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Where are you going next?

 Africa86 votes
76.11%
 South America3 votes
2.65%
 Europe3 votes
2.65%
 Eastern Asia5 votes
4.42%
 Carribean9 votes
7.96%
 Safeway5 votes
4.42%
 Australia2 votes
1.77%
total votes: 113
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"You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should." -- Max Ehrmann

162--Mexico: Baja Ha-Ha Lobster Beach Party (Santa Maria)
@ CherieSpotting     Dec 04 2003 - 16:25 PST
cherie writes: Santa Maria holds priceless gifts of nature. The gifts of this Mexican bay are so great, that you might think Santa Maria was related to Santa Claus. After sailing 584 miles from San Diego, the eleven miles of Santa Maria’s whispering sands were a sight for sailor’s eyes.

Cassiopeia, the Swan 65 I’ve been crewing on, anchored off one of Santa Maria’s dramatic mountains (which appears to be a hill—until you climb it). Since we’d been “racing” in the Baja Ha-Ha Cruiser’s Rally the past week, some of us swabs wanted to get our “land-legs” back. A group of friends gathered one morning to summit the bay’s highest unnamed peak (a whole 1275 feet off the ground.) Sailors can hike, too!

As we grew closer to the mountaintop (hilltop?), our view was limited only by the curvature of the earth. Sand-dunes stretched farther than a 6-year-old’s imagination. From the summit, we watched the morning unfold for hundreds of cruisers. Many had never sailed to Mexico before—they had no idea what the Santa Maria’s surf had in store for them.

Naively, some set for shore in their dinghies, motoring towards the $10 lobster-beach-party. Us hikers had to act quickly if we were going to get a good seat for the show. We snapped a photo, drank a bottle of celebratory wine, and scrambled down the crumbling cliff. We had to get a good view of the sailors landing their skiffs in Santa Maria’s menacing breakers. (Note: I scrambled down the cliff a bit too fast and slid down the loose gravel like an out-of-control shopping cart. Intending to head towards the entertainment, but I became it instead. The price I paid was in blood. Rennie took one look at my scraped up legs and gave me a new nickname: hamburger knees.

Some sailors were smart. They didn’t try to scale the mountain and they actually paid locals to ferry them to the beach in pangas. Others, who would soon be holding wet wallets, tried to manage the unpredictable surf on their own. I hate to be on the ocean’s side, but I was rooting for the waves. Some made it through the breakers with a simple case of “dinghy-butt,” (sailor’s lingo for a wet bum.) The not-so-lucky straggled ashore like confused pets, dripping with frustration and salt-water. That afternoon the windswept beach was freckled with more than just sand-dollars. Soaked sailors dotted the sand and scurried around like ants forced out of their holes. But, I couldn’t really laugh at their damp misfortune. It’s better to be wet, than bloody.

I looked around for something anti-bacterial to cleanse my wounds and I found it for $2 a bottle: alcohol. Beer—it was the perfect beverage to disinfect my cuts. It’s hard to find a natural remedy these days that is both economical and tasty. I doused my injury with a malted-beverage and then I inhaled a gulp of healing salt-air. Sailing, it’s not for the weak-kneed.

The air was sweet in Santa Maria; it was laced with the scent of cheap lobster. I eagerly forked over my $10 for a hearty portion of the Mexican lobster feast. $2 beers made everyone forget they just gave their outboard-engines a salt-water dunk during the dinghy landing. Then the band started to play and soon many sailors were “three sheets to the wind.” Dave, one of Cassiopeia’s finest, added himself to the band and could not be pried from the stage. Cheap lobster, cold beer, lively music, warm sand, and good friends…does it get any better?

Click on each picture to see it full size.

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Jean has the whole world in her hands in Santa Maria. *Photo by Dustin

Jean has the whole world in her hands in Santa Maria. *Photo by Dustin

Harley (from Bodacious) and Bernadette (from Zykanthos) hike the hill (mountain?) at Santa Maria.

Harley (from Bodacious) and Bernadette (from Zykanthos) hike the hill (mountain?) at Santa Maria.

