Starting from Chula Vista, at the Southern end of San Diego bay made for a long passage to Ensenada. We left just before day break, waking up at non-retirement hours to get the boat ready and walk Princess.
Di usually takes care of the latter and me of the former. When she gets back, we have a last preparation round and cast off.
I followed our own track on the way out of the marina, staying in the narrow channel until it rejoins the main channel in the bay.
The sun started peeking its first rays, making my life much easier in the sparse bay traffic. A few tugs, a large car carrier going to dock, a few ferries and a couple yachts. Nothing of real significance.
About one and a half hour later we finally exited San Diego bay, and set Enfin pointing due South. Cloudy skies and cold waters had us hoping for warmer climes down South. We entered Mexican waters late morning: I logged our fix in our official log, then raised the "Q" flag to make clear we needed clearance into Mexico.
The border is very visible from the sea: The North side is sparsely built, while the South side and the city of Tijuana is built-up all the way to the border fence and security zone.
Tijuana is a large city, the largest in "Baja California" (Lower California), with Ensenada and Cabo San Lucas coming in shortly behind.
Within an hour of officially entering Mexican waters, the sun came out brightly and the slight breeze we had died off, leaving us to cruise in absolutely perfect weather. Soon, a huge pod of dolphins raced by us, a few hundred of them in smaller groups, so Di, Princess and I sat on the foredeck, watching the great spectacle.
I don't care how often dolphins come up to us, we will always be excited to see them play, jump and do their acrobatics in our bow wake. It felt to us like a "Welcome to Mexico", so Di and I shared a few long hugs to remind us of the long path to get here.
I had called the marina in Ensenada (Hotel Coral) ahead of time, and told them we were aiming for an 18:00LT arrival. I was told the office would remain open until 19:00 so they'd check us in on arrival.
Not wanting to miss our check in and risk being stuck on the boat overnight, I kept a close eye on our ETA, adding a few hundred RPMs to our engine turns if we were falling behind a bit, and slowing back to normal speed when I could.
We arrived at 17:30 -I'd kept 30 minutes safety margin all along and decided to bank it- and before we even contacted them by VHF we could hear the employees discussing our arrival. They were sending line handlers to welcome us. I think it is the first time we get spotted by security and marina personnel before entering the harbor, and it made our docking even easier than usual.
The dock they'd reserved for us was a Port tie-in, but since we only have a cockpit gate on Starboard, I decided to back in. I didn't want to ask for a different slip: This one is right at the foot of the marina office, and I figured more importantly, the closest to the swimming pools and Jacuzzis!
We checked-in very easily: The port Captain already had all our info via email, and to my surprise authorized all of us going ashore. Typically, when arriving in a foreign port, only the Captain is allowed ashore until the whole boat and crew is cleared by authorities. This is obviously done to avoid trafficking and smuggling, and a crew member going ashore before getting the "all clear" can land you in big trouble in many countries. Not here apparently.
We enjoyed our unexpected freedom to go out to the marina's restaurant to celebrate our arrival. We rarely drink, but we figured escaping the curse that had seemed to follow us and had prevented us from going South deserved a couple pina coladas.
The marina grill is just across from our dock, accepts Princess and has a wonderful view over the marina. We got to enjoy our first Mexican sunset eating a big burger and a pizza next to a fire-pit. There will be more.
The next day we had a rendezvous to take us downtown Ensenada to the regional Port Captain to do our formalities. Luckily the marina has an all-inclusive service, making life much easier and we didn't have to bounce around the port office, immigration office and customs. A quick hour later we were back on Enfin, where I lowered our "Q" flag, replacing it with a courtesy Mexican flag.
We're now officially in Mexico!
Time to explore the hotel and its surroundings.
And for me that means, swimming pool and Jacuzzi time!
We're going to stay put here until hurricane season is done and over with, with an extra safety margin. We've got plenty to do on Enfin, so we'll try and work an hour or two each day, while at the same time not forgetting to enjoy our new temporary home.