For boaters who have questions or apprehensions about cruising south of the border, there is good news. Marina del Rey boaters Ted Field and Mark Ritts, who produced Cast Off for Catalina, an extremely handy “how-to” video for cruising Catalina Island, have now released Cast Off for Mexico.
Like Cast Off for Catalina, this DVD is full of useful information for the novice traveler, but it also packs facts for the experienced cruiser as well. Ritts and Field adopt a style that gives the viewer the feeling that they are on an Ensenada run from, in this case, Dana Point with the captain and crew.
It’s as if you were on the boat and everyone on board was kind enough to stop and politely explain everything relevant that they were about to embark upon and how they planned on executing the task. There is a saying that “there are no stupid questions” — it’s a nice saying, but until you’ve asked a couple of such questions in a row, you know it’s not that true. It’s possibly in this light that videos like Cast Off for Mexico are so especially valuable.
For many, boating out of the United States waters is an intimidating prospect. There are many concerns for the worry-prone boater, including language barriers, legal requirements, emergency-related fears, fuel availability, harbor etiquette and on and on.
It’s no coincidence that the recently held FUBAR (Fleet Underway to Baja Rally) powerboat rally from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas was filled to its limits. Many boaters long to do the trip but are intimidated with all that’s involved.
Cast Off for Mexico effectively demystifies most of these anxiety-producing issues. It chronologically works from pickup to destination and answers all questions along the way while pointing out interesting attributes and landmarks.
Like the Catalina video, this one also contains interviews with articulate experts who bring their unique perspective to the mix. They once again interviewed the extremely knowledgeable, eloquent and friendly Bill McNeely for the broad strokes. McNeely’s eyes and brows seem genetically situated at an understanding and compassionate angle making everything he says comforting.
While the scenery wasn’t as gorgeous as Catalina, the video was on a different tack than their last. Its mission was to deal more with the logistics of making a safe and easy passage to a foreign country than illuminating a region, although Ritts did make mention of some of Mexico’s inland beauty after they arrived.
“Our side trip to the Mexican Wine Country in the Guadalupe Valley north of Ensenada was an incredible surprise,” said Ritts. “We didn’t expect it. It’s a serious and delightful touch of Tuscany and so close.”
Both Ritts and Field agreed that one of the most impressive aspects of filming the DVD was their positive interaction with the Mexican people and how accommodating they were.
“The marina folks in Ensenada were incredibly warm and friendly and, genuinely, went out of their way to be helpful,” Ritts said. “We were also impressed with how efficient and accommodating the Ensenada Mexican immigration officials were. They bent over backwards to make the process very easy and as stress-free as possible.”
On the DVD, there is the main production that gives a substantial overview for first-time travelers which, if followed, will eliminate any potential headache brought upon by innocent ignorance.
And for the boater who has already made his way successfully to Ensenada, there are a lot of extra interviews where the experts talk about traveling farther south and what’s involved. It’s not as organized as the main production — just raw interview footage, but it’s very interesting for boaters looking to travel past the safety of Ensenada.
Cast Off for Mexico and Cast Off for Catalina are available at West Marine, Amazon Books, Seabreeze Books and Charts, www.seabreezebooks.com/. For other inquiries, contact castoff@ markritts.com.