Thursday, January 10, 2013

Hauling Out and Hanging Out

For two days we were tied off the the seal-free end tie, tingling our toes on the electric wire and trying to prevent the incessant swell from grinding us into the dock. We figured out the reason for all those big mooring balls outside the docks when one of the yard guys rowed one of our lines out to tie off to a ball to try to hold us off the dock.

We slept eleven hours the first night, met with Mario our project manager, and sorted out some of the haul-out details. We would be hauled at 10:00 the next morning.

Tom, Bruce and I went over to La Inmigración to get our tourist visas, which was a snap, then to the Capitanía de Puerto to pay our boat entry fee. For a glorious moment I thought we were going to get all our business done in one visit. Silly me. Unfortunately the Port Captain's computer was broken and she requested we come back the next day. No problema! As we strolled through town, carefully avoiding all the ankle-breaker holes in the sidewalk and keeping an eye out for the fire hydrant that attacked our friend Torben in 2010,  we literally stumbled across Ensenada's only brew pub. We all enjoyed beer samplers and a gigantic "Crown of Baja" wood-fired pizza.

That night we slept a brief 9 hours and awoke refreshed and ready to haul the boat. The 10:00 haul-out turned into 11:00, then 12:00 because it was the highest tide, and finally around 12:30 we were able to leave the end tie and move Cinnabar into position.
Tom unties us from the mooring ball.
Then there was some discussion about having to remove either the forestay or the radar tower so we could fit into the 50 ton Travelift. Then Tom had to motor out and reverse back into the dock when it was decided we would fold the tower down.

She's up!

Darn, the boss says we have to lower it some more.

The Travelift goes from the boatyard, across the public jetty (malecón) to the dock. After Tom and Bruce entertained the gathering crowd of spectators by repositioning the radar tower with their high-tech solution of a boat hook braced with cushions, the Travelift eventually got Cinnabar out of the water with just a few inches to spare under her keel.

Cinnabar crosses the malecón

Boat sweet boat.

Cinnabar finally got settled into the boatyard which freed us up to re-visit the Port Captain. It took us about 5 minutes to pay our entry fee and because Cinnabar already has a Mexico permit the customs officer wanted nothing to do with us. It didn't hurt that he was just sitting down to his lunch and clearly didn't wish to be bothered.

We celebrated by enjoying an amazing fresh seafood lunch at a small restaurant on the waterfront, Muelle Tres, tortilla espanola, sashimi, ceviche, shrimp quesadillas, and grilled yellowtail. I sipped, (OK, gulped), a glass of local white wine (OK, three glasses) and the guys enjoyed a local Ensenada brew, Agua Mala.

Bruce got his tourist visa just in time for him to return back home again, so the next day we put him on the bus for Tijuana and consoled ourselves by walking over to TNT, the friendly neighborhood bicycle shop. Tom rented a bicycle, spied a poster for a mountain bike poker run the next day and I'm sure you can guess the rest.

The next morning (Sunday) Tom was up bright and early and headed off up the canyon to sign up for the rally.

All smiles and all ready.
I followed on foot for a bracing hike uphill and hooked up with him an hour later. It was pretty cool to walk from the dockyards, through the high end shopping area, then through the neighborhoods, and finally into the foothills. I arrived to find nearly 300 cyclists of all ages and sizes and loud music with enough bass to vibrate my intestines. What a scene! We even ran into Pati from the bicycle shop; we already know people in town! The route was a loop that came through the starting line 4 times so the riders could get their poker cards. It was pretty casual with people getting tired and dropping out, or resting and visiting with friends, or blatantly taking shortcuts to get in front of others. What a hoot. In fact, a father and son registered and started the rally after everyone else had completed one lap! A precocious child befriended me, no doubt thinking that with my limited Spanish I was in dire need of assistance, but with her missing front tooth and rapid-fire speech I could barely understand her. I regret not taking a picture of the adorable Mariana.

Don't even go there!

The lovely Pati from TNT Biycle shop.

After the Poker Run, riding the bicycle back through town was a strange experience as Ensenada really shuts down on Sundays.

We rode all the way down the canyon.

The usually frenetic downtown area was quiet and nearly vacant. During the week the big cruise ships stop in Ensenada, regurgitating their patrons into the city streets, and the place comes alive with portable stands and people loudly hawking their wares, food and drink to these transient tourists. There is even a small amusement park that seems able to spring up at a moment's notice. And all this is in addition to the permanent stores and shops along "Gringo Gulch" that cater to these voyagers. Even though the downtown was dead we found a sportsbar where we could grab some lunch and a beer. We noted that it would be open for the 'Niners game this Saturday, so we might have to re-visit.

For now we are living on the hard along with all the other boatyard campers, all of us perched high on our eyries. We access the boat via a tall ladder and it's up and down about 5-6 times a day.

The hood
The boat yard works six days a week. The staff is punctual, they start early, and they work hard all day. It seems odd to me that they listen to a radio station that plays U.S.A. pop hits from the 80's all day long. Apparently they forego their lunch and volleyball hour on Saturday so they can go home early.

Dionicio hard at work.
Some of the sailors here are fascinating. The couple next to us is in their homebuilt sailboat, "Ahaluna", on which they have lived and cruised for 35 years! I imagine they have figured a few things out. Across the yard is a steel ketch "Kotik" that a French couple had built for them in Brazil 23 years ago so they could cruise Antarctica, which they have done regularly. It has a lifting centerboard and a folding rudder so they can sail up onto the ice and not get crushed. Today I noticed there was a short article about Kotik in Latitude 38's December issue. Quite the coincidence.


Add to that our own boat chores and all the amazingly nice and interesting locals that we have met, you can imagine that we have not had one dull moment since we arrived. Our album from week #1 is here.

The locals are great at jury-rigging. You wouldn't believe some of the things we've seen.



  1. OK, first off, I love your pink sunglasses.

    Y'all appear to be having a ball. A bike race, a child adopting you, wine, beer, did I say wine...

    Do you get "land sick" sleeping on the boat without any gentle rocking by the water?

    Mike would be delighted if I mailed him down to you - after you are back in the water.

    Enjoy every minute, my friend.

  2. Amiga! Last night we had some not-so-gentle rocking due to the high winds, and it was far from relaxing since we are up on stilts. Thank goodness today is sunny and calm.

  3. Happy New Year, Glad you are having a great time, I am jealous....

    You 2 on the bike is priceless...

    We had a mid winter race "float" today, with 0 wind, sunny and warm even with the temps in the high 40's in most places...


  4. great to see good old california girl being put to great use
    beautiful yacht a great build
    Jason G
    Ian Franklin Boat Yards

  5. Hola Jason G,
    It is great to hear from one of the original New Zealand craftsmen who built the vessel. We continually admire the fine quality construction throughout. Maybe we'll meet up in-person one day if/when we sail the boat back to NZ for a tune-up/re-fit.
    Feel free to contact us separately if you want a further updates.
    Thanks for your kind note!
    --TC and SS