Internet Newsletter

From The 90 Day Yacht Club Guide to Ensenada

February 2005

Volume 3 , Number 2



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







Join us February 3rd thru the 8th at the huge Ensenada Carnival Block Party.

The theme this year is “Magia y Allegoria” (Magic and Allegory).

Read our article in last month’s newsletter about this annual celebration. 


Copyright 1981 Lonnie Ryan


            Right now I’m taking a break from the cockpit of my boat to write this as it is now on January 19th  ninety two degrees and not breath of wind nor a cloud in the sky. See the September 2004 archived newsletter article entitled “THOSE DREADED, DANGEROUS DEVIL WINDS / Santana Winds or Santa Ana Winds”. The article was recently included in the New Years Edition of the North Gringo Gazette published here in North Baja and offered free every two weeks at various drop sights through out north Baja and here in Ensenada. This is the 5th article included in the Gringo Gazette from our newsletters during this past year. Pick up the free newspaper next time you visit Ensenada for local news and a great selection of local advertisers offering services you may need while at the 90 Day Yacht Club. Visit their site and read the Gringo Gazette at

The Santana winds are fueling this heat making this midwinter weather window quite amazingly feeling like Cabo or La Paz. This is accented by a huge west swell, causing waves to break with deep concussion over the Marina Coral breakwater, tumbling over the rocks into the southern portion of the marina. Time to go visit the pool and cool down!


Of the total number of boats offered for sale in California, word is from a reliable source in the yacht sales industry that only 100 or so deals were working in the last week of January 2005 in the entire state of California! A manager of a local California marine store that is a part of a nationwide chain has told me that they too are seeing a slowdown in business this winter, more so than is usually experienced during the off-season. Perhaps it is time to conceder changing the law back to 90 Days offshore rather than 1 year offshore sooner than the currently mandated July 1st 2006 date, before the entire California yacht sales and associated marine trades experience the total meltdown that is now beginning to be felt. Either the folks aren’t buying or they are doing their shopping and buying in others states that have a more amenable offshore law.  As the July 1st, 2006 date nears, for perhaps 6 months or so before that date, absolutely no one will be buying, waiting for the law to revert back automatically to 90 Days offshore statute. That makes for a really cold and slow 2005-2006 winter to come for the marine trades. Boats are still arriving in Ensenada for the 90 Day stay as the 6 months allowed to do the deed has not passed since October 1st, 2004. Expect the antithesis of the rush to buy before that October 1st, 2004 date passed to be experienced as the July 1st, 2006 date nears. I surmise...




            Tijuana is often referred to as the world's most visited border town. The history of Tijuana is brief, compared to Rome or Mexico City, but this little town has made a name for itself around the worldThe city of Tijuana is situated in a region once inhabited by the Kumiai, an indigenous tribe of Yuman-speaking hunter-gatherers. Europeans first arrived in 1542, when the Spanish explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo toured the coastline of the area, which was later mapped in 1602 by Sebastián Viscaíno. In 1769, Father Juan Crespí documented more detailed information about the area and Father Junipero Serra founded the first mission of Alta California in San Diego. The missionaries came with soldiers and range animals and taught the Indians how to make wax candles, clothes, and soap. They also introduced the Indians to ranching. At that time, few Mexicans lived in this Baja California area along the present day border. It was a land composed mostly of brush and desert, suitable for stock raising but little else. More settlement of the area took place near the end of the mission era when José María Echendía, governor of the Californias, awarded a large land grant to Santiago Argüello in 1829, then the commandant of the San Diego presidio. This large cattle ranch covered 10,000 hectares and was known as Rancho de Tia Juana. The community was a small settlement of ranch houses, born from the working ranch and its vaqueros (cowboys). 

            In 1889 mining activity began in Baja California (see our article in the February 2004 newsletter), and Ensenada became the new portal city of the border territory. In Tijuana, at the new international border in the middle of nowhere, a Mexican customs house was built, and the ranch became an important stop on the stagecoach road. The chance for passengers to get food and water gave birth to a popular story shared around the campfires of the traveling fortune hunters. The myth of Tia Jane may have been spawned from the toils of a good woman, perhaps an Indian, like many of the ranch servants of those days who gave food to the stagecoach travelers passing through the area. While traveling south to the gold settlements, travelers climbed down to stretch their legs on the dusty or muddy earth outside an old adobe building, to sit down at a table to drink and eat the food that the fabled cook Juana put before them before going on toward Ensenada. This seemingly insignificant moment at Tijuana was the birth of both tourism and the businesses that were created at the border crossing. Most of Tijuana remained a ranch community for many more years.  Cattle, horses and other animals can still be found on hills around Tijuana. To this day, the area's Mexican charros are among the best rodeo riders on the planet.

