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Photos of the Day

October 11 - Puntarenas, Costa Rica

Photo Liz Clark

Today's Photo of the Day, taken by Liz Clark, proves that some women are more interested in the size of their surfboard quiver than in the size of their shoe collection. As you know, we've been featuring stories and photos of the young Santa Barbara woman who started her surfing safari under sail with her Cal 40 Swell earlier this year. After spending much of the spring in Mexico, she and crew Shannon Switzer continued on to Puntarenas, Costa Rica, where the boat was put on the hard for the rainy season. Clark has been back on her boat for about six weeks now, getting her all fixed up for further adventures. As she discovered, boat projects aren't the fun part of cruising. For more on Clark's adventures, see the November issue of Latitude 38.

Fixing the fridge
Photo Shannon Switzer

Beach clean-up duty
Photo Courtesy Swell

By the way, although having been out for less than a year, Clark was featured in a two-page photo spread in National Geographic Adventure magazine as one of 11 people "living their adventure dream."

- latitude / rs

Photo Courtesy National Geographic Adventure Magazine

The Phone Has Been Ringing off the Hook

October 11 - San Diego

"Thanks for getting out the word on 'Lectronic that we at Sunroad Marina in San Diego do have slips available," write Scott Mac Laggan of the marina. "The telephone has been ringing off the hook, and we have spoken with many Baja Ha-Ha participants. However, the photo you ran was from about 1987 when the marina was brand new. The accompanying photo is more recent and shows how the marina looks today. The channel and surrounding areas have been greatly improved. But thanks for letting the Ha-Ha boats know that we have slips, and we offer incredible discounts."

For you Ha-Ha folks looking for a slip near the start of the Ha-Ha, here is the good and the bad about Sunroad. The bad that even with discounts, it's probably not as inexpensive as your marina back home. On the other hand, we're told the facilities are very nice, and it's located just a very short walk from the site of the Ha-Ha Kick-Off party. In fact, the party will be held on just the other side of the isthmus in the accompanying photo. For info on Sunroad, call (619) 574-0736.

- latitude / rs

Jimmy Buffett Busted

October 11 - Toulon, France

They say there's no such thing as bad publicity, but Jimmy Buffett might disagree. On the eve of his latest album's release, Jimmy was detained in a Toulon, France, airport for carrying an illegal substance, namely the "party drug" Ecstasy. It seems that as Jimmy was passing through security at Toulon-Hyeres International Airport on his way to St. Tropez last Friday, French customs searched his bags and found a pouch of prescription medicines sitting on top. "I don't know about you," Jimmy wrote on his Web site www.margaritaville.com, "but at a few months away from turning sixty, I carry a few prescriptions, including a B vitamin supplement called Foltx." Unfortunately, many Ecstasy pills bear a small heart imprint, as do Foltx pills, so the customs officials assumed the pills were of the illicit variety. Buffett was faced with two options: pay a $400 fine or argue with the French authorities for as long as it took to make them realize their mistake. He paid the fine and went on his way.

Never one to shy away from admitting to his past dalliances in the drug culture - it's been fodder for his music for the past 30 years, after all - Jimmy insists, "I have never taken it and couldn't tell you the difference between a hit of Ecstasy and Excedrin PM. My vices these days consist of boat drinks, beer, wine and the occasional hot fudge sundae."

Jimmy Buffett, seen here entertaining the crowds at a St. Barth's nightclub.
Photo Latitude/Richard

Jimmy went back to his country roots with his newest album, Take the Weather with You, which was released yesterday. He's currently traveling the country on his Party at the End of the World Tour and will be at the Santa Barbara Bowl on October 19. Tickets are still available at www.ticketmaster.com.

- latitude / ld

More on the Death at Catalina

October 11 - Two Harbors

We have some corrections to our Monday report on the death of a cruiser at Catalina last Saturday evening, the night of Buccaneer's Day. The individual - his name has not been released yet - was 64, not 53, and his boat Romanc'n The Zeas, is a Hunter 46, not a Hunter 42. He and his wife had cruised Mexico and Central America extensively, and had been part of the organizing committee of the '04 Zihua SailFest, the big cruiser fund-raiser for Mexican schools in that area.

Since our report came out, a couple of people have contacted us and said that we implied someone might have in some way been responsible for the death. This is absurd as we did no such thing. As we reported at the very beginning, "authorities are still trying to figure out what happened." If we don't know how the person was killed, how could we or why would we imply that someone in any way contributed to the fatality? There was nothing in our report to suggest that anybody was in any way the cause of whatever happened to the victim.

Indeed, if somebody held a gun to our head and forced us to speculate on what happened - based on the very little evidence available - we'd guess that the person, while in his dinghy, was hit by another boat, dinghy, ferry or shoreboat. As we tried to set the scene at the approximate time of the accident, it was very busy and crowded in the Isthmus area that night. Dinghies, boats, ferries, and shoreboats were coming from all directions - Emerald Bay, the mainland, and Avalon. And not all of them were being intelligently operated given the conditions. In addition, there were all kinds of background lights, making it difficult to see or be seen.

Boats at Catalina aren't always very assiduous when it comes to safety. That same night a bravado-fueled kid said he was going to return to his boat at distant Emerald Bay, several miles away, by rowing his kayak. When friends tried to stop him by, among other things, pointing out that he didn't have a light, his response was, "I'll warn approaching boats by smiling and flashing my brilliant teeth." Great. On those occasions when Buccaneer Day has coincided with the opening of lobster season, shoreboat drivers report that they sometimes found divers directly beneath their boats in the fairways looking for bugs. In fact, we're told that considerably more divers die at the island than do sailors. "We lost a diver just two weeks ago," said one harbor employee.

Although we don't know how the owner of Romanc'n The Zeas was killed, we do know that a lot more sailors are killed in dinghy and panga accidents than most realize. There have been some spectacular smash-ups in the Caribbean, where as many as six people have been killed in one accident. A cruiser was killed by a panga at Punta Mita, a swimmer was run down by a parasailing boat in Zihua, and a cruiser was severely hurt after being hit by a panga in Cabo. And there have been many more incidents.

With the Baja Ha-Ha coming up, and the anchorages at Turtle Bay, Bahia Santa Maria, and Cabo soon to have a lot of boats, we want to encourage everyone to be prepared when in their dinghy. While it's true that most Ha-Ha dinghies have relatively small motors and go slow because they are full of people, you still have to watch out for the few cowboys and the panga drivers. Always be careful when coming out from behind boats. At night, always have a light, and swing it around to get the maximum attention. And if you're either on the bow or driving, you must be vigilant.

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