Monday, November 24, 2014


We have been in Ensenada Mexico for a few weeks now. We are really quite comfortable here. The weather couldn't be better (low to mid 70's during the day and low 60's at night). It did finally rain a couple of days ago for about 30 minutes. This is the first rain we have seen since we left Washington!

I think we are true cruisers now because our plans seem to change daily. The current plan is to stay in Ensenada for the winter and then head back to southern California for the spring and summer. We are hoping to have our grandkids come down and spend some time with us next summer and it will be so much easier if we are in the US. And that would be unlikely if we headed to the typical central/southern Mexico cruising grounds as the 750 nautical mile trip back north along the Baja peninsula would be very difficult. But more important, we are really enjoying Ensenada and want to take time to get to know the people here. Jan has met a couple of local ladies in the sauna and we are hoping to get to know them and their families.

Ensenada has a little of everything. It is a major stop for most of the cruise lines because it is a major port of entry into Mexico. So the cruise ships stop here and get everyone checked into Mexico and then head south to the gold coast. The cruise ship dock is downtown and not surprisingly the area around the dock is what I would call "Little Tijuana". If is full of little shops overflowing with tourist junk and high pressure salespeople. It brings the quote "for you, nearly free" to mind. If you show any interest in anything you can bet the someone will be on you immediately pushing you to buy it. And if you start to walk away, the price will start dropping. They will even chase you down the sidewalk lowing the price with every step you take. It is fun for a little while, but gets old pretty quick.

We are berthed in a marina called Marina Coral (pronounced Coraaaal, and they are not shy making sure you know that). The marina area is basically "San Diego south". Virtually everyone here speaks english (to some degree - some of them speak english about as good as my spanish). It is a very nice marina, except they might want to pressure wash the docks once in a while. The big downside to Marine Coral is the surge. The breakwater is very big and robust but there is only a single breakwater. If you plan to stop ocean swell you need a double breakwater. So when the swell is kicking up or coming from a direction that causes reflection to the marina entrance it can get pretty rough at the dock. So I am keeping a close eye on our dock lines and fenders. The other thing that makes this "San Diego south" is the "big box store" area. Just south of downtown is an area of a couple of blocks where you can find Costco, Walmart, Home Depot, McDonalds, etc... You can find virtually every chain store/restaurant that you know from the US.

We are really loving our bikes! Jan has a thing from her childhood about getting a "brand new" bike so she was really excited to get a "brand new" bike. In any case, we have really used them a lot here. The marina is about 5 miles north of town so we would be on the bus or a cab without them. There are only a few major folding bike companies and then several very small companies. Without question the biggest company is Dahon. One of their close competitors is Tern. Tern was actually started by the son of the man that built Dahon. So they are very similar bikes. Anyway, we bought Tern bikes.

Ready to ride

Folded and ready to go below
We have been doing a lot of fishing here. To my pleasant surprise Jan loves fishing. Right now we are just taking our dinghy out in the bay. It is a lot easier than taking Rapture out for a couple of hours. We have been doing really well. We have caught quite a few lingcod. They are about the ugliest fish you have ever seen, but they taste really good. The lingcod we have been catching have been fairly small (as lingcod go) because of where we have been fishing. But we plan to take Rapture out to Isla De Todo Santos (a couple of islands just under 10 miles out from Ensenada) looking for much bigger fish.

Mike with a lingcod
A few days ago we were out trolling around one of our favorite spots and I caught a Pacific Barracuda. I knew I had something good on when it hit because it was pulling hard. Then I got it up close to the boat where I could see it and knew I had a barracuda. We safely got it in the boat without it's teeth puncturing the dinghy or me! This was just a small barracuda.. boy, I can't wait to catch a big one! We really liked the barracuda. When I filleted it we got 2 long thick round chunks of firm white meat that tasted great!

Mike with the barracuda
It is very "interesting" to go out in the open ocean in a 9' inflatable rubber boat. The swell has been growing quite big lately because of all the storms going on up north. We were out a few days ago and I estimated the swell to be 8 to 10 feet. Swell generally comes in groups of  threes - if you get a big one you can bet there are 2 more big ones right behind it. When you encounter swell this big in a small boat right on the water all you can see is a wall of water coming at you when you are in the trough. Then at the crest you take a quick look around to get your bearing and make certain there isn't anything breaking coming at you. As always, as scary as huge swell looks, it is only dangerous if it breaks. On this particular day, the swell was so big you could hear/feel wind created as you climb the face and descend the back of the wave. Needless to say, we didn't stay out very long that day.

We went fishing yesterday and had a good day (well, *Jan* had a good day). We were trolling around one of our favorite spots and Jan about jumped out of her skin. I looked over and she was holding onto her rod with both hands for all she was worth. I asked if she had a fish on and she could only shake her head. So I killed the motor and got my line out of the water. It was all Jan could do to hold onto the rod so there was no way she was going to be able to crank the reel. Finally she said "the line is going the wrong way" (it was spooling off against the drag pretty fast). She said it was too much for her so I took the rod and the fight was on. I finally landed a bonito tuna after a good fight - it was major fun!

Jan and her tuna
Later that day, I made my catch of the day - a black sock size 9 to 11. That's right, a sock like you would wear on your feet. It was a bit more than embarrassing. And Jan took full advantage telling everyone of the day's catch.

The bottom line - the bikes and the dinghy were very expensive purchases before leaving the US, and were worth EVERY penny!

No comments:

Post a Comment