Monday, January 13, 2014

San Diego to Ensenada

We were in San Diego for six days, mostly socializing with friends, provisioning and doing a few minor projects on the boat. We were graciously hosted by our friends at Southwestern Yacht Club for four days, then we moved over to San Diego YC. On Sunday, January 12th, we departed SDYC at 0645 with our good friends Tom and Mary Ellen aboard for what turned out to be a quick ride to Ensenada. 

The fog was thick as we motored slowly down the channel toward open water. By 1000 it was beginning to lift a bit and a very light breeze sprang up out of the northwest. A bit before noon we crossed the border into Mexico and hoisted the Mexican flag. Shortly after that we were approached by a Mexican patrol boat and ordered to heave to. With all of the controversy over foreign boats in Mexican waters, we didn't know quite what to expect as we drew alongside the dangerous looking patrol boat, which was manned by ten or twelve well armed sailors and immigration officers. They ordered us to present our papers and after a quick review of them, they handed them back and wished us a good voyage as we pulled away from their boat. It is my policy to be friendly and cooperative with the Mexican authorities and it turned out to be a very friendly encounter on all sides. 

It stayed fairly cold all day. The wind began to build in the afternoon and by 1400 it was around 20 knots and coming straight over the transom as we passed the big LNG terminal on the northwest corner of Todos Santos Bay. We had unrolled the jib earlier to help steady the boat in the light air and lumpy swells, and with the knotmeter hitting 10's we sailed dead downwind the last few miles under the jib alone toward the harbor mouth, which we entered a few minutes after 1500.  Finisterra was secured to her berth in Cruiseport Marina a short while later and by 1600 we were enjoying a cold beverage in the cabin. 

That evening Tom's friend, Juan Hussong drove us to his restaurant, Sano's, which overlooks the bay near the Coral Hotel and Marina. There we had a splendid steak dinner and enjoyed Juan's stories of his life as a fisherman, boatbuilder and restauranteur. 

The next morning we went to the Port Captain's office and officially entered the beautiful country of Mexico. By coincidence, one of the officers who had been on the patrol boat the day before came into the office and greeted us with a friendly smile. Once all the paperwork was done, passports stamped, fishing licenses and import permit secured, it was lunchtime and we walked a few blocks to the Mahi Mahi restaurant for tacos and beer. After lunch we said goodbye to Tom and Mary Ellen, who had to catch a bus back to San Diego, and walked back to the boat, stopping along the way at the Telcel store to set up our Mexican phones and internet access. 

It turned out to be a beautiful, balmy afternoon. We washed down the boat, took long luxurious showers and, with sundowners in hand, walked the docks in the marina checking out the boats. Many were unfamiliar, but some we knew from the last time we were here. One interesting boat was Nereida, the boat that Jeanne Socrates recently sailed nonstop around the world. 

Tomorrow we're headed inland to do some wine tasting in the Guadalupe Valley. 

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