We stayed at Baja Naval marina and boat yard while in Ensenada. Marinas in Mexico aren’t cheap. Baja Naval was pretty reasonable at $30 a night. The others were more like $60. Baja Naval has the cleanest boat yard I’ve ever seen. Business is down, like it is in most of the rest of Mexican border towns. The mega-yacht yard keeps them busy, but the yard for smaller boats has lots of space. Rojelio and Arturo of Baja Naval take good care of the cruisers who stop by here. Rojelio spent a bunch of time going over our paperwork to make sure it was ready to take over to Immigration, Customs and Port Captain (no charge for the service). I dressed up in my going to customs uniform and we walked over to CIS building where all of the needed officials hang out. We hit the check in process at rush hour on day with a ton of cruisers and others checking in. Most of whom were as unsure of the exact process as us. There definitely is a process. It consists of navigating multiple lines, multiple times with various stops to either pay a fee at the bank kiosk or go outside to make copies of an important form. If you didn’t have to go through the same line multiple times, all would have gone pretty fast. All didn’t. It took about 4 hours to get through it all. Chris only tried to strangle one poor unsuspecting soul. Just to make the whole experience fun, the last stop is Aduana (Customs). You do this after the getting through the black magic of executing a TIP (Temporary Import Permit) at the bank kiosk. The customs office has you go up to a traffic light. It has a red light and green light and covered button. The officer uncovers the button and indicates that you should press it. If the light turns green, he wishes you a good day and you’re done. If it turns red, he grabs a couple of compatriots and heads to your boat for another hour of inspection. I carefully visualized verde and hit the button. Verde it was – no search, we were free to head back to the boat and regroup. Finally!
Baja Naval’s only real draw back is the surge in the harbor. Here’s part of our fendering system. If you come in here, set up in advance with mucho fenders and call ahead,Arturo will meet you at the dock. Did I mention the showers are Class A?
Next Ensenada project was to find the main Telcel office so we could try and buy a Banda Ancha card. This is a 3G USB data card for your laptop so we can pickup Internet access when we are near cell towers. It is a pretty cheap system, at about $40 a month with $60 for the card including the first month. A hell of lot cheaper than the Verizon card I have and so far it seems to work better. After a few false starts and dubious help with directions, we found the office. It is a big office with receptionists and lots of workers. After we made it through a long line we laid on a few choice words of Spanish and the person we were working with dug up someone who could speak decent English. He was a real nice guy who helped us navigate the process. It only took one more trip back to Telcel in the morning and we had connectivity.
No trip to Ensenada is complete without a visit to Hussong’s Cantina. This place has been there since the 1890’s. It claims to still have Mexican Liquor License #2. I used go down there in the 70’s when we went on Baja surfing trips. It was a hell of a lot more crowded back then, but other than the crowds the place looks exactly the same.
I think it is even the same Mariachi Band. Not exactly the same, they did add flat screen TVs for the soccer game.
After Hussong’s Chris tried to talk me into buying some Mezcal. Mezcal is bad Tequila with a fermenting worm in the bottom of the bottle. It has renowned hallucinogenic properties.
After a couple of days in Ensenada we headed out of Todos Santos Bay for the 265 mile sail to Bahia San Bartolome, known among the yatista’s as ‘Turtle Bay’ although the turtles are long gone.
The weather was pretty good for the trip with winds consistent between 10kts and 25kts. The seas were somewhat lumpy, making life on board grumpy at times. It was cool and even rained for a bit; we had our foul weather gear on... Something we didn’t expect in desert Baja.
We found a suicidal tiny squid who landed on our deck during the night.
Sunrise approaching Turtle Bay with reefed main after 48 hours of straight sailing.
We’ll explore the fishing village and beaches of Bahia Tortugas tomorrow when we drop the dink in.
Paul & Chris