Ensenada Days

March 25, 2015

I was so excited to go to Mexico. It was the first time for me to travel somewhere outside of the United States. There were a lot of things that happened during our stay in Ensenada, but a few experiences were more special: arriving at the dock, eating at a really nice fish restaurant, seeing the movie Insurgent in a Mexican theater with Spanish subtitles, and most especially, drinking and eating a freshly cut coconut.

Kandu in Ensenada
Kandu in Ensenada, Mexico

We left San Diego early in the morning on Friday, March 20th to sail down the coast of Baja California to get to the port of Ensenada, Mexico by mid-afternoon. Uncle Bill (Grandpère) and Joe Houska had joined us a day before. It was fun having them aboard since the Kandu crew of four hadn’t had any other passengers aboard after we left Ventura. Dad had already made arrangements for us to dock inside Puerto Ensenada at Cruise Port Village. When we first arrived at the dock, we went to check-in and met Jonathan, the marina manager. We thought he was the Mexican “Tom Cruise,” because he was so handsome and he had nice hair. Once we were done with Jonathan, we finished putting the sailing gear away and got ready to walk into town to look for a spot to eat dinner.

Joe and Trent walking the dock.
Joe and I walk up to Cruise Port Village Ensenada.

Grandpère knew the city and led us to his favorite seafood restaurant. Once inside “Mariscos Bahia Ensenada,” the host sat us down at a table then went to find an old-fashioned jacket holder to hang our belongings. Everyone hung their jackets, bags and hats on this holder. It was a really neat service the restaurant provided. So now we were looking at the menu. I had no idea what it said so I told my dad what I wanted: fish tacos. It happened to be on the menu. I was the first one to get my food out of everyone: Joe, Bryce, Grandpère, mom and dad. My tacos came with cabbage and salsa. I put both cabbage and salsa all over them and they tasted so good. After I finished my first taco, everybody else got their food. After I finished my second taco, I was really full. Then a little later, everybody else finished too. We walked back to the boat and all went straight to bed.

Our international arrival celebration restaurant
Our international arrival celebration restaurant
Dinner for the Kandu crew.
Dinner for the Kandu crew . . .
... with traditional live entertainment!!!
… with traditional live entertainment!!!

During the next couple of days, my mother, Bryce and I walked past a Mexican movie theater. Several times I studied the panel of movies and saw that Insurgent was playing. Bryce and I knew that Insurgent had just been released in California and we were really happy to discover it was playing in Ensenada. Next to the Insurgent listings we saw “Dub” and “Sub”. “Sub” means the movie will play in English with Spanish subtitles. “Dub” means the movie will play with the actors speaking in Spanish, with either English or no subtitles. It was already 3:00 p.m. in the afternoon. The closest time for us to see the “Sub” version was 4:45 p.m.  So we walked around town for an hour and returned in time for the 4:45 showing. Stepping up to the box office attendant, we asked for 4 tickets because dad was now with us. The woman couldn’t speak English so my mom and dad had to struggle in Spanish. We bought our tickets and walked threw the doors of the theater. The temperature was very cool inside. We all visited the bathroom. It smelled terrible, but I think that was just the smell of the unusual soap. We bought some popcorn and walked over to the where the movie was going to play, but a security guard said we had to wait until they said we could go in. I thought that was really different. We waited for 5 minutes. We found our seats, and then the screen lit up. Some of the commercials were in Spanish and some in English. It was interesting to compare the English dialogue with the Spanish words [subtitles]. I was able to catch a couple, understanding more and more words here and there. I look forward to learning more Spanish as we travel in Mexico and the Galapagos.

Sharing a fresh drinking coconut with Bryce in Ensenada
Sharing a fresh drinking coconut with Bryce in Ensenada

On a day we went to the fish market, we discovered a coconut stand nearby. My dad suggested that we get one to drink. So Bryce and I split a coconut. It cost 50 pesos or about US$3.50. The coconut water was refreshing and lightly sweet. It seemed more real, more natural than the coconut water I had tasted out of a bottle in the states. When we finished drinking it, we handed it back to the man to cut out the meat of the coconut. He had a pokey handle that you stick in the coconut to hold it steady. The man cut the top of the coconut off, but the machete ricocheted off the coconut and hit his hand near the index finger. His finger didn’t get cut off, but it was bleeding a lot. He left immediately to the hospital and his son finished preparing our coconut. The son squeezed a little lime on the meat and wow, was it good. The next day we returned to the coconut stand to see if the man was okay. Antonio had nicked a vein, but the tendons were fine. He showed us that he had fashioned a guard on the pokey handle to make sure that kind of accident wouldn’t happen again. That day, we became friends.


Leaving Ensenada for Islas Cedros, our first overnight passage.
Leaving Ensenada for Islas Cedros, our first overnight passage.
On our way south, down Baja coast.
On our way south, down Baja coast.

Hanging out in Ensenada was a great experience. I got to meet some interesting Mexican people. I also ate lots of fresh fish tacos, watched an American movie in a big theatre with subtitles, and enjoyed delicious fresh food including eating and drinking super tasty coconuts. I am looking forward to many more adventures.

Trent Rigney

5 thoughts on “Ensenada Days”

  1. Hey Trent, I don’t know if my emails are getting back to you all.
    Great descriptions of Ensaneda……you may not realize it now, but in many years to come, all these memories will resurface. Keep us posted on more adventures. You don’t know me, but I love hearing about your trip. GOOD WORK!

    1. Hello Darlene – Thank you for your encouragement. I am often wondering what this trip is all about. Trent

  2. Trent,

    A long time ago… in the mid. 80’s, me and your father did a bike race from Tijuana to Ensenada. I had trouble with my bike the entire race. We had a great time. Ask him about it sometime.

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