A Tale of Two Nordies


May 2019

San Diego

Where oh where is Northern Ranger!? I am now at the point where the closest I get to cruising is either living vicariously through other people's posts or dreaming about it…and last night I had a doozy, everyone I have ever cruised with was there!! So fun, and so sad when I woke up and realized I was on dry land. Bummer.

So where IS Northern Ranger?

Well, NRII is happily ( I assume) tied up and hunkered down for the summer in La Paz. We cut our cruising short in order to get ourselves home and deal with family and boat selling issues. As soon as we could get a decent weather window to cross over from La Cruz to La Paz we took it, had a fair 46 hour crossing and started the end-of-season chores as soon as we arrived. That consisted mostly of cleaning everything like mad, shutting down fridges and freezers, numerous oil changes and putting the water maker to bed….we managed that in record time and were on the road within a few days. I was terrifically sad to miss out on a few more weeks in the Sea, but duty called and it seemed like the right thing to do. Our plan is to just start earlier in the fall!

leaving La Cruz, local sailing fleet accompanying us..
overnights are all about the sunsets
halfway across!
home again home again…cleaned up and ready to leave
little red truck loaded up and ready to roll!
last dinner at the Italian restaurant in Costa Baja
The drive up to San Diego was, as always, a lot of fun- anyone who is considering driving down the Baja, do your homework but also just do it. Roads are much better than they have been and as long as you follow the "don't drive at night" rule you are good to go. As far as road conditions, we have seen worse roads here in California or back in BC. We would like to extend our drive timetable and do some more side exploring on one of these trips… but usually we are always in a hurry to get to the boat or in a hurry to get home! I love the scenery and this time we had more time to explore the towns we stop at for the night. Finally got to see the coast and the salt flats at Guerrero Negro!

favourite little Inn at Loreto, and the great margaritas that go with it!
lighthouse on the coast at Guerrero Negro
local fisherman found a whale bone on his excursion that morning… pretty pleased with himself!
local transportation.. love seeing the horses
And semana santa was starting to bring the inland families out to the coast for the annual Easter week-long beach party down in the Concepcion area. We saw a whole lot of cars and trucks heading south on the road, full of families and loaded down with beach toys, cooler chests, and mattresses strapped to the roof.

local beaches in Concepcion starting to get crowded before Semana Santa
Maybe we are getting used to the drive, maybe it's because the roads were better, but it was a beautiful trip this time and way less stressful, although there are some curva peligrosas (dangerous curves) that make your toes curl and your heart pound… slow and steady and hope you don't meet a huge truck heading the other way.

we followed this truck through all the curves and couldn’t get a good look at him…thought it was a sweet ride… found him parked by the beach in Loreto
NRI is still in Ensenada. After two years of being on the market we actually had a couple of expressions of interest… and chose one to hopefully become her new owner. One haul out, a survey, and a short cruise in a very rough harbour later, our prospective owner showed all the signs of being smitten with our beautiful 46, so now it is just the paperwork to get a Canadian boat from a Mexican marina into American waters and into the hands of her new American owners. Not unlike our experience with NRII… so we know the "sit back and wait" game needs to be played.

Northern Ranger I getting the once over at Baja Naval, Ensenada
We have been hanging around San Diego for all of May now, luckily staying with friends and having a really good time… but I am ready to go home again and move on to summer at our lake. We did get back home for a quick visit, watched the ice come off the lake (hooray kayak time!), checked in on the parents at Denman Island, and then flew back to San Diego after. Whirlwind ten days of driving around trying to see and do everything. But that's what we do….

ice is gone! Welcome spring!
it’s all about the sunsets
locals come out for a cruise
Back in California and during our extended SD layover one of the things we had an opportunity to take part in was the annual Cubar fundraising dinner, where past, present, and undecided Cubaristas got together and talked about the upcoming Cubar rally ( Cruise Underway To Baja Rally formerly known as Fubar).. Great night at the San Diego yacht club, who are hosting the event once again, and a brilliant opportunity to catch up with our fellow Cubaristas from 2015 and 2017, and talk to some of the Undecideds about what a great event this is.

Still room to sign up, if you can get yourself and your boat to San Diego by the end of October- strongly recommend this for a way to get down the coast to La Paz or Puerto Vallarta if you have never done it before, or even if you have. Especially for first timers, travelling in a posse is a really good idea, whether with an organized group like the Cubar or the sailboat equivalent the Baja-haha..or a group of like minded individuals all heading in the same direction who want to have fun! ( Nordhavns , for example!)

San Diego has also been a stop-over or a stop-off place for a number of our Nordhavn friends, old and new, so we had several opportunities to get together with cruising buddies as they prepared for summer by either putting their boats to bed in SD, or moving their boats back to the Pacific Northwest and changing their cruising grounds. Bittersweet, as our boat will be staying in Mexico for a while yet ( Canadian taxes and duties … scary)…but meanwhile we always all seem to find a way to get together over a meal, a few bottles of wine, and some good stories.

afternoon on the back deck of Sea Level II with new owners of another N60…Always fun to see old friends and make new ones!
We also had a chance to hear Willie Nelson! Live! From the comfort of a ten foot inflatable with Ken and Christy Donnelly, complete with a picnic dinner and some lovely wine. We were surrounded by much younger people hunkered down on paddle boards or in dinghies and boats themselves, and although we weren't close enough to really see Willie, the sound was great!

