Ensenada Mexico

We are in Ensenada! We left at noon on Thursday the 21st out of Channel Islands Harbor. It was a clear beautiful day with light winds from the West. We headed SE on a route to Ensenada (200 miles). The trip was fabulous, expect the appearance of the Coast Guard cutter circa Tijuana at sunset on Friday. It took us a little under 48 hours to make the harbor and the seas were mostly flat and the winds were mostly calm. We ran our engine plenty to make sure she liked it and brought the sails up and down and up and down trying to get the most of it.

The best seat in the house

It was my first night passage and the dark night was greeted with a little apprehension. The dolphins rode the bow waves for the first two hours of my watch really working to lift my spirits. They were all lit up in the phosphorescence darting under the boat and flipping their fins in places they weren’t supposed to! You could feel them rubbing against the hull and hear their calls inside the cabin. There was no moon until after 1am but there was an orange omnipresent glow rising from LA even on the clearest of nights. The outline of Catalina Island was easily seen against the metropolitan glow. We motored through the night and it was very wet and cold. I had on layers and layers and gloves and hats and all kinds of gear but it was still seeping through. Andrew took the next watch until dawn and it was the calmest most insane morning we had ever seen. It was really like a dream…

The dream state… 40 miles offshore Orange County

The daylight was welcome and we stopped mid-day for a jump off into the amazing blue water. We saw only one other sailboat on the way and several ships including an aircraft carrier out of San Diego. We were stuffing down some red curry when Andrew looked up and said “WOAH – Coast Gaurd Cutter…”. The thing was on us and we didn’t even see ‘er coming. They came in pretty close and then sort of peeled off while we sat there feeling rocks in our stomachs. After nothing near us for over 24 hours this was quite the site. We watched the little men jumping into their RIB and they headed for us in a flash. The first thing they asked was, ‘Are you a US vessel’. “YES, YES SIR!!” Andrew said. The guys on board were very stylish young men who looked no different than the boys back home (guess they are!). They got on board and the kid in charge reminded us both of Tyler Nitopi. Tyler is a sincere, on-top-of-it guy who is very non-threatening and Andrew and him were talking about surf breaks in Ventura soon enough. I was complimenting the guys in the boat on their stylish sunglasses (doing a bit of a flirt won’t hurt!). They looked around (sort-of) checked under the settees and the engine compartment and asked to see our documents. They were super nice and half smiley and didn’t even know the date, time or position when they filled out our report. We had to give ’em a hand there. They seemed to be interested in some other sailing vessel and were asking us if we had seen any. Of course I had taken some photos of the only one we had seen so I showed them and it all seemed fine and dandy. They were off. We were off..

At this point I got out the satellite phone mom and dad gave us for Christmas and gave them a ring. Much to our excitement the thing worked great but I got the answering machine. Another night at sea and it was all good. We saw several cruise ships all aglow and another round or two of excited dolphinos. When daylight arrived we were entering Todos Santos Bay and greeted by several pods of whales. None were too close, but still very cool. There was a light breeze and we sailed through the bay to the harbor. We had all the guide books and crap and figured we would get a slip for a couple nights because there is no anchorage here, which we knew. We got a very sketchy slip and deal at Banditos Boats. Manuel was happy to have one American boat at his humble orange dock. We headed into town after stowing as much as we could inside.

Entering Bahia Todos Santos under sail

Ensenada is a beautiful place. The harbor is nestled down below a steep hill dotted with colorful houses and next to the main part of town. There is a bustling port with life-jacketed ninos headed out for whaling tours and an unmatched fish market FULL of amazing delicacies. We strolled through after I had a Margatrita (which is plenty) and was sampling ceviche delights from the hands of the fishermen.

Mercado de Mariscos

Ceviche, Mmmmm!

We hiked up a dirt trail to the once militarized city look-out and it was really spectacular, aside from piles of trash and threatening glass shards afoot. Once satisfied we had seen a good bit of town and Andrew had proved his Spanish was a good form we went for a nap ’round 3 and got up the next morning.

