Just seven more days before we take off on our Mexican cruising adventure! As I write this it is 11:43 am Monday Oct. 19. In exactly one week, we’ll probably be just outside the San Diego Bay, preparing to turn left and keep going until we can turn left again. The Baja HaHa starts out with a big parade and send off, complete with a firehose salute and starting gun at 11 a.m.
Here are some of the last minute preparations we have completed, or will complete in the next 167 hours before we cut the last of the umbilical cords (cable internet, cell phone, water hose, car) and take off on the first leg – three days and three nights with the three of us (John, me and Nakamal) at sea.
Change the engine oil – part of the routine maintenance, should be done every 100-150 engine hours. Hopefully we won’t need to run the engine that many hours on the way down, but just in case….
Service the dinghy engine – part of the break-in routine. We bought the engine brand-new, have been running around to break it in and now it needs its first TLC.
Charge all hand-held devices – like the iPad (it has backup charts on it) and hand-held VHF. Nakamal has a VHF radio but with the hand-held it’s easier to hear conversations when you are in the cockpit, and when on watch alone will be a way to communicate with other boats who are nearby.
Pack the dinghy – it’ll get deflated and tied onto the deck. On our two stops before Cabo there are pangas (small boats) that will ferry us between ship and shore for a nominal fee of $1-2 per person.
Study charts – even though the plan is basically to exit San Diego Harbor, turn left and keep going until the land ends, we still need to be familiar with what we might encounter along the way. You know, like small islands that would be prudent to avoid. Also good to know how long each leg will be. Our first leg is the longest – about 374 miles, or 3 – 3.5 days of travel before we stop for two nights of rest in Turtle Bay.
Pre-prep and freeze meals – to minimize cooking chores while underway. For some reason I’m obsessed with planning the meals and provisioning the stores. Maybe because it’s one of the few things about running the boat that I be fully in charge of because I actually understand it. And it involves shopping. And I am the Chief Provisioning Officer, and Galley Wench.
Pack school supplies into backpacks –Mexico is not a rich country, and kids everywhere need supplies, like crayons, pencils and notebooks.
Get barter items for fishermen – since we are coastal cruising, we will be in a lot of places where fishing is a primary source of income. The fishermen mostly work for larger groups and so aren’t allowed to sell fish directly, but trading is commonly accepted way around this. We have some sweatshirts and headlamps plus I’ll stock up on a few cans of Spam and other food that isn’t fish. We have read that beer and cigarettes are also popular items, but I don’t think I’ll get the Captain to part with his beer that easily.
Pick up the soccer balls – for One World Play Project – the One World Futbols are designed to never deflate. The research for the design was initially funded by Sting. Several boats volunteered to deliver balls to an organization in La Cruz, thus saving the costs of import and shipping. This will be a later stop on our tour, not part of the Baja HaHa trip.
Yes, I made the lame joke about taking good care of Sting’s balls.
Get a haircut – So we don’t have to worry about that until we get our feet under us.
Last provisioning run – over-provisioning is apparently a typical ‘rookie mistake’ but since it involves shopping, I’m all in. There are certain brands of items that we like, and aren’t sure if we’ll be able to find those brands in Mexico. Everyday things like dental floss. We want to have enough for at least three months so that we don’t have to get used to everything new at the same time. I know, I know, we’re so spoiled by the American consumer economy. We’ll get over it. Just not yet.
Sell the car – this made me sad; I’ve had my Mercedes since 2004 and love this car. It’s probably the nicest car I’ll ever own, still has a lot of life in it, but it’s time to part ways. Coincidentally, the buyer is a German national in the U.S. studying mechanical engineering.
Stuff the Kindle – I read. A lot. I invested in a Kindle so we don’t have to find places to store a lot of paperbacks. But I need to stockpile e-books because it requires wireless and heaven knows when we’ll have reliable wireless internet again.
Turn off the internet – and turn the box into a Cox office. Bye-bye readily available, reliable internet!
Get health insurance – Oops, we put this off a little too long. I thought we would just find a company, give them money, and they sign you up. But nooooooo. They want medical records, so that means working with our doctors in Tucson to get the information to a place in Indiana – soon. The policies we looked at are intended to cover us in case we need to be evacuated to the U.S. for care, or in case we return to the U.S. for major care. We expect that if we need care routine for things like sprains, cuts, cavities we’ll have it done locally and pay cash. Health care is much cheaper outside the U.S.
Prep the costumes – The Baja HaHa group has a kickoff Hallowe’en party in the parking lot of a West Marine store. One of my boat jobs is to organize the costumes in a way that does not add crap to the boat (lord knows we have found many other ways to add crap to the boat), isn’t expensive (lord knows we have already found many expensive things to add to the boat) and doesn’t make the Captain look foolish.
And, just when we are feeling like we are about done with the boat jobs, this happened yesterday. Just know that the right hand display is the freezer, and wires sticking out from a wall is never a good sign. #boatliving.