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From The 90 Day Yacht Club Guide to Ensenada

April 2005

Volume 3 , Number 4

 

 

A true traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent upon arrival®

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE THIRD ANNUAL BAJA AUTHORS BOOK SIGNING AND WINE TASTING EVENT

For Baja Authors and Lovers

Yes! With your help we are another step closer to our goal of making this a real Cultural Event in Baja that will continue to attract ever more people and expose them to Baja via books about the PEOPLE, THE HISTORIES, and THE MYSTERIES that make this wonderful Peninsula what it is---a place to relax, play and enjoy it’s wonderful smiling people. Please mark your calendars now April 23rd at the Pyramid Resort located on the sea at KM-57 in the Plaza del Mar. Contact Keri at 01152-646-155-0265 for hotel reservations for the event. E-mail at pyramid@telnor.net. See our article in our archived April 2004 Newsletter for more information and a map locating the beautiful and friendly Pyramid Resort. Please plan to attend and join us in celebration of the Baja people, region, and the local Mexican color and tranquility.

GLOBAL WARMING IS CAUSING OCEAN LEVELS TO RISE

May We Someday Soon Lose Our Coastal Playgrounds?

North Beach, pictured here in the 1920's, was a popular bathing beach.
A contemporary picture, taken from the same vantage point in 1996,
illustrates the effects of sea-level encroachment over time.

Clearly, global warming is a huge problem. It will take everyone -- governments, industry, communities and individuals working together to make a real difference. Things like clean cars that run on alternative fuels, environmentally responsible renewable energy technologies, and stopping the clear-cutting of valuable forests. These are solutions that will help to reduce global warming, and you can be part of them. Extreme hypothesis have the next ten years determining if we will lose huge tracts of land and the major cities that occupy that land by being covered by the oceans. As the polar caps recede, and precipitation increases result in widespread global flooding, the resultant rise in ocean levels are predicted to swallow up New York and Los Angeles. The sea level is rising more rapidly along the U.S. coast than worldwide…

Some mariners ask, does global warming cause El Niños? No, clear evidence exists from a variety of sources (including archaeological studies) that El Niños have been present for hundreds, and some indicators suggest maybe millions, of years. However, it has been theorized that warmer global sea surface temperatures can enhance the El Niño phenomenon, and it is also true that El Niños have been more frequent and intense in recent decades. Recent climate model results that simulate the 21st century with increased greenhouse gases suggest that El Niño-like sea surface temperature patterns in the tropical Pacific are likely to be more persistent. A rather abrupt change in the El Niño - Southern Oscillation behavior occurred around 1976/77 and the new regime has persisted. There have been relatively more frequent and persistent El Niño episodes rather than the cool La Niñas. This behavior is highly unusual in the last 120 years (the period of instrumental record). Changes in precipitation over the tropical Pacific are related to this change in El Niño influences, which has also affected the pattern and magnitude of surface temperatures. On a global scale there is little evidence of sustained trends in climate variability or extremes. This perhaps reflects inadequate data and an absence of analyses. However, on regional scales, there is clear evidence of changes in variability or extremes. In areas where a drought or excessive wetness usually accompanies an El Niño, these dry or wet spells have been more intense in recent years. Other than these areas, little evidence is available of changes in drought frequency or intensity. For more information about these phenomena, read the article about El Niño and La Niñas in our archived November 2004 Newsletter.

Once, all climate changes occurred naturally. However, during the Industrial Revolution, we began altering our climate and environment through changing agricultural and industrial practices. Before the Industrial Revolution, human activity released very few gases into the atmosphere, but now through population growth, fossil fuel burning, and deforestation, we are affecting the mixture of gases in the atmosphere. These toxic gases are labeled greenhouse gasses. Some greenhouse gases occur naturally in the atmosphere, while others result from human activities. Naturally occurring greenhouse gases include water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone. Certain human activities, however, add to the levels of most of these naturally occurring gases:

Carbon dioxide is released to the atmosphere when solid waste, fossil fuels (oil, natural gas, and coal), and wood and wood products are burned.

