San Diego





~ November 2018 - December 2019 ~

Paul’s sister Lise was up for an adventure.

She flew into San Diego and joined us for the our sail into Mexico!

We were in a hurry to get out of the States, and we hadn’t decided where we would go in Mexico yet, so we didn’t know where she was flying out of - but she didn’t seem to mind the unknown!

We left San Diego early in the morning to make the 60 Nm sail hoping to be in Ensenada around 3pm to deal with Mexican customs and so we could finish the paperwork for entering Mexico.

After negotiating our way out the channel in the dark the sun soon rose and we crossed into Mexican waters. You could see the land border easily from sea. It was hard to imagine that these were two different countries it just looked like 2 cities that were divided by what might be a new freeway.

And on the water nothing had really changed except the telephone service providers.

As you can see there was little wind so we ended up motoring the whole way to Ensenada.

The city of Tijuana and the resorts thinned out into a more unpopulated coastline with the occasional resort perched on the cliff. The hills did change quite a bit though, there were very flat topped mountains or hills, and whilst completely natural they looked like the top had been cut off them.

As we turned the corner into Bahia Todos Santos the few resorts that had lined the coast were replaced by an expanding city and in the distance a Port with a huge Mexican flag in behind it.

The flag is in the main square of the waterfront malecon and has to be 100ft by 30 ft in size.

So we did make it into the Marina by 2pm, but we hadn't counted for Mexican time. The whole office area was closed. Luckily we had sent them an email and when we checked we had a slip assignment so we docked and waited on the boat for the office to open.

Traditionally when entering a new country by sea, only the Captain may initially get off the vessel. It is their job to talk with the Customs and Immigration Officials and have the boat and the crew cleared. So we were stuck on the boat.

The office opened around 3:30 and we were informed that we wouldn't be able see the Port Captain until the following day, but they would drive us and have a person that spoke English and Spanish help us out. And we are fine to get off the boat and move about.

This seemed fine, it would give us a chance to come up with an itinerary and look at where Lise might want to head back to the United States.

With such an early start and a busy few days we chilled on the boat that night.

The following day we went to the see the Port Captain, and he checked the paper work and it was official.

We were in Mexico

So the Yellow Quarantine Flag came down and up went our Mexican courtesy flag

When we arrived in Ensenada we planned to stay in a marina for just 2 days, then anchoring for a week or so before heading south. But the Ensenada area is rapidly changing and the Port Capitan no longer allows you to anchor out.

The moorage rates are similar to the US and Canada and after paying for 4 days in a slip, you break even for the month.

So we decided to pay for the month, explore the area and enjoy the time with my sister. Plus that made it easy for Lise to get back to San Diego and fly home.

Right next to the marina is the malecon which has been redone recently

Whilst we are unmistakably gringos, the area is fun to explore when the cruise ships aren’t in. Whilst the cruise ships aren’t in - people are generally really nice and helpful.

On cruise ship days though, we prefer to avoid Gringo Gulch - the main street filled with tourist shops where you can’t walk 5 feet without someone trying to sell you anything from tequila to ponchos.

Los Todos Santos

Just 6 miles out of Ensenada in the entrance to the Bahia Todos Santos are 2 islands.

We went for a day sail to visit and were hoping to anchor for the evening.

Unfortunately for us the whole bay is becoming popular for Tuna Fish Farms and the 2 small anchorages are now encompassed by quite a few of these nets.

We kept sailing and circumnavigated the Islands, the north island has a 60ft deep shelf that has huge surf break at times - 50 feet! The only thing we had to avoid was hundreds of lobster traps scattered about the islands.

As you sail south around the west side of the islands you can see these waves roll into the small bays.

The southern end of the South Island is made of 2 steep rocky towering hills that flow off into the water.

We had a nice light breeze and the sailing was amazing.

A super special day.

Oh and Ashley caught a fish.

Later we discovered it was a Skip Jack Tuna.

It died

Another day sail was to the southern part of the bay which is away from the port. We took a day sail and anchored just outside the break for lunch. This area is beautiful and an easy anchorage in 20-30 feet of water. After inflating the paddle boards we surfed in through the small breakers and went for a paddle up the estuary. This area is a beautiful nature preserve with lots of birds. It was fun to get out and explore something so beautiful just a few miles from a bustling port city. We didn’t leave til the sun was setting, but luckily we took the dinghy with us as a support vessel and so as the sun was setting we towed the paddle boards back through the surf to Royal Venture bobbing away in the waves where we left her.

La Bufadora

For the final big day trip we found a cab on the street.

He was just pulling in to pick up his wife, but when we said we wanted to go to La Bufadora he agreed to take us.

The cost was about half what the Marina was selling it for. So we waited a few minutes for his wife and with her on board we drove south through the city and out into the agricultural areas.

We wound up through the mountains that separate Bahia San Todos from the Pacific Ocean. On the other side of the mountains we found the small town of La Bufadora. It’s a beautiful drive down, and a picturesque little indent in an otherwise jagged coastline. Once parked we had to run the gauntlet of street vendors.

At the end of this is a small Federal reserve and the attraction of the area.

La Bufadora Blowhole

Around the blowhole is a rock wall and viewing platform, full of Mexican tourist taking picture and kids trying to get splashed as the waves role into this narrow gap between the rocks and spray water up over the viewing area.

Add to that an old Mexican man playing guitar and singing.

The area was beautiful but we couldn't imagine coming here when the cruise ships are in.

Thanks Lise for coming to visit us.

We know it was your typical holiday but we hoped you enjoyed yourself. We certainly enjoyed having you.