            This year of 1889 marked the beginning of urban ascent for the little village of Villa de Zaragoza, then the official name for Tijuana. Descendants of Santiago Argüello and Licenciado Agustín Olvera entered into an agreement to begin the development of the city of Tijuana. By the 1890s, the area attracted many settlers, who began referring to the area as simply Tijuana. It became a municipality in 1917. In this same year, San Diego banned cabaret dancing and nightclubs. Three years later, U.S. Prohibition was written into law. Seeing an opportunity to attract U.S. visitors, Tijuana opened a magnificent casino and its residents built numerous bars and nightclubs in the town. U.S. tourists immediately began flocking to Tijuana, and the city boomed as a major playground, gambling and tourist resort.

            During this era, Tijuana experienced a period of economic and demographic growth largely due to tourist enterprises owned and operated by Americans. One of the first was one centering on the natural hot springs, the Tijuana Hot-Spa Hotel, built in 1885. This was followed by the construction of dog and horse racing tracks, casinos and other hotels. Mexicano entrepreneurs opened the first bull ring by 1910. When tourists visited San Diego during the Panama Exposition in 1915, they also traveled to Tijuana, which had recreation activities that were illegal in California. The Tijuana attractions, the Jockey Club, Trivoli Bar, the Foreign Club, the Sunset Inn and Agua Caliente Casino were all owned by Anglo-Americans and employed mostly American workers. This was a source of constant resentment with the Mexican labor unions and government.

            By the end of the 1920s there were more than 260 businesses located in the downtown area, many of them along Avenida Revolucíon. These included many service businesses beyond the many bars. Besides liquor, Tijuana also had the attraction of almost unregulated prostitution and related vice establishments. Tijuana's image as Sin City became world famous. During this era, schools, rural roads, paved city streets, water mains, electricity and telephones were all built from taxes on gambling and alcohol. New residents also came, among them Mexicans exiled from north of the border. They soon founded a new Colonia, Libertad, on the hill behind the ruins of the flooded and abandoned Tijuana race track (which had lost its power to the Caliente track up-river). The population grew 10 fold from the 1000 residents that occupied the city before the business boom began.

            This period in the city's growth engendered many negative stereotypes about Mexicans and border towns in the minds of visiting American tourists. These attitudes were generalized to Mexican Americans who lived in San Diego. It was not until the presidency of Lázaro Cárdenas that Mexico moved to end gambling and American control of the tourist industry in Tijuana. In 1934, by presidential decree Cárdenas outlawed gambling and in 1937 the government expropriated American owned property in Tijuana. The gilded salons in Ensenada, Rosarito and Tijuana were all shut down.  Most of Hollywood which had frolicked, floozied and flaunted their new movie money went away. Horse racing, whoring, drinking and prize fighting continued. Some of the casinos were converted to schools and those Mexicanos who lost their jobs were given government employment.

            Today visitors are attracted to Tijuana, a bustling city of more than one million people, primarily for its shopping and entertainment opportunities. The city is a duty-free zone, and it is truly a shopping paradise, with an impressive and astounding variety of merchandise; ranging from silver jewelry, designer clothing, tile, ceramics, blown glass, glazed pottery, woven blankets, embroidered dresses, onyx chess sets, Mexican liquors and much more. You can still buy leather but now it comes from Durango and Zacatecas, a thousand miles away. Tijuana's main street, Avenida Revolucion, is regarded by many as the world's most popular street for shopping. Here you will find a 10 block strip of colorful craft marts, shopping arcades, boutique stores, and stalls offering bargains on a wide variety of merchandise from Mexico and from all over the world. Avenida Revolucion is truly designed to be a "shop till you drop" experience. In addition to the hundreds of shops, dozens of restaurants and bars are scattered between the various shops in the area to help tired shoppers rest and unwind. Bargaining is expected with most street vendors in this area, but it is often considered inappropriate in the more upscale shops.


