(updated 11/29, new pix 12/3)
The rally made two stops, Turtle Bay and Bahia Santa Maria. The first leg from San Diego to Turtle Bay was about 320 miles and took us 52 hours to transit (some boats were faster, some slower) we were about in the middle of the pack all the way down. There is a small town at Turtle Bay, Puerto San Bartolome, with a rickety wharf/dinghy dock but no marina, and only a couple of indoor-outdoor restaurants and a few (smaller than 7-11 sized) tiendas with very basic groceries. We wandered around a bit but there was not much to see, it’s a modest town to say the least.
The first afternoon we were there, the cruisers went to the local baseball stadium (baseball is big here) and played each other and a couple of the local (kids and adults) teams, it was good fun to watch, especially the little kids.
The second day after our arrival there was a beach party and potluck, music, beer, etc. We were able to top off our diesel tanks via panga boats that come out to the anchorage to deliver fuel (no fuel dock).
A few of the boats on the rally had Sirius radio and were able to listen to the World Series. Occasionally they would get on the radio and report to the Giants fan how things were going and bring a little excitement to some long nights of traveling without much going on besides watching a radar screen.
The rally is a herculean effort to put on and the organizers have done quite a good job of keeping everything and everyone together. Those of you who have worked on events with me know the logistical challenges of a multi-day land-based event. Imagine coordinating the move of 600 participants (ages ranging from 2-84, about 22 kids, about a dozen 70 or older) a distance of 750 miles with all varied experience levels, varied boats and equipment (and stuff DOES break along the way). Many people were not paying attention to what they are supposed to be doing nor reading up on the event beforehand like they should (for example the numerous stupid, repetitive questions during roll call on the radio every morning to keep track of everyone).
A few health issues emerged during what is extremely limited access to medical care (one with a cracked rib and another with a dislocated hip). I’m not sure what happened with the cracked rib (as far as I know the cruiser did not have to drop out). The dislocated hip involved a painful 12+ boat ride to Turtle Bay, then a long bumpy car ride to some clinic for “relocation”, but ultimately the cruiser continued on the rally.
Another single-handing (i.e. traveling by himself) cruiser who was NOT on the rally, apparently fell asleep and ran aground around the corner from us in Bahia Santa Maria (read more @ www.latitude38.com/lectronic/lectronicday.lasso?date=2010-11-01&dayid=499). About 50 of our group walked or caught rides with a few locals and went over to his location to salvage many items off his boat (using among other things a battery-operated Sawz-all to cut away equipment). Ultimately the boat was not able to be pulled off. The sailor was at least lucky that the rally folks were in the area to give some help recovering some of his gear and personal effects, otherwise he would likely have lost everything.