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Old 13-12-2009, 19:00   #1
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Mexico...So Excited!

Right at the start of a drizzly Pittsburgh winter I get the news: I am going to crew on Ruffian, my family's boat, to Mexico for a month in January.

Yes!

We will be leaving San Diego mid January and will be coastal hopping down South for a bit and then slogging or motoring our way home. It will be a very nice break from what I feared might be a very long winter. Is there anything in Northwestern Mexico that is a must see? I would love any cruising tips anyone has. I am a little worried about the language barrier, does anyone have any tips for someone who took 2 years of high school French?
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Old 13-12-2009, 20:37   #2
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Congrats! Wish that we were going also!
Here are links to a couple of blogs of boats that are down there and have made the same trip:
http://sv-totem.blogspot.com
Mexico or the Med? | SV THIRD DAY
Enjoy!
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Old 13-12-2009, 20:55   #3
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Just have fun. Get a CD that will start you lear=ning Spannish and give it a try. Northern Baja is really nice. May be a little cool in January but I have sailed SD and the weather there is nice enough.
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Old 13-12-2009, 21:24   #4
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Ensenada is a fairly turisty place. Lots of Taco stands. They are set up to handle the cruise ships.

Most of the venders speak english and the shops accept credit cards.


As for learning spanish, I've had a couple people recomend Rosetta Stone. I personaly got some cheap spanish CDs and listened to them while driving. Most of my learning came from necessity when I finally arrived in Mexico. Necessity is a great motivator


I'll be down on the Baja doing missionary work in June.


Have fun.
Scott
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Old 13-12-2009, 21:27   #5
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Bring snorkel gear.
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Old 13-12-2009, 22:00   #6
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Should be some interesting whale activity in Mag Bay and in Bahia de Vizcaine on the Pacific side of Baja. We liked Bahia Santa Maria.

We did not like Cabo. It's like Las Vegas with an accent. It doesn't feel like Mexico to me. We do really like La Paz. Has a much more mellow feel than Cabo but still a big city. It just feels more authentic to me. The islands north of La Paz - Espiritu Santo, Partida, San Francisco - are great fun and beautiful.

Montezuma's revenge be damned - the street vendor food kicks ass in Mexico.
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Old 13-12-2009, 23:01   #7
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This will be our 6th Christmas in Baja over the course of the past decade. We can't get enough of it, and will return at Easter for the fourth consecutive year.

As far as your question about the language barrier, you should expect English to suffice when you're in tourist areas, but the further you stray from the beaten bath the more important it is to have some basic conversational Spanish.

French? Baja is not at all like France, where the more inexpertly you speak their language, the greater the disdain they'll show for your efforts. In Baja, they love it when you make the attempt, even if your rudimentary Spanish is horrible. I'm in no way fluent in Spanish, but I get by very well with Spanglish. One thing to realize is that the basics of polite conversation are far more important south of the border than here. "Por favor" and "gracias" are terms that you should make constant use of.
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Old 13-12-2009, 23:19   #8
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I forgot to mention that prices seam to get cheaper (for tacos atleast) below San Quitine on the Baja.

And American dollars are welcome every where. Although the exchange rate at the stands is useually 10 pesos to 1 dollar. If you are looking to save some money then convert dollars to pesos at a larger market. (they typically use the current exchange rate.) I've gone into a market bought a couple of food items and paid for it with a 100 dollar bill. They will give you the items and a 1000 pesos. (the last time I was there the exchange rate was 13 or 14 to 1.)

Scott
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Old 14-12-2009, 06:02   #9
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It can be pretty chilly along the coast in January. I went in Dec., and I was always in weather gear">foul weather gear right into Cabo. I did arrive in the middle of the night. Don't plan on jumping into the water until after Cabo. Baja is beautiful, and do watchout for whales.......i2f
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Old 28-12-2009, 21:49   #10
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Hey if you need any more crew who can help with the Spanish, get in touch! I am currently based in Puerto Vallarta (willing to travel), have beginners sailing experience and good conversational Spanish. If not, hope your trip is fantastic.
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Old 28-12-2009, 21:54   #11
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I was down there about this time last year. It was fantastic, and it was not cold. The best snorkeling anywhere I've ever been. Amazing marine life (especially the whales, and the frolicking manta rays). It's very desolate in the Sea of Cortez, very few ports and very few anchorages, and very few people. Which is great, but you have long passages without any shelter or refuge so watch your weather windows.
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Old 28-12-2009, 22:19   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
I was down there about this time last year. It was fantastic, and it was not cold. The best snorkeling anywhere I've ever been. Amazing marine life (especially the whales, and the frolicking manta rays). It's very desolate in the Sea of Cortez, very few ports and very few anchorages, and very few people. Which is great, but you have long passages without any shelter or refuge so watch your weather windows.
What did you guys do for forecasts when you were down there? Can you give me any sweet spots for snorkeling?

As per the crewing questions I appreciate the offer but I think we will be making it a family affair. Good luck in your search.
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Old 29-12-2009, 01:12   #13
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My wife and I, too, will be leaving San Diego for Mexico in mid-January. Many of the posts here contain good advice and I concur that it's easy to get by with almost no knowledge of Spanish. My experience with most Mexicans is that they tend to be friendly and patient, even with my lousy vocabulary and pronunciation.

As far as weather information goes, many cruisers use buoyweather.com, stormsurf.com and many other websites. My wife and I participate in both the Southbound Net which meets at 0055 UTC at 8122 khz Upper Side Band and the Baja Maritime Net which meets at 0000 UTC at 7233 khz on the Lower Side Band. Don Anderson N6HG from S/V Summer Passage does the weather on weekdays and Tom AA6TP does the weather on weekends. The advantage of participating in or listening to these nets is that you frequently can hear what the conditions are from people who are located up and down the west coast of Mexico. On more than a few occasions, the web sites have forecast weather that we'd rather not be caught in while people who were actually in those areas reported calm conditions and we've found the exact opposite can happen as well.

The good news is that, at this time of year, there are relatively few gales that hit Baja and those that do are easily watched and predicted. Still, I urge all who make that passage to use prudent seamanship and make certain their vessel is up to offshore cruising. The west coast of Baja is rugged and isolated with only a handful of anchorages along it's almost 800-mile length.

Perhaps we'll see you along the way.

Fair winds and calm seas.
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Old 29-12-2009, 01:29   #14
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Being down there sounds great.....Getting down there in Jan.....not so sure!
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Old 29-12-2009, 01:39   #15
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Last year we left San Diego in February, unfortunately missing some very warm and sunny days in January along Baja. Still, we had a great trip even though it didn't get warm until we were south of Bahia Magdalena.
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