria. This Rally, originated by popular San Francisco Bay Area sailing magazine Latitude 38 (but now organized by a separate entity) I describe as a horde of boats roaring down the coast and overwhelming the meagre facilities along the way. Nevertheless, the infusion of tourist $ and gifts into the local economies I'm sure is appreciated, and it is indeed a wonderful sight to see over 160 boats' anchor lights twinkling in otherwise deserted bays. Since we're not party animals, some of the festivities were lost on us, but a great time was had by all and my fear of a collision at night proved to be groundless despite the fact that many of the boats carried no radar reflectors.

[Photo of many boats with a Halloween spider dangling in the foreground] Just a few of the many boats heading out to the start of the Baja Ha-Ha in San Diego, our Halloween spider still hanging in there.

[Photo of catamaran flying asymmetrical spinnaker] This is Profligate, the catamaran mothership for the Baja Ha-Ha.

[Photo of catamaran flying asymmetrical spinnaker] One of many colorful spinnakers.

[Boats anchored in Turtle Bay] [Bahia Santa Maria group in foreground and boats in background] [Two girls in foreground and boats in background]

There were two stops along the way to Cabo San Lucas: Turle Bay and Bahia Santa Maria by Magdalena Bay. Festivities were organized, dinghies got dumped in the surf, friendships developed, and local economies got a positive jolt. The left view is of the anchorage at Turtle Bay and the other two photos are of Bahia Santa Maria with the right photo of a catamaran again interrupted by pesky girls.

[Photo of sunrise] One of many beautiful sunrises at sea. Never did see the green flash at sunset. Three things to note in this photo: the rope going athwartships ties the two shrouds together and keeps them from 'twanging' when beating in sloppy seas; the loose strap (since tightened) is simply another thing to grab for balance when going forward; and just behind the handrail there's a small squid which landed on deck during the night. What you don't see is the rust dripping off the bicycle onto the deck.

[Photo of fish lying on front trampoline] There were many fishing fanatics within the Ha-Ha fleet, with continuous reports of the various huge fish being caught. We continue our tradition of being the only sailboat without fishing gear onboard in Australia, New Zealand, and Alaska. Nevertheless, morning brings us a fish on the trampoline.

[Photo of sunrise] Friend Bob Smith on Pantera sailing past us after we had pulled ahead motoring - I've gained the cruising gene and think nothing of turning on the engine. There were a number of diehards in the Ha-Ha fleet who sailed the entire distance without using their motors - my hat's off to them!

[Waves and wake behind KatieKat] [Speed instrument showing maximum speed achieved of 15.1 knots]

The left photo shows that we indeed had a few instances of decent wind. Just to show you KatieKat is no slouch if I unleash her, we recorded our best Ha-Ha sailing speed one evening when the shore breeze kicked in and there were enough swells for us to go surfing. Incidentally, that odometer is reading about 1500nm low compared to the GPS because over the years we've done a fair number of miles with the impeller removed.

[Cruise ship approaching] [Closeup view of cruise ship] [Kathy looking at cruise ship]

When we were approaching Cabo San Lucas, the cruise ship Diamond Princess (who comes up with these names?) was wending its way through the fleet, making me thankful for our superb radar reflector. The right photo shows Kathy wistfully looking at the cruise ship...

By the way, for those of you wondering about our Spectra 150 watermaker: it performed wonderfully, and we have an unlimited supply of water as the new solar panels keep up with everything. Showers twice a day :-)

For us, Cabo San Lucas was notably unimpressive, and the overcrowded very bumpy anchorage (docking would have been $200/night), riddled with jet-skis and with a steep drop-off necessitating anchoring close to the beach, had us out of there as soon as the immigration formalities and Baja Ha-Ha festivities ended (beach party one day and a very nicely-orchestrated 'awards' presentation the next). You can read all about it in 'Lectronic Latitude (check out the From Here to Eternity contest). Enough said, and I keep forgetting that I have my camera with me.

[Photo of Cabo San Lucas behind boat] The only photo we took of Cabo San Lucas (as we were leaving). Appropriate.

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15 November, 2006 -- Bahia de los Muertos

From Cabo San Lucas we sailed around the tip of Baja and up the east coast of the Baja Peninsula, stopping by Cabo Los Freiles and in Bahia de los Muertos on our way to La Paz. We FINALLY had a chance to slow down and relax in beautiful Bahia de los Muertos. It was just wonderful to get back into the warm-water (90degF) cruising mode and no schedule, so we snorkeled and explored this secluded bay which, nevertheless, had a nice restaurant by the beach and WiFi reaching to the boat. This Bay has been targeted for a massive upscale development with marina (1/4-acre lots go for $1.5M), and construction is already underway. Incidentally, Bahia de los Muertos refers to the "dead-man" anchor points used to hold barges in place while they were being loaded in this bay a century ago, and has nothing to do with dead people. Developers are trying to get the name changed...

[Photo of Cabo San Lucas behind boat] KatieKat was one of the very few boats at anchor in this lovely place.

[Photo of Joe with snorkel going down forward ladder] The forward ladder on KatieKat is just such a civilized way of entering the water! Kathy and I have each lost over ten pounds since we started our cruise last month. Now, to swim every day and regain some upper body strength...

[Photo of Joe with snorkel going down forward ladder] Wonderful snorkeling areas, with crystal-clear water and zillions of colorful fish.
Why was I nervous when I saw a stingray?

[Photo of Joe on the SeaCycle] Our SeaCycle we've named BikeBoat still going strong after all these years.

[Photo of Kathy standing in front of a cactus] Hey, these things are for real and not just in cartoons!

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18 November, 2006 -- La Paz

Hurricane 'Sergio' was making noises down south, so we scurried up to La Paz so we could get a berth before the bulk of the Ha-Ha fleet descended upon this city. Presently ensconsed in brand-new Marina Costa Baja.

[Photo of KatieKat in marina] KatieKat nicely snuggled in, just in case a blow comes. Note the smile on Kathy's face.

[Photo of Kathy standing behind beautiful curved swimming pool] That's Kathy in the distance, standing behind our marina's swimming pool.

We'll use La Paz as our base for now as we plan on exploring the Sea of Cortez before winter comes.
Off to get my swimming trunks and jump into that pool...

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31 December, 2006 -- Year-End Reflections

After minimally using KatieKat for most of the year and putting the home-front in order (sort-of), we resumed cruising in mid-October. Home-related issues kept either Kathy or myself away from the boat throughout December; however, with the New Year we are both back on the boat and plan on taking off in a couple of days - first cruise up to the islands above La Paz, and then across the Sea of Cortez to wander down the coast.

[Photo of Joe and son Alec] While I was briefly back home before Christmas, son Alec and I had a chance to go to a San Jose Sharks hockey game. Great kid! We spent Christmas together.

First off, our annual summary, for this year -

Boat Perceptions Update
(See all the December Updates of the past seven years for an in-depth comparison of my pre-purchase boat perceptions with reality). Again, I will repeat myself after having visited many more cruising boats this last year: THE distinguishing characteristic of our Seawind 1000 that sets it apart from almost all other boats and that is priceless is the comfortable main saloon integrated with the cockpit and with unrestricted completely-sheltered 360-degree visibility.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
Kathy and I do realize how incredibly fortunate we are to be able to continue in our lifestyle of choice, and wish you all the best for Christmas and a safe and peaceful upcoming year.

[Joe and Kathy in front of Christmas tree] [Closeup view Joe and Kathy]

Our Christmas photo, taken in front of the Christmas "tree" at Marina Costa Baja, La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico. MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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