Methane is emitted during the production and transport of coal, natural gas, and oil. Methane emissions also result from the decomposition of organic wastes in municipal solid waste landfills, and the raising of livestock.

Nitrous oxide is emitted during agricultural and industrial activities, as well as during combustion of solid waste and fossil fuels.

Very powerful greenhouse gases that are not naturally occurring include hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), which are generated in a variety of industrial processes. Each greenhouse gas differs in its ability to absorb heat in the atmosphere. HFCs and PFCs are the most heat-absorbent. Methane traps over 21 times more heat per molecule than carbon dioxide, and nitrous oxide absorbs 270 times more heat per molecule than carbon dioxide. Often, estimates of greenhouse gas emissions are presented in units of millions of metric tons of carbon equivalents (MMTCE), which weights each gas by its GWP value, or Global Warming Potential. These noxious gasses are forming deposits of toxicity called sinks. A sink is a reservoir that uptakes a chemical element or compound from another part of its cycle. For example, soil and trees tend to act as natural sinks for carbon – each year hundreds of billions of tons of carbon in the form of CO2 are absorbed by oceans, soils, and trees.

Global mean sea level has been rising at an average rate of 1 to 2 millimeters a year over the past 100 years, which is significantly larger than the rate averaged over the last several thousand years. Projected increase from 1990-2100 is anywhere from 0.09-0.88 meters, depending on which greenhouse gas scenario is used and many physical uncertainties in contributions to sea-level rise from a variety of frozen and unfrozen water sources. Studies by EPA and others estimate that a 1-foot rise in sea level along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts is likely by 2050 and could occur as early as 2025. Sea level probably will continue to rise for several centuries, even if global temperatures were to stop increasing a few decades hence. For the Northern Hemisphere summer temperatures in recent decades appear to be the warmest since at least about 1000AD, and the warming since the late 19th century is unprecedented over the last 1000 years. Older data are insufficient to provide reliable hemispheric temperature estimates. Ice core data suggest that the 20th century has been warm in many parts of the globe, but also that the significance of the warming varies geographically, when viewed in the context of climate variations of the last millennium. Precipitation is also expected to increase over the 21st century, particularly at northern mid-high latitudes, though the trends may be more variable in the tropics. Snow extent and sea-ice are also projected to decrease further in the northern hemisphere, and glaciers and ice caps are expected to continue to retreat. The direct impacts of sea level rise include loss of beaches and beach properties, ecologically productive wetlands, and barrier islands that help shield the mainland from the impacts of storm surges. Indirect impacts include loss of revenues from tourism, reduced property values, and increased costs for repairing infrastructure, such as roads damaged by storm surges.

If climatic trends continue unabated, global warming will threaten our health, our cities, our farms and forests, beaches and wetlands, and other natural habitats. As the Earth continues to warm, there is a growing risk that the climate will change in ways that will seriously disrupt our lives. While on average the globe will get warmer and receive more precipitation, individual regions will experience different climatic changes and environmental impacts. Among the most severe consequences of global warming are: a faster rise in sea level, more heat waves and droughts, resulting in more and more conflicts for water resources; more extreme weather events, producing floods and property destruction; and a greater potential for heat-related illnesses and deaths as well as the wider spread of infectious diseases carried by insects and rodents into areas previously free from them.

Fortunately, we can take action to slow global warming. Global warming results primarily from human activities that release heat-trapping gases and particles into the air. The most important causes include the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, gas, and oil, and deforestation. To reduce the emission of heat-trapping gases like carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxides, we can curb our consumption of fossil fuels, use technologies that reduce the amount of emissions wherever possible, and protect the world’s forests. We can also do things to mitigate the impacts of global warming and adapt to those most likely to occur, e.g., through careful long-term planning and other strategies that reduce our vulnerability to global warming.

