TodayApril 15, 2022

Cervezas, Tacos & Fiestas in a sailboat

Living the dream on a sailboat

Sailboat – We’re in the beautiful port/beach city of La Paz on the Sea of Cortez. The trip from Los Cabos was relatively uneventful, except for the very uncomfortable anchorages in Los Frailles and Los Muertos where the waves caused the boat to roll all night. I’ll tell you a little about the food, drink, bars, and parties that we’ve enjoyed along the way. Obviously, with a boat named Celebration, there have also been some celebrations on board, but we’ll stick to the off-board ones for this post.

The first official Baja-Ha-Ha party was held in the parking lot of West Marine (yes the parking lot) in San Diego the day before we departed. Surprisingly, it turned out to be quite the bash as it was both a kick-off party and a Halloween party and virtually everyone attended in costume and good spirits — especially as it included free wine, beer, .and Mexican food. I can’t remember what they served, but I assure you that Audrey, Alex, and I had our fair share of the beer and wine..:-)

Next was the Ha-Ha Pot Luck in Turtle Bay and let me tell you that after three days and nights of sailing everyone was ready to get off their boats, enjoy a few drinks (did I say a few…), and swap stories about the first leg. In hindsight, our first leg was great as there were many stories of torn sails, mechanical breakdowns, severe seasickness, and more.

But, no one got hurt, and everyone got in safely, so it was time to party. This one was a beach party, and since it was in the middle of nowhere all the boaters brought something, and we ended up with one of the most diverse feasts that included lots of fresh fish and Audrey’s famous pinwheels. I’m not sure I’d call it a highlight but one of the most amusing distractions was the chicks against dudes tug-of-war, and if you look closely at the picture you’ll see Audrey and Alex front and center celebrating their win.

Cervezas, Tacos & Fiestas in a sailboat
Cervezas, Tacos & Fiestas in a sailboat

After Turtle Bay then two more days and nights of sailing, the next party was the renowned Latitude Party in Bahia Santa Maria. The party was billed as one of the most surreal parties ever as it was held in a tiny fishing camp where local families cook the food and sell beer, and a rock and roll band travels across mountains and deserts from La Paz to play for the Ha-Ha fleet.

It’s surreal because there are only a handful of people that live there and once a year for the Ha-Ha 130 – 150 boats with up to 1000 people take over the camp. It’s the biggest event of the year in Santa Maria, and it gives the families a chance to make a little money from us gringos.

Once again the party was an opportunity to swap stories of both joy and misery, but the best one was from the sailboat Cake as they caught an 8-foot great white shark while underway. Most of us with any common sense would have cut the line and “run like hell” but Ken, the owner, wanted his apparently expensive lure back, so he brought the great white onboard using the topping lift, took a few pics then somehow got the lure out of its jaws before releasing it. It sounds incredible but we saw the pictures, and I’ll see if I can track one down and post it later.

As expected, with Cabo being the final port for the Ha-ha and everyone ready to celebrate a successful 750-mile sailing “odyssey” the partying started with a champagne onboard Celebration as we crossed the finish line and didn’t end until we hit Baja Cantina, Cabo Wabo, and the best party ever at Squid Roe, one of the most eclectic bars in Cabo where even Audrey and I danced on the tables. Sorry, no pics from that party….

Post-Ha-Ha we did manage to hit a small Cantina in Bahia Los Muertes and after arriving in La Paz yesterday forced ourselves to happy hour at “The Shack” and a live jam session on a sailboat. If this is any indication of what La Paz is going to be like, we’ll need to stock up on a lot more tequila and cerveza.

Cervezas, Tacos & Fiestas in a sailboat
Cervezas, Tacos & Fiestas in a sailboat
Richard James

Richard and Audrey James are living the dream of many of us. They are sailing from California to the Caribbean via the Panama Canal then along the north shore of Colombia to the Caribbean.. After 23 years of working at General Motors North America and GM Latin America, Africa and Middle East (LAAM) James and his wife bought a sailboat and ventured out on the high seas. Sailing has been in James' blood since he was a student in Australia on an exchange program at the University of Toronto. He has raced and cruised sailboats wherever he happened to be living and on charter boats in the Caribbean. He also took a previous sabbatical earlier in his working life, sailing a 36-foot sailboat from Toronto, Canada to the Bahamas. Follow James and Audrey as they traverse the world in their sailboat, and as they reimmerse themselves into the work world.