I navigated the Andrews 70, Mr. Bill, in the 1,000-mile San Diego to Puerto Vallarta Race in March 2020. The race started on March 7, 2020 before the Covid-19 shutdown, and it took us five days to reach Puerto Vallarta.
I spent a week in Puerto Vallarta getting the boat ready for the return delivery. Left Puerto Vallarta on March 16, 2020 and made it to San Diego on March 23. It was 2 a.m. and we were approaching the San Diego entrance, when a bright spotlight lit us up. I went below and listened to the radio. It was the Coast Guard, and they said to stop, and they were coming along side. We stopped, and they asked us where we were coming from, and we said Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. They told us, the border between the U.S. and Mexico had closed to all non-essential traffic, yesterday, March 22, and we had to go back to Ensenada. I told them that we were a documented U.S. vessel, and that we had three crew aboard who were all U.S. citizens with their passports, we were heading to the Customs dock, and they could follow us in.
Luckily, they let us go in, and followed us to the dock. I went through Customs, which is now online on an app called CBP Roam, then moved the boat to the fuel dock to get enough diesel to power to San Pedro. When the fuel dock opened, I walked up the dock and into the fuel dock kiosk. The attendant yelled at me, “6 feet! and where is your mask?” I didn’t know what he was talking about. We had come home to a changed world!
All comments are edited for grammar and clarity.