            Three new shipping lines have decided to make Ensenada a stop on their itinerary. Currently Ensenada is second only to Cozumel on the Atlantic coast in the number of passenger delivered for an introduction to Mexican culture, carefree shopping, and revelry seeking. Over 500,000 visitors arrived this past year, a historical record. Princess, Holland America, and Celebrity lines will join the Carnival and Caribbean cruisers that already find Ensenada an attractive destination. 25 new-planed arrivals will be added to the current shipping schedule.  This will push the 2005 passenger count to over 1 million True Travelers dancing on the tables till the ship leaves and whisks them out to sea at sunset for a slow cruise designed to give the passengers plenty of time to eat, drink, and gamble.

Does anyone really ever sleep on these passages? After leaving port the souls aboard are then safely confined aboard so all their money will be spent aboard. There was a time in recent decades when the ships were ported in Ensenada all night long, which was great for the locals as an instant party was created every time the ship arrived and many new “relationships” were formed through the all night drinking process in Hussongs, Papas & Beers, and the other rowdy local entertainment centers.

Two factors are attributed to the new tourist trade; first, the elimination of the previously levied cruise ship passenger fee, and second, the results of dredging projects completed this past year allowing for a more generous turning basin allowing larger vessels to find this beautiful little port a worthy destination.  If you are inclined to join the 90 Day yacht Club in the future, perhaps a recon voyage aboard one of these nautically peculiar behemoths previous to your arrival would be a good idea, as well as a really fun trip for you and your new yachts crew. En route, swim in the pool, play hold ‘em, or climb the rock wall - high adventure on the high seas!!!

 Click on these photos and the following photos in this newsletter and use your web browser back button to return to this page

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In general, the Baja peninsula is a desert. Its main vegetation is cactus and brush. Its harsh environment is dry, with very few sources of water, and it's summertime temperatures can reach 120 degrees F plus. It is approximately 1,200 km long and 200 km at its widest point. It is bounded by the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Gulf of California to the east. The San Andreas Fault runs down the Gulf of California. The Gulf of California, sometimes called The Sea Of Cortez, is very deep. These deep cold waters provide abundant nutrients that rise towards the surface due to upwelling. These provide the basic nutrients for a very abundant marine eco-system. Very little is known about its inhabitants in prehistoric times. Other than a few cave paintings, little has been found to tell us about them.

At the time of the Spanish incursion in the Baja, there were three very well defined Indian tribes living there. The extreme south was inhabited by the Pericues, the middle Lower Peninsula was inhabited by the Guaycuras, and the north by the Cochimies. Estimates of population vary, however 50,000 seem to be the most accepted. It has been established that the northern Indians (Cochimies) came from the north, however the other two groups were not anthropologically speaking similar to either continental or northern Indians. These two groups are however similar to Pacific island inhabitants, leading some experts to speculate, that their ancestors came from a Pacific island center. There are not any known direct descendants of the Pericues or Guaycuras alive. Most were exterminated by epidemics from Europe introduced by explorers and "conquerors". It is accepted that their culture was primitive and they left no permanent structures.

There were many legends on the mainland Mexico of the Baja peninsula. Two bizarre examples; gold and pearls were controlled by Amazon women, and men were used only for procreation. At the time it was thought to be an island. After Hernan Cortez conquered Mexico, he set out to conquer this famed island. In 1533 one of two ships sent out by Cortez, accidentally discovered the Baja peninsula and they returned with tales of handfuls of pearls. Two years later Cortez himself landed in present day La Paz. Over the next thirty years there were many expeditions sent to the present-day Californias. In 1565 Spain set up its famous Manila galleon route. Thousands of ships sailed this route for the next 250 years. The route was from Acapulco to the Philippines and after to return to the northwest coast of America as far north as 40 degrees and then to again sail southward to Acapulco. The California peninsula became a hideout for English, Dutch and French pirates praying on the manila galleons with their supercargoes. Francis Drake and Thomas Cavendish are a few of the famous pirates to visit the Baja (we will have an article about these cutlery compadres in a future newsletter).

