(November 14 – 15, 2017)
We left Cabo San Lucas mid-day, eager to escape the murky, oily waters of the marina, as well as the glitz and glamor (and expense) of life in a tourist city. The sun was shining hot, and the winds just high enough to get some sailing in early on. We’d planned to head to Los Frailes for a few days, and skip San Jose del Cabo, because another city – even a slightly smaller one, but still just as touristy – didn’t appeal to us. But, we hadn’t paid any attention to how long the trip from Cabo San Lucas to Los Frailes was, so when we passed San Jose del Cabo around sunset, we decided it was best to pull in. The marina staff put us at the fuel dock rather than assigning a proper slip. We needed fuel anyway, so we figured that would work out.
Taliesin Rose arrived shortly after us, and once they were settled a few spots behind us on the fuel dock, we decided to head out for dinner. Another cruiser had told us about a great little restaurant that, according to Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google Maps, and the guide books, didn’t exist. So of course, we had to check it out. We weren’t disappointed!
Just around the corner from the marina, we discovered a cute little cooking shack set up in what must have been someone’s front yard, with a few wood tables and chairs, and a big toy-style swingset off to the side. The sign out front appeared new, and read, “Chips & More.” We entered through the front gate, and all four girls darted straight for the toys, and started to climb and play. The adults pulled a few tables together, and ordered tacos and burgers.
The tacos were good, but the Chips & More specialty was the surf ‘n turf burger: a delicious beef patty topped with juicy, flavorful grilled shrimp. After eating all we could manage and boxing up the rest, we gathered up our things, and our kids, and began to leave. It was dark now, and the light-strung yard created an inviting ambiance that we were loathe to leave.
As though to save us from our bad decision to actually depart, a man hopped up from the table he was dining at and stopped us. He was wearing a navy blue button-up shirt with the logo for the San Jose del Cabo marina embroidered on the chest, and clean, pressed khaki pants. “You did the Baja Ha-Ha?” he asked with a thick accent, but otherwise great English.
“We did,” Justis answered. (Justis is the uncle-crew on Taliesin Rose. The problem with blog posts are that I never get a good chance to introduce new characters.) The rest of us were distracted by the girls, who had decided to walk ahead without us, but slowly turned back to talk to the man who’d asked about the Ha-Ha.
“We want to know what the Baja Ha-Ha boats want. We want more of the boats to come visit us. We have a beautiful town, and we want to get more boats in.” It was clear the man took great pride in his town. So, to answer his question, a few things immediately came to mind. First, give us a real slip, and don’t put your guest moorage on the fuel dock, where the stinky 80-foot luxury sport fishing boats with their loud, grumbling, turbo-charged motors come rolling up at 7AM and diesel-exhaust up the place all morning. Second, WiFi. Any marina on Baja that can provide good, fast WiFi will immediately become the most popular kid on the block.
But we didn’t get a chance to tell him any of these things, because out in the street, one of the girls screamed – then paused – then started wailing. We didn’t know who it was, so without as much as a terse goodbye, we ran out into the street to see what happened.
While we were striking up our conversation, Rowan (Lucy’s dad) had wandered out a ways behind the girls, down the sidewalk. He watched as Lucy simply disappeared from view. One minute she was on the sidewalk – then a trapdoor appeared to open up beneath her and swallow her whole – she was simply gone.
In a panic, Rowan ran ahead toward the screaming, as the rest of us broke our conversation short and ran out of the yard behind him. He found Lucy several inches deep in muck at the bottom of a 4-foot deep, 2-by-3-foot hole. He pulled her out, and immediately began surveying the damage. It appeared to be only minor – several cuts and scrapes on her shin – but Rowan’s bigger worry was what may have been living in that muck that could have gotten into her wounds. Rowan raced her back to the boat, and started cleaning the cuts. Lucy was a trooper, and a while later she was all cleaned up, and the girls parted for the night to go to bed.
The next day, I had hoped to leave to discover new and exciting destinations, but fate wouldn’t have it. Ellie’s room was a disaster. Her bed was so messy she couldn’t even climb in it the night before until we’d spent 20 minutes rearranging the mess; her floor was several inches deep in clothes and toys; her bookshelf was nearly empty, with its contents strewn about the room; and so was her closet, as she’d left it open a few days earlier and her clothes quickly deposited themselves onto the floor with the first big wave we hit. We weren’t moving until Ellie had that room clean.
As a parent, consistency and follow-through is really important. When you warn a child about a consequence, it’s really important to actually give them that consequence if they’ve earned it. So, when I said we weren’t leaving San Jose del Cabo until Ellie’s room was clean, I immediately regretted it. No way should could do it all in one day. I’m not sure she could even do it in a week! Would we ever get out of San Jose, and away from cities, back to our adventuring life?