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From The 90 Day Yacht Club Guide to Ensenada

July/August 2007

Volume 5 , Number 7/8

 

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

True Traveler Publishing

P.O. Box 60023

San Diego, CA 92166

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sitka@truetraveler.com

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(619) 857-0368

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RED TIDE ATTACKS THE ENSENADA AREA WATERS

Nature is trying very hard to make us succeed, but nature does not depend on us. We are not the only experiment.
  R. Buckminster Fuller

Since early June we have experienced a massive red tide occurrence here in the waters of Ensenada within the Bahia Todos Santos. Unfortunately this has caused the death of the fish in these polluted aquatic regions due to the lack of oxygen necessary to support the marine ecosystem. This has resulted in a surge in the number of and variety of the birds in the marinas and harbor as typically shore side sea birds are just hanging out always looking for a free handout whether it be from a disaster causing dead fish to float to the surface or a full trash can being left open. Since I was a youth and a surf gremmie in San Diego I have never seen such a quick striking and concentrated red tide. This caused me to further research this occurrence.

A red tide or algal bloom is a relatively rapid increase in the population of (usually) phytoplankton algae in an estuarine or marine eco system. Harmful algae are microscopic, single-celled plants that live in the sea. Most species of algae or phytoplankton are not harmful and serve as the energy producers at the base of the food web, without which higher forms of life on this planet would not exist. Typically only one or a few species are involved and the bloom is recognized by discoloration of the water resulting from the high density of pigmented cells. Although there is no officially recognized threshold level, algae are unlikely to be considered to be blooming unless more than 10,000 cells per milliliter occur. Algal bloom concentrations may reach millions of cells per milliliter. Colors observed are green, yellowish-brown, or red.

 

The excessive growth of algae may disrupt higher links of the local food web. Algae that die and sink to the bottom stimulate growth of decomposers, especially bacteria. Decomposition can result in the depletion of oxygen in the deeper water layers, and these conditions may result in fish kills or replacement with less valuable species more tolerant of higher phosphorus and lower oxygen levels. Deoxygenation also may cause chemical changes in the mud on the bottom, lowering the redox value of the sediment, releasing chemicals and toxic gases. All these changes further accelerate the eutrophication of the aquatic ecosystem.

Algal blooms may also be of concern as some species of algae produce neurotoxins. At the high concentrations reached during blooms, these may cause death if affected water is ingested. Algal blooms are monitored using biomass measurements coupled with the examination of species present. A widely used measure of algal and cyanobacterial biomass is the chlorophyll concentration.

Coastal pollution produced by humans appears to be a causal factor in red tides in some parts of the world, but red tides also occur in places where there are no associated human activities. Some red tides produce large quantities of toxins, which kill fish and are accumulated by filter feeders. This bioaccumulation of toxins causes bivalves – like oysters and clams – collected in areas affected by algal blooms to be potentially dangerous for human consumption.

         Occasionally, the algae grow very fast or "bloom" and accumulate into dense, visible patches near the surface of the water. "Red Tide" is a common name for such a phenomenon where certain phytoplankton species contain reddish pigments and "bloom".

One of the species that kills without toxins, like this Chaetoceros species above which has spines with serrated edges which can lodge in fish gill tissues, causing irritation, defeating the production of mucous, and eventual death.

Human Illness Associated with Harmful Algae

          Man is exposed principally to the naturally occurring toxins produced by harmful algae through the consumption of contaminated seafood products. The most significant public health problems caused by harmful algae are listed below.

Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning (ASP)

Ciguatera Fish Poisoning (CFP)

Diarrhetic Shellfish Poisoning (DSP)

Neurotoxic Shellfish Poisoning (NSP)

Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP)

         Each of these syndromes are caused by different species of toxic algae which occur in various coastal waters of the US and the world. With the increase in interstate and international transport of seafood, as well as international travel by seafood consumers, there are virtually no human populations that are free of risk. Since 1978, illnesses in the US due to natural algal toxins have included PSP, NSP, CFP, and ASP. No incidents of DSP have yet been verified in this country. Although records are incomplete because reporting to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is voluntary, evidence indicates that ciguatera was responsible for about half of all seafood intoxications. A growing body of evidence indicates that incidents of ASP are on the increase and that DSP may shortly make its debut in the United States, since the causative organisms occur throughout the temperate coastal waters of the US.

Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning (ASP)

causative organisms: Pseudo-nitzschia sp.

toxin produced: Domoic Acid

ASP can be a life-threatening syndrome. It is characterized by both gastrointestinal and neurological disorders (Bates et al., 1989). Gastroenteritis usually develops within 24 hours of the consumption of toxic shellfish; symptoms include nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea. In severe cases, neurological symptoms also appear, usually within 48 hours of toxic shellfish consumption. These symptoms include dizziness, headache, seizures, disorientation, short-term memory loss, respiratory difficulty, and coma. In 1987, four victims died after consuming toxic mussels from Prince Edward Island, Canada. Since that time, Canadian authorities have monitored both the water column for the presence of the causative diatom, and shellfish for the presence of the toxin, domoic acid. Shellfish beds are closed to harvesting when the domoic acid concentration reaches 20 µg/g shellfish meat. Fish and crab viscera can also contain domoic acid, so the risk to human consumers and animals in the marine food chain is more significant than previously believed.