We can take action to reduce the threat. Be part of the solution!

 

Biggest Wave Bounty

(a sample excerpt from our books)

            The biggest wave ridden by a human was the subject of a bounty offered by a prominent surfing magazine in the early 1990's. The wave had to be in the Pacific Ocean and recorded on film. It was an incredible challenge that included the huge winter waves of the north shores of Hawaii, Northern California, and Australia. Surf spots like Waimea Bay and Kaena Point in Hawaii, Steamer Lane in the Santa Cruz area of California, and the dozens of wild spots in Australia were thought to be frontrunners in the competition.

            These world-renowned spots are known to support rideable waves of more than 20 feet high every year. The keyword here is rideable, as many spots attract big waves, but few maintain the shape necessary to be successfully ridden by a surfboard. In the world of big wave riders, just a few spots are widely accepted as candidates for capturing the wave needed to make that one surfer King Kahuna of them all. The fame and fortune, with the resultant endorsement moneys from the surfing industry, were a great attraction to the potential winners of that year's competition. As the rumors flew around as to who actually was up-front in the running and where the best spots were for the winning, the surfing world buzzed with excitement. When the winter storms of the extreme north and south latitudes send huge swells over thousands of miles of ocean to break on a reef that is perfectly shaped to make the swells jump to twice their size, the word spreads quickly and surfers from all over the planet board either jets or their old jalopy cars to get to the scene.

            A surprising winning wave at a surprising winning spot in a surprising area of the world, won the prize for that year's search for the perfect monster wave. Back in the mid 60's the Windansea Surf Club located in La Jolla, San Diego discovered a new surf destination. It was 90 miles south of La Jolla and required chartering a boat, as it was 9 miles offshore and only accessible by boat. This was a spot named Killers by the Windansea Surf Club crew, as it was a crushing wave of over 15 feet, if the swell was big enough and from the right direction. Adjacent to the big Killers waves, were spots called Chicken’s, Rarely’s and the Boat Launch Lefts. These were much smaller and forgiving in strength and many of the less brave-hearted souls preferred to hang here.      

            The location of this surfing Mecca for big wave seekers is surprisingly near to us here in the Northern Baja region. Si señor, the largest photographed waves that year were to be had at a rocky reef in front the lighthouse of North Todos Santos Island named Killers. The size was subject to some debate whether you were from the Hawaiian Islands or from California. The Hawaiian Islanders called them a 20-foot Hawaiian-style wave, but the Californians definitely saw 25 to 30 footers. In the photos, if a man is 6 foot tall and you can fit more than 5 times his height by spreading your fingers to his size against the wave, then we would call that at least a 30-foot wave. Killers can be seen breaking from the shoreline of Ensenada on the extreme north end of the Islands with the naked eye when it is "on". A horizontal column of white water foam extending around the point can be plainly seen on the days when it's "working". If you are visiting the Ensenada area in the winter months and the waves are raging along the shores of the Bahia Todos Santos, you may enjoy a cruise out to see some of the biggest waves in the world, at Killers, Todos Santos Islands, Baja California. Observation and surf charters are available along the Ensenada waterfront to this area complete with surf tour guides, which will anchor while you are surfing this magnificent wave.

See the NEW  photos of this past month’s huge waves breaking over the Marina Coral Jetty on our Photo Page

 

