Cabo San Lucus – More Than a Headache

Dingy rides are awesome. Dingy rides are slow when overloading the dingy.

Arriving in Cabo San Lucus was reliving in that Panache had conquered the Baja Ha Ha without motoring one foot, but disappointing in that it was difficult to escape the Americanized Mexico that Cabo came to be. The first three days in Cabo were like going to tourist hell. I never ventured beyond the few blocks that surrounded the marina, and every Mexican was trying to sell me jewelry, snorkeling trips, or pot. I never really needed to venture very far from the marina, mainly because all the activities hosted by the Baja Ha Ha were nestled deep within this tourist trap. Escaping was futile.

Nate loves his Soda, and we all love Mer's fish hat.

Everything needed for a good night.

Out of focus is the new in focus.

Swim call on Cat 2 Fold

You might be reading this, and thinking that I hated those first days in Cabo, but honestly, at the time, a tourist trap was exactly what I wanted. I wanted to order a cold beer in english, and I didn't want to make it more difficult than that. The last thing anyone wants after 750 miles of sailing is to be greeted with obstacles. Latitude 38 put on a nice beach party that was complete with white linen tablecloths, and an award ceremony with prizes for every boat that completed the trip. Panache ended up winning our division, and "The Spirit of the Ha Ha," award for embodying an upbeat nature and diehard approach to the regatta. While these events were considered first class gringo gatherings, my lack of spanish and the fact that I had already paid for this experience through the Baja Ha Ha registration fees, made them more than appealing. Winning a bottle of tequila for the Spirit of the Ha Ha award didn't hurt either. The Baja Ha Ha finale in Cabo ended up being quite fun. At the very least, the events hosted by Latitude 38 gave all the boats an opportunity to recapping all the stories one didn't hear over the SSB or VHF radio.

A beautiful view of the arches from Cat 2 Fold.

Nick from SaltBreaker snatching up as many free beers as he can. Thanks Latitude 38!

Spear fishing trip to the arches. Marina Mexico!

Walking out to the arches. Who wants to pay for a panga!?

Schools out for all the little fishes.

Pelican Plus Neptune's Finger.

The arches!

When the majority of the Baja Ha Ha fleet left Cabo, I had enough perspective to realize I had been mixed up in a gringo circus. Its fun to be in the circus, do the tourist things, and maybe drink to much and sing Twist and Shout in some hole-in-the-wall Mexican cantina. However, those kind of activities definitely have a strict expiration date - you can only be in the circus for so long. The reality is that Cabo offers some sustainable activities that will make you fall in love with the area, and want to stay well past the circus' expiration date. Think of Cabo like an acclimation chamber for people entering Mexico: when you get to Cabo, you can be in the Americanized Mexico for as long as you want, and when you are ready, you can enjoy everything else that real Mexico has to offer. The hiking, camping, fishing, and snorkeling alone could keep you occupied for weeks, and after doing something of substance during the day makes the nightlife become much more enjoyable. The food is top notch and even if your spanish is sub par - like mine is - you can get by with exaggerated hand gestures and a smile. Trying is key, and everyone I attempted to communicate with appreciated it. Just try not to look like a complete nut case with the hand gestures. You will scare the children.

Rock climbing happens. Even in Cabo.

Chili rimmed beer with lime. A cold beer has never been so hot.

Mer puts her arm around invisible Eric. We miss you Eric!

Pretty shadow.

In Mexico, you can bring the beach to the restaurant.

Dance party at Squid Roe.

iHog - The source of tunes on Cat 2 Fold.

The immigration process was a testament to the language barrier not being a crippling issue. First off, let me clarify how unclear the immigration process really is. I don't even know where to start its so unclear. Like everything in Mexico (it seems) the immigration process is a fluid system. You get away with whatever you can get away with. Everything can be as simple or complex as the person "helping" you wants to make it. For example, If the guy at the dingy dock is lazy and not paying attention, you can park your dingy there for free. If you're not on top of your game, you will not get paid. Taking a crack at speaking spanish really makes all the difference here. I went into the immigration office right when it opened with a big smile and all my paperwork in order. I used as much spanish as I could muster, and the officer coasted me through the wall of paperwork. She didn't have to help me, but she did because I was being respectful and doing my best with a language I was new to. I have never filled out so many forms without ever fully knowing what they were. For all I know, I signed over my my life. After an hour in the immigration office, twenty minutes paying for my visa at a bank and another 20 at the port captains office, Panache, my crew, and I were fully immigrated into Mexico. The whole procedure was so confusing, almost like a long game of charades without ever knowing what the word I was trying to act out was. I enjoyed it, and it also gave me lots of incentive to get better at Spanish.

Brian, the captain of Cat 2 Fold.

Cat 2 Fold cutting through the water at 14 knots! Whoosh!

Pacifico on the Pacific. Too perfect.

A small sloop heading into Cabo.

Lighspeed and Cat 2 Fold neck and neck into Cabo.

Hiking to the arches.

I can't help but notice that Cabo seems to be having a little bit of an identity crisis. On one side they have this huge influx of people looking to party - which they have to cater to - and on the other side they have a real opportunity to create a tourism industry thats focused on natural rather than Jose Cuervo. I guess they are doing both, but it seems like the party scene is dominant. Seeing tour boats that advertise free shots of tequila sounds fun, but definitely sends the wrong message. Don't go to Mexico to get shitfaced on a beach! Go to Mexico to do something you can only do/see in Mexico and then get shitfaced on the beach. Or better yet, don't get shitfaced and try and be a good diplomat for the United States. Just a thought.

Graffiti and rock. Not sure if it accents or ruins the natural beauty.

Many boats in the Ha Ha fleet were ready to sail out of Cabo the second they dropped anchor, but after getting fully introduced to the city, I was having difficulty leaving.

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