Hey everyone! We sailed into Ensenada yesterday morning after motor-sailing through the night over glassy seas. The sunrise was gorgeous, Alyssa snapped some great pics that I posted at the end of this post.
Yesterday we spent the day exploring town and sampling all the amazing tacos pescados (fish tacos) while listening to live music on the waterfront. We tracked down Werner and Kai on Princess del Mar and enjoyed a cold cerveza aboard and then shared a massive burrito con longosta (lobster burrito) before retiring for the night.
This morning we joined the three-car armada of sunburnt cruisers from the marina and headed over to the CIS (Immigration, customs, and port captain building.) We went through the arduous process of clearing into Mexico. Stand in line at immigration, fill out form, take form to bank, back to immigration for stamps and to hand in form, etc. Then visit the Capitan de Puerto for a similar process and then to customs. We were trying our best to follow the procedure and were then informed by the gentleman from the marina that we were to pay a one-time fee of $300 USD each!! WTF?! Uh, why? He informed us that since we arrived on a Sunday and didn’t report to the CIS office (that was CLOSED ON SUNDAY), unfortunately we had to pay this fee. I flat refused. The other cruisers had been at the marina since last THURSDAY and they hadn’t reported to the CIS at all and they weren’t going to be charged this bribe/fee. After the marina manager had another discussion with the immigrations official – that probably went something like: “the dumb American won’t pay that large of a bribe, we should go lower.” – he informed us that he was able to lower the fee to $50 US. WOW, WHAT A DEAL! Uh, still no bueno. I wasn’t going to pay them more than the others had to pay. I said we don’t have any more than was required to clear in. After another discussion and more waiting, he said “it’s OK, no fee.” Welcome to Mexico I guess :-/
After a few hours at the CIS, we had our passports stamped, and paid the fee, cleared in with the port captain, paid him a fee, received our temporary import permit for the boat, con fee, and cleared customs….sans fee. Then we ventured downtown for some more awesome tacos pescados from a street vendor and found a supermarcado (grocery store) that was full of locals.
We did the best we could reading the spanish and loaded up with a months worth of provisions. We took a taxi back to the marina and are loading the fridge.
We are planning to depart tomorrow morning and head down the baja peninsula. We don’t have an exact itinerary, but south is the main idea! We will likely stop in Bahia Tortugas, Bahia Santa Maria and Bahia Magdelena before rounding Cabo in a couple weeks.