The boat to starboard is a 50′ Grand Banks that Papa Ted would sigh at in sadness. This poor derelict, owned by a Swiss, is under the guise of project extraordinaire, Michael, an in-need-of-sanity South African. Michael spotted Andrew out up at the promenade and says “Hey Mate! You from Oz?”. Pick-up line if you will, Andrew had been ‘GOT’! This guy flapped his jowls until red in the face cussing and careening about every last Mexican cultural trait in the box. To his pleasant surprise we had berthed next to him and he went on lecturing us on this sheet-head and that while pouring us a warm Vodky-Coke. Michael just about sheet his trousers when I said I didn’t care for lamb but said we had better come by that night to meet his sexy Mexican girl, Brenda, and have some traditional South African stew. We slept through it and it was OK because it was all jowl flapping anyhow and this morning he gave us a slap on the shoulder and a warm nescafe.

It’s Monday today and we just spent four hours at the officina de everything.. Port Captian, Migracion, Customs, and Fisheries… You can literally get everything you need here expcept for insurance and copies which you will need both of. If you show up practically empty handed this place will sort you out good. In case you ever come you’ll need: Boat registration and title, passports, insurance (we bought it up the street from the nicest guy we have met so far, ‘Tona’ (phone: (646)-178-32-41), a note from the place you are berthed that says you have paid (stamped hopefully, in our case unstamed – but OK), serial numbers off your engines, crew list, money, patience, spanish, and a copy place. Luckily in Ensenada all the important offices are in the same building – so it wasn’t too bad. They just send you from desk to desk, signing, stamping, paying, filling-out, stamping, paying, copying, signing, stamping… etc. Andrew’s Spanish is really the best tool we have at this point, but they spoke a little English too.

The details!

Micheal says we are ‘Verry safe here!’ while also saying “Oh! If they want it, they are going to steal it! And the police..oh! They don’t give a bloody sheet!” We brought everything inside including our outboard, dinghy, surfboards, etc. This morning we did find out there are well dressed guards at the top of our dock all night! WOW.

A quick note… as we sailed into the bay we listed to the cruisers net on the VHF and a boat was headed out of the bay who said “We are headed to La Paz today. We planned to stay in Enseada for two days and we stayed for two years!” Ensenada has a Carnival Cruise Ship in port most of the time so, like many mexican port towns, there are many street vendors pedaling their wares and offering best deal for you (and shirtless sun-burnt Americans screaming to club music banging beers at the MangoMango). The streets are filled with the aroma of cooking meats and Mariachi music can be heard from the galley. While this is lovely town we are excited to get on with our adventures since Ensenada was merely an administrative stop… with a surprisingly fun cultural zest!

A ‘barrow of treats for you!

12 Responses to “Ensenada Mexico”
  1. Tyler Nitopi says:

    Awesome start dudes! Can’t wait to see what adventures you guys are going to have. Looking forward to some shots of good Mexican swell!

  2. Jenny Shade says:

    I am so happy for you and Andrew, Julie. I’m also happy your adventure has started off so well. Buena Suerte!

  3. shirli says:

    Lou and I have really enjoyed reading about your adventures, and marveling at the incredible photos. Julie, you are a very talented writer and photographer! You’ve both done such a great job with the boat – it looks fabulous!! We look forward to seeing your next posts.

  4. Pat says:

    Too damn cool guys!!

  5. Emily Reus says:

    Your pictures are gorgeous Julie! I especially love the one of that first morning. The lighting is so beautiful. Glad you guys are getting off to a good start on your trip and can’t wait to read about more of your adventures!

  6. Grandma Sissie says:

    Sorry it wasn’t us aboard the Grand Banks! But maybe it was just as well, from your description. So glad you are having safe passage, the pictures are beautiful, you are both very talented and brave, so I guess I can quit worrying now!

  7. vee says:

    julies beautiful photos and lovely adventures. Hope you can catch some aqua surf waves in Mexico!

  8. I just read all of your entries and loved every second of it!!!! Sounds like an amazing trip. 🙂 Keep the posts coming! ❤ Stephy

  9. Joaquin says:

    Hola queridos amigos!! estoy muy muy muy stoked about this sailing adventure so far! And muy proud of you both. Yeah andrew!, your old screwed up spanish is now the best tool you have! sick weon!!!!

    just remember: Disculpe? , pancito con quesito y mantequita, muchas gracias!

    Buen viento y olas my friend!

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