After months of preparing the boat for Mexico, we finally came down to the last few days. Austin and crew member Richard both arrived on Friday, October 24th. We had a great time that evening celebrating Austin’s 22nd birthday first at Bali Hai for their great Mai Tai’s, then on to Stone Brewery for their great beer, and wrapping up the evening at Queenstown Bistro for a great dinner. On Sunday we said goodbye to Austin as he set off with our car back to school in Arizona. Our fourth crew member Greg arrived that night so now we were ready.

The Baja Ha Ha Rally is quite an event for the San Diego bay as 135 plus boats prepare to depart at the same time. On starting day, October 27th, we formed a parade as we passed the Harbor Patrol Fire Boats to the starting line. I never did see the actual starting line but start we did at around 11:00 am. The sails were up just for show as there was no wind. But we were excited just the same.

The crew of Sereno II.  Cindy, Gary, Greg and Richard

The crew of Sereno II. Cindy, Gary, Greg and Richard

Harbor Police Fire Boats gave us a great send off

A view of a boat in the fleet and the Harbor Police Fire Boats giving us a great send off

Parade of boats while CNN filmed overhead

Parade of boats while CNN filmed overhead

We had pirates in the fleet

We had pirates in the fleet

Gary and I as we leave San Diego

Gary and I as we leave San Diego

At 12:30 pm we crossed into Mexico and celebrated with Tequila shots. On this leg of the trip Richard caught an albacore tuna and a Mahi Mahi. We enjoyed some great sashimi on board.

Richard with his catch referred to as Mahi Mahi or Dorado

Richard the mighty fisherman with his catch referred to as Mahi Mahi or Dorado

He was still moving and right after the picture was taken I was out of there LOL

He was still moving and right after the picture was taken I was out of there LOL

Directly from the sea

Sashimi directly from the sea

I started my first ever night watch at the stroke of midnight on my birthday. It was an uneventful two hours as the seas were very calm with no wind. Motoring along I scanned the horizon every 15 minutes for other lights and checked the AIS for other vessels. Lucky the moon was almost full so it wasn’t totally dark. During the day my focus was on the water looking for sea life, boats and just the beauty of the ocean. At night my focus was on the stars. Just beautiful. Gary managed to bake me a birthday cake and we had one of my favorite meals at sunset, a fish pot using the Mahi Mahi Richard caught that day. Can’t get any fresher than that! Later that night at 11:00 pm after 60 hours at sea we dropped anchor in Turtle Bay. Coming in to an unfamiliar anchorage in the dark is not ideal. The lights from the small town and the anchor lights from the other boats is very deceiving. When I got up the next morning, the bay looked nothing like I pictured the night before :).

If I had to describe this leg I would say uneventful and a good calm introduction to off shore cruising. There was no wind for the duration of this leg so we motor sailed (sails up motor on) the entire time as did most of the fleet. We saw whales breaching, had dolphins playing around the bow of the boat and Greg saw a sea turtle. The seas started out choppy, which took me out of action for a time :(. But by the second day the seas calmed down and we had a pleasant passage down to Turtle Bay, though some wind would have been nice. We were all looking forward to walking on land, showers and meeting the rest of the fleet at Turtle Bay…………

Greg cleaning fish blood out of the dingy.  Dirty job but someone had to do it

Greg cleaning fish blood out of the dingy. Dirty job but someone had to do it

My birthday cake.  You can't tell from the picture but it is slanted to match the heel of the boat LOL

My birthday cake. You can’t tell from the picture but it is slanted to match the heel of the boat LOL

One of many beautiful sunsets

One of many beautiful sunsets