TOP 10 DOCK PET PEEVES

  1. DOGS- Really, could the little, cute and furry ones please be seen and not heard and the droppings be stealthily cleaned up before anybody knows they were there?
  2. FUMING STINK POTS- Its amazing how one smoking pair of diesel engines can fill a whole Marina with oil suspended yucky air on a quiet Sunday morning.
  3. OPEN TRASH CANS- We all love sea gulls leaving deposits on the dock and on our boats-NOT! Simply having the proper tops on all the trashcans has virtually eliminated the gulls here at Coral Marina until the summer when the next peeve appears and wields its rusty knife.
  4. FISH CLEANING PIRATES- Its not really that subtle when we all can see and hear a heard of gulls dive bombing one boat. Amazingly these numskull scavengers return to the same spot to repeat the process either through habit daily (the gulls) or weekly (the pirates).
  5. FIREWORKS- With all the volatile fuels on the dock and in the boats one can only wonder the psychology behind burning gunpowder on the docks. Also, any fireworks after the hour of 8 pm anywhere near a marina is not appreciated. Peeve #1 goes crazy when the kids are blowing off these big-ticket bombs. (Read the story about Marley the dog at the conclusion of this newsletter.)
  6. DOCK CARTS / HOARDED AND MIDNIGHT- Having your own personal dock cart is offered by purchase at your local marine store, not by the power of possession at the marina and bumping a cart across all those cement slabs during the night is always a nice insertion into your peacefully dockside dreams…also NOT!
  7. CIGARS AND CIGARETTES- So carelessly tossed and forgotten but left to biodegrade over a period of decades in our Mother Ocean, these evil little trash deposits now can be seen in piles between every jetty rock on the planet.
  8. CELL PHONE POSERS- Not to be unnoticed as the volume of the conversation seems to be 10 fold of what is necessary- after all that’s why you use the phone, so you wouldn’t have to yell to make the guy hear you. Yes, you have a phone, can afford the service and have a person that will pick up-but act like you’ve been there before!
  9. DISAPPEARING GEAR / HOSES, DOCK STEPS AND POWER CORDS- I have a collection of gear next to my boat that has been left on the dock by visiting boaters, they are there in case the boater returns looking for them as I have told the dock security of the leavings. These items replace all the others I had that grew fins and swimmed back to the states.
  10. HIT AND RUNS- One of the things different between our floating trailer park and the stagnate shore side ones is the fact that our trailers (floating dock boxes) actually move. Please, if you hit another yacht, call the security and make a formal report, leave a note on the boat and get the parties phone number and call ‘em when you get up the states.

 

It sure felt good get all this off my chest. I know, you may have a few, e-mail and let me know at sitka@truetraveler.com. Even though we all have a peeve or two, its constructive to realize it all just adds to the festivity and everything objectionable eventually passes. And we are on the sea, and not stuck somewhere landlocked in a sad deteriorating trailer park.

__________

Be a dreamer. They make things happen.

                                       __________

 

 

FISH BANKS NEAR AND FAR FROM ENSENADA

All Distances and Bearings from the Coral Marina

Not to be used for navigation, only intended as an aid to navigation, final decisions are the responsibility of the Captain and/or crew. All bearings direct as the crow flies. Asterisked bearings cross Punta San Miguel, deviate course as necessary.

Fish Spot or Bank North Latitude West Longitude Approx. Distance and Bearing

6 Fathom Spot

31° 51.250

116° 48. 314

7 NM @ 255° M

Tres Hermanos

31° 45.715

116° 45.673

7.5 NM @ 206° M

Banda Bank

31° 39.094

116° 52.105

16 NM @ 207° M

425 Fathom Spot

32° 16. 000

117° 26. 000

46 NM @ 289° M*

Double 220 Fathom Spot

31° 37.000

117° 35.000

 49 NM @ 240° M

371 Fathom Spot

32° 17.000

117° 32.000

51 NM @ 287° M*

1010 Trench

31° 45.830

117° 44.000

54.6 NM @ 251° M

302 Fathom Spot

32° 26.400

117° 35.000

58 NM @ 294° M*

390 Fathom Spot

32° 05.000

117° 50.000

61 NM @ 270° M

Airplane Bank

31° 52.000

118° 08.00

74.6 NM @ 258° M

East Butterfly Bank

32° 16.417

118° 06.00

77 NM @ 276° M

60 Mile Bank

32° 03. 670

118° 13.140

80 NM @ 266° M

43 Fathom Spot

32° 39.300

117° 58.300

81.6 NM @ 293° M*

West Butterfly Bank

32° 22.000

118° 17.50

88 NM @ 238° M

Dumping Grounds

31° 42.000

118° 28.000

92 NM @ 252° M

Mushroom Bank

32° 04.940

118° 29.610

94 NM @ 266° M

Cortez Bank

32° 28.680

119° 12.900

 134 NM @ 274° M

 