Ciguatera Fish Poisoning (CFP)

causative organisms: Gambierdiscus toxicus, Prorocentrum spp., Ostreopsis spp., Coolia monotis, Thecadinium sp. and Amphidinium carterae

toxins produced: Ciguatoxin/Maitotoxin

CFP produces gastrointestinal, neurological, and cardiovascular symptoms. Generally, diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain occur initially, followed by neurological dysfunction including reversal of temperature sensation, muscular aches, dizziness, anxiety, sweating, and a numbness and tingling of the mouth and digits. Paralysis and death have been documented, but symptoms are usually less severe although debilitating (Miller, 1991). Recovery time is variable, and may take weeks, months, or years. Rapid treatment (within 24 hours) with manitol is reported to relieve some symptoms. There is no antidote, supportive therapy is the rule, and survivors recover. Absolute prevention of intoxication depends upon complete abstinence from eating any tropical reef fish, since there is currently no easy way to measure routinely ciguatoxin or maitotoxin in any seafood product prior to consumption.

Diarrhetic Shellfish Poisoning (DSP)

causative organisms: Dinophysis sp.

toxin produced: Okadaic Acid

DSP produces gastrointestinal symptoms, usually beginning within 30 minutes to a few hours after consumption of toxic shellfish (Yasumoto and Murato, 1990). The illness, which is not fatal, is characterized by incapacitating diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and chills. Recovery occurs within three days, with or without medical treatment.

Neurotoxic Shellfish Poisoning (NSP)

causative organism: Karenia brevis

toxins produced: Brevetoxins

NSP produces an intoxication syndrome nearly identical to that of ciguatera. In this case, gastrointestinal and neurological symptoms predominate. In addition, formation of toxic aerosols by wave action can produce respiratory asthma-like symptoms. No deaths have been reported and the syndrome is less severe than ciguatera, but nevertheless debilitating. Unlike ciguatera, recovery is generally complete in a few days. Monitoring programs (based on K. brevis cell counts) generally suffice for preventing human intoxication, except when officials are caught off-guard in previously unaffected areas.

Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP)

causative organisms: Alexandrium spp.,Gymnodinium catenatum, Pyrodinium bahamense

toxins produced: Saxitoxins

PSP, like ASP, is a life threatening syndrome. Symptoms are purely neurological and their onset is rapid. Duration of effects is a few days in non-lethal cases. Symptoms include tingling, numbness, and burning of the perioral region, ataxia, giddiness, drowsiness, fever, rash, and staggering. The most severe cases result in respiratory arrest within 24 hours of consumption of the toxic shellfish. If the patient is not breathing or if a pulse is not detected, artificial respiration and CPR may be needed as first aid. There is no antidote, supportive therapy is the rule and survivors recover fully. PSP is prevented by large-scale proactive monitoring programs (assessing toxin levels in mussels, oysters, scallops, clams) and rapid closures to harvest of suspect or demonstrated toxic areas.

The Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone

            The Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone is a seasonal phenomena occurring in the northern Gulf of Mexico, from the mouth of the Mississippi River to beyond the Texas border.  It is more commonly referred to as the Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone, because oxygen levels within the zone are too low to support marine life.  The Dead Zone was first recorded in the early 1970's. It originally occurred every two to three years, but now occurs annually.  In the summer of 1999 the Dead Zone reached its peak, encompassing 7,728 square miles. Hopefully we won’t see this happen here annually in Northern Baja as this current red tide has affected the local fisheries and the general health of the local environment and economy.

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I prefer the company of peasants because they have not been educated sufficiently to reason incorrectly.
  Michel de Montaigne

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    ABOVE PHOTO BY DOUG GOULD

SABOTAGE AND BOOBY TRAPS

THE PERILS OF BAJA OFF ROAD RACING

            The choppers come in first. That's how you know something big is coming. Two, three, four helicopters carrying race officials and film crews tracking the leaders of the race, they pop up suddenly over a bluff, swinging in crazily like huge drunken dragonflies. The crowd knows this and starts to chatter, a tense ripple of collective excitement and nerves. Then you see the dust. The dust in the distance is like a tiny concentrated tornado, and it moves very, very fast over the cracked brown landscape, closer and closer toward the crowd. When the dust gets very close, it disappears for a moment, hidden by a hill. And then you hear the great roaring of the engine.

            Baja off road racing is all about survival, whether it's the booby traps, harsh terrain, mechanical maladies or unwritten Mexican laws. Often referred to as “the most famous race that no one has ever seen,” each SCORE Baja off road team’s success hinges largely upon preparation and the ability to meet incredibly unpredictable challenges. Inextricably woven into the course are unquantifiable monkey wrenches that add a thick layer of trepidation known to no other racing in the world.

