Thursday, December 5, 2013

Arrival in Mexico


We arrived at Baja Naval Marina in Ensenada at 7 AM after an easy overnight sail from San Diego. The Dock Master, Rogelio, recognized us from his presentation at the Long Beach Strictly Sail show. He sorted our papers and sent us off to Immigration, Customs, the Port Capitan, and for fishing licenses.

Once sorted, we hoisted the Mexican courtesy flag and thought we'd explore a bit. We went to the local movie theatre and saw, Capitan Phillips (in English with Spanish subtitles). It is a great film with incredible acting. We also went to Mexico’s oldest bar, Hussong’s. It has a great atmosphere and great margaritas.

With Rob and Debra from Avant, we hired a car and driver and headed for wine country. There are many vineyards outside of Ensenada. We went northeast and our first stop was La Casa de Dona Lupe. Dona Lupe herself was there overseeing the wine tasting, the cheese tasting and the small boutique that sold chocolates and jams.



Then we stopped in at L.A. Cetto, one of the largest wineries in the region. We had not heard of it, but Encuentro Guadalupe looked stunning, so we stopped. It is a winery, restaurant, and it has small rectangular cabins perched high up the mountainside.  We would certainly recommend it for a weekend get-away, either from a boat in Ensenada or from San Diego.




We continued on to Monte Xanic and bought a couple of bottles of sauvignon blanc, one a late harvest. We then began looking for a restaurant called, Corazon de Tierra, which I had heard was good and the staff at Monte Xanic had said was informal, casual and not touristy. After making our driver follow rutted dirt roads according to Google Maps, we arrived at a lovely rural restaurant, with staff dressed in black jackets and white shirts, offering a 6 course lunch menu that required a two hour minimum for $USD75 per person, wine not included. It just was not what we were looking for so we finished our water and left. On another day, in another mood, it would be wonderful to return.
The majority of the vineyards are only open to the public Thursday-Sunday and by appointment only. As it was Wednesday, we missed many that have won international awards. We will look for them as we stock up on wine throughout Mexico.
The guys at Baja Naval did a couple of small welds on our boat where the davits that lift and carry Tubby, our tender, attach to the arch. They did a quick, clean, sturdy and inexpensive job. Other than having to walk through the work yard to reach the showers, it was a quiet and pleasant stay. Rogelio and all the staff were friendly and helpful.