Revisiting Ensenada & Guadalupe Valley
15 November 2014
October 12, 2014
We did this last year – sailed down the Baja coast on the Pacific side – but this time, it is a totally different experience. For many reasons.
It's not our boat. Although we are active participants regarding the safety of the boat and passengers, we are not responsible for all the details that go into preparing and provisioning. Nor do we have to pay the cost!
Jay and I can leave the helm and sit on the bow of the boat together. Something we rarely get to do on Cadenza.
I don't have to cook all the meals. Bobbi enjoys working in the galley and delivers some scrumptious cuisine.
Jay will assist, but doesn't have to be the fix-it master of all things mechanical.
Last year we left San Diego in the evening and arrived in Ensenada at dawn.
This year we left San Diego pre-dawn and arrived in Ensenada before sunset.
Last year Marina Coral was 90% occupied.
This year Marina Coral is about 70% occupied, at most.
Last year, the Puerto de Capitan's office was packed with over seventy people waiting to check-in.
This year, there was only us four and another four from one other boat.
Last year, the check-in process took us all day.
This year, the check-in process took about an hour.
I suppose the main difference is that it is not new. This year's journey doesn't have the anticipation and excitement of exploring the unknown. Last year, when we arrived in our first port in Mexico, I had the eyes of an innocent child, curious and full of wonder. Now, I see Ensenada through the eyes of an adult and I am much more critical. It is an interesting city, but I am anxious to move on.
One of the highlights (and somewhat of a surprise) of our trip to Ensenada was the wine country in the Guadalupe Valley. Both years we took a tour and visited three wineries, followed by an early dinner in one of the restaurants in the valley.
It is a beautiful valley, the terrain not unlike our wine country in southern California. They are mostly known for their red wines. There are some white, but very few. They grow grapes in both dry, sandy (arsenal) soil and what they call, colima soil, which is under the shade of the mountains and is wetter. One of the wineries, Paralelo, served the same wine, but used grapes grown from the two different soils. They were a blend of reds; Grenache, Syrah, Merlot, Barrera and Cabernet. Instinctively, I thought I would like the one from the mountainous area, (Colima) but ironically, I preferred the wine made from the grapes grown in sandy soil (Arsenal). We also visited 3 Mujeres, a winery run by three woman who all use the same equipment and grapes from their vineyard, but create their own individual wines. Finally, we took Bobbi back to our favorite winery, Adobe Guadalupe, which is also an inn. Nassir Haghighat designed the inn drawing from Persian architecture with touches of Mexico. It is stunning both inside and out. When visiting Adobe Guadalupe you can chose to have a tasting in their newly-built store or in the cava. We chose to bring Bobbi to the cave where we tasted five wines, all named after angels (but for one). The final tasting – Lucifer – a grappa, made from a muscat grape. OMG!
At the suggestion of Israel (our driver both last year and this year) we had dinner at a place called Familia Samarin. It was a good meal which included three more tastings. (As if we hadn't had enough!)
For those of you who love wine, whether boaters or landlubbers, I would highly recommend visiting Guadalupe Valley. And if you can, stay at Adobe Guadalupe. I think you will find it a wonderful, mini-vacation, a bit exoctic and not far from California.