“I’ve got all these squid biting at my lure but they don’t seem to grab, does anyone know how to catch these things?” This was a question presented to all the Ha Ha boats over the radio during the second leg at sea. Our response? “Yeah you pull your line in close to the boat and the squid will follow, then you gaffe the suckers and pull them up into the boat.” Now that’s how you Saltbreaker something. Then some joker came on the radio and said “Uh, those are the endangered Humboldt squid that you are catching.” Pfft, whatever, they make great calamari steaks. And for the record they were not endangered squid, far as we know.
We departed Turtle Bay at dawn and were escorted out of the bay by over 100 dolphins slicing through the water and skillfully playing tag with the bow of the boat, a moment that will stick with me for some time no doubt. We were on our way to Bahia de Santa Maria, our final stop before proceeding to Cabo. Winds were pleasant, spirits were up, and the water temperature continued to rise and the color become noticeably bluer as we moved further south. Our first day out at sea we were fortunate enough to nab a 3 foot squid using the Saltbreaker method described above, and enjoyed some fresh calamari steaks for lunch. This leg of the journey was relatively uneventful, in a good way, and included memorable moments such as the first night watch with no pants or jacket, going so far out to sea that no possibility of seeing land existed, and the development of our shtick, which included telling other boats to change their course because we may collide if they don’t. That’s a good shtick.
Now the town of Bahia de Santa Maria was quite a bit different from expected, as there really was no town at all, simply a collection of brightly painted seasonal fishing shacks strewn about in an arid desert coastal landscape. Turtle Bay in relation could be considered a bustling metropolis. But don’t let that fool you, as with all things encountered in Mexico to that point this town was full of surprises. Our first night in the bay was spent taking the dinghy and Harvey, the name given to the temperamental outboard engine for the dinghy, to various boat parties and capably maneuvering the dinghy through all the anchored vessels whilst taking a moment to reflect and perform doughnuts in an overloaded small inflatable craft, thanks Nique. The bay was lit up with 150 or more anchor lights and appeared as a floating city when viewed from the beach.
Day two was spent first eating a killer scramble with the crew of the Mer Sea and then attending a Ha Ha organized party that was described by another boat as ‘gringo beach party No. 2,’ brilliant. The promise of fish tacos lead us to wander down a dirt path through the colored shacks, most equipped with a satellite dish, past a man selling an assortment of shark’s fins and to the end of the road overlooking barren sand dunes, but no fish tacos (we later found the tacos being sold directly next to where we originally started our walk on the beach). As night fell we left a blazing, well, smoldering, beach bonfire and grabbed a panga, water taxi, back to the boat. Although Nique and a few brave souls continued on with the beach party, foregoing the final panga on the promise that there was a guaranteed ride back to Saltbreaker from a local and his beached boat. Perhaps Nique will share the full story of his adventure back to Saltbreaker later if you ask nicely.
Oh well, onward to Cabo.