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Despite a slightly sketchy weather forecast, Sovereign has once again crossed the border into Sonora, MX.

The area South of the US/MX border is affectionately called the “hassle-free zone”, where tourist visas and vehicle import permits aren’t a necessity.

You’re still required to purchase Mexican automobile insurance from a Mexican company, and I complied by stopping at the border and handing over $21.91 for one day of coverage.

Once I rolled over the line, the border guards wanted to see the boat’s documentation, and that was it, nods and smiles all around.

Some of you may remember a post I’d made awhile back, admitting to a need for speed. In that post, I described an encounter with one of Sonoyta’s Finest, where he tried to get me to pay him directly (at a deep and ever-increasing discount), instead of letting me follow him to the department headquarters to pay the full fine.

I was not so lucky this time. Just as I was leaving the Zona Municipal, I was pulled over by officer Grijalva. I had to admit that I was speeding, doing about 50 kph in a 40 kph zone, and he caught me fair and square. He looked at my driver’s license and asked a few questions about my destination, then wrote me a ticket for speeding. It was the first ticket I’ve received in a very, very long time. I like to think that this is the result of a habit of being honest with whoever wants to pull me over, and it’s a strategy that’s served me very well, up until now. 😉

The ticket was going to cost me 1,000 pesos, but officer Grijalva explained that if I showed up at police headquarters within 24 hours, I would be allowed to pay exactly half that amount. “Deal”, I said, when I realized he wasn’t looking to line his own pockets. As it was going on 3 PM, I promised to return within the allotted time frame to get that discount. He kept my license, promising me that it would be at headquarters when I paid up.

The sun wasn’t going to wait for me to get the boat set up, but I still kept to reasonable speeds during the final leg down to Rocky Point. Once bitten, and all that.


You can see that the shadows were starting to get long.

Once the mast, outboard and rudder were in place, I tested the mast lighting. Deck light, check. Steaming light, check. Anchor light, crap!
Reinstall the gin pole and drop the mast. That damned LED was functioning just fine over the Summer months, and now, with daylight fading, inoperative. Standing on tippy-toes on my 6 foot stepladder, I pulled the windvane/VHF antenna/anchor light assembly and checked the connections. Everything looked good, so I reinstalled the assembly and re-raised the mast. Still no anchor light joy.

Well, I won’t need it tonight, so I left the mast up and checked the circuit connections at the deck and below, all good. It was looking like the LED was a goner.

I’m tired, sweaty, hungry and frustrated, so let me just relax in the cockpit with some cheese, crackers and an adult beverage or two, m’kay?

Day 2-
At first light, I unstepped the mast again and attached the LED directly to my battery. This confirmed my suspicions, so I just swapped out the offending LED with an incandescent bulb I had in stock. Stepping the mast for the third time was a charm.

I negotiated my monthly rent with Miguel, and there was no increase this year. Yay!

Grab a little ceviche at El Doctor’s roadside eatery and hit the road. Gotta get to Sonoyta and find the police department by 1500 hours. There’s one bit of construction still ongoing along the road North, and I’m reduced to low speed driving on the detour. So slow, in fact, that a man with three dogs was able to toss his dogs into my truck’s bed, hop in himself, and get a ride to Sonoyta. I gave him the leftover tortillas from breakfast, and he seemed grateful.

Pulling into Sonoyta, I dropped him and the dogs off, and he asked me for 5 dollars. Sorry, man, I’m hoarding my cash for Sonoyta’s Finest, but here’s a few pesos.

A nice state cop got hailed and he allowed me to follow him to the department just a few blocks away. Thank you, senor. 500 pesos later, I’m back on the road, my driver’s license back in my wallet. My one-day insurance policy was still in force as I approached the US/MX border.

The border crossing was quick and painless, the CBP agent not interested in searching my cluttered truck. As I drove the final leg North, a spitting rain developed, but the real weather waited until I got home before it made a mess of things here in flash flood country.

Timing is everything.



  1. Sorry to have missed you, Tom. I was in Penasco but did not visit the boat yard until today, when I was partly surprised to see Sovereign back where she belongs. Here’s to another season of whale-watching, and all that goes with that! Glad to have you back, my friend. (And, hey, speed kills in that 40kph stretch – you should know better)

    • Thanks, Kevin. Sorry I missed you, too. I’m glad to be back. Will be down there again very soon.

      I heard that Carl and Cordina were also there within the last two weeks, thumbs up.

      Speed doesn’t kill. It’s the sudden stop. 😉

  2. Yes, Carl and Cordina have been in and out – usually Fri – Mon. She still has health issues, so they have frequent commitments in AZ. This week I am starting a brightwork project (now that it is cooler) and then I will replace all of the standing rigging before the end of the year (I hope). Peter is back full-time as well, and we will be making some runs down the Baja. He wants to take La Morena all the way to La Paz, but I don’t think he realizes how much is involved in that. See you soon.

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