“Capitanía Puerto Ensenada,
Es Bravo, cambio.”
Turns out with holiday hours the harbor master’s office didn’t open until 9 am. Our smooth passage out from San Diego across international waters put us in Ensenada 2 hours ahead of schedule. We raised our first Q flag, another exciting milestone for us, signaling our desire to legally enter the country. We were greeted by birds, one seal and a dude at a gate offering us a whale watching tour. No one seemed to care, or notice.
When you enter a country by air it occurs to you that immigration is a very serious matter as you get funneled like cattle through an unmistakable process, from one step to the next. Entering by sea, though, not so much. We jumped off on an unmarked dock and crossed a small wooden gate right into a quiet and sleepy town, left to our own devices. We turned left, then right, then left again in search of the marine customs and immigration office. I would have rather been constrained to a narrow pathway designed by Temple Grandin than the back and forth we endured when relying on our sleep deprived wit and 4 apparently incomplete internet sources. We could have hired and agent to do all of this for us, but what would be the fun in that (hire an agent… and use your middle name in any and all documents!).
14 forms, 6 payments, 4 oficinas de trámites and 6 hours later we were free to go. With a lone seagull as our spectator, we accomplished another milestone – raising the Mexican courtesy flag – signaling fulfillment of the customs process in our current host country. A joy like no other felt by no one other than the 5 of us.
For the next +200 nautical miles, we set our heading to 155 degrees south and made our slow passage towards Turtle Bay and then San Juanico. By day 2 the cold of night travel became more tolerable, maybe the promise of warmer weather was soon to come.
With the chaos of customs behind us, the next days were mellow, spent reading, fishing, napping, playing cards, watching movies, working on the water maker, and saying farewell to the cold and fog that had followed us a day past Ensenada.
Until next time…