San Diego to Ensenada

Our cruise to Ensenada was scenic and mellow. We considered this a struck of excellent luck as we were making passage on the heels of a storm that swept through Southern California and Baja. The storm felt tropical—sheets and bursts of rain, punctuated with clear skies and sunshine—and we timed our departure to try and catch the winds that swept the storm clouds westward.

We needed an early morning departure to ensure that we arrived in Ensenada with plenty of daylight to navigate safely into the marina. After a spectacular sunrise out of San Diego, we noticed the clouds looking increasingly dark to the south. We knew there was a chance we would hit rain, and rain was in the forecast in Ensenada until about noon. So with some trepidation, we ate our breakfast underway (oatmeal enhanced with flax seed, protein powder, and walnuts), raised the sails, and hit 7.2 knots as we motor sailed across the US-Mexico border.

Thankfully, the forecast for clearing weather held true and the clouds broke as we were underway. Though we lost our wind as the day went on, we had ample sunshine after about 9 am, and fluffy, whip cream clouds to enjoy over the course of the day.

A solid stream of wild life entertained us for the duration of the passage. The dolphin were abundant, as singular torpedoes and frolicking families. We counted 6 whale spouts in all, and were even treated to a little bit of whale tail. As we went, we had the Coronado Islands to starboard, and to port we watched the Mexican landscape shift between verdant slopes, isolated mesas and peaks, and developed industrial and residential centers. If there weren’t a grey line on our GPS, and a barren cleft between Tijuana and San Diego marking the fence between the two nations, we would have had no idea that we left the United States. 

But leave the US we did, and we dropped the mainsail and arrived at Baja Naval in Ensenada around 4:45 pm, nearly 11 hours after our departure. We were exhausted, and grateful that Carlos, the fellow in charge of paperwork around here, was on the dock to greet us.

“We stop working at five” he said, “but come on in, I’ll give you a key, and we’ll work on the papers tomorrow.”

This sounded like the perfect plan for our fatigued state. While Dominic configured the dock lines to his exacting standards, Carlos and I had some time to chat. He asked about our plans, if we were heading south through Mexico.

“No,” I said, “we’re heading west, across the Pacific, from here.”

At this he looked wistful, and moved his hand in circles over his abdomen.

“Whenever I hear of plans like these,” he said, “I get this, this feeling in my stomach.”

While I suppose he could have been referring to indigestion, I’d like to think it was something closer to the butterflies of longing and inspiration.

I consider this a very warm welcome to Ensenada, my friends, a warm welcome, indeed.

A second note on connectivity: Hallelujah! Baja Naval surpasses every single marina we stayed at in the US as they have a functioning wifi connection. Albeit intermittent, we’ve put our phones on airplane mode and are in the process of cancelling our cell contracts, so go ahead and delete our respective phone numbers. E-mail remains the most efficient way to be in touch.