Fish Tacos with Socrates

We entered Ensenada in thick fog, our electronic charts guiding us to the harbor entrance as we listened nervously for breakers. Anson peered from the bow to sight the lines of rock that make up the breakwater to the small, but protected harbor. Gently we motored in, marking each bouy as we navigated blind into the marina.
Once inside and safely tied up to a dock, we saw the boat Nareida enter a slip off our stern, with Jeanne Socrates stepping ashore to secure her lines. For sailors, Socrates is a rock star: one of the few solo circumnavigators of this world, someone who rounds Cape Horn and sails in fierce seas. Now in her 70s, she is among an elite group of older sailors continuing to voyage alone. A bit timid, we watched from afar.
The next morning, while checking in to Mexico at the customs and immigration office, Jeanne Socrates appeared again. Still shy, we watched surreptitiously as she followed the routine of filling in forms and paying fees, one step behind us. (Checking in was effortless. Despite Trump’s endless insults and pervasive racism, we were welcomed into Mexico by the marina staff and the immigration officials alike. We couldn’t have asked for a more gracious or efficient entrance.) By the time we ran into her outside the Telcel office (where we bought phone service), Mark gathered his courage and introduced himself. We offered for her to be served first, and soon we were talking about her latest circumnavigation attempt, aborted due to a failed drogue (the sailor’s equivalent of a parachute). Quickly our lives intertwined with technical discussions of drogue cones and line, intermixed with her assistance in buying phone service. We invited Jeanne to join us for fish tacos and walked the ten blocks through town to Michelle’s (a staff member of the marina) favorite taqueria. Ensenada is home of the fish taco, and this small stand run by three women was filling a constant stream of orders. Cars drove up and took their prize away in plastic bags, while the rest of us ordered and ate, sitting on overturned buckets, then going back for more. Divine!
Jeanne took on the role of introducing us to cruising in Mexico, providing helpful tips about buying more cell service, and where to buy baked chickens for an easy dinner. She accompanied us to a restaurant where we watched CNN recount the surreal world of the new world order of Trump while waiting for our chickens to be cooked and bagged.
We sailed away from Ensenada that evening, as there is no anchorage in the small harbor and marina prices are far too high for our cruising budget ($100 per night!). We departed dazzled by the presence of a star and filled with the delicious food of Mexico.

2 thoughts on “Fish Tacos with Socrates

  1. That’s really great that you got to meet such a living legend in the sailing world, and that she was so gracious and helpful. We have a neighbor with a famous last name for sailors, Slocum. When I asked about any connection, Ron Slocum said that Joshua Slocum was his great uncle. Ron and his wife Vicky have a Catalina 35 (I think that’s the model/the hull design with the tumblehome) in the harbor, and he teaches navigation with the CG Auxiliary. Great to hear of your civil welcome to Mexico with everything going on currently. The fish tacos sound wonderful.


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