Friday, November 1 at 8 am, after dogging it all night so as not to arrive in dark, we arrived at the Cruiseport Marina in Ensenada. They monitor channels 12 and 16 after 8 am and we were tied up at the dock by about 8:30. What nice folks! By 9:30 we had cobbled together some breakfast and gotten the worst of the rubble dealt with. On just two hours sleep (my night watch is midnight to 5 am) I headed up to the office to start the clearing in process.
The marina dealt with much of the paperwork for us. We already had our TIP and had started our temporary residence visas, but they made copies, did our crew lists, arrival and departure paperwork, and checked over everything. Then after all the paperwork had been prepared we both had to go into town with Alberto from the marina to finish the official paperwork. Unfortunately this didn’t go entirely smoothly as the Port office had only 1 of the normal 3 people working that day. It was Day of the Dead in Mexico – pretty close to a holiday although the holiday proper was celebrated on November 2 this year. But when it became clear that we were not going to be able to finish the paperwork that day the marina came through again. They got the paperwork, took payment for it from us, and will go in Monday to officially finish it for us, despite that we will be gone by then. As I said, they are really very kind and helpful.
After the paperwork session we wandered into town, hungry and tired. We found a delightful sidewalk cafe that served me $3 margaritas to cap off my exhaustion and we both had fish tacos. Jon was momentarily startled by the $100 entree prices but I reminded him that pesos, now almost 20 to a dollar, were also written with the “$” sign. We had margaritas and tacos for two and a generous tip for about $20.
Since the restaurant had an outdoor seating area they made Zoë quite welcome to sit outside with us. Some guitarists came to serenade us which was delightfully cheesy (they were not great musicians but the lead singer had a certain gravitas anyway) and Jon over-tipped them in a spurt of holiday goodwill. We were feeling warm and welcome in this new place, and determined to learn Spanish quickly. The only heavy note came when the maitre d’ was chatting with us and we mentioned feeling sad about our country’s current policies – basically apologizing for Trump’s America. The maitre d’ said quickly and quietly, sadly, that he had been deported for a traffic ticket. We sympathized and felt obscurely embarrassed.
After our late lunch we wandered a bit more but felt the need of showers. The marina had wonderful showers just yards from our dock – lovely. The marina was setting up for a “Halloween party” for that night – we were ready for bed before it started at 8 so didn’t attend, but could hear the 70s and 80s music once it started. It seemed to be a cash bar and music, but we crashed to the music of lethe instead.
Today, Saturday we got ready to go. Laundry, cleaning the boat, washing Zoë, sending messages to friends, doing the last internet searches, pulling out all the light-air sails, engine maintenance… all those things that have to be done before a long passage. And the next step is large. We want to spend the last week of November in Puerto Vallarta with friends that are vacationing there that week. We also will be doing our temporary residence visas there – which requires us to get there within 30 days of checking into Ensenada, and to stay there until the process is complete – up to 30 days. So we will have a long stay in PV, but first we have to get there.
Ensenada to Puerto Vallarta on Banderas Bay is about 1200 miles – a little over 800 down the Baja, then 300 or so southeast from Cabo to PV on the Pacific mainland of Mexico. Winds are predicted to by quite light. We can motor some, but certainly don’t have the fuel for the full 1200 miles! So lots will be happening this leg:
- we want to get the wind-vane self-steering working (the autopilot works best when running the engine and gets less efficient when sailing)
- we hope to get the SSB radio working (we won’t have location updates until that happens)
- we need to learn to sail this boat in light air – we have a drifter, code zero and a asymmetric spinnaker to figure out
So wish us luck – we probably won’t be back in touch for two to three weeks. Adios, Hasta luego.