Athena called a favorable wind, pure Zephyr whistling on wine-dark sea. Telemachus commanded his companions to seize the rigging; so they did, and raised the pine-wood mast inside the rounded block, and bound it down with forestays round about, and raised the bright white sails with leather ropes. Wind blew the middle sail; the purple wave was splashing loudly round the moving keel. The goddess rode the waves and smoothed the way. The quick black ship held steady, so they fastened the tackle down, and filled their cups with wine. They poured libations to the deathless gods, especially to the bright-eyed child of Zeus. All through the night till dawn the ship sailed on.
As I entered the breakwater to Marina Coral on Friday 9 November my outboard motor started making a loud grinding noise. I motored for another minute before it quit, and was able to glide into my assigned slip. A mechanic looked at it later that day and confirmed that it was now an anchor. Since then I’ve learned that it takes one day to drive to San Diego and buy a new outboard, and one week to complete the paperwork required to import it into Mexico. In my case it also involved driving the wrong way into oncoming traffic towards the border crossing, once at the direction of a Customs officer and once at the direction of some car window washers who rode on the bumper of my rental car and moved a concrete barrier so I could take a shortcut which saved me 3 hours of waiting at the border. I bought full insurance on the rental car and thought I might as well put it to good use.
The queue at the border is horrendous because of the additional security to protect us from the women and children in the migrant caravan from Central America. When I was at Customs, every few minutes there would be a rumor that the caravan was approaching and everyone would run outside to see it.
On the way back to Ensenada navigation wasn’t working on my phone and I got really lost in Tijuana. It was like Mad Max or East Oakland out there. I decided it was safer to drive through stop signs and red lights than to stop. Apparently everyone else thought the same thing. The full insurance on the rental car turned out to be a real bargain.
My new outboard is installed and I’m ready to sail South. I love Ensenada and I’ve had a wonderful time here. I’ve met so many people and everyone is incredibly friendly. The marina is very quiet and peaceful. The weather has been beautiful. But it is time to go. I will restock my provisions tomorrow and take care of a few other things, then when everything feels right I will say goodbye to my friends and sail away.
I departed Avalon at 6am on Saturday 27 October with clear skies and stars overhead. A light breeze from the west wafted me towards Oceanside over smooth seas. Soon after the sun rose thick fog descended and I sailed the rest of the day blanketed in fog, sometimes thick, sometimes thin. I arrived in Oceanside at 3:30pm and tied up to my guest slip in front of the Jolly Roger restaurant where I left the boat for a week and flew home fr a quick visit.
I returned to Oceanside on Saturday 3 November and departed early Sunday morning for San Diego. I spent 4 beautiful days there completing my entry paperwork for Mexico, provisioning, and enjoying all that San Diego has to offer.
I sailed out of San Diego Bay on the afternoon of Thursday 8 November for Ensenada, my first port in Mexico. It was a gorgeous afternoon and evening, with just a sliver of the waxing crescent moon after sunset and setting not long after the sun.
The stars in the moonless sky were magnificent. I spent the evening sailing South with Mars directly ahead of me. I sailed slowly with light winds from the WNW pushing me towards Ensenada over flat seas. Then at 4am the Santa Anna winds that were fanning fires further north in California hit me suddenly and ferociously. I put a double reef in the mainsail and furled the jib, but still had the rail buried. At sunrise I was 4 miles from the entrance to Marina Coral and not making much forward progress against the fierce wind. I lowered the mainsail and motored towards the entrance at full throttle. It took 3 hours to cover the 4 miles, and as I entered the marina my outboard made a loud rattling noise and quit. I coasted into the dock and tied up. The wind died completely an hour later.
I’ll be in Ensenada for a few days as I figure out how to get a new outboard in Mexico. It will probably involve a trip north to San Diego. There are worse places to break down. Marina Coral is the most luxurious Marina I’ve stayed in on this trip with pools, spas, gym, excellent restaurant, and feudal service. Ensenada has been upgraded since I was here last, with a wine trail, afternoon jazz concerts, and upscale restaurants.