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"Van Gogh became a painter because he had no ear for music." -- Nikki Harris

46--Mexico: Mistress All Dressed Up And No Where to Blow
@ Where`s Cherie?     Aug 05 2002 - 16:46 PST
cherie writes: From the Baja Ha-Ha Cruiser's Rally 2001

There are currently more boats anchored in Turtle Bay than local people in town. Dustin lead us to down-town Turtle Bay, stringing us through the curvy streets like fish on a line.

'I think we're in the hood.' I said 'This whole town is a hood.' Ray replied.

At sunset, we landed with all the other Baja Haha gringos at Veracruz. This restaurant is certain to make its profit for the year in the next three days. It only took a few hours for our crew get cold food and warm beer. Another reminder, it's the journey.

We started off with tequila. Scott splurged two bucks a pop for the bad stuff. We drank our tequila properly while Scott downed his like it was a shot of Robotussin. Although it was the best tequila in the house, urine might have gone down smoother. You can always tell a bad tequila, you get the squinched up lime face BEFORE you bite into the lime.

This prompted my switch to Captain Morgan. Note to self: Captain Morgan Spiced Rum, even when consumed in large quantities, will not imbibe one with the necessary skills to skipper a boat. It will, however, give you very creative answers to the question 'Are you on the rum line?'

At Veracruz, we ran into Wally from a Nelson Merick 58 called 'Learjet'. Wally used to crew on the Mistress until she tried to decapitate him with her spinnaker pole. I didn't like those Learjet guys from the moment I met them. Probably because I am childish and the Learjet beat the Mistress to the finish line. Then they told us that they only practiced as a crew together ten times, could I believe it?

Our crew was much more seasoned. We met each other on October 30th, hours before the race began. Tom reported in the Baja Haha newspaper that he was looking forward to the Baja Haha race because it was going to be a nice family event. Little did he know he would be traveling with one brother (Ray), one friend (Scott) and four complete strangers (Joe, Dustin, Jean and Cherie)?

Nevertheless, our crew had the dogged determination of fools with too much tequila in them. We had to win at something, so while anchored in Turtle Bay, we challenged Learjet to a Margarita Make-Off. We were sure to be the winners!

The next morning I woke up in the hammock and watched a beautiful sunrise over the little ugly bay. After a desperate search for onboard reading, I slipped into the most enjoyable book I could find: 'The Complete Book of Knots.'

Here is a list of the 'Top 10 Knots I Can't Tie'10. Ashley's Stopper Knot9. Zeppelin Bend8. Extended French Prusik Knot7. Munter Friction Hitch6. Klemeist Knot5. Bimini Twist (sounds more like a donut?)4. Alpine Butterfly3. True Lover's Knot (Dustin & Jean can tie this one!)2. Pedigree Cow Hitch1.Fireman's Chair Knot (Also the most patriotic knot!)

Other Honorable Mentions:Kinkiest Knot: Handcuff KnotMost Vicious Knot: (a tie) Blood Loop Dropper Knot & Strangle KnotHappiest Knot: Grinner KnotHighest Income Knot: Surgeon's LoopMost Venomous Knot: Boa KnotMost Impossible Knot: Impossible Knot

While I was keeping busy tying Joe's hammock into knots, Ray got in the dingy and went into Turtle Bay to get us some homemade bread. I could taste it in my mouth before it arrived, sprinkled with just a touch of sugar the way Mexican breads always are. It would be soft, fresh and sweet melting on tongue as the morning sun warmed my face.

Ray arrived and I leaped out of the hammock (quite a feat on a sailboat). 'These' he exclaimed 'were fresh yesterday!' There is nothing like being on a million dollar yacht and eating day old Mexican baked goods.

The best part about sleeping in the hammock on the bow of a yacht is watching the next morning's dinghy 'float-of-shame.' The tequila somehow messes up a person's internal GPS and sometimes deposits them on the wrong boat, with the wrong person lying next to them in bed. In the stealth of the early morning daybreak, the lascivious creatures are brought back to their proper homes in the adulterer's dingy. Some people even row their one-night lovers back to their proper location×it makes less noise.

When we arrived the day before there were only a handful of boats, but at dawn we had all sorts of new neighbors. Ray wasn't impressed: 'I hate those clods who come in and anchor at night.' I can only assume the word 'clod' is another one of Ray's technical sailing terms.

We saw a guy named Matt wake-board by in his dingy and we thought we should get to know him better. Jean and I were the next people wakeboarding around the bay. I was determined to do this until I captured a photo of a dolphin jumping over me while I was in the middle of a 360. I gave up my quest when realized that most of the sailboats were pumping their raw sewage into the bay. (This is gross, but legal in Mexico.) I didn't see an actual 'floater', but it didn't make me feel good to see a wad of toilet paper floating by. I didn't recognize it at first. What could that be, I thought? A little piece of floating origami?