 

THE LONGEST ECLIPSE OF THE MILLENNIUM

            In the early 1990’s I was treated to the longest eclipse of the 20th century due to the fact that I knew a little bit about how a boat should be wired, knew the right people and was “in the right place at the right time.” As is common in Mexico, it’s who you know that determines the success of your ventures. The Palmira Marina in La Paz needed a yacht doctor to fix a slight problem that had caused the demise of 2 generators in the boat owned by the marina’s el patron (owner, er, big cheese or grande queso).  I met this gentleman only once, but he was kind enough to fly me down to La Paz twice and anoint me the “great white father of electronics” in that region at that time of the areas evolution into the modern age of visitation by any yacht owner that can program a GPS and tell the autopilot to “go to”.

            I was granted the right to sign for all my meals gratis at the fancy restaurant that still stands adjacent to the Marina. The only exclusion was alcoholic beverages in the free meal deal. Understandable, as I have heard there is a rumor that a lot of boaters drink vociferously and they had pretty much painted me, in advance, into that picture. No worries, I had a job to do and wasn’t really a part of the mainstream boater degenerating circle around the drain crowd. I stayed in a little cockroach owned trailer on the bluff to the west of the Marina where the dry storage boat yard now exists.

            It turned out the switch to ships shore power and generator power was wired incorrectly in such a way that when you tied up and connected the shore power to the boat that directly tied the two power sources directly together! Argggg! Big circuit board burnout causing that characteristic smell of blistered circuitry and transformer overload. It’s interesting to note that this 45 foot trawler had been reclaimed from the sea, as it had sunken in Mexican waters, been towed back to port underwater by a Mexican navy vessel and then refurbished and rewired by local artisans. I proceeded to fix the problem and other found glitches in the yachts restoration and then drew up a schematic of the boats wiring and electronic gear installation as I labeled the ship’s breaker board and generally determined that the boat would not melt down after I returned to the states. These processes took two trips, and on the second of the two I was treated to the most cool of all experiences in our common life experience, a nine and one half minute daytime eclipse of the sun!!!

            A solar eclipse is an event that draws jet set groupies and down home hippies from all over the world. The streets are filled with a hawking jumble of t-shirts, trinkets and the general lot of “I was there” stuff. This being an event of truly noble scope, all the “did you see me there” peeps were in full abundance. I can still feel the chills down my spine every time I recount the experience. As the sky darkened, the birds and crickets started making the sounds of twilight nightfall.  As the “happening” took hold of the environment, the whole town erupted with hoots and howls as if the Grateful Dead were launching into Dark Star… I called my brother who was at work as a DJ at a rock station on the air in San Diego described the episode as just that, like a Grateful Dead concert. I still have a commemorative cassette tape of that “phoner” to my bro.

The swath of the eclipse extended from the Hawaiian Islands to the mainland of Mexico crossing the southern tip of the Baja in progress. Lucky for us in La Paz, the only clear spot in the path of the event was our location. A paramount TV feed for all the world was sent from that little marina side restaurant where I was graced with free food and a celebration of another never forgotten Mexican adventure.

From the forthcoming “90 Day Yacht Club Guide to the Baja Cape and the Sea of Cortez” currently in development.

 

__________

Embrace the unexpected! It makes life more interesting.

