The paved lot of the Baja Naval boatyard has been home now for more than a week, and while we’re happy to be giving Bella Star a smooth new bottom, we’re more than ready to get back in the water. Living on the hard is quite a challenge, considering we can’t let any water go down the drain, but we have it on good authority that we’ll be floating again by dinnertime tomorrow. Fingers crossed!
We knew from the get-go that we needed to repaint the bottom with another coat or two of antifouling paint (this keeps the barnacles and other sea creatures from growing on the hull), but Bella Star’s bottom looked something like a topographical map of the Andes before we started. Hunks of paint 6+ layers thick was cracking and falling off. It really was quite unseemly. We got a great quote from the yard to sand off all the old paint and essentially start over, so that’s what we decided to do.
The crew of Estrellita kept us company for the first day or two. We went out for 2-for-1 beers at a local bar (12 beers for $13.50!), got serenaded tableside with a rousing rendition of “La Bamba” (just say, “no, gracias”), had some tasty tacos at a tiny restaurant and played a cut-throat game of ping pong back on their boat. Yes, ping pong.
Oh, and for the record, if you’re ever dining in a small restaurant in Mexico and you ask for something they don’t have (beer, for instance), never fear. They are happy to run across the street to the supermercado and get you some! How’s that for service?
After Estrellita took off, we were forced to entertain ourselves. We toured the old Playa Ensenada Hotel and Casino, which was built in 1929 by some of Hollywood’s elite and served to quench the thirst of people like Bing Crosby, Jack Dempsey and Rita Hayworth during the prohibition. But the repeal of prohibition and the onset of the Depression led to a decline in patrons, and the glamorous hotel was forced to close. The city refurbished the grounds in the late 1970s, and they’re now home to a community center and a couple small museums and galleries.
A trek to the Santo Tomas winery and tasting room ended in disappointment when we learned it was $13 each to taste 5 wines (that’s 13 dollars, not 13 pesos). Um, no gracias.
But we’ve been eating and drinking well here – lots of fabulous fish tacos and Mexican beers. I was expecting the fish to be grilled, but it’s deep fried. Oh my, are those tacos ever good topped with cabbage, crema and an assortment of salsas (the place we like has a delicious cucumber, jalapeno and cilantro salsa that is fantastic). And they’re only 10 pesos each -- that’s 77 cents!
I think we’ll do one more fish taco lunch tomorrow as we get ready to say goodbye to Ensenada. Hopefully we’ll be on to our next stop soon! And with that smooth new bottom providing less resistance, we just might get there a little bit faster.