11/19/2010, 2 hundred miles north of Turtle Bay
Yesterday we had an interesting day. We left Ensenada at 8:30am and motored out into calm conditions. Out went the fishing rods and we settled in for a long motor unles the winds pick up. Around 11am, we decided to start cooking some lunch. At about this same time, there was a Mexican Navy boat that seemed to have taken an interest in us. He was going back and forth around us. Pat was down below cooking and Les and I were in the cockpit and Ian had just gone forward to rig the new lightwind sail we just bought in San Diego. Then we get a call on the VHF radio from the Navy boat to cease navigation as they were going to come aboard. So for over half an hour we sat there getting rocked around in the swells as we waited for them to launch there small boat and come and board us. We decided to hold off on our lunch as we thought it would be rude to be sitting there eating when they arrived. Finally they got to the boat with about 10 guys 5 of which were carrying big guns. These five came on board and 4 of them stayed up on deck and the head guy came below with Ian and I. We gave him our documents for the boat our check in and check out papers for Ensenada, and our passports of course. He was a very soft spoken and very polite man who looked to be in his early 20's. He asked us a few questions and had us sign a form that they had boarded us and then they were on there way. We don't really know the reason for the visit but they didn't look around or anything. Maybe they thought we were drug runners until they saw the 4 of us and realized we were just 4 ordinary people and didn't fit the profile. Anyhow it was somewhat interesting and I never felt at all threatened or worried. So we carried on from that episode using our new sail and were doing about 3 to 4 knots. Later the winds got stronger and we pulled the new sail down and out came the jib. Just around sunset while Les was on watch, he noticed a line on the radar screen which seemed to be approaching us. We figured it must be a front or a squall or something. We decided to wait before serving dinner in case all hands were needed on deck if something was coming through. Well when it finally go to us it turned out to be fog. I didn't know that the radar would pick up fog. It wasn't even heavy fog. So we settled in for the night, and by 8pm we were motoring again as the winds had died to almost nothing and what there was was moving around and coming and going. By this morning it had switched to on the nose. We have seen a few dolphins, a couple of whales off in the distance, several fishing boats and one sailboat. That is about it for now. We hope to arrive in Turtle Bay on Sunday.
11/17/2010, Ensenada Mexico
So we made it to Mexico! A dream has been realized after 15 + years of planning and saving. We left San Diego at 3am on November 16 at 1:30 am in the fog. We left in the middle of the night so that we would arrive in Ensenada during daylight hours. We motored in fog all through the night which cleared up during the day. There was no wind so we motored all the way 65 miles. We arrive in Ensenada at 3pm which was too late to go to clear customs but we were told at the marina that we had 48 hours to clear in so we were free to roam around town.
With us on board were our good friends Pat and Les from Rossland, BC. We enjoyed a yummy seafood dinner and then were back at the boat and asleep before (get this) 8pm. We had not had much sleep the night before during our passage as we were all too excited to be heading south to Mexico.
This morning we were up early and did a few chores like dropping off our laundry and such and then headed to immigration to do all of our paperwork. Roger at Bahi Naval, our marina was extreamly helpful and before we went to immigration, he helped us with organizing and copying our documents as well as talking us through the procedure. When we got there, there was no line up and it took us about 2 hours to do it all. It's all in one building and you just go from one desk to the next and it all gets done Mexican style. So now we are legal and our boat has it's TIP (temporary Import Permit) which is good for 10 years. This allows us to bring parts in duty free for the boat should we need to.
We still need to do the HAM radio license thing but can't do that here. Also we want to apply for a FM3 which is a visa which we can stay in Mexico for more than the 180 days which we have at the moment.
After that we did our provisioning for the next week or so and now we are just hanging out at the dock until tomorrow morning when we will untie the lines and head even further south. Destination unknown. We are just going to see how the winds are, how we feel and decide if we want to stop somewhere or keep going. No hurry! No Rush! Manana Kasasa. We get there when we get there!
11/12/2010, San Diego
On Wednesday I was having one of those days where things keep going wrong. First off I woke up to an alarm on the boat going off that was not an alarm clock. That was quickly remedied as it was the sensor in the bilge which occasionally goes off for no reason. So now I'm up and trying to use the hot water which is an on demand system which works with propane. The pilot light won't light. So Ian gets to work on it and I decided to skype my sister in Toronto. A few minutes into our conversation, my computer freezes up and I restart only to have the same thing happen a few minutes later. So I decide to go up to the laundry room at the marina where the internet connection is the strongest. Once I'm up there and start up my computer all I get is a striped blue and black screen. I try to restart about 5 times and get the same thing each time.
Great whats that all about. I locate a Mac Store in Chula Vista and make an appointment to take my computer in. The guy working on it runs a diagnostic test and it is the mother board or something big like that and the cost of the part before labour is $1189 dollars! @#$#@# I could buy a new computer for that. But the guy tells me that there may be a chance depending on the date my computer was manufactured that the part could be replaced free of charge due to a faulty part that was installed in that time frame. So he goes deeper into the diagnostic and BINGO! I won! I get the part and the labour for FREE!! I was so happy I high fived the guy and would have hugged him had there not been a counter between us.
