Thursday, June 23, 2011

Back in the USA

The Honcho rested a couple of days in Ensenada, but there was no reason to stick around longer than that. So just after midnight on June 21st, we cast off for the last time from a Mexican port. It was sad to say goodbye to this country that we have come to know and love, but with a smooth sea and light winds in the forecast, it was a good time to head north to the USA. Over the last seven months we experienced much of Mexico, but we realize that there is so much more to see and do in this lovely, friendly country that we've already vowed to come back as soon as possible.
Approaching Ensenada harbor. A cruise ship and the city's trademark enormous flag are quintessential elements of Ensenada's personality.

The Honcho at the dock in CruisePort Marina. The flag is about half a mile away. 

We cleared the breakwater and set a course that would take the Honcho northwest past Punta Salsipuedes and toward the Islas Coronados, the last Mexican territory before crossing the imaginary line in the ocean that marks the boundary between Mexico and the USA. We crossed that line at 0930 and almost immediately the morning haze lifted and the skyscrapers in downtown San Diego began to come into view.

A dolphin cruises along with the Honcho, San Diego skyline in the background.

At the same time, the VHF radio was crackling with warnings about a nuclear sub that would be departing from the submarine base in San Diego. It came into view when we were a couple of miles from the harbor entrance buoy and we slowed down almost to a stop to give that enormous and lethal looking warship room to pass by.

The photo doesn't show how big this ship is. There are a couple of sailors standing on top of the sail in this photo as it exited the harbor. Within a few minutes it submerged, bound on some mysterious mission. 
Shortly after the sub disappeared we entered the harbor and headed for the police dock on Shelter Island, where we were met by the customs agents and officially cleared into the USA. We were also met at the dock by our good friends Tom and Mary Ellen, who arranged for a guest slip for us at Southwestern Yacht Club and brought a care package of my favorite wine and some gourmet delights from Trader Joe's. We quickly squared the boat away and drank several toasts to good friends and voyages completed, then repaired to the yacht club dining room for an excellent dinner. As much as we love Mexico, it's great to be back in the USA.

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