Thursday, November 19, 2009

Day 564 & 565 In to Mexico and before the trip.

Our new Spectra water maker.   Now we will be able to have fresh water when ever we need it--at least after we install it.
Celebrating as we cross the border to Mexico.  the first bottle we opened after 25 years was bad so we went on to a second.  The first bottles contents were given to Neptune.
Outside Ensenada Harbor.
The town of Ensenada.
Flying the Mexican Courtesy flag from Zephyrs mast.
The big Mexican flag that overlooks the harbor.
The Carnival ship that came in just before us.  Remember, if you click on the photo, it gets bigger.

Yes, that's right, after 565 days of posts, we have finally made it South of the border.  The days just preceding the trip were hectic to say the least.

Monday was run all over town.  We started out at the Watermaker Store to look at their Spectra 200T water maker.  It is designed to  be used in tropical water(water not less than 50 degrees).   We wanted to have one on board before we left the US as importation duties would have hurt if we had had it shipped in later.  The box was so large that we couldn't fit it in the car.  Luckily, the unit itself isn't that big so once out of the box, it easily fit in our small rental.  I'll be installing it somewhere down the waterway when we are probably in La Paz.  Water down South can be iffy at best in many locations and having a water maker on board will make our stays in some of the more remote areas much more pleasant.  I'd hit Walmart on Sunday so we were done there.  We had to go out to a Mercury dealer to buy spare parts(water pump rebuild kit, gas filter,etc) and that was way out of town.  We then took off for the scuba store to pick up the regulator as it was now fixed.  We rushed back to Zephyr since the SSB(short wave radio) specialist was due just after 1500 to look at our setup and make sure we could use it for sending and receiving emails and making posts to our blog.  We got back just in time to get his call--he can't come today but will be at the boat on Tuesday since he knows we have to leave about 1100.  OK, that gave us time for fill the water tanks and get everything stowed that we had dragged out over the previous ten days.  We worked well into the evening getting everything ship shape and straightened out.

Tuesday dawned with Tracy taking off for Michaels(I needed some modeling clay) and to return our Enterprise rent a car.  I waited patiently for the radio man to show up at 0830.  That came and went with no sign of him.  He finally showed up about 0920 to inspect our setup and make it work with our computer.  About a hour later with many questions answered, he was off and I was out $95.00.  Not a cheap lesson but a valuable one.  Now it(the radio and computer) works the way it is supposed to.  We even made a transmission to Rock Hill,SC, clear across the country.  I guess we installed the radio right.

IMPORTANT NEWS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

With the addition of the SSB (short wave radio), we will be switching to a new blog posting service.  Having the SSB, will allow us to make posts even when away from and internet service provider so that you can keep up with our daily travels when we are out in God know where.  Our new address is  I'll be posting todays post there some time later this afternoon. 

Tracy showed up just after the radio man left and we were underway by 1130 and motoring out of San Diego Harbor.  Once past the last buoy, we hoisted the sails and took off for Ensenada, Mexico.  We hoisted the mainsail,  rolled out the newly adjusted(tightened the wire on the forestay)Genoa(works much better)and raised the forestaysail and we were off.  

For those of you that have been following our blog for the past 18 months, you know of our ability to always have the wind coming at us from the wrong direction when we leave a harbor or want to raise the sails.  Why should this be any different.  The winds were from the Southeast and we needed to go South so while we could have some wind, we didn't get all that we needed.  Plus to add insult to injury, it was only at about 10 knots.  To sail a sailboat, you need winds normally at a 45 degree angle to the boat to go exactly where we wanted to.  These winds were at 30 degrees to the angle of the boat.  So we tacked back and forth for the rest of the afternoon.  We turned what should have been a simple 60 mile(ten hour) trip into a 75 mile voyage.  We'd left San Diego fully prepared for it so it didn't come as that big a surprise.  The winds in the area had been nonexistent in the morning and night and quite blustery in the afternoon.  Well, we got what we were going to get(wind wise) till about 1900 and then the wind just died(just as we expected).   So on came the motor and we were off.

Now as I said above, it's only 60 miles from San Diego to Ensenada.  A simple ten hours at 6 knots.  No big deal right?  Wrong!!!  Leaving San Diego at 1130, we would have gotten into Ensenada at 2130 at the earliest.  The smart boater never enters an unknown harbor at night, especially when there is no anchorage and you don't have a slip to put your boat in at a  marina.  We powered up the motor to only 1000rpm.  This gave us a speed of about 3.2 to 3.5 knots.  At that rate, we would be into Ensenada early in the morning.  A simple 10 hour trip was now closer to 20 hours.

With no Moon, the stars were big and bright as we moved down the coastline with the Sun finally starting to rise about 0600.  We entered the Ensenada bay about 0645 and sat out in the harbor waiting for the marina to open so we could get a slip assignment.  About 15 miles short of the bay, the AIS(Automatic Identification System) on my computer sprange to life and let me know that someone in the harbor was signaling a mayday!!!  I got on the VHF radio and tried to call them.  Their response was "No, we aren't putting out any mayday signal, but we will check our electronics.  I let them know that I had been receiving their signal for the better part of 45 minutes(it takes a while to get within VHF radio range).  Another skipper called them but he only spoke Spanish and the skipper of the mayday boat only spoke English(with a heavy Russian accent.  I't tried to reach the Mexican Coast Guard with no success.  About 30 minutes later, the Mexican Search and Rescue folks were on the radio trying to get information from the skipper.  Strangely, nothing ever came of it.

About 0645, we got a call over the radio from Jay on Moon Angel.  They are folks we met originally in Brownsville, WA last Winter and had become good friends with over the year.  They knew we were on our way to Ensenada and wanted to welcome us.  They monitored the VHF so they would know when we were approaching the dock.  About 0810, I finally got in touch with  the marina and got our slip assignment and in we went.  I did let a Carnival cruise ship go in before us.   They appeared to be in a big hurry.

So now we are in Ensenada, Mexico(31 51.542N  116 37.557W) at the Baja Naval Marina!!!  We finally made it out of the good old USA!!


mhaws said...

Congratulations!! You have waited a long time for this and I'm so glad you had wine on board to do a proper toast. I'm sure Neptune thanks you too!

Have a great time in Mexico in the warm weather. By the way, you have done some great pictures and movies!

Anonymous said...

Excellent decision on the water maker. I think it will give you a lot of freedom as you move along.

Dave in Boise

KAREN said...

YEAH!! You made it. Gee I miss you guys. Have a great time. Never be without the good vino!!

Linda said... sharing the adventure with you through the posts.....just wish you would not spend so much "moola"....keep up the good posts/pictures/adventures!!!

Jay said...

Bueno, Senor

Bienvenutos a mexico!

Cadenza spent 6 months at baja naval in 1993.
Good fish tacos and cervesa within walking distance.
I'm curious as to the SSB/Modem stuff.
Is this the best contact or your regular email for such things?

Best to Tracey

Lawrel and Chris Larsen said...

Happy New Year! Sounds like you all are having fun! We are looking into a trip to Cabo in May. (Hopefully you will have made it that far south by then - LOL!) If you have the chance, stop in Cabo and drive to Todos Santos (about 60 miles north along the Pacific Ocean). It is compared to Taos, NM with the artists and Americans who are moving there. We are enjoying reading about your adventure!

Lawrel and Chris