Monday, November 27, 2017

Baja Ha-Ha Cruise

The Baja Ha-Ha Cruise

Doug, George, Skip and Dave

Started by Richard Spindler, (of Latitude 38), twenty-four years ago, the Baja Ha-Ha is a cruise that departs San Diego in October of each year. Its primary goal is to safely get a fleet of sailing vessels to Cabo San Lucas, with a couple of stops along the way.

This year, I got a chance to participate because Dave Allmen wanted to take Lahaina Roads on it. So on October 29, Dave, his brother Doug, long time friend Jim Long (a.k.a. Skip) and I departed from Oceanside to join up with the other 130 Ha-ha vessels in the Ha-ha fleet in San Diego.

Lahaina Roads docked in San Diego.

We skipped the Ha-ha parade in San Diego and made our way to Ensenada, checking in there and avoiding the crowds of boats that would be checking in, in Cabo san Lucas.

Doug and Dave relaxing on deck. 

Docked at Ensenada.

After a brief stay in Ensenada, we headed south for Bahia Tortuga or as we know it - Turtle Bay.

Sailing southward wing-and-wing.

A beautiful sunset at sea.

Unfortunately, we didn't have much wind and ended up motor sailing most of the way. Regardless, it was a good run.

Anchored amongst the fleet in Turtle Bay.

Drone's view of the fleet in Turtle Bay. 

Time for fish tacos and a Corona at Maria's.

Downtown Turtle Bay is a pretty quiet place.

The Lahaina Roads crew in clean t-shirts getting ready to venture into town.

The pier in Turtle Bay.

Maria's from the air.

Baja Ha-ha traditional beach party.

Anchor lights on as evening approaches.

During our two day stay in Turtle Bay, we walked through the small, dusty town, had fish tacos at Maria's and briefly attended the Ha-ha beach party.

The following day the fleet sailed out of Turtle Bay in 10-12 knot winds. The winds eventually blew 20- 25 knots, giving us a great three day sail to Bahia Santa Maria.

The fleet leaving Turtle Bay for Bahia Santa Maria.

Lahaina Roads at sail.

A visit by dolphins is always a welcome treat.

Skip in Bahia Santa Maria with a full moon behind him.

Doug, Dave and Skip on the beach in Bahia Santa Maria.

Local fishing pangas in the village.

In Bahia Santa Maria, the Ha-ha typically sponsors a big lunch party on shore. Mexican families come from quite a distance to prepare a meal and even bring a local band to play for the fleet.

Baja Ha-ha lunch festivities.

Dave brought candy for the village kids.

After a two day stay in Bahia Santa Maria, the fleet picked up anchor and headed for the final stop of Cabo san Lucas.

The fleet sailing towards Cabo san Lucas.

Approaching Cabo.

The quintessential arch of Cabo.

At dusk, anchored along the beach in Cabo.

Baja Ha-ha party at Squid Roe in Cabo.

Aside from the final awards ceremony, in which everyone is awarded a prize, the other fleet sponsored event is an evening of dancing at Squid Roe. We stayed for a while but opted for some more fish tacos at a nearby taqueria.

Waking up to a surprising guest in the harbor.

After anchoring overnight, we left Cabo and headed for San Jose del Cabo, just 17 miles around the corner. We arrived in Puerto Los Cabos and docked there until I flew back home. Meanwhile, the crew's other half (Kristi, Carolyn and Lee) had flown in from San Diego and were staying at a hotel in Cabo san Lucas.

Docked in Puerto Los Cabos.

Stay tuned for Part II - The Voyage Back to Oceanside.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Amsterdam - Summer 2017

Amsterdam 2017

Amsterdam Bound

The time we spent in Amsterdam this past summer could most aptly be described as “living in Amsterdam as Amsterdammers” as opposed to being tourists. We were fortunate to be able to stay in Meredith and Elliot’s newly purchased flat in the Rivierenbuurt (a few minutes away by bike), while they continued to live in their current flat.

Thus, this blog entry mostly will reflect on some of the highlights of our stay in Amsterdam and a brief visit to Erika, in Bernau, Germany. It's mostly photos with captions.

The subtlety in Isla's pose speaks a thousand words. "I've had a long day. Just open up the door. I'm hungry."  