The Baja remained unconquerable after many failed attempts until 1697. Jesuit priests and soldiers established a colony at Loreto. Loreto became the capital of the Californias. It is interesting to think that the small town of present day Loreto was the capital of the Californias, when compared to the present day cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco. The Jesuits built churches and communities throughout the Baja peninsula until 1768, when they were expelled by Spain. Franciscan priests and later Dominicans dominated the peninsula until Mexico obtained its freedom from Spain in 1821. This period saw the extermination of many Indians and scandals within the church. Very few new churches were built or communities established. The Indian population at this time was estimated to be 4,500. At the turn of the century Spanish was in general use among the natives. Most of the colonists that had settled in the Baja suffered because of the poverty of the soil and lack of water. To sum up: European civilization had been introduced, but it was still in swaddling clothes.

With freedom from Spain, the Mexican government took a more active part in ruling the Californias. The priests and missionaries remained, however political power was yielded by appointed officials. The United States offered Mexico three and a half million dollars for territory north of parallel 38 which also included the Californias, this was summarily rejected. Later President Polk offered 40 million dollars for the Californias. This was also rejected. In the spring of 1846 the American Squadron of the Pacific began the war with Mexico and took Monterey, and later San Francisco; this occurred without any resistance. The Californias were then declared United States territory. A military blockade was established in the Lower California. In March 1847 American warships landed in San Jose del Cabo and La Paz and imposed the surrender of the areas and it's inhabitants. The U.S. flag was flown over the lower Californias. A Battalion of volunteers from New York known as the "baby regiment" arrived in La Paz to insure tranquility. They were received without any substantial opposition. A group of Mexican soldiers settled in Mulege with the purpose of starting a campaign against the invaders. Rumors reached La Paz. Two U.S. warships were ordered to Mulege to subdue the inhabitants and vanquish the opponents. A landing party was repulsed and one ship left and one stood blockade duty. Rumors spread that the invaders were not invincible. This action began a series of skirmishes between U.S. forces and Mexican forces. With many added warships and troops, the U.S. was finally able to subdue the Mexican patriots defending their land. The Treaty of Guadalupe solved these skirmishes. An interesting note during the negotiations of the Treaty of Guadalupe is that the US had little interest in the Baja and in a counter proposal ceded it to Mexico leaving a thin strip of land to connect it to mainland Mexico. Soon after the Mexican-American war had ended an American named William Walker invaded La Paz and declared it part of his new government, the Republic of Sonora. He left La Paz upon hearing that an army was on its way to liberate La Paz. History has branded him a Pirate. The Maximilian Empire never established itself in the Californias as it had on the continent. The Baja remained under the dominion of the Republic. With the rise to power of Gen. Porfidio Diaz there were many lower Californians in opposition. Many skirmishes ensued. The period of Gen. Porfidio Diaz 1880s - 1910 saw few changes in the lower Californias. Land and mineral rights were freely handed over to foreigners.

There was no armed struggle in the Lower California during the Mexican revolution of 1910-1911. There was a minor riot in the military barracks. In the aftermath of the revolution and the assassination of Madero there were armed uprisings. These uprisings were between the allies of Carranza and Pancho Villa. These persisted for several years until pacification came in 1914. Many reforms were instituted with the new revolutionary government and a period of colonization ensued. The pearling industry was eradicated when an unknown disease, suspected to be introduced by Japanese competitors, attacked the mother-of-pearl shell between 1936 and 1940. Agriculture was instituted on a large scale with irrigation from deep wells.

         Next month we will include an article about the fascinating tale of the Baja California pearling trade.

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




            Circle the number rating that best describes your feeling about the question posed. Couples should take the test separately. Total your score and compare to the total score evaluation box below. Conceder your response as 1 for below average, 2 for average and 3 for above average.

1) Open to new adventures

           select: 1 2 3

2) Flexible in your lifestyle

           select: 1 2 3

3) Enthusiastic to new things in a new and different culture

            select: 1 2 3

4) Able to make and enjoy new friends

           select: 1 2 3

5) Willing to learn at least basic phrases in a new language

           select: 1 2 3

6) Healthy enough mentally and physically not to see family, friends, and your favorite doctor for occasional visits

            select: 1 2 3

7) Confident enough to be in a minority position as a foreigner in a different culture

            select: 1 2 3

8) Independent and self-confident enough not to be influenced by negative and often ignorant comments against a possible move to another country

            select: 1 2 3

9) Patient with a slower pace of life

            select: 1 2 3

10) Usually optimistic

            select: 1 2 3

11) Eager to travel to a new country

            select: 1 2 3

12) Open mind to dealing with a different type of bureaucracy

            select: 1 2 3

13) Understanding enough to look at things in a different light without being critical

            select: 1 2 3

14) Financially stable without needing to work

            select: 1 2 3

                          Your Score                                      Evaluation


                              37-45                                   Great! move abroad


                              30-36                                    Will have a few problems


                              22-29                                    Some problems but possible


                            Less than 22                        Forget it stay home!



