So our intrepid adventurer – “Sailboat Guy” – has been stuck on the beach for 2 weeks now. To recap, while en route to Hawaii, he lost control of his sailboat when the motor died (yes, I guess sailboats do have motors), drifted into Baja, and was shipwrecked on playa de Tijuana complete with a dramatic rescue by local lifeguards. He’s American. He’s been living mostly off-grid for 15 years after personal circumstances drove him from some east coast corporate hustle. He has no money, no passport, no family. What ID he had was looted from the boat the first night be was here.
Early on he repaired the boat and has been waiting for the tide to come up, thinking that would be enough to launch and get back on track to Hawaii. But part of the boat had become lodged in the sand. Locals helped by trying to tow and dig it out with no luck. Then we had a storm that brought the tide in. The boat was thrown against the rock wall that separates the condo from the beach. It shook the whole building. There was a lot of screaming and yelling but no one was hurt.
I took him some food the morning after, I’m glad to say he is salvaging what he can and abandoning the boat. I doubt he would have made it to Hawaii even before the most recent damage. His self-sufficiency is admirable but man what an awful way to live. I’m way too attached to pesky little things like clean cloths and indoor plumbing, not to mention food and water.
Yup, finally, I got a job. I never thought of myself as a gambler or a risk taker. In fact I lived in my house in Portland from 1997 to 2014. I worked at Freightliner for 12 years for god’s sake. The only risk facing me was sciatica. Maybe not a risk taker so much as the type of person who has to self-destruct (or reconstruct) every once in a while, I quit a good job with a 401K, great health benefits, and profit sharing and moved to Mexico without a new job lined up. Opps! big mistake? Nope, no regrets.
If you’re gonna live in Mexico and work in San Diego you need a Sentri pass. There are 3 types of lanes at the border crossing into the US from Mexico – Standard, Ready, and Sentri. Depending on time of day the standard lane crossing can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 4 hours but all you need is your Passport (and a sense of humor). The Ready lane requires an RFID-enhanced passport card or driver’s license and takes about 30 to 40 minutes. The Sentri lane requires a Sentri pass and takes anywhere from 0 to 30 minutes.
If you qualify, get the Sentri. It takes a while to get approved so start the process about 6 months BEFORE you need it. I started in May 2014 and just got the final approval in November. I made my first crossing with a newly minted card a couple of weeks ago. It only took 10 minutes to cross. Yippie. It did take me about an hour to find the entrance to the Sentri lane… but that’s another story.
Don’t take my word for it, look it up:
Trusted Travel Programs
Border Wait Times
Getting to the Sentri Lane