__________

 

THE MIRACLE SALVATION OF MARLEY THE DOG

The saving silhouette of the Virgin Mary was cast on this dog’s fortune

Some of us may remember those Disney World Sunday night shows that featured the narration of that folksy voice that described to us how the bears got into the cabin and found the campers food. Let’s resurrect the tone of that narration for this article and celebrate the triumph of Marley the dog over insurmountable forces to find her way home from Ensenada to northern California. It all began this past Christmas Day as Marley  (a female boxer mix) was aimlessly true travlin’, bumpin’ down the beach. While taking the time to sniff the air for the smell of freshly made tortillas and carne asada on the grill, Marley’s ears flopping carelessly were suddenly violated by the sound of a tremendous volley of Navidad firecrackers being burned by visiting gringos near Estero Beach. Like she had been shot from a pad at Cape Kennedy, Marley’s usual kindly nature was overcome by the excruciating pain in her ears and senses and she ran down the beach north toward the Navy base at the extreme other end of the south Ensenada beach. She was perused by a group of loved ones visiting their yacht at Coral Marina from Novato, California. The visiting boaters spent the next 3 hours walking the beach and driving around in circles in the red truck that bore the last remnants of Marley’s insane attempts to regain normalcy in her dog routine, frantic scratches on the trucks door paint. Apparently as the group was searching for Marley on the beach, she had found the truck parked on an adjacent street and had tried to find refuge in the trucks locked cab.

From then on the focus of the vacation of the yacht owners was focused on finding Marley. A week later Marley’s amigos were forced to return to their homes in Northern California without their companion and her tendency to give a friendly lick before being spoken to. Previous to their departure, with the aid of Cynthia Romero who works at the Coral Marina Dock Office, a flyer was fashioned in Spanish and posted in the homes and businesses throughout the south Ensenada beach area. A $200 compensation was offered for anyone who may be able to reward the families remaining hope and faith in Marleys future return to her clan and the now vacant dog house in the elegant Bel Marin Keys of Marin County.

Amazingly, exactly three weeks later Cynthia called the family to tell them that the Marley had been found. A poor women who lived in a dirt floored shack had saved the dog from a group of boys beating Marley with sticks. She opened her door to Marley and shared her meager existence with the dog. Having seen the flyers she called the Coral Marina. Soon the gaunt, terrified dog with badly infected scars on her belly, and the broken leg was reunified with her family. A car had hit Marley, and her weight had dropped from 40 to 29 pounds. Seeing the familiar faces and smelling the familiar smells soon had Marley’s ears perking up, somewhat reluctantly trusting the sounds of her world again. Perhaps she would have survived one more day, unable to walk, and gain food for herself. Undoubtedly the fabled and often worshipped (as we often hear of in Mexico) silhouette of the Virgin Mary was cast over this dog as she lay on the dirt floor of her poor rescuers shack.

On the way home to a $2500 bill from the vet which saved the dog’s leg from amputation, the family stopped at a Best Western and rented a room with two queen beds. The most fancy and largest prime rib dish was ordered and fed to Marley in her own bed. Grandpaw cuddled up with Marley and slept the night in her bed with Marley’s thankful permission. Now she’s home with the humans she most loves, where she belongs. Needless to say, Marley won’t be visiting Mexico again anytime soon. She’s currently licking her wounds and tuning her ears for the subtle sounds of the food being scooped into her bowl and a bird singing at midnight.

_________________________________________________

Some recent photos taken in the scenic little city of Ensenada

Click on these photos and use your web browser back button to return to this page

Tecate Truck.jpg (255562 bytes)Policeman.jpg (238750 bytes)Appleman.jpg (253794 bytes)La Baguette.jpg (234961 bytes)All Nigth.jpg (279552 bytes)

_________________________________________________

 

True Traveler Publishing

P.O. Box 60023

San Diego, CA 92166

 

Phone:

(619) 857-0368

 

E-mail:

sitka@truetraveler.com

 

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