Once we'd made the decision to join the rally, we thought we had a reasonable handle on everything we had to get done before our departure to Cabo San Lucas. We had 4 weeks to get the car sold, find crew, get the boat ready, provision..plenty of time, right? Yes we thought so too.
Things started off well. We had a great cash offer for our car and we started to put some feelers out on the rally crew list for potential candidates to join us on the trip down. We took another trip up to San Diego to pick up Darrin's sister Corena and her friend Roz as they were coming to stay with us for a long weekend, and it also gave us an opportunity to stock up on a few American items we can't live without, things like boxed Sangria and vanilla Oreos and La Croix waters and thick sliced Hemplers bacon...you know, all the things vital to sustaining life that we simply couldn't find in Mexico. (We did find Dr Pepper in a store here in La Paz a few days ago. Bought every single can they had - have to make hay when the sun shines, right?!) Anyway, having stocked up on the important things we headed back down to Ensenada with the girls for a relaxing few days of being tourists for one last time.
Fun with the girls. Photo credit: Roz Livmorre
Given the short notice, we weren't having much luck finding crew initially. People were already committed to boats or couldn't get time off, that sort of thing. Then there's a personality factor - we'd heard all sorts of horror stories about bringing unknown people aboard to find out they have...hmm...interesting characters shall we say? Which is all well and good, you do you...but if your thing is doing yoga naked in the cockpit at 5am while Lil Wayne sings Lollipop on the cranked up Bose, you're probably not who we're looking for - your downward dog would probably be better served elsewhere. While we didn't know it at the time, Lady Luck stepped in spinning her wheel of fortune, Kismet dazzled us with her smile and fortuity shone upon us from on high. We found Eric and Kimberly.
Racers from the San Francisco Bay area, they were looking for an opportunity to crew for the Baja with a view to starting their own cruising adventures. They were able to take time off work at short notice, seemed totally sane during our phone calls and were excited about the prospect of spending 10 days cooped up with us on our boat. What's not to love? I have to say here that the reverse is also true for crewing - there are plenty of horror stories about boat captains out there too, so the interview process was as much about us as it was about them. Fortunately we were on our best behaviour and passed muster with them because they agreed to join us!
Eric and Kimberly. Photo credit: Kimberly Stewart
Meantime, while the planets were aligning for one part of our preparations, we were being royally screwed with the car situation. My name on the title wasn't correct. And so we couldn't sell it until the problem was rectified. We went back and forth with about 37 different people from 15 different companies/government departments on two different continents to get it sorted, but as you can imagine it was nothing short of a debacle. We spent probably 2 weeks trying to make things work then the offer on the car expired so we had to start the process all over again.
It was vitally important we get the car sold before we left Ensenada so in the end we went back to San Diego, I signed over the title (funnily enough, the Notary didn't seem to mind that the name on the title and that on my ID didn't match) to Daz entirely, he flew up to Seattle to go to the DMV to submit the paperwork and get the new title, went to Tokyo Steakhouse with our friends for dinner (Yum!) came back to Ensenada, got a new offer on the car, drove it back up to San Diego, loaded it onto a truck, did all the paperwork (thanks Cole!) and all of a sudden we were without a car. Huge moment. I never thought selling my car would be a big deal, but I was quite emotional about it. Was it because it was our last tenuous hold to land life? Or was it because now I'd have to rely on teeth rattling Mexican public transport with their dubious schedules and lack of anything resembling shock absorbers to schlep groceries around in a backpack? Hard to tell, both salient points. (Incidentally, for any of our cruiser friends out there needing to sell a vehicle, check out www.carvana.com. We had a fabulous experience with them!)
Adios little red Fiat!
With the last major item crossed off our to-do list we completed the smaller boat tasks before heading back to San Diego for the rally captains meeting and kick off party and to meet our crew. Because the marina made a complete shambles of the shuttle arrangements organized by Perry from S/V C'est Si Bon for the Ensenada contingent, we were going to be way late for the captains meeting. Fortunately Eric and Kimberly had already arrived and were able to represent Eione for check in and to make notes of required items for captains to report on daily to the rally committee. We made it about 30 minutes late, spotted Kimberley and Eric in the crowd and spent the rest of the afternoon chatting, enjoying the party and meeting up with old friends from Seattle before hopping the shuttle once again for the return trip to Ensenada. I swear we did more border crossings in the month of October than we had for the previous 12 months.
We had a lovely last dinner with our crew at the marina grill, went back to the boat to settle in and after a very long day an early night was definitely in order. I think we were all nervous and excited for the first leg of our offshore rally to start bright and early the next day! Everything was done - the boat was ready, tanks were filled, we had lots of food aboard, all we needed was our exit papers from the Port Captain. He already had them so he just needed to sign, the agent would deliver them back to the marina and we'd be on our way.
Captains meeting, crew quarters and Eione all ready to go. Photo credit: Kimberly Stewart
There's always a pesky fly though. And it landed in the ointment. Of course it did.
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