We got underway from Southwestern Yacht Club on the afternoon of December 4th, headed for Ensenada Mexico. We sailed in company with a bunch of other boats including The Red Thread, Namaste and Sea Rover II. After sailing a few hours and motoring through most of the night we arrived at 8 a.m.
We’re cruising now and need to slow down. Upon our arrival at Cruiseport Marina we were told to go to the office at 0900 to start the process of checking in. At 0900 Nate went up to the office all ready to check in and was told, “Una hora” – come back in an hour. After another “una hora” and some “venti minutos”, we got all the papers necessary and completed the check-in process.
Once we were legal, we left the marina to walk and explore the town. Ensenada reminded Nate of liberty calls in Thailand, South Korea and the Phillipines. The streets with uneven sidewalks, beggar children, wild traffic and the tourist districts. We walked away from the marina and cruise ship terminal to explore the town.
After we left the red sidewalk tourist area, we started walking deeper into town to find a grocery store. We walked by a funky looking alley full of food stalls. It looked so interesting that we decided to stop for a snack. It immediately reminded us of the food truck scene in Portland with many different food styles to choose from – gourmet burgers, Asian noodles, smoothies, French cuisine, and even a stall that did gastronomy (uses chemistry with cooking). We are a little embarrassed to say that our first meal in Mexico was not Mexican food. It was Poutine! We couldn’t pass up the fresh cut fries, gravy, and cheese. Traditional poutine uses squeeky cheese curds, but we are in Mexico so they used a similar style cheese instead. It was delicious!
We chatted with the owner of Munchister for a little bit and he told us about these new “patios” that are popping up around town. This one is unique because of how it was built. A Home Depot store went out of business and they used all the reclaimed goods to build the entire thing. The result was artsy, young and hip – definitely not what we were expectiong to find on our first day in Mexico. We realized that Mexico has a lot more that tacos and tequila!
On Saturday we got off the boat in the morning with plans to go to the playground. Unfortunately, it was on the side of the malecon (sea side boardwalk) that was closed for construction, so we just walked around town instead. We walked through the fish market and got bombarded by waitresses running out of the restaraunts across the alley begging us to try the “best fish tacos”. There were about six different restaurants all next door to each other and right across from the fish market. At least you know it’s fresh!
We got to the malecon and Sully was instantly attracted to all the little tourist stalls. They had a ton of toys on display, but he liked looking at the handmade wooden trucks and tractors. We told him he had enough of those at home and didn’t need anymore. He seemed happy just to look anyway.
After dragging Sully away from the trucks, we set out to find a specific street food stall famous for ceviche and tostadas. Paco, the maker of our Poutine the previous day told us about the food scene in Ensenada and said we had to try La Guerrerense.
That evening, we set out with the other cruisers from our group to have dinner and plan our departure from Ensenada. We all met on the malecon in front of Baja Naval Marina downtown. Our large group was standing around chatting and Sully was having a blast playing with two older kids (ages 10 and 12) from another cruising boat. All of a sudden, Sully was screaming and crying. Someone scooped him up and brought him to me with a big bloody gash on his forehead. Apparently he fell and bonked his noggin so hard it split open. Jessie and Neil from S/V The Red Thread raced us down to their boat because they had a huge medial kit on board. Cindie, a nurse from S/V Namaste, took a look at the cut and cleaned it up. We asked if she thought he needed stitches or if a steristrip would do. She said we could go either way, but we decided to head to urgent care – we were leaving the next morning on a three day passage to Turtle Bay, and wanted to get it checked out and cleaned out really well, so we didn’t have to worry about infection.
Nate called out on the VHF for any cruisers that could tell us the best place to take him. Almost immediately, a man named Stosh was on the radio saying he’d pick us up and take us to urgent care so we wouldn’t have to find a cab or walk there. He told us to wait by the entrance of Baja Naval and look out for a blue Volvo with a surfboard on top. Stosh and his girlfriend , Annie, showed up shortly and shuttled us to the clinic. They were nice enough to wait while Sully got checked out so they could take us back to the marina, too.
We quickly saw an English speaking doctor who patched up Sully’s forehead (no stitches necessary!). We paid about $60 US and were on our way.
Sully was in good spirits. He was more upset that he didn’t get to play with the other kids more than the cut on his forehead!
Annie and Stosh thought it would be a good idea to stop for ice cream on the way back to the boat. We were very lucky that such nice people were willing to help us. It’s great to know that there is a network of helpful cruisers out there.
Ensenada was a great place to start our Mexican travels. It’s Mexico, but still close enough to the US that we didn’t feel overwhelmed by a huge difference in culture. Since it’s a cruise ship port, the city caters a lot towards tourists. We are excited to head south to experience rural Baja Mexico in Turtle Bay.