Wednesday, 2 November 2011

¿hablas español?

We watched for the boat to cross the thin red line on our chart plotter. Pausing mid-bite, (dinner was a passable Thai red curry thrown together by moi), we high-fived our way across the border into Mexico. Then, the regular watches resumed. Two sleepy heads entered the port of Ensenada the next morning. We hugged the port side of the entrance to the harbour, as a large cruise ship was coming in at the same time. We reassured the Harbourmaster on the radio we would stay out of the way, and did just that.

The largest flag I've ever seen!
I called Baja Naval Marina on the VHF radio. It’s one thing to speak Spanish in person. Gestures and facial expressions are very helpful. On the radio, well it’s a little more challenging. I told Rogelio, the dock master, that I was practicing my Spanish, (in Spanish). We   stumbled into a conversation, me with my broken Spanish, and he graciously speaking despacio. I almost made it through the whole conversation in Spanish, but he lost me when he described in more detail where D1 berth was. Once docked, we met the man himself, and as we walked toward the marina office he jokingly asked: “So, are we still speaking Spanish?”  To which I agreed, but he said he was already in English mode, and it was no problem. To be honest, I was tired so I didn’t argue. I still threw in some Spanish words into the conversation… I just couldn’t help it.

Once Rogelio very helpfully talked us through the process, we walked over to the building where immigration, the port captain, a bank, and customs are all located. It is rather convenient to have everything in one building. We proceeded to jump our way through the various hoops. My attempts in Spanish were well received by the various officials. The Port Captain, at first curt, greatly warmed up to me as I persistently stumbled my way through in Spanish. She even took the time to slowly repeat her requests while teaching me proper sentence construction as I worked my way through the paperwork. Rick was solid moral (if sleepy) support. He’ll get a chance to practice too. I figure I’ll let him ease into it.

We had to go back at 13:00 to finish some of the paperwork for the Temporary Import Permit.  Again, there were many laughs as I asked my questions about this and that word. Sure, I massacred the language, but honestly, this part is the fun part for me. I fervently hope to improve my rusty Spanish as we travel further into Mexico.  I want to connect with the locals wherever we go. It enriched my travels in South America, and I know it will here too.

At last, we are in Ensenada. We have bought Mexican cervezas, and are now c-h-i-l-l-i-n-g out. Tomorrow we’ll walk around town, get a new SIM card for our phone, and figure out the lay of the land. We figure we’ll be here for three nights; a bit of a splurge, but a necessary pause as we plan our travels south.


  1. So cool. I love how peoples really seem to appreciate that you are trying your best tp speak the local language. I bet the weather there is dreamy :)

  2. Think sunny August in Victoria, with a cool-ish evening - quite nice (ready for even warmer though!) It's worth the effort to say at least a few words in Spanish - it is Mexico after all. They don't owe it to me to speak English... So yes, it was great to get encouragement! :)

  3. Congrats! We're probably leaving Bahia Tortugas for Bahia Santa Maria tomorrow.

  4. Just catching up on your blog and see you just made it to Mexico .. woo hoo! Congrats! Looks like ya'll have been having an amazing time, and we folks like ya'll make us antsy to get out there!

    We don't know any Spanish but plan on making a real effort to learn it once we set sail.

    Looking forward to hearing about your Mexican adventures!



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