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  • Capt. Eric

Staying Put Is Also Cruising

We've been in Ensenada for over 2 months now, and have just pushed our departure back a few days, maybe a couple of weeks to finalize Princess' annual veterinary visit and let a windy weather window blow by us.

Beautiful Ensenada sunset

This is the first time we stop in a marina for an extended period unrelated to any medical or family emergency. We'd been cruising pretty much continuously since April this year, even when we stayed a little time in marinas, it was never really long enough to get out of cruising mode.

Ensenada is proving to be a great place for us, a well deserved vacation after some of the more difficult times of the past years. I make full use of the 3 swimming pools in the resort, as well as the jacuzzis. Di has begun running again, and the waterfront provides a nice and safe place to do so.

The marina's restaurant is a very pleasant place to relax even more once in a while, and when we want to vary the menu we can order from UberEats and get food delivered at the dock, at very reasonable rates. Overall, it feels very much like an extended vacation, just like what I hoped out of retirement.

Having a semi fixed address for a while has allowed us to get Amazon packages organized, a last big haul of "stuff" before we start cruising again. Even better we've been able to finally get a number of upgrades and maintenance jobs done.

Back in Portland and Anacortes, we had terrible difficulties getting some done: Things like canvas work for example carries a 6 to 12 months waiting time, too long for us to wait around. Getting someone to give us a quote on changing the carpet or making new settee covers proved practically impossible. One contractor reluctantly showed up on Enfin one day after being summoned there by Nordhavn (a huge client for them of course), but never came back or gave a quote. They just prefer working on the big Nordhavns, and we fall to the very back of the queue.

Here, it is pretty much the opposite: The marina staff asks us if we need anything done, and they have "people" for every kind of possible job a cruiser may need.

So, in no particular order, we had the zincs checked and replaced, new enclosure mesh windows made to replace the cold weather perspex ones, mesh covers for the salon windows, a full wash, polish, wax and wash again job and plenty more.

Enfin's beautiful gelcoat all shiny

My favorite is probably having a made to measure stainless steel hinge to replace our cockpit gate's old hinge. I had dropped a leaf in the water when working on the gate a long time ago, and had been unable to find an in-place replacement ever since despite extensive research. Neither Nordhavn nor the original makers of the hinge had any stock, so all was left was to have one made to measure. In the meantime I grabbed a Home Depot hinge, and despite being the right size and stainless steel, it did not hold up to the harsh life of being on a boat.

A hinge leaf was too small a job for the busy shops up North, but enthusiastically undertaken over here. We got it back in only a few days. The marina stainless steel guy did an absolutely top job. The new hinge is beautiful and came in at half the price we'd paid in the US too!

Installing the new mesh canvas for the enclosure

While we were at it our new to us kayak got a full wash treatment as well. I did an oil change on the main engine, new filters all around, and repaired our bilge pump.

I added a very bright removable LED bar at the bow for those rare night passages, in the hope it'll help us better see crab traps and lobster pots.

I double checked our spares, hoping to have enough of them for most mission critical failures. Since most of our pumps are new or rebuild, I'm running out of ideas as to what else to stock, but I'm sure I'll find out!

Enfin looking spiffy in the Mexican sunshine

I got a diving hookah setup and am working now to secure it for sea in the lazarette, and have added to the emergency / temporary repair kit. Quick epoxy, insta-seal, and other rapid fixes to help get us back to a port if needed.

My new diving hookah so I can chek the hull if needed

Di re-organized things inside and took full inventory of our provisions, using the older food and re-provisionning as needed. All our provisions are now neatly entered in an online phone enabled database, so we know what we have, when it expires, and where it is.

On reflection, our 2 months stay is more a working vacation than I thought? After all cruising never stops, even when the boat is stopped. It is during those marina periods that we can take care of Enfin, so the boat can take good care of us when we're away and cruising.

Stowing the kayal after a thourough wash

Meanwhile we've seen cruisers come and go. Ensenada is the first port of entry (or the last exit) on the way down (up) so many boats stop here for their Mexican paperwork, and many grab fuel too since it is cheaper than in California.

We've met all sorts of cruisers, from the "get there fast" who came down the whole West coast in one go, to people like us who took 6 months and stopped often along the way. The ones that keep on going towards far away destinations, Panama and further East, those who look at heading towards French Polynesia, and those who are just happy to have made it to Mexico and intend to go no further.

A good bunch of people all of them, and a friendly helpful attitude all around. As usual Princess is our ambassador, so we get to meet many more people than without her. I'm sure many cruisers know Di and me as Princess' parents, and have no idea what our names are!

Interestingly, many cruisers are very interested in our boat, and we've had more visits from sailors who want to be a little more comfortable while staying in an affordable budget.

The marina crew knows us -and Princess- too. Many speak excellent English, but I'm slowly getting back into speaking Spanish. I know just enough to be dangerous!

They kindly prepared a special flan for Di's 29th Birthday which we celebrated by having dinner at the marina grill, in front of the open air fireplace.

Di's 29th Birthday celebration


There comes a day though when staying in a marina, as nice and friendly as this one, gets to be too much. I'm getting the cruising bug again, and I am very much looking forward to making it to the Sea of Cortez. We're told of abundant treasures, beautiful coves and blue seas. By that I mean we're hoping to encounter a lot of wildlife out there. The sea is known for having the largest number of dolphin and whale species in the world, so we're really hoping they'll be there for us.

It's not a full time vacation though. Diving in the anchor locker

I'm starting to get back in the cruising groove, checking the weather forecast regularly. There is a blow coming down from the North that will take a while to pass by and will raise larger seas, so we'll stay put for the time being. If the long term forecasts are true and Poseidon allows, we may have a great window in about 10 days.

Stopped, but still cruising basically. I feel we're about as ready as we need to be for the next legs. They'll be long open seas hops with no anchorages or protection: The coast has very few good shelters and anchorages over the next 700 miles, so once we commit, we'll have to push for a while.


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