          These seemingly random factors include: a crowd that literally walks in the path of the vehicles (often with children), “booby traps” made during the night before the race (by fans) including unexpected out-of-rhythm jumps, man made floods, boulders thrown and buried, oil slicks, buried and suspended telephone poles, unauthorized course changes (think Wiley Coyote), silt beds that swallow the vehicle in a cloud of blindness, and of course, the Federalies! This years Baja 500 event was no exception.

          "Weatherman" is Bob Steinberger's nickname. He is positioned on a mountain slightly south west of Mikes Sky ranch at about 9,500 feet elevation during the Baja races. He is the relay of all official SCORE communications during the event. As vehicles clear checkpoints the news will be broadcast on this radio channel. All medical emergencies, rescue efforts, security incidents, racers in need of pit support and much more communications are handled on this channel making it the number one source of race information. Access to this radio channel is available from a link on the SCORE website. On the Weatherman race emergency and monitoring frequency the Mexican national anthem is often heard hummed and sung loudly over the talking on this frequency to jam the important info being shared. A large amount of hateful cussing on the station from heavy accented Baja locals, followed by a warning by the Weatherman about using profanity on this public frequency, followed by even more virulent anti-gringo racist cussing is often heard.

            In the pre-race advisory published on the SCORE website, this is one of the guidelines, “SCORE cannot regulate the conduct of spectators. Be advised that spectators may engage in malicious activity. When approaching a group of spectators - SLOW DOWN & BE ALERT!” ''There are spectators everywhere,'' said Ivan Stewart, a 17-time Baja 500 champion who won his first title in 1974. ''And when it gets late in the afternoon it gets even more dangerous. Because by then they've been drinking all day. You can't expect them to get out of the way any more.''  And there are others who simply like the idea of contributing to the mayhem. Racers have often been defeated by booby traps set up for maximum damage: telephone poles half-buried across the course and hidden by brush and dirt, or deep ditches in the course, dug the night before the race, filled with pools of water and camouflaged with grass and straw.

            As was reported on the Weatherman channel, a telephone pole was placed between two burned out trucks head high in the beach run area near Erindera and took out a motor bike rider. The Federal police are investigating. Also reported by returning racers were boulders being thrown into the front window of the vehicles. There is no windshield in a Baja off road rig, and reportedly one participant’s jaw was broken by a bolder thrown into this opening.

            Baja racing is considered by enthusiasts as the most dangerous and physically demanding form of motorsports there is. That’s because in Baja racing there are no banked turns, no laser leveled straight ways, no soft walls, and absolutely NO walking back to the pits! In most 500 mile races competitors make hundreds of laps on an oval race track. In Baja racing competitors make one 500 mile lap that travels over sandy deserts, deep rivers, and rocky cliffs with sheer drop offs, and this all takes place in the searing heat of Mexico. In spite of the dangers, sabotage and booby traps encountered, ''There's something about Baja,'' said Judy Smith, 72, a motor sports journalist and a former off-road racer herself. ''Something happens to people here. Something happens, and after that they can never stay away.'

 

From a forum account on the net. Here's a photo of some of those "saboteurs" mentioned in the article.

“The night before the 500, I came across a small rancho up-course from Camalu a few miles, and these guys were very busy and also quite proud of their handiwork.”

BAJA 500 WRAP-UP

            The SCORE Baja 500 featured a record lineup of 492 competitors in 28 Pro and six Sportsman classes for cars, trucks, motorcycles and ATVs. This year's tight and technical 424.22-mile course saw only 283 competitors, or 57 percent of all participants, finish within the 20-hour time limit. The event was won by the Trophy Truck driven by Brian Collins and Larry Ragland.  The race was the first for the Volkswagen Touareg Team. The two VW team vehicles finished in the top 20.

            "That was the toughest, most brutal route I've ever driven in a Baja 500," said event veteran and previous winner Mark Miller, driver of the #81i Race Touareg. "The course was very difficult and you can't believe the abuse this thing took - I can't believe I can even stand up right now. It's the roughest thing that this vehicle has ever endured." "The fact is that we achieved this success with a diesel engine that is relatively quiet but develops incredible torque," said Miller. "We participated not having to refuel even once, while the U.S. vehicles had to stop for fuel two or even three times”. SCORE announced at the record-setting race the Volkswagen of America has become the Official Vehicle of SCORE International, effective immediately.

CARLSBAD MAN DIES IN BAJA 500 ACCIDENT

            A competitor was killed in a roll-over accident during the Baja 500 off road race around the 196th mile early Sunday shortly after midnight. Chris Lokken, 31, of Carlsbad, was a rider in a buggy that had a transmission breakdown. Having no radio communication he stopped a passing truck in a competing class and they agreed to take him to the next checkpoint a few miles ahead. Lokken sat behind the seats inside the stretched cab, an area without a seat or seatbelt. “He wore his helmet but it was unbuckