Gone Floatabout

Sailing, Photography, Wilderness

Passage to Ensenada, Mexico (January 2018)


Super Moon

Super Moon rising just after our departure

I left off the log of our current voyage with departing from Marina del Rey, California on January 30, 2018. Since it was getting late in the season (most sailors bound for Mexico try to head out in October as soon as hurricane season is over), we decided to make a nonstop overnight hop to Ensenada, the northern port of entry on the Baja Peninsula. We had a dead calm for the whole 28 hours of the passage, but the spectacular clear skies and the total eclipse of the “super moon” made up for it!

We set off in late afternoon, puttering past all the pelicans at the Marina del Rey breakwater: Pelican at Marina del Rey breakwater

And then motored right under the flight path for LAX (Los Angeles airport). It almost felt like you could touch some of the planes!

Sailing under LAX

Steering right by LAX airport after leaving Marina del Rey

The sun started to set as we rounded Point Vincente and gave us a stunning show of crimson and scarlet above the silhouettes of Catalina Island and a freighter headed north. Sunset

To the east, over the large houses on the peninsula that ends at Point Vincente, rose the enormous globe of the “super moon”, so called because it was closer to Earth than usual on that night. Super Moon

I turned in soon after dinner and Seth had a calm and uneventful night watch under the bright moon. I came on deck again at midnight for my watch, which was also uneventful and brilliantly moonlit until around 3AM when the total eclipse of the super moon began! The Earth’s shadow moved across the moon quite slowly, blotting it out gradually and allowing more and more stars to pepper the sky. Although my watch technically ends at 04:00, I decided to stay up until I had seen the complete eclipse, which happened around 5:30. It was definitely worth it – I think it was the first total moon eclipse I’ve seen!


Nearing total eclipse! ~05:00 PST January 31, 2018

Seth of course also got to see the eclipse when he came on deck at 5:30 and then he got to watch the Earth’s shadow recede. It didn’t recede completely before dawn came, but he saw a lovely rosy dawn with the partially eclipsed moon still visible. He also got an incredible display of dolphins playing around CELESTE in the mirror-like water.


Dolphin just breaking the surface – doesn’t it almost look like a painting?!

The rest of the day was, frankly, boring as we motored south past the desert hills of northern Baja. Occasionally a few buildings appeared on the coast, but mostly it was empty and dry. It was starkly beautiful in its own way and rather remarkable to see hills devoid of development after California. Night came before we reached Ensenada, but we had reserved a slip at one of the marinas there, so that when we turned into the harbor at around 20:30, a marina security guard was there to direct us to our slip with a flashlight – very helpful!

Ensenada marina

Ensenada seen from our marina slip the day after our arrival

Rested after a good night’s sleep, we spent the following day clearing Mexican Customs and Immigration with the help of one of the marina employees – it’s a great service that all the marinas in Ensenada provide. The agent ferries you to the various offices in the marina van and does all the interpreting, most helpful considering our terrible Spanish… It was an easy and not horribly expensive clearance. (E.g. The cruising permit, good for 10 years, was $60.) And it would have been very smooth and relatively fast if the power hadn’t gone out at the Port Office. They needed power in order to print our permit (and those of the other sailors clearing in at the same time as us), so we ended up spending another night in Ensenada and going back to the Port Office the next morning when electricity had been restored. We took the opportunity to change our engine’s oil and filters, as we were anticipating more calms on the next part of our voyage south. Once that was done, we topped up on fuel and headed out again into the sunset.

Ensenada in our wake

Ensenada in our wake

And finally I’ve made some more maps! Here’s a map of our voyage from Port Angeles, WA (September 2017) to San Francisco, CA (October 2017) and then Southern California (December 2017) and finally all the way to the end of Mexico’s Baja peninsula (where this set of blog posts is headed).

2017 route_West Coast

Our route from the Pacific NW to Baja, Mexico.


(Please note: I scheduled this post to come out while we were sailing again, so I’ll read and reply to your comments when I get a chance! Thanks!)


20 thoughts on “Passage to Ensenada, Mexico (January 2018)

  1. Pingback: Viewing the world | Mrs. Carter's 3rd Grade Classroom

  2. Pingback: The West Coast of Baja, Mexico, Part 1: Great sailing, snorkeling, sunsets, and scenery! (February 2018) | Gone Floatabout

  3. Wow, that dolphin shot is so spectacularly beautiful… Goosebumps!

  4. Looking forward to hearing the next posts. Spent some time in the Baja, the whales in Aldofo Lopez Mateos were just awesome!

  5. That dolphin picture!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Beautiful post. I’m guessing you guys are heading north to find a quiet island and cool water in the relative safety from hurricanes. Or maybe you jumped the pond and are in the South Pacific. Your posts keep me alive and happy while I continue to take my little boat apart chasing banshees. Keep writing 🙂

    • I’m so glad you enjoy our posts! Your boat is lovely and so worth all the work you put into her! Hope to cross tacks someday! 🙂

  7. Another wonderful trip you have had, photos we could never have seen thank you. Planed or lucky you had a great tme, a pity no wind just have to keep the fuel tanks full, keep up the good adventures CHEERS

    • Thanks so much, Terry! So glad you’re enjoying our posts – this was certainly a wonderful adventure sailing down the whole West Coast!

  8. Beautiful photos, guys! So lucky to be at sea for the eclipse.

  9. Fantastic to see an eclipse. Very special.

  10. Thanks again. That picture of the dolphin looked surreal. I remember camping and seeing an unexpected eclipse of the moon. Great times. Viva Mexico!

    • Glad you liked the dolphin image! They were beautiful to see! Must have been wonderful seeing an eclipse while out camping!

  11. Ellen: Just so you know we read your posts with interest. Good for you both to stay out of the
    corporate rat race! You can always do that later if you choose. Regards, Tom and Jody

    • Hi Tom and Jody,
      It’s great to hear from you and know that you read and enjoy our posts! Hope you are doing well and enjoying spring!
      All the best,