So we made it to Ensenada this morning at sunrise. There’s more to the story obviously, but I’ll get to it in a post later today or tomorrow. Just wanted to let everyone know we made it and are all checked in.
For those following the Mexican TIP fiasco, it is totally overblown, as we suspected. If you are one of the people sitting in San Diego afraid to get your toes wet, come on down. The water is fine.
Anyway, tell you more as we get to it.
OK the lowdown on the trip south: We ended up taking an extra night to leave because we found a great kid, who’s on his way to becoming a Corpsman in the Navy, to buy our car and we wanted to make sure that everything went smoothly with the transition. Or at least as smoothly as we can. Luckily for us, our best-y Kristine volunteered to keep the car at her house and handle the swap. So I motored Jess into the harbor and off she went with Scube for the last time.
Twenty minutes after she left, the San Diego Police pulled their boat up along side Silent Sun.
“Sir, your permit is up. It’s time to go.”
“Oh really? We got here pretty late on Friday so I think we still have, like, 12 hours left?” (We had a 72 hr permit)
“Sir! You needed to be out of here at O-nine-hundred hours. Pull your anchor and leave now!”
“OK. Well…you see…my wife just went to sell our car. We are going to Mexico today and she won’t be back for a few hours. Maybe we could extend ou…”
“Sir! We are going to finish this round and be back here in one hour! You better be gone! …. Mexico, huh? I hope you have your paperwork in order. They really love their paperwork down there and if it ain’t right they’ll just take your boat!”
I just stared at him, hoping he might realize the irony of kicking me out of an anchorage 12 hours before my supposedly 72 hour permit is up… without my wife… right before a big-ish transit… while complaining about Mexican bureaucracy. I kept staring. He stared back. If we had been closer, I think we may have kissed, but alas, it was not to be. They left.
Well, looks like I’m on my own then! I set about getting the dinghy onboard and the outboard up onto the stern. I stowed the deck and started the engine. When I was ready, I started hauling up the chain. We were anchored sorta close to shore and the breeze was fairly stiff and blowing us in that direction, so I was a little nervous about getting the chain up and then running back to the helm to get myself going. In the end, all was well and I got out of the anchorage and started heading for Shelter Island. Jess made her way there too and we met at the fuel dock.
We set off around 2:30 PM and sailed out of the harbor making an easy 6 knots. I was still kinda running around and gathering everything that I needed in the cockpit and lashing some things down while I cursed the SDPD for getting me into a rush. Jess just sat there laughing at me and singing shanty songs to Martini.
Gradually we lost the wind and after sunset we kinda sat there, bobbing around the Mexican border, and decided to motor south. And so it was.
The night was very calm. After turning south-east, outside of the Coronado islands, the swell was on our stern and the ride was really pleasant. Sometimes, the wind would pick up a little and we would motor-sail for a bit. I stood watch from 10 to 2AM and Jess took the 2AM to 6 AM shift. During my watch, I set my little egg timer for 10 minutes and listened to music while watching for shooting stars. When the timer went off, I’d look for traffic on the horizon, check the engine oil pressure and temp, check our course and AIS on the iPad, look for anything weird going on with the boat, then go back to my spot and reset the timer.
We got to Ensenada harbor around 8AM, I think, and pulled into a slip without too much drama. They did assign us a slip which was full when we got there, meaning we had to pull a 180 in a very tight waterway, but it wasn’t such a big deal.
Ensenada harbor doesn’t allow people to anchor anymore. You have to get a slip for a day at least. But what you get in return is one of the guys in the office goes over all of your paperwork for you and makes sure everything is copied the right amount of times, before driving you down to Customs and literally walking you around the room and making sure everything goes really smoothly. It could not have been more easy. There was nothing sketchy about the offices. No drama. All of the staff knew exactly what info they needed (ie “we need hull number there, not USCG reg number”, ect..). It was really the easiest experience we’ve ever had crossing a border. Plus we got to bring a frigging dog along and they thought that was great.
Anyway, we decided to stay here till Friday and do a few chores before leaving. Today, I got what I’m calling “Mast Track Covers” mostly installed while Jess did laundry and cooked a lasagna that we will have ready to eat while sailing on Friday. The whole vibe in the marina here is different. People are having way too much fun and everybody is hanging out on each others boats all day. We are across the dock from Jeanne Socrates on the SV Nereida, who is the oldest woman to solo-circumnavigate and a generally all around cool lady. She already knows Silent Sun from back when Rob and LaDonna owned her.
OK. That’s most of it. Definitely not all. Just the tip. Out.