Ernesto is a local guy who pretends to speak English and gets you whatever you want about 12 hours after you need it. Ernesto fell in love with Jean first. But then Jean tried to practice her Spanish on him and she told him that her parents were dead and she never visits them. Being a family man, he wasn't impressed. Jean's parents might not be very impressed either since they are alive and kicking in San Diego. Then Ernesto fell in love with me and as a token of his affection gave me a very nice gas cap. I'm a simple girl, but a gas cap?

The next night we headed for Veracruz again and the restaurant (and I use this term loosely) was now packed with Baja Haha racers. I was wearing my zebra pants, which may explain why I experimented with a little bestiality. That's right, I kissed a horse. It was a plastic horse so it didn't mind my tequila breath. Then I decided that I was the salsa queen and I tore up the dance floor. Then the dance floor tore me up. Tom predicted it the night before by saying 'Someone is going to kill themselves on that concrete ledge.' Little did he know that I would be the first applicant for the job.

I started with my unintentional dancing stage dives. The first few times I landed on Scott, who cushioned the blow, but as the night progressed the concrete floor seemed to soften. In honor of Halloween, my ankle swelled into a pumpkin.

The next day, we flew our new battle flag×my zebra pants. We hoisted them in the morning and flew them like a giant animal windsock, clearly notifying neighboring boats that we are a predator to be reckoned with.

In addition to taking off my pants for Tom's Mistress, I have done other things in order to increase my 'stock' on the boat. I am now also the boat DJ, Log Keeper (this is the log), Snack Hog, Mast Girl, and Official Stupid Fact Informant. Example: it is a school of fish, a pod of dolphins, a pride of lions, and a herd of cattle. What is a group of frogs called? (An army of frogs.) What is a group of toads called? (A knot of toads.) See, the fun never stops! My fellow crewmembers can't wait to have me on their night watch!

I finally figured out what we are watching for on our night watch-containers! Yes, the Coast Guard reports that 150,000 containers are lost at sea every year by huge transport vessels. (Source: Tom) These 40 foot steel nemeses (containers) lurch in the water and bob around waiting to rip open your hull and sink your boat.

This is why I haven't got more than 3 hours of continuous sleep since the race began. It was the containers when we were out at sea and while we were in the bay, it was the tequila.

After another night at Veracruz we decided to treat our bodies to 'the breakfast of champions'×homemade chocolate-chip cookies. Dustin began the day with a scuba dive and said that lobsters were everywhere. 'They were like cockroaches.' Of course Dustin reported this completely empty handed. There is a rule in the waters of Mexico that says something like foreigners are not allowed to fish for lobster, even if they are running around like cockroaches.

But we are allowed to fish for fish. Somewhat like a buffet, you are never going to get your monies worth, but that won't stop us from trying. Tom paid $420 for 7 of us to get Mexican fishing licenses. The boat and the dingy also have fishing licenses. Tom is so thorough that I wouldn't be surprised the inflatable life raft has its own fishing license.

So far we have caught 5 Skip Jack, one 35 lb Albacore, one Yellow Tail, one 15 lb Yellow Fin and 8 Dorado (we let some of the Dorado free, and some of them set themselves free.) We deliver our 'fish report' over the CB radio every morning. Ooops!!! Tom is going to kick me off this boat if I call it a CB radio one more time. It looks like a CB, sounds like a CB, but it is clearly an SSB, and I have been on this boat long enough to know that.

Someone keeps saying 'Cookie Monster' over the SSB, and it is all Jean can do to stop herself from replying 'Cookie Monster, this is Big Bird, what's your location?'

Our second day at Turtle Bay ended with a 'Free Lobster Beach Party' ($5 donation, please.) We sat ashore and rated other peoples zodiac beach landings. Ours was perfect, thanks to Tom. The owner himself jumped off the dingy and fought a very treacherous one-foot wave in order to keep his crew dry. Tom won the fight, and as a badge of honor wore the wave on his shorts the rest of the day.

I'm not going to go into unnecessary details about the 'Margarita Contest' with rival boat Learjet because we lost. You'll have to read Learjet's log, which I am sure will talk about what good sports the crew of the Mistress was. We're all just here to have fun and consume as much good lobster and bad tequila as possible. Can anyone think of any other contests that we could beat the Learjet crew at?

I'll end this log with another bad Mistress sailing joke:What would the Mistress say if she could talk?Blow me.

Stay tuned as we start the second leg of the Baja Haha Race.


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