So I explain my situation that I live on a boat have no car and need to get my computer back asap. No problem they had it ready the next day! Wow such service and for free.
So I'm lucky on a few counts with this one. The free fix obviously, but also that it happened the week before we leave for Mexico and not while we are there. I'm not sure where I would even find a Mac store except maybe in the larger cities like Mexico City. And I never lost any of my data!
So for now I am going to baby my mac by shutting down each day and making sure its in it's case at night and when I'm not using it. Even though we have let go of so many things like our home, our cars and our jobs, getting rid of my computer habit would be really really hard. And besides how would I blog...
11/02/2010, San Diego
It's been a week since we arrived back at the boat and has it ever gone by fast. Between boat jobs, getting supplies, shopping for the things we needed to get before we head to Mexico and meeting new people it has really flown by. We have tried to fit in some time to just chill and relax, but there hasn't been a whole lot of that really.
Up until today, we have had a rental car which has made life really easy. If you needed something you hoped in the car and off you went to get it. Now that we have returned the car, getting things has become more of an all day event. First we have to walk about 2 miles to the trolly station. Then about 40 minutes to town, a bus to wherever and then more walking. Then we repeat all of that to get back to the boat. Whew! Who said this was going to be the life of Riely... But actually we are really enjoying it none the less. After all our hard work getting back to the boat today, we did treat ourselves to a dip in the pool before the sun disappeared, and then a nice glass of wine for me and a beer for Ian to finish off the day not too shabby.
Tomorrow our new batteries arrive. Ian figures that he has a couple of days work to install and secure them in the space we have for the batteries. They are a different shape then what we now have, and so he needs to build a cage around them to contain them so that if we are in rough water, they can't move or fly around the boat.
We have our watermaker coming in next week as well and we hope to get that installed before we leave for Mexico. Our friends Pat and Les, are joining us here in San Diego for the trip down the coast of the Baja and they arrive on the 12th. So with any luck by the 15th we should be on our way.
Internet access continues to be a source of frustration for me. It is very intermittent here at the marina and one minute I have a strong signal and as soon as I try to email or what ever, it drops down to almost nothing and so I patiently have to wait to see when it is strong again so I can hit send. It wouldn't be so bad if it was free wifi, but I'm paying for this so I want to be able to use it when I want to. Guess I have to re adapt my thinking and get used to things working at their own speed which is how things work in Mexico. In fact, I need to get over my internet and email addiction but that's hard when you've been 'plugged in' for the last 15+ years.
Anyhow, off to skype now... if I can.
10/27/2010, San Diego
We are back! That was without a doubt the longest month and a half in our lives. As much as we had good reasons to leave the boat and return to Vancouver for that time, we spent a lot of time wishing we were back here.
But we did accomplish everything we needed to do in BC and we got to spend lots of time visiting with good friends and co workers too. We left on the 23rd and went to Annacortes in Washington to our friends Dan and Elaine with who we travelled from their place to San Francisco driving down the coastal highway. It was a good trip and we enjoyed it very much. We decided to fly from San Francisco to San Diego because we didn't have the time to continue driving down the coast, and the thought of sitting in traffic on the i5 highway did not sound appealing.
We flew in this morning and arrived at the boat early afternoon. Everything seems to be in good working order and there are no problems that we have found so far. We have already made a long long list of 'to do' jobs before we leave for Mexico in the middle of November. So we will get busy first thing in the morning!
I think it's going to take a few weeks for the reality of all of this to hit us. That we don't have to head back to work in the next few days or weeks or months! Not to rub in to all our co workers we said good bye to, but this feels really awesome. I'm sure we will have days that will make going to work in an office seem appealing, but I hope not to many.
Tomorrow we are off to the marine shops to pick up some of the items we still need to get. Then of course we will have to install them which is where the work comes in. Good thing Ian is a handy guy.
So here we are in Vancouver, boatless (boat is in San Diego) and homeless (not the street kind of homeless). It's a very odd feeling to not have our boat to go to or even our own apartment to go to.
So now what? We just visit friends, work, go to movies, work, and wait... Till the 20th when we finally finish our jobs and get to go back to our chosen lifestyle. Yippee!!
Ian is on the mend and is seeing the physio twice weekly. We are going to have to make sure we are both doing lots of stretching especially when we are on longer passages where we don't get off the boat to walk around. I know for me that when I was doing yoga on a regular basis, I had far less aches and pains. Can't wait to be able to do yoga on the beach... soon.
In the meantime we are going to get in some good visits with good friends that we won't see for a long time. Thanksgiving is around the corner and we will give thanks to our friends and family and all of their support in our endeavor. And we will give thanks to the fact that we are able to achieve our goal of going 'Cruising'.