Change is in the air as we travel from San Diego, our last US port to Ensenada, our first port in Mexico. We were told that the crew must stay on the boat until the captain goes through the process of clearing customs, immigration, the port captain, the bank and the mexican insurance agent. We have been listeing to Spanish lessons during dinner for a couple of months now and let’s just say that immersion is definitely going to be a better method for Darius. With the forms that he had to fill out, which we were able to view online but were unable to translate, the kids and I thought our chances of ever seeing Mexican terra firma were at best pretty slim.
Upon arriving at the entrance to the harbor, we were attempting a radio call to the dock master for landing instructions and discovered that our newly enhanced cell plan that extends coverage to Mexico only allows us to receive calls but not to place them with the phone skills we currently possess. So in trying to figure out what VHF channel the marina monitors, we stumbled across a cruisers forum that gives weather, safety, and other necessary information (such as the name of a dentist in town who speaks English) and we interrupted the conversation to introduce ourselves and get pointed in the right direction. We got docked and with all the necessary paperwork in hand Darius took off for the dock master’s office and the kids and I got busy doing school and cleaning up the boat. About 15 minutes later Al, our traveling buddy shows back up at the boat and says that Darius needs a picture of the serial number of the boat motor and that all of us had to do this first paperwork macarena. Remember, we sailed in the elements for 20 hours overnight, did some cleaning, made breakfast, worked on school lessons, took a picture of a dirty greasy motor that I had to crawl down into a hatch to access, and now I have to look respectable because the dock master’s clerks are going to lead this dance for us. Oh what a beautiful mess to be in. So speed hair and toothbrushing all around and we were off with an actual possibility of being allowed into the country.
We got lots of help, read lots of signs, talked to all variety of Mexican beaurocrats, paid $533.00 USD, and were welcomed into the country for 180 days. Woohoo! So we were returned to the dock, which is part of a hotel resort with swimming pools and all of the amenities.
We decided it was time to get some culture and venture into town for some authentic Mexican street tacos for dinner by way of city bus. It was an adventure finding the right bus to get back to the boat but we made it in time to take a swim and relax in the hot tubs.
We spent the next day grocery shopping which was a test of my Spanish skills but it seems that I did alright. We have had tostadas, donas, fruit salad with pineapple, papaya, honey and lime, we made pico de gallo, bean and cheese sopas, and this morning we had to google the words on the package to figure out that we were having turkey chorizo with rice and fried eggs. No complaints about the food yet.
We adventured through another trip to the grocery store for water and some freshly baked tortillas, Darius tackled an auto parts store and a lumber/hardware store on his own and then met me at the pharmacy to purchase an inhaler. The pharmacist didn’t speak any English and after Darius’ cherades antomime she put her finger up and lead him to the binaca. One more game of “asthma” charades and $2.60 and we were out the door.
We did our repair on the boat and spent a second evening in the pool and then decided to stick around Ensenada instead of heading south because a storm front was moving in. Since our posh moorage didn’t agree with our not as posh budget, we headed over to an anchorage and set out two anchors with chain in series and checked the weather on the Internet to see that this storm is now moved to potentially a category 5.
So, now we say our prayers and write our blogs and read our book and wait for this weather to pass and look forward to the next 3 weeks with nothing but sun in the forecast.