Santa Barbara to Ensenada, Baja California

Heading to Southern California.


Mexico is a new country for us. New culture, new customs, new language and new food.   We have shopped and ate with the locals and our first impressions are good. A very different place but one that we have enjoyed our first week.

Night time navigation to a new place is always hard. A myriad of lights both on shore and at sea can be beautiful and stressful at the same time.

This post will be continued from our previous post and to completed from a guide-book cruising From Central California USA to Ensenada,  Baja California Mexico.

Log Book

From Santa Barbara to Ventura harbor

Sunday, 1/10/2017
12.40 pm Leaving Santa Barbara Marina
Motoring wind from south. Would like to stay at The Channel Harbor but it would be 10 miles longer and after sunset. We would like to arrive before dark.
05.30 pm arrived Ventura, the Harbor petrol drove the boat to guide how to reach the Harbor. Read by the book said Ventura is attractive Marina. With all the palm tree look like we are already in tropic.
We went up to check in with a dock master which takes time Half an hour to fill out the form and to check all boat documents. (Boat registration, insurance,….)He told that the coast guard wanted to know who we are.
He gave a slip in fisherman’s boat dock. A slip is pretty tight and not clean compare to the price we paid.
The more to the Southern California the less facilities you will get.

Ventura Harbor

Ventura Marina




Moorage : US$ 52 per night, no Wi-Fi, one key card to use shower room
Cash payment only

So we did not impressive with this Marina. The atmosphere of this harbor can make you wow! at first with a scenery when entering to the harbor. A loud rock music combined with tourist with the image of Ventura village.

From Ventura to Long Beach Harbor, Port of Los Angeles
Monday 2/10/2017
08.00 am Leaving Ventura
Passing Channel island, Port Hueneme

2.00 pm Point Dume, Malibu point (Paradise cove)

Passing Santa Monica and Los Angeles

Point Dume, Malibu Point (Malibu is behind the point).

07.00 pm. Long beach
Dark, tired and get lost ..trying to find Marina. Office close, no one pick up a call
navigate back and forward.

12.30 a.m. After midnight, Dock in front of The Alamitos Marina

Tuesday, 3/10/2017
Contact the Alamitos Marina office and they said a boat registration is expired since last year.
(Oops! not only a cruising permit expired.)
Later on so he got sent a renew one sent from prince Rupert. Thank you Frances! So he doesn’t have to put Beautiful Swimmer on the truck back to Canada. Stephen admitted he think about to do that so.
A bit more relax. We decided to stay tonight at the Marina.

Alamitos Bay Marina


Moorage: US$ 43 per night (no Wi-Fi), key card for shower room must deposit US$ 60 and will get money back after 6 months.
Anyway the Marina you can walk to West Marine, Whole Food supermarket and restaurants.

Wednesday 4/10/2017

From Alamitos Bay Marina (Long Beach, Los Angeles to Port of San Diego)
07.50 am leaving Alamitos  Marina

Two guys kayaking and say hi to us.

Sunny, no wind, motoring until West wind arrived in the afternoon.

San Diego Harbor before midnight.

At around midnight, We tied the boat at the empty space dock that we just found. Too tired to find a Marina also have to leave early to  get out of US Border.

Port of San Diego to Ensenada, Baja California (BC)
Thursday 5/10/2017
07.45 am Leaving Port of San Diego Harbor. (No fees because we leave early)

Passing US submarine before the exit of San Diego Harbor.  It is not yellow submarine.

Heading to the Border of US and Mexican
There are US navy ship and helicopter active to security between the US water checking around area back and forward.

I am waving to the Navy helicopter while it passing the boat and feeling so great. But later on…

Point Loma before enter/exit to San Diego harbor.
US Navy

Sailing Vessel Beautiful Swimmer please stay away from the ship at least one mile.” A warning message repeated twice on AIS channel 16 sending from a big navy ship while at the same time a helicopter I waves my hand when it passing by also stop in the air above of our boat. Suddenly, Stephen woke up and steer the boat away as fast as possible.

Entering in the Mexican water at 10.13 am


Tijuana city

At the end is Ensenada.

Night time navigation again. The entrance to Ensenada Harbor we have to follow the green and red light lane until we see the giant Mexican flag where Baja Naval Marina located at the left side. Night time is always takes time longer to figure it out how to approach to a target. Until get closer we use a light to check dock to tie up and while turning around the boat.

Heard a yelling from a couple people as they wanted to help and their sail boat has A Canadian flag flying. Cannot believe our eyes. What a surprises to meet a Canadian boat here that we travel far away and not having a chance to meet one along the way. Jaren and Kirstin (also with a couple of friend) left Tofino (Vancouver island) to offshore for 10 days to Ensenada. Non stop and not see other boat while offshore. They and the boat survived from 48 hours of storms. (waves tall up to half of the mast ~ 20-25 feet) that made my waves in story seems like a baby only 15 feet. Pretty excited  of their story.

Baja Naval Marina, Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico

We rate 4.5 stars

Moorage fees:
Including Water, 50 volts power, Wi-Fi is working at near by office area but not at the marina area.
P.S. Water at dock is not recommend for drink. so we boil it first. 

The boatyard is very clean and staff also good at their job and organized.  Than many of boat yard we have seen in US. A security staff are very friendly and checking for 24 hours.

Friday 6/10/2017

Do all boat Mexican cruising permit
The staff of the Marina (Carlos and Camellia) accompanied us to do all paper work for Mexico cruising permit. It took time waiting and Stephen got ten years cruising permit in Mexico. Comparing with the US gave only one year.
Due to the hurricane season is in south of Baja California we will stay in Ensenada for a few weeks.

Sometimes it feel like a dream that we got here by a medium sailboat. Start from Prince Rupert since 2014, in US in 2016 and in Mexico 2017. It takes time and patience to work, saving money, and years of Stephen’s hard work to get the boat ready and keep it working to be able to live the dream. Exploring along the California coast and now Baja by the sailing/cruising is such a great experience”.