Unfortunately it was not a hot May night in San Diego…. but no one seemed to mind and everyone was pretty mellow by the end of it… just saying…this was Willie Nelson after all…

dinghying to the concert with Ken and Christy Donnelly
I’m too excited, always been a Willy Nelson fan!
Willy! Luckily the sound was better than our view
Then there was the last minute scramble to take part in the Air-cooled Meet down at Imperial beach, where we drove Christy's 65 VW truck and matching trailer down and instantly became one of the most popular vehicles in the show. We certainly appreciated being able to sit inside warm and dry while the rain poured down on everyone else! And surprise! ( not really!) she won best of show for her split double-cab truck category. Not bad for suddenly deciding the day before to enter!

the truck and trailer… before the rain started
what a sweet set-up!!!!
We got a bit of a cruising fix in when we helped Ken and Christy move Varnebank, which is the first time we have actually been on that amazing ship while she was actually underway. What a treat, and it was all we could do to turn around and come back into the harbour… Mexico here we come! Not….

the deckhands waiting for their instructions!
Christy at the helm…. giving the instructions
Of course my favourite spur-of-the-moment event was our weekend in Palm Springs, where we joined son Andrew and his girlfriend Adrienne and her entire family… and he proposed while we were exploring the Joshua Tree park. Pretty special time, and we were thrilled to be a part of it. Our job was to pick up the ring he had ordered, from the jeweller in La Jolla. I think one or two people had an inkling something was up when we said we were coming… but it was still a wonderful surprise. And I kind of liked Cathedral City and really loved the Joshua Trees..

the question…
the answer
So life has not been dull, and in between adventures I have been doing a lot of sewing, as some of these things require the kind of space available to me here but not, most definitely, at home. Good to have something fun to do, as the weather has been atrociously bad!

painting with thread and fabric… not as messy as oil paints!
rug making… way fun!
Ultimately of course there's The Boat Sale. Being one of those individuals with a Superstitious nature I didn't like to jinx things by talking about something before its ultimate conclusion.

So all our to-ing and fro-ing has been mostly under the radar.. but now it really is happening.

The paperwork on both sides has been dealt with – and even as I type we are bringing NRI up from Ensenada to San Diego.

The marina provided the means to get our paperwork done, sending us with a driver to the port captain's office and facilitating the steps that needed to be done. What a relief! Old cruising guides for Mexico tell a sad tale of having to wander from office to office dealing with befuddling bureaucracy, but Ensenada has made it easier by putting everything you need in one place – and the Marina office took us through the process for no cost. It may not be the prettiest marina ( Cruiseport) but they are great there and you have to love how close it is to town.

Feels sad, knowing we won't have a reason to visit or a place to stay! We had our last dinner at our favourite Italian restaurant before we headed back to the boat . We also said goodbye to our amazing boat minder Johnny, who did an excellent job keeping Northern Ranger clean and polished and always looking her best for when prospective buyers came down to see her. We would recommend him to anyone looking for a minder in Cruiseport Marina.

May 30, 2019…

Leaving Ensenada

With everything done, and our last dinner finished… we went to bed until 2:00 a.m., started her up, and piloted Northern Ranger I through the busy Ensenada harbour for our last time. Between freighters coming in, cruise ships waiting to enter, and the huge swell as soon as we emerged from the marina, it's not a relaxing start to the trip. But we made it..after ten hours of fairly large swells we tied up at the customs dock in San Diego where two nice young men quickly facilitated our entrance into the USA. That done, we moved over to the guest dock where we somehow with help managed to shoehorn ourselves into much-too-small slip in a rather alarming afternoon wind that blew us right into the dock. Bummer. But it's a Nordhavn and the dock probably hurt more than the hull.

I had fallen asleep soon after we cleared Ensenada , no surprise, and woke up to daylight and a huge group of dolphins, fishing alongside gulls and terns and pelicans. They were all in small groups, wherever the fish were, and most of the dolphins veered off from their feeding to come and play in the bow wave and chase our paravane birds which were in the water. That lasted a good half hour -one of the biggest number we have seen for a while!

Great way to celebrate our last cruise as owners of our NRI.
Paperwork in order, signed, sealed, delivered… a visit downtown to get more papers stamped and our entrance into the US totally legitimized, we did the final deed on May 29th.

With Jeff Merrill our broker and Bob Senter as our moral support and witness, and a huge box of donuts and a pot of coffee, we took off from the dock with the soon to be new owner, Robbie Robinson, and the boat changed hands with all the appropriate pomp, circumstance and much signing of yet more documents… 1220, 4 miles off the US coast…

bittersweet of course but we are excited for the new owners, who will be taking her up to the Pacific Northwest to cruise under her new name… Insignia.

surrounded by the fleet
confirm date and lat/long with numerous photos
Lugger Bob along for the ride and to bear witness to this great event… didn’t ask him to go into the engine room once… oh, maybe I did but only once and he wouldn’t go..!!!
So finally, we are down to one boat.. well, one cruising boat.

Last task was to get a ride back down to Ensenada, courtesy of Hotel Coral and Marina, where we stayed for one night… really love that hotel . And it was made even more entertaining by the fact that once again we were in the thick of the start of the Baja 500… big trucks and burly manly men… looked like a lot of fun. But not in our little red truck.. which we had left at the marina and needed to pick up, thus the last trip to Ensenada.

view from our room
big truck, very loud..and the billboard behind it is advertising our favourite restaurant…
And so it goes without saying although I have to say it… the two best days in a boat owners life..

The day they buy the boat and the day they sell the boat.

And ain't that the truth!