Now we're talking. Get on and let's ride.
Diane and I often picked up Isla from school. She always seemed to be having a great time with her school mates come rain or shine. If it was raining, the teachers put them outside dressed in their raincoats and boots. If it was cold, they just bundled them up a little more. There's no room for sissies here.

Helping out dad with kitchen duties and getting "dough bread" ready for the oven.

Diane waiting at an intersection near home. Note the protected bike lane.

Eliot and I attended a small venue concert - a garden in the back of a building with a Dutch group playing American southern country and zydeco music.

Diane started planting seeds with Isla to show her how plants grow from seeds.

And Diane showed Isla how to prune the plants in her new backyard.

Meredith and Elliot enjoying the bench in front of their new home.

A casual dinner at the new home.

Diane and I ventured out to a second hand store ("kringloop" as they call it) on our bikes.

A very typical scene of a dad with kids on the cargo bike running errands. (Notice no helmets.)

Diane confidently scooting along on her red bike on the streets of Amsterdam.

Meredith and Isla on the family Urban Arrow. With the electric assist, this bike is a breeze to ride.

Cycling along the Amstel River, Elliot with Isla on a morning ride.

Isla enjoying a "baby-ccino" along the Amstel River.

Meredith and I on a 5k run in beautiful Vondelpark.

Isla has been practicing her bicycling skills on her "loop" fiets (a balance bike with no pedals).  

Lots of squawking parakeets in Amsterdam, including some in their backyard yard.

Isla on the balcony of the current home.

Diane and I really enjoy the lively Noord Street Market.

The "Winkle" restaurant has the best apple tarte in Amsterdam. The line proves it.

With friends, Maarten and Ineke, we went to a glass blowing exposition at a local museum.

Isla, with friends Julian and Lucia. Don't let the angelic looks fool you!!!

Daddy Nathan shows how to fit two kids on a bike. There's room for groceries in the orange crate.

Looking at the backyard from the kitchen in the new home on a sunny day.

We visited the outstanding Kröller-Müller Museum with Maarten and Ineke.

Diane and Isla embarking on chalk graffiti artwork. 

The usual suspects clamoring for more dessert.

Looking for ducks in Beatrix Park.

Meredith and Isla in Beatrix Park.

Diane and Isla at the nearby petting farm.

Diane made a dolphin dessert from banana and blueberry.

Friends of Meredith and Elliot (Gadiel, Nicole and James over for dinner.

Gadiel, Nicole, James and Elliot on the ferry to Amsterdam Noord.
Me on the "Shorty", the other Urban Arrow (also with electric assist).

Beatrix Park at sunset.

The restaurant at the Ij Film Museum looking southward to Amsterdam.

The Ij Film Museum. At the time they had an impressive exhibition on Martin Scorsese's works.

Maarten and Ineke came and picked us up one day to drive to Haarlem to spend the day at a couple of museums. The first one we went to was the Teylers Museum, a museum with art, science and natural history. 

An old electricity generating machine at the Teylers Museum which still works.

An early telescope - the body made of wood.

We then went to the Frans Hals Museum, a place with wonderfully curious works of art from the Dada period in the early 1900's.

I found a piano I could play.

Maarten has named this photo "Waiting for George".

A particularly troubling scene.

The gang on a Sunday morning ride around town.

Isla enjoying an ice cream in the sand box.

A mom ferrying the kids around in the Dutch SUV.

Meredith, Elliot and Isla on their way home.

Isla, Julian and Lucia at a nearby park.
A parting shot of the trio.

Erika, Diane and I on our adventure to Bernau, sipping a pint of German brew.

Enjoying my morning coffee on Erika's balcony with a glimpse of the Alps.

At the Chiemsee Lake, near Bernau. 

The time to leave came much too quickly.

Jill and Rich visited us in Amsterdam for a few days, on their way to Norway.

We had our usual lunch meeting with Ton and Marleen,
this time at an old, historical restaurant in Utrecht.

Isla petting a guinea pig at the neighborhood petting farm.

One of our projects was to build and furnish a small doll house for Isla.

Hey, I'll do anything for a laugh!

Towards the end of September, our two month stay in Amsterdam came to an end. For Diane, however, traveling wasn't over - she was continuing onward to South Africa to volunteer at an AIDS clinic near Durban with the Zulus for three weeks. As for me, I headed home. It had been a wonderful stay.