Conversion Tables


I have been asked by many of you to provide a table of conversions for your stay in Mexico. Feel free to print the below information.


metric                                    imperial


           1 millimeter [mm]                 ->   0.0394 in

           1 centimeter [cm] 10mm        ->     0.394 in

           1 meter [m] 100cm              ->    1.094 yd

           1 kilometer [km] 1000m       ->   0.621 statute mile

           1 kilometer [km] 1000m       ->   0.540 nautical mile


                      imperial                                        metric


           1 inch [in]                            ->    2.54 cm

           1 foot [ft] 12 in                     ->    0.305 m

           1 yard [yd] 1 ft                     ->    0.914 m
           1 mile 1760 yd                   
->    1.609 km

           1 nautical mile 2025.4 yd    ->    1.85 km



           1 fathom                              ->    6 feet

                                                       ->    2 yards

                                                       ->    1.829 m



           1 knot per hour              ->     101.268 feet per minute

                                                 ->     33.756 yards per minute

                                                 ->     1.852 kilometers per hour

                                                 ->     1.151 statute miles per hour


           1 kilometer per hour      ->     0.621 statute miles per hour

                                                  ->     0.539 knot per hour


           1 statute mile per hour   ->      1.61 kilometers per hour

                                                           0.868 knot per hour



   metric                                          imperial


1 sq cm [cm squared] 100 mm squared    ->    0.155 in squared

1 sq m [m squared] 10,000 cm squared    ->    1.196 yd squared

1 hectare [ha] 10,000 m squared               ->    2.471 acres

1 sq km [km squared] 100 ha                    ->    0.386 mile squared


                       imperial                                        metric


1 sq inch [in squared]                                ->     6.452 cm squared

1 sq foot [ft squared] 144 in squared        ->     0.093 m squared

1 sq yd [yd squared] 9 ft squared              ->     0.836 m squared

1 acre      4840 yd squared                       ->     4046.9 m squared

1 sq mile [mile squared] 640 acres           ->     2.59 km squared



   metric                                          imperial


1 cu cm [cm cubed]                                       ->    0.061 in cubed

1 cu decimeter [dm cubed] 1,000 cm cubed ->    0.035 ft cubed

1 cu meter [m cubed] 1,000 dm cubed          ->   1.308 yd cubed

1 liter [l] 1 dm cubed                                      ->   1.76 pt

1 hectoliter [hl] 100 l                                      ->    21.997 gal


                       imperial                                        metric


1 cu inch [in cubed]                                        ->    16.387 cm cubed

1 cu foot [ft cubed] 1,728 in cubed                 ->    0.028 m cubed

1 fluid ounce [fl oz]                                         ->    28.413 ml

1 pint [pt] 20 fl oz                                            ->    0.568 l

1 gallon [gal] 8 pt                                            ->    4.546 l


USA measure                                metric


1 fluid ounce   1.0408 UK fl oz                       ->      29.574 ml

1 pint (16 fl oz)    0.8327 UK pt                      ->      0.4731 l

1 gallon    0.8327 UK gal                               ->      3.785 l



   metric                                             imperial


1 milligram [mg]                                              ->     0.0154 grain

1 gram [g] 1,000 mg                                       ->     0.0353 oz

1 kilogram [kg] 1,000 g                                                 ->       2.205 lb

1 tonne [t] 1,000 kg                                         ->     0.984 ton


                        imperial                                          metric


  1 ounce [oz] 437.5 grain                                 ->      28.35 g

  1 pound [lb] 16 oz                                           ->      0.454 kg

  1 stone 14 lb                                                   ->      6.350 kg

1 hundredweight [cwt] 112 lb                          ->      50.80 kg

1 long ton (UK) 20 cwt                                    ->      1.016 t




  Celsius=5/9 (Fahrenheit-32)

  Fahrenheit=9/5 (Celsius+32)


Visit El Trailero for the best carne asada and fish tacos in El Sauzal, three kilometers before you enter Ensenada from the west. Next door you will find a great vegetable and fruit stand which features fresh vegi drinks and fresh fruit smoothies.

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