The 20th annual Baja Ha-Ha rally got off to a spectacular start yesterday with the traditional Costume Kickoff Party at the Shelter Island West Marine super store. Thanks to generous support from Mexico Tourism, a terrific mariachi band set a festive mood.
As always, the vast majority of fleet members were decked out in elaborate costumes. Predictably, there was a huge contingent of swashbuckling pirates and saucy wenches. Everyone was offered authentic beef, pork and chicken tacos, plus a boatload of cool libations. Representing Mexico Tourism, Alejandro Santander gave the fleet a heartfelt welcome to his country, acknowledging that maritime travelers are an important segment of Mexico’s overall tourism market.
Prior to the official start of Leg One this morning, the fleet participated in a parade through the harbor, cheered on by local well-wishers. Aboard the sport fishing boat Dolphin, Mexican dignitaries, San Diego city officials, Coast Guard officers and an assortment of print, TV and radio press, recorded the fleet’s departure. Sharon Bernni-Cloward of the San Diego Port Tenants Association and Ken Franke of the Sportfishing Association of California went above and beyond in organizing the parade, inviting the media, and welcoming Mexican Immigration and Tourism officials aboard the parade committee boat.
Editor’s note: The Assistant Poobah, Andy Turpin, was supposed to have called in with an offshore weather report but he’s clearly too busy to check in. We’ll have a full report in a few days.