1st Solo From Ventura to Ensenada

It was a beautiful day and I headed out a little bit on the nervous side I’ll admit. I had said I wasn’t going to motor much but there wasn’t much wind and if there isn’t enough and you have the sails up when a wave comes and as the boat rides up and starts to turn down the wave if there isn’t any wind to keep the boom out the whole main comes rocking back and slams into the slack side.  Consequently, sailing without enough wind is not fun.  So I set Otto on course and just enjoyed being out on the water on a beautiful sunny day.  The sun was setting in the evening and it was one of the most magnificent sunsets I’ve ever seen.


The next night the sun had already set and this was the aftermath which I’m finding is always better than the actualy sunset.

after sunset1

after sunset

After that it got dark!  The wind had picked up to about 12 knots on my tail and I got my courage up and put them sails up.  Turned the engine off and what a much more pleasant ride it is with just the wind.  The seas were pretty sloppy meaning there were different waves coming from different directions so the boat is rocking and rolling.  I was able to sail the whole day until the next night when the wind died off again and I fired the engine up.  As a side note, my little 40 hp Yanmar diesel used less than a 1/4 tank in about 30 hrs of motoring.  Not too shabby I’d say!  I was about 45 nm from Los Angeles at this point and would pass west of  Long Beach and San Diego  along the way when I started getting into commercial ship traffic.  I had lost my chart plotter display which also displays my radar so I was pretty concerned losing radar. I was very thankful at this point though that I had gotten the AIS system up and working and that mine transmits my position as well.  I can see every commercial ship in my vicinity and they can see me as well.  The first ship that I noticed was 40 miles out heading east at 17 knots and I was on a southerly course going about 5 knots.  With his speed and mine it looked like we were going to come pretty close.  Sure enough as he was about 4 nm away from me it looked like we were on pretty much a very close encounter at the least. When he was about 2 nm out, I noticed with my AIS info on him that he made a 4 degree course change to the north which made sure he would pass off my stern which he did.  I truly believe had I not had my AIS that he wouldn’t have seen me as easily with just a blip on a radar.  Below are some screen shots from my AIS software that shows how many ships I had to navigate through that night.


We all passed safely though and I actually went to sleep right after I made a pretty aggressive course change to go behind and avoid being in the middle of 2 ships that were running parallel to each other directly on a course that would cross my path.  When I got up in the morning I could see where one ship went behind me and another altered his course to go off my stern.  Come morning I was about 8 hrs away from Ensenada and it was a beautiful sunny calm day. I cooked me a sausage and egg and toast breakfast, took a hot shower, put the boat in order and went up on deck to navigate my way into Ensenada.  I could actually see it when I was that far out.  I had to go out and around the Islas de Todas Santas and turn east in towards Ensenada.  The Islas are famous for some of the largest waves in North America according to Wikipedia and obviously surfing.  As I made the turn I started seeing small flocks of pelicans flying back to the mainland from the island.  As I’ve said before I just love the pelicans.pelicans1

Didn’t know this but Ensenada is a stop over for cruise ships.  They actually left about 10pm that evening.

cruise ship

As it was Sunday when I arrived at Baja Naval another boat had just arrived from Bellingham originally but they harbor hopped all the way down the coast and had just left San Diego the day before.  Saw another boat from Hood River here.  Haven’t seen the owner but hope to talk to them if so. Being Sunday Immigration was closed so I had to stay on the boat until Monday when I went and got checked in by Immigration.  I have to get a Temporary Import Permit which is very important but I don’t have my bill of sale so I’m waiting to take care of that still.  Going through Immigration is a little different arriving by sea.  I went to one building with 4 different offices one being a bank and after each making it through each one you would have to go back to the bank to pay each time.  One more time for TIP.

The boat is being hauled out of the water either tomorrow or the next day and I can live aboard but I may find a hotel a night or two.  Hoping to take no more than 2 weeks to get all my work done and it’s not a bad thing because the weather isn’t looking good out there for the next week or so.

I know you all think I’m nuts but I personally highly recommend you retire, sell everything you have and buy a sailboat and sail away.  I’ve only just begun but the sensation of sailing into an unknown harbor that you can see from 15 miles out or so is such a unique experience and perspective.  You come in so slow that things slowly develop as you get closer.  So different from flying in at 75 mph, hitting the off ramp and using your gps to find the proper street and location.

Rambling now but I’ll leave you with a bronze statue in a plaza and if you can’t tell that is a woman openly nursing a baby.




2 thoughts on “1st Solo From Ventura to Ensenada

  1. Ken Bruce says:

    This is better than a novel.


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