Thursday, April 25
I stepped off the boat with all of my worldly belongings — but no firm plan or timeline for leaving the island.
I walked up to the captain of a nearby fishing boat and tried to convey in my broken Spanish that I wanted to find the airport and a plane to take me off the island — to where I did not know, exactly. I was almost immediately whisked away by a man I believed to be his first mate, who took me to his wife’s office at one of the two airlines that service the island.
Meanwhile back in San Diego, my partner Martha was on the phone and internet frantically trying to find me a flight home. In desperation, she called the San Diego-based company Cedros Sport Fishing, which immediately deployed their man on the ground in Cedros. He found me at the airline office as I was buying a ticket for the next available flight to Ensenada. . . which, as it happened, wasn’t until Saturday. He drove me to accommodations that his company had generously helped arrange.
Despite what I’d read about Cedros Village and its alleged drug problem, I met about half the town in my 48 hours and found no evidence to suggest those comments are accurate. In fact, upon meeting the owner of El Tepic restaurant, I was immediately invited to her father’s home as they were preparing pizzas and cupcakes for Friday’s Dia de Los Ninos party — which I ended up attending. Tired, hungry, alone, and far from home, I experienced extraordinary kindness and generosity, and connected with people I believe will be lifelong friends. They arranged for their aunt in Ensenada to pick me up at the airport, drive me 5 hours all the way to the border and across, then deliver me to Chula Vista, where I met up with Martha.
One last example of the care I received: When my 13-seater plane was taxiing toward the runway, I realized I left my jacket with my passport, credit cards, and all remaining cash on the chair where I’d been sitting in the tiny airport office. I yelled in Spanish, “My jacket with my passport is in the airport!” I was in the last row and the passengers immediately relayed my message to the pilot, and insisted he turn around. Which he did. By the time we got back there, the first mate’s wife was already running out the door with my jacket. "¡Gracias a todos. Hasta luego, Cedros!"
Bonnie R. Benitez
Diane Berol is an ocean adventurer and the captain of Celtic Song based in San Diego, CA.