Hikers overlook the Ha-Ha fleet.

Hikers overlook the Ha-Ha fleet.

Bernadette by her boat name, Zykanthos.

Bernadette by her boat name, Zykanthos.

We shared a bottle of wine when we reached the peak.

We shared a bottle of wine when we reached the peak.

Sailors (turned hikers) on their way to the top.

Sailors (turned hikers) on their way to the top.

All smiles and a little sweat.

All smiles and a little sweat.

It's not fair that going back down the hill is actually harder than going up.

It's not fair that going back down the hill is actually harder than going up.

From this view, the boats look like toys.

From this view, the boats look like toys.

Cherie and Greg with Bahia Santa Maria behind them.

Cherie and Greg with Bahia Santa Maria behind them.

Harley and Bernadette.

Harley and Bernadette.

Dave Price buys the beer!

Dave Price buys the beer!

Katy and Elan Stewart from Falcor.

Katy and Elan Stewart from Falcor.

If your spinnaker tears--just turn it into a cape.

If your spinnaker tears--just turn it into a cape.

Greg watches the volleyball game, a cool beer at his side.

Greg watches the volleyball game, a cool beer at his side.

Boaters and their boats.

Boaters and their boats.

Steve Body, from Exit Strategy, is happy to be there!

Steve Body, from Exit Strategy, is happy to be there!

Bernadette, Lee and Anne.

Bernadette, Lee and Anne.

Lots of beer, lots of friends...coincidence?

Lots of beer, lots of friends...coincidence?

Cherie and Jean with the crew of Cat Ballou.

Cherie and Jean with the crew of Cat Ballou.

Bill and Chuck work together and sail together.

Bill and Chuck work together and sail together.

Dustin's on top of the world.

Dustin's on top of the world.

Rennie waves from the cliff.

Rennie waves from the cliff.

Cherie and Bernadette having fun.

Cherie and Bernadette having fun.

Dave thinks he's a member of the band.

Dave thinks he's a member of the band.

1001 uses for a spinnaker--use 423: a cape.

1001 uses for a spinnaker--use 423: a cape.

The crew of Cat Ballou.

The crew of Cat Ballou.

David Gibbs, from Sneakers, with Bernadette.

David Gibbs, from Sneakers, with Bernadette.

Dave. *Photo by Jean.

Dave. *Photo by Jean.

Bernadette, Cherie and Jean. *Photo by Dustin.

Bernadette, Cherie and Jean. *Photo by Dustin.

Fun in the sun. *Photo by Dustin.

Fun in the sun. *Photo by Dustin.

Hands across the playa--Cherie, Jean and Bernadette. *Photo by Dustin.

Hands across the playa--Cherie, Jean and Bernadette. *Photo by Dustin.

Looks like the party is on the roof. *Photo by Dustin.

Looks like the party is on the roof. *Photo by Dustin.

Scotty, with his bottle of Listerine. *Photo by Dustin.

Scotty, with his bottle of Listerine. *Photo by Dustin.

A toilet with a view.

A toilet with a view.

One toilet, 500 sailors? *Photo by Dustin.

One toilet, 500 sailors? *Photo by Dustin.

Cory and Kyle Fults, from Lemuria. *Photo by Jean.

Cory and Kyle Fults, from Lemuria. *Photo by Jean.

Richard freshens his breath. *Photo by Jean.

Richard freshens his breath. *Photo by Jean.

Dustin loves the lobster.

Dustin loves the lobster.

The crowd loves Dave...he can't leave the microphone (and disappoint his friends.)

The crowd loves Dave...he can't leave the microphone (and disappoint his friends.)

Bernadette.

Bernadette.

Harley hanging with the locals.

Harley hanging with the locals.

More lobster! *Photo by Dustin.

More lobster! *Photo by Dustin.

Does he know that there is a lobster on him? *Photo by Jean.

Does he know that there is a lobster on him? *Photo by Jean.

Cool bug...until it bites. *Photo by Dustin.

Cool bug...until it bites. *Photo by Dustin.