Internet Newsletter

From The 90 Day Yacht Club Guide to Ensenada

January 2006

Volume 4 , Number 1



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









The pole is 340.5 feet high, the flag measures 164x94 feet and weighs 551 pounds, is made out of 100% nylon and was dedicated June 21, 1997. 



                 FROM THE "BAD BOY" OF CRUISING GUIDES!                  





Since the introductory voyage with a small load of yachts from Florida to the Mediterranean in 1989, Dockwise Yacht Transport has grown to such an extent that this year it will add a fourth yacht carrier to its fleet. The capacity offered in 1989 was limited to one vessel transporting 7 to 10 yachts. With the addition of the Dock Express 12 in the fall of 2002, the yacht transport capacity increased to four dedicated vessels. The effective cargo capacity will as such be increased 7-fold compared to 1989.

Dockwise Yacht Transport is a service of Dockwise Shipping B.V., headquartered in The Netherlands and specialized in heavy transport shipping. Several heavy transport vessels in the Dockwise fleet have been modified to serve as yacht carriers for the transportation of luxury yachts. The features of these semi-submersible yacht carriers include spray-covers to safely accommodate yachts, large and small, during transport. Between these spray-covers, yachts can be loaded in impressive numbers in the carrier's dock, up to 146 meters (479 ft) long.

            Over 70% of our planet is water, and most of that seawater. This is indeed a wonderful fact for owners of oceangoing yachts. However, another fact is that the majority of yachts do not have the range to reach many of the world’s inviting cruising areas and international playgrounds. That limitation has evaporated thanks to Dockwise Yacht Transport. In the early 90s the concept of safely transporting yachts on board of semi-submersible heavy transport vessels was born. Today, Dockwise Yacht Transport is not only the leader but also the only company that offers routes in line with the migration habits of both power and sailing yachts of all sizes. The expected future growth of the yachting community further enhances their aim to improve the quality of their service that is based on safety, regularity and reliability.

Hassle free float-on/float-off yacht carrying services to destinations worldwide on board of our semi-submersible yacht carriers. These yacht carriers can load and discharge using the float-on/float-off method. After deck preparation, installation of keelblock cradles and supports to the deck of the yacht carrier, the vessel submerges into a 'floating marina' to a draft required for loading the yachts. When all yachts are moored in their reserved position the yacht carrier starts her dock operation. Once the deck is dry, the yachts are secured to the deck and are ready for a safe crossing. During transport, the yachts are safely stowed between the yacht carriers' spray-covers, protecting them from the elements.

Between 2004 and 2007, America’s Cup teams pitted against each other in different countries, in various regattas (called Acts). The final Act will take place at Valencia, with the regattas of the Louis Vuitton Cup, followed by the America's Cup Match. As transport provider of the Marseille Louis Vuitton Act 1 and Valencia Louis Vuitton Act 2 & 3 Dockwise Yacht Transport has offered the America’s Cup participants a reliable and safe transport of their precious yachts and auxiliary fleet to the various locations of the pre-regattas. Not only participants but also visitors and spectators to the pre-regattas and the America’s Cup in 2007 can entrust their valuable yachts to Dockwise Yacht Transport and enjoy the comfort of shipping their yacht to the event in tip-top condition and without any hassle or wear and tear. Dockwise Yacht Transport is taking care of all the necessities, like cribbing, seafastening, formalities, etc. and transport the yacht with a personal touch.

Below is a list of destinations available through Dockwise Yacht Transport





Palma de Mallorca



Destinations in North West Europe:


La Rochelle


Destinations on the East Coast US:

Newport R.I.

Port Everglades

Destinations on the West Coast Pacific:



La Paz

Vancouver B.C.

Lazaro Cardenas


Destinations in the Caribbean:


St. Thomas

Destinations in the South Pacific:




Visit the Dockwise Yacht Transport website by clicking the below link;

Click on these photos and the following thumbnail photos on this page

and use your web browser back button to return to this page

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As humans we posses many fantasies, some involving humans, others include entities from the animal world. Imagine a knock came on your beach house portal and you opened the door to find a cute and cuddly Pacific Ocean baby seal wanting to come in and stay awhile, for 3 months in this instance. Meet Willy the seal, at the door expecting to sleep with you in your bed, have you mash up his fish meals for him, and to generally accept him as a part of the family. No this child won’t grow up to go to college; the only future this sea denizen has is increasing to 600 pounds, chasing fish for dinner and other seals for fun, and lounging in the harbor on navigation buoys watching passing sea craft with an air of “why are you disturbing me?”.

This all happened at the house of Baha Mama just down the beach from her Baha Mama's Restaurant (see our September 2005 Newsletter for details about and photos of this fine eating establishment) on the sand spit strand you pass as you venture out to Punta Banda and the Bufadora. When Willy first appeared it was Profepa, the Mexican EPA who oversees the treatment and management of the ocean environment that was contacted first. Willy had been branded and tagged, so somewhere there had to be a record of the little seals existence. This was during the period of illegal human genocide on the baby seal population in the selfish interest of protecting the catch of the local fisheries during the last decade. Well, Profepa, Sea World and all the other organizations contacted didn’t seem interested in Willy’s plight or the responsibility of managing the return of Willy to the sea. This responsibility was left to Baja Mama and her family.

An idyllic and typical day during the three months of Willies stay was spent being taught how to fish in the patio fountain, see the accompanying photo of proud Willy and the first fish he caught in the fountain. This was a good sign, as Willy needed to shake the habit of expecting his fish to be mushed up and fed to him by hand from a bowl…big baby!  Another daily habit of Willy’s was the afternoon nap in the sun on his blanket, head planted on pillow. Yes, this was definitely a case of seal natural habitat behavior gone awry. Oh, and yes, he had chased Baja Mama’s understanding husband, Fred, out of their bed as the Willster had established the habit of crawling into bed with his newfound Mama at night.

         Something needed to be done about this situation, as the prospect of a 600-pound grown seal crawling into Baja Mama’s bed in the near future was not a good one. The little guy was changing color and growing rapidly. It took three times for the family to finally persuade Willy to leave the fold and return to the oceanic world he had come from. The first two times the seal had seemingly left and disappeared into the sea but both times came back “home” and again knocked on the door for entry and dinner. The second attempt Willy was seen playing with another seal in the surf on the beach behind Baja Mama’s house, even this was not enough to persuade the seal to remain offshore. But the third time this time was the charm, and the seal was never seen again to the heavyhearted relief of the Baja Mama crew and now seasoned seal caretakers. As you cruise the Ensenada Harbor and bark at the seals sleeping on the navigation buoys in an effort to get them to raise a head in distain and acknowledge your passing, you may see a now fully-grown Willy the seal daydreaming about sleeping in a proper bed, his blanket and pillow, and having his fish mushed up in a bowl.

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 A Spanish teacher was explaining to her class that in Spanish, unlike English, nouns are designated as either masculine or feminine. "House" for instance, is feminine: "la casa." "Pencil," however, is masculine:"el lapiz." A student asked, "What gender is 'computer'?"

          Instead of giving the answer, the teacher split the class into two groups, male and female, and asked them to decide for themselves whether "computer" should be a masculine or a feminine noun. Each group was asked to give four reasons for its recommendation.

The men's group decided that "computer" should definitely be of the feminine gender ("la computer"), because:

         1. No one but their creator understands their internal logic; 2. The native language they use to communicate with other computers is incomprehensible to everyone else; 3. Even the smallest mistakes are stored in long-term memory for possible later retrieval; and 4. As soon as you make a commitment to one, you find yourself spending half your paycheck on accessories for it.

The women's group, however, concluded that computers should be Masculine ("el computer"), because:

         1. In order to do anything with them, you have to turn them on; 2. They have a lot of data but still can't think for themselves; 3. They are supposed to help you solve problems, but half the time they ARE the problem; and 4. As soon as you commit to one, you realize that if you had waited a little longer, you could have gotten a better model.

            The women won.



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Few desert plants attract as much attention as the cactus. These highly adaptable plants are rather recent additions to the plant world. There are no fossil Cactus.

                                      Cactus Plants (Family Cactaceae)
Cacti are succulent plants that live in dry areas (xeric environments). They can survive long periods of drought (a lack of water). The name cactus derived from the Greek word kaktos, which means prickly plant. Cacti come in unusual shapes, sizes, textures and flower colors. Most have abandoned leaves and unusual body shapes to prevent loss of water. Some are ribbed or segmented and they may be covered with decorative spines, bristles or hairs.

Anatomy and Adaptations: Cacti have many adaptations that allow them to live in dry areas; these adaptations let the plant collect water efficiently, store it for long periods of time, and conserve it (minimizing water loss from evaporation). Cacti have a thick, hard-walled, succulent stem - when it rains, water is stored in the stem. The stems are photosynthetic, green, and fleshy. The inside of the stem is either spongy or hollow (depending on the cactus). A thick, waxy coating keeps the water inside the cactus from evaporating. Many cacti have very long, fibrous roots, which absorb moisture from the soil. Some, like ball cacti, have shorter, more compact roots that absorb dew water that falls off the cactus. Instead of leaves, most cacti have spines or scales (which are modified leaves). These spines and scales do not lose water through evaporation (unlike regular leaves, which lose a lot of water). The spines protect the cactus from predators (animals that would like to eat the cactus to obtain food and/or water). Areoles are circular clusters of spines on a cactus. Flowers bud at an areole and new stems branch from an areole.

          Reproduction: Cacti are flowering plants. The flowers produce seed-bearing fruit. Roving and foraging bats pollinate many cactus species. The delicate flowers usually bloom for a short period of time in the spring. Many cacti can also be grown from broken-off parts of the plant (but the new plant will be genetically identical to the original plant).

Habitat and Range: Cacti are native to the Americas (North and South America). They are generally found in dry areas, but can be found in many habitats (temperate, sub-tropical, and tropical), ranging from deserts to tropical rainforests to high in the Andes Mountains.

Care Tips - Desert cacti: from spring to autumn place them in the sunniest position. You can place them outdoors but protected from rain. From mid autumn through winter place the cacti in bright and cool areas. Water thoroughly from late spring to early autumn and from mid autumn keep dry. Give cacti fertilizer every fourteen days when new growth appears. Epiphytic cacti on the other hand, need more water, high humidity and they do not want sun. Do not mix or grow desert cacti with jungle ones, as the two groups need entirely different conditions.

        Varieties - There are two groups of cacti - the desert ones (usually covered in spines), and the jungle or rainforest cacti often without spines and most are epiphytes. There are some 200 genera and several thousand species. They are generally small but others, such as the old man cactus, can grow to 9 feet tall. Cacti are flowering plants and their shapes can be spherical, pillar, cushion or candelabra.

          Trivia - Desert cacti have spines as these maximize the surface area of the plant. Often their only source of moisture is wet mists passing through the desert in winter and they collect water from the mists, which condense on their spines.

Two Prominent Cactus Types

Saguaro Cactus

Carnegiea gigantea
(Cereus giganteus)


Range: The saguaro is the largest cactus in the USA, commonly reaching a height of 12 meters and an age of up to 200 years. It is one of the most characteristic plants of the Sonoran Desert, but actually has a quite limited geographical range, centered on southern Arizona and extending into western Sonora and eastern Baja California (Mexico). Within its range it can be extremely abundant, forming thick forests among desert trees and shrubs.


Habitat: Desert slopes and flats, especially rocky bajadas. The saguaro is particularly common in the Arizona Upland subdivision of the Sonoran Desert, around Tucson and Phoenix. One of the principal reasons for this is that the saguaro requires a reasonable amount of water - the annual precipitation averages -- cm in this region - and is fairly tolerant of frosts. Further south it is replaced by other large columnar cacti, such as the cardon, which are intolerant of frost. Further north it is limited by severe frosts. And in the regions of lower elevation to the west it is limited by drought.


Flowers: Creamy-white, 3-inch-wide flowers with yellow centers bloom May and June. Clustered near the ends of branches, the blossoms open during cooler desert nights and close again by next midday.


Description: The magnificent Saguaro Cactus, the state flower of Arizona, is composed of a tall, thick, fluted, columnar stem, 18 to 24 inches in diameter, often with several large branches (arms) curving upward in the most distinctive conformation of all Southwestern cacti.

         The skin is smooth and waxy, the trunk and stems have stout, 2-inch spines clustered on their ribs. When water is absorbed , the outer pulp of the Saguaro can expand like an accordion, increasing the diameter of the stem and, in this way, can increase its weight by up to a ton.

The Saguaro often begins life in the shelter of a "nurse" tree or shrub which can provide a shaded, moister habitat for the germination of life. The Saguaro grows very slowly -- perhaps an inch a year -- but to a great height, 15 to 50 feet. The largest plants, with more than 5 arms, are estimated to be 200 years old. An average old Saguaro would have 5 arms and be about 30 feet tall.


         The Saguaro has a surprisingly shallow root system , considering its great height and weight. It is supported by a tap root that is only a pad about 3 feet long, as well as numerous stout roots no deeper than a foot, emanating radially from its base. More smaller roots run radially to a distance equal to the height of the Saguaro. These roots wrap about rocks providing adequate anchorage from winds across the rocky bajadas.

The slow growth and great capacity of the Saguaro to store water allow it to flower every year, regardless of rainfall. The night-blooming flowers, about 3 inches wide, have many creamy-white petals around a tube about 4 inches long. Like most cactus, the buds appear on the southeastern exposure of stem tips, and flowers may completely encircle stems in a good year.

A dense group of yellow stamens forms a circle at the top of the tube; the Saguaro has more stamens per flower than any other desert cactus. A sweet nectar accumulates in the bottom of this tube. The Saguaro can only be fertilized by cross-pollination -- pollen from a different cactus. The sweet nectar, together with the color of the flower, attracts birds, bats and insects, which in acquiring the nectar, pollinate the Saguaro flower.

        Unlike the Queen of the Night cactus, not all of the flowers on a single Saguaro bloom at the same time. Instead, over a period of a month or more, only a few of the up to 200 flowers open each night, secreting nectar into their tubes, and awaiting pollination. These flowers close about noon the following day, never to open again. If fertilization has occurred, fruit will begin to form immediately.


         The 3-inch, oval, green fruit ripens just before the fall rainy season, splitting open to reveal the bright-red, pulpy flesh which all desert creatures seem to relish. This fruit was an especially important food source to Native Americans of the region who used the flesh, seeds and juice. Seeds from the Saguaro fruit are prolific -- as many as 4,000 to a single fruit -- probably the largest number per flower of any desert cactus.

Saguaros provide habitat for several animals.  While the Whitewing Dove (whose northern range coincides with range of the Saguaro) is one of its primary pollinators, it is the Gila Woodpecker and the Gilded Flicker who make their home in the Saguaro Cactus by chiseling out small holes in the trunk. The most conspicuous of these is the Gila woodpecker, which creates many of the nest holes seen in mature saguaro stems. Each year the woodpecker creates a new nest hole, and the previous one is then occupied by insects, lizards or occasionally by the ferruginous pygmy owl. The gilded flicker also produces nest holes in saguaros. Occasionally, the major branches of saguaros can have large twig-nests of hawks such as the red-tailed hawk or the Harris hawk.

          For many years it has been assumed that bats are the major pollinators of saguaros, because the flowers have all the features characteristic of bat pollination - nocturnal opening of the buds (although they remain open through to midday), heavy scent, copious nectar, etc. However, studies in which individual flowers were caged to exclude different types of pollinators in either night or daytime suggest that bees may be the more important pollinators - at least in some study sites. Even so, two species of bat that migrate annually from Mexico into Arizona (the lesser long-nosed bat and Mexican long-tongued bat) depend heavily on the flowers of saguaros, cardons and organ pipe cactus to supply the protein (from pollen) and sugars (from nectar) that they require during their northwards migration.

"Monstrose" growth: Saguaros can occasionally develop in a grossly distorted way, termed mostrose growth. This form of growth is familiar to many people who collect cacti, because commercial nurseries purposefully create this growth pattern for decorative effect, by damaging the apical mersitem of the plants. One spectacular natural example is shown in the image below. In this case the damage might have been caused by frost but seems more likely to have been caused by an insect or other factor that disrupted the meristem, because the nearby plant is of similar age and has not been damaged. For whatever reason, the interesting point is that the disruption is permanent and has been perpetuated in all the subsequent growth. Another example of this monstrose growth can be seen in cardon.


Approximate developmental history of a saguaro
(varies according to moisture availability)



Developmental stage

10 years

4 cm


14 years

15 cm


35-40 years

180 cm


40-50 years

2.5 metres

starts flowering

50 years

4 metres


65 years

6 metres

develops first arm

85 years onwards

7-8 metres

mature, branched adult


Prickly Pear Cactus

Genus Opuntia

Prickly pear cactus represent about a dozen species of the Opuntia genus (Family Cactaceae) in the Mexican and North American deserts. All have flat, fleshy pads that look like large leaves. The pads are actually modified branches or stems that serve several functions -- water storage, photosynthesis and flower production. Chollas are also members of the Opuntia genus but have cylindrical, jointed stems rather than flat pads.

Like other cactus, most prickly pears and chollas have large spines -- actually modified leaves -- growing from tubercles -- small, wart-like projections -- on their stems. But members of the Opuntia genus are unique because of their clusters of fine, tiny, barbed spines called glochids. Found just above the cluster of regular spines, glochids are yellow or red in color and detach easily from the pads. Glochids are often difficult to see and more difficult to remove, once lodged in the skin.

The fruits of most prickly pears are edible and sold in stores under the name "tuna." Prickly pear branches (the pads) are also cooked and eaten as a vegetable. They, too, are sold in stores under the name "Nopalito." Because of the glochids, great care is required when harvesting or preparing prickly pear cactus. Both fruits and pads of the prickly pear cactus are rich in slowly absorbed soluble fibers that may help keep blood sugar stable. Prickly Pear Nectar is made with the juice and pulp of the fruits and is available from our online store.

Range & Habitat: Prickly pear cactus are found in all of the deserts of the American Southwest, with different species having adapted to different locale and elevation ranges. Most require course, well-drained soil in dry, rocky flats or slopes. But some prefer mountain pinyon/juniper forests, while others require steep, rocky slopes in mountain foothills.


Description:  Most prickly pear cactus have yellow, red or purple flowers, even among the same species. They vary in height from less than a foot (Plains, Hedgehog, Tuberous) to 6 or 7 feet (Texas, Santa Rita, Pancake). Pads can vary in width, length, shape and color. The Beavertail, Santa Rita and Blind Pear are regarded as spineless, but all have glochids. In addition to the North American native prickly pear cactus listed below, there are many varieties, non-native imports and hybrids, so identification can often be difficult. Information on the 15 species below is based on wild, non-cultivated samples.

An extract of prickly pear cactus could herald help for hangovers, quelling some of the wretched symptoms that strike the morning after a night out. Taking a capsule of the extract before a night of drinking and partying significantly reduced some of the symptoms of a hangover in young adults, compared with a placebo, showed a study by US scientists. The extract produced statistically significant improvements in the nausea, lack of appetite and dry mouth afflicting the volunteers the morning after they had spent four hours swigging spirits. The overall assessment of hangover severity, based on nine symptoms, was reduced by nearly a fifth, but this result was not statistically significant.

Cactus Quesadilla Recipe


3 oz. Sliced Cactus

2 oz. Sliced Onions

1/2 teaspoon Minced Garlic

1 or 2 Japanese Chili's (minced)

1/2 teaspoon Chili Powder

1 or 2 dashes of Salt

1 package of Flour Tortillas

1. Heat pan and add either oil or melted butter. Then cook cactus in the pan. Add onions and cook 5 to 6 minutes.
2. After cactus is cooked set aside.
3. Heat Tortillas on separate grill or pan.
4. Then add cheese to tortilla. Cook until the cheese melts and the tortilla is crisp. Then add garlic, chilis and cilantro. Salt to taste.
5. Then add cactus mixture to the tortillas. Fold in half and serve!


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