We left San Diego at 4 am on Saturday to head south to Ensenada. We were ready to leave on Friday, but there is a sailor’s superstition about not starting a voyage on a Friday, and with it being a Friday the 13th to boot, there was no way we were going to tempt fate.
It was a bit nerve wracking leaving a strange harbor in the dark – got the five short blasts (which means DANGER – GET OUT OF MY WAY) from a giant freighter leaving the breakwater the same time as we were. We were able to sail until the sun came up, but the wind died shortly after that, and we motor-sailed on flat seas all the way into Ensenada.
Arrived just before sunset, and took a slip at Baja Naval Marina. Once again we were glad to be in as a gale was forecast for the following day. We did not reserve a slip, and the marina office was closed when we arrived. Our friends on Konami had reserved a slip online, and security promptly brought them a gate key and wifi password upon arrival – ours arrived first thing the next morning. We have found the marina staff to be courteous and professional and most speak pretty good English. For our boating friends headed south, seriously consider Baja Naval for bottom paint or other work – prices are a fraction of US prices, and their work appears to be top notch. The marina is right on the malecon (waterfront walkway) and close to everything. Unfortunately there is a wicked surge in the harbor, which was pretty awful when the gale arrived and we had 30 knots here at the dock. Apparently you used to be allowed to anchor but that is no longer allowed.
Ensenada is the largest port on the Baja peninsula, with a population of several hundred thousand. It is also Port of Entry, and checking in to the country, which used to take many hours, has been streamlined and combined into one location. It only took us 2 hours and was relatively painless. Everything can be found here – Starbucks, 7-11, Home Depot. Groceries seem to be about 30-50% less than US prices. Had an awesome lunch of two fish tacos each, fresh chips and bottled water for $3.86 US – total.
We are delighted to be back in Mexico – friendly people, tasty food, and a great climate. There are always a few glitches and trials (like finding out your debit card doesn’t work – seems Mexican ATMs require cards with a chip – our new chip cars won’t be issued until after the first of the year), but that’s part of the adventure! We will head south tomorrow to an anchorage called San Quintin, about 110 miles away. Probably no more internet or blog updates until we reach Turtle Bay which is about half way down Baja.