Our take on Turtle Bay, BC Mexico

Where We’ve Been: Turtle Bay, BC Mexico:

The fleet off Turtle Bay. You’ll probably only see this many anchored sailboats in only a few places around the world.

Turtle Bay, BC Mexico is nearly halfway down the Pacific (outer) coast of Baja California and is mostly used as a rest stop for visiting boats going both up and down the coast (in the season) and as a shrimper stop by fisherman.  Both the Baja Ha-Ha and the Taco Run (Nordhaven’s) use this place as a stopover and it’s one of the places the Baja Ha-Ha has a big bash.  I know all these things well since I just sailed down the coast with the Baja Ha-Ha 19 and am in a unique position to chronical our experiences having just lived through it.


We entered Turtle Bay in the middle of the night using our own electronic navigation and our crew’s knowledge of the area- it’s a large entrance suitable for entering at night with the only real worry being the notorious Mexican crab pots.  Finding a great spot in about 35 feet of water in the dark we got a great hook over sand and laid down about 200 feet of chain.  We then celebrated our first stop in 3-days and got some well deserved rest.  A day later, we moved up through the anchored fleet closer to the beach where the Baja Ha-Ha Beach party was set to go off…and we landed our own dinghy without incident.  The next day, we got some help from a fellow cruiser to “jury rig” one of my two main bilge pumps so we had something until we could get professional help in La Paz.  See…neither pump had been reinstalled by our team of mechanics in San Diego…so through the whole previous 3-days of sailing down Baja…we had NOT had our two main bilge pumps and at one point I was forced to make my own pump under way and de-water our large main bilge.  I’m still very, very not happy about this.  After this work was completed, we dinghyied into the local baseball game between locals and Baja Ha-Ha folks.  Really..it wasn’t much of a game as much as it was people watching and getting people to go into town.  Going into the local beach landing, it’s a custom of cruisers to give the quad of“boatboys” a couple of dollars to watch your dinghy and pull it up on shore.  We did this…but when we got back to our dinghy it was sitting in the surf line full of sand and water with lots of wave action all over the engine.  It was obvious that the dinghy had just been left in the surf line.  Learning point: Pull up your own dinghy!!!  Give the boys a few bucks, but pull up your own dinghy.  However, we were able to get great chorizo and salsa and provisions seemed plentiful.  Overall, my less than favorite place in Baja so far but a great way stop for transiting the Pacific Coast of Baja either way.  Great sailing coming out of Turtle Bay for the long overnight and long next day to Bahia Santa Maria.  Unfortunately this was also the afternoon of sailing in a 16-knt gust that completely shredded our big asymmetrical (the whomper) and caused us to go into an unplanned jibe…while Teagan was on the radio talking on the Baja Ha-Ha kids net.  I think they may have heard an F-bomb and some other salty language as Michelle fought to get the boat back under control.  Lessons learned– our asymmetrical was fixed gratis by the folks from Ullman Sails (on Profligate); but they made sure we knew that it wasn’t supposed to be flown in more than 12 knots of wind and it’s at least a 20 year old sail.  They also relayed that it had been cut from another sail and restitched several times…but was basically better than new after they had done the sail repair on it in Bahia Santa Maria.  They were also good enough to come to the boat in Man O’ War Cove and measure us for a new-heavier asymmetric, price unknown until we get their estimate.

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