Hello! I, Karis, and the rest of us have all been postponing this update because we all thought that we’d be able to write that we were at a new port. Unfortunately, we are still here in Ensenada. The reason for this overextended stay is twofold, first, there was a significant storm coming in a day or two after we arrived in port, and so we decided to weather it in the marina instead of running from it down the coast. After that, Dad, in a routine check on the engine, smelled coolant. This was a significant enough problem that we would not take the risk of leaving our slip until we knew what was wrong and had fixed it. So Dad has daily transformed himself into a greasy pretzel around the engine hunting for the leak.
In the meantime, we slowly but surely explored Ensenada. During the very first outing to a grocery store (I know, not exactly thrilling), I was a bit overwhelmed at the culture-shock, albeit slight. But when I stepped into the Calimax I breathed a sigh of relief, I may not speak the language, have a penny on me, or know how to get back to the marina, but I knew my way around a grocery store. We muddled our way through the checkout – our already small Spanish vocabulary was feeling very, very inadequate, and we quickly resolved to having a more thorough look at numbers past 20. We walked the few blocks home only to remember the security guard who was on duty to only admit people going to and from the cruise ships docked in the same compound. Nobody had minded us leaving, and fortunately, we were allowed back in with a flurry of gesticulation and some toddler level communication.
The next day while outside working on a finicky windlass, we met many of the other cruisers on our dock, and we learned about a local radio net each morning on VHF. Now you uninformed landlubbers probably don’t have the slightest idea what a radio net is, so I’ll enlighten you. Sometimes, on long range Ham radios people set up a net where at a specific time, people listen in and, in turn, talk or discuss whatever was planned. This is the same concept only on a different radio system that is legally required on all US vessels. We listened in and we heard news on the weather and tides and also some tips on boaty stuff. Each day, if you are listening, you are supposed to call in the name of your boat, and it became a running joke that no one could hear our name correctly. Our name changed to Salt & Lake, Sultan Light, Falcon Light and others. Every one of us tried checking in in the hopes that a different voice would do the trick, but to no avail. Let’s just say laughter is a good antidote to frustration.
On a sunny day after the storm, we needed a break from engine work and decided on a hike up a tall hill overlooking the ocean. Remember, we do not have a car, so even before the hike we had to walk a good distance to get to the base of the hill, which was both steep and tall. It was a rewarding climb though, considering the spectacular view down over the expansive city and windswept pacific. Another more necessary walk we took was to the Home Depot to buy bolts for the engine, and that was a long, long, walk. On the way we saw preparations for the Carnival that was to begin later that afternoon and last through the next day. We saw some of it and its parade the next day, and the crowds were thick despite steady rain.
We met quite a few boaters in a monthly cruisers potluck last Friday, including Jan and Chuck who reacquainted us with the card game pinochle, amid laughter, stories, and not too subtle hints. Another sailor we met was Gary, who built his own beautiful sailboat, and now has downsized to building exquisite model sailboats which are fully functional and very pretty. They are so interesting, in fact, that Toby and I are thinking about making one ourselves. Also we’ve enjoyed trying new restaurants that have made me want to figure out just what they put in those fish tacos that make them that good! All in all, we’ve had a good time exploring Ensenada.