November 23rd, 2005 by: cheyenne

Our ejection from the US was celebrated with a bottle of wine (more weight reduction, very important for the small boat) and a fresh dish sponge. I hesitate to admit that I debated long and hard over whether I should throw away the old one. We anchored out at the Coronada islands, just within the Mexican border, for the evening and fished. And caught some mackerels! Of course the guy in San Diego said that they are easy to catch because they will bite anything, but we were very pleased. We let most of them go and saved one for bait (upon which we caught something sort of perch-like; we let him go) and fried up the other half to test the flavor (not bad).

We left anchorage at 3am and arrived to Ensenada at 3pm, home of the largest flag in existence. Everything in Ensenada is $5; the anchorage, showers, water taxi, dingy docking, internet, and the nifty Pacifica enameled tray I wanted but didn’t get because where oh where would I put it. Waa.

Rowing in Ensenada Harbor, Baja California Norte, Mexico

Tuna Boats in Ensenada Harbor, Baja California Norte, Mexico

We decided to officially enter the country here because we heard Ensenada had it very streamlined—no running around town twice to four different offices to get papers stamped. We have already from the US: Fishing licenses for everyone on board and one for the boat and dinghy (those dinghies will up and fish on the sly if you are not careful). Liability insurance, which we debated about getting because it is not required by Mexico and YES! it IS required; but no it’s not and sometimes it’s required depending upon where you go and then you don’t really need it but you might get thrown in jail if you don’t have it since it’s officially required sort of and that guy over on that boat has been to Mexico 30 times and said it was not necessary and the other guy on that other boat lived in Mexico for 50 years and says it is. We discovered that although the office is open from 8am to 5pm, it charges “overtime” if you try to get anything done between 8-10 or 2-5. We waited until the next day to check in.

At approximately 10:05, we discovered that we needed 5 more copies of the crew list. Argh; I start filling these out. Then we’re back in the immigration line—the guy takes all five of the copies and sends us to the cashier guy across the room to pay and have our passports reviewed. We were also told we’d need 5 more copies of the crew list when we do the exit paperwork (which we could do the same day). Then we went up the street to pay for the anchorage and get a receipt, then to make a zillion copies of all these forms, then back to the office to visit the Harbormaster. We were given another form to fill out (very similar to the crew list, but a little different) and told we needed to fill this out and have three copies. Then over to the customs guy, who made us get copies of the passport and receipt. He told Joshua to ask the Harbormaster girl because she’s nice and will do it so we didn’t have to go back up the street; Joshua went over and asked but she yelled across the room at the customs guy (who laughed); she made the copy anyway and sent the sheepish-looking Joshua back across the room. Customs was pretty easy: “Any firearms or tobacco? Press this button.” We pushed the button and it flashed green for go. He gave all the copies of paperwork we just made back to us without even stamping anything. We headed back across to the Harbormaster to process our departure. She took two of our three forms and stamped the third for our records, saying we needed to show it to the immigration guy. The immigration guy didn’t want to see the Harbormaster’s forms and wanted the other five copies of the crew list, all of which he stamped and gave back to us (all five he gave back to us). He sent us back to the Harbormaster to review the stamps and said she would do something and we were to come back to him afterwards. Back at the Harbormaster’s window, she appeared to have never laid eyes upon a crew list form before and asked us what the hell we wanted her to do with it; much discussion ensued and we produced a fourth copy of her form (had an extra), which she stamped and gave back to us (now we had two stamped copies). Sent us back to the immigration dude. Who looked like he had never before laid eyes upon the harbormaster form; however, he stamped it and took one of the copies for himself and I think he took back one or two of his own crew list forms (that he had already stamped), leaving us with 3 copies of our own. Said we could go.

Several of the boats that were at the transient dock with us in San Diego have arrived (7 total I think); we talked to Lee from Patience and Jasmine from Tranquila, both singlehanding and heading the same direction as us, more or less. Lee took an awesome photo of us en route to Ensenada.

Sunset on Bahia Todos Santos, Baja California Norte, Mexico

We had some awesome fish tacos (angelita fish) and found a grocery store where we went totally nuts over all the cool Mexican grocery items. We’re heading out the 23rd to Bahia San Quentin.

NO WE’RE NOT! We were preparing for departure when Jeff decided to sand the rusty bits off boot thing (yeah, kinda random); while gazing down into the water at the lower attachment of the gudgeon (holds the rudder on), he saw a crack! Joshua and I were called to consult and stick a fingernail into the crack to be sure it in fact was not a mirage of the water brought on by diesel fumes and rust particulate. After much grumbling and mousing around in uncomfortable spaces, the steering was detached, bolts unbolted and the rudder off. We brought the gudgeon to Baja Naval marina where there is a small shipyard and they are welding it for us now. Presumably we’ll get it on tonight and head out tomorrow morning.

Crack in Stainless Kick-up Rudderbox Searunner 31

Working on the Rudder quadrant Searunner 31

4 Comments on “Mexico!”

  1. cheryl says:

    Greetings! Although I couldn’t hear all your musings because of the phone connection, you made my Thanksgiving Day! Thanks for calling, a mom’s dream come true. The sunset photo made me drool. Actually, all the pictures make my imagination soar. I am living the adventure with you. Thanks! Love, mom

  2. Peg Bowden says:

    Hi kiddos and Jeff!
    Your photos and immigration trials and tribulations were a hoot. So typically Mexico! The sunset photo is a keeper. I’m impressed with your fishing prowess—hope you can catch some more delectables. I want to hear everything!! Blessings to all of you—Mom and Dad/Peg and Lester

  3. Peg Bowden says:

    Hi guys,
    just checking in to see how you are doing. Hope you are enjoying the sun, the beer, the fresh fish. Where are you? Is the crack in the rudder fixed? We’re fine—just hanging out doing post-Thanksgiving stuff. Decking the halls a bit. Miss you all. I want details!! Love to all of you, Mom

  4. TimeMachine » Rudder McBrokersons says:

    […] This boat does not have a typical skeg rudder but rather an extra-long kick-up rudder housed in a stainless box. The box is attached to the stern and the rudder is bolted at a pivot point above and held down in place with a rope. Because this type of rudder sticks down below the keel, it is particularly vulnerable so we made a fuse out of some fishing test so in case we ever hit something; then it would break and the rudder would float harmlessly to the surface to trail behind us. Hopefully we wouldn’t need to, say, steer if this ever happened. The rudder box has always been suspect in that it cracked shortly after we left San Francisco (we had it welded in Ensenada) and again around Huatulco (we had it welded again there). We are not sure what happened this time; possibly we hit a submerged log and the fuse broke or we hit nothing and the fuse broke anyway, then the following seas pushed the floating rudder across and ripped the rudder box wide open. Now the rudder is attached only at the pin (where it is in danger of twisting sideways and causing further damage) and the lower part just sloshes alarmingly free. […]

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Cheyenne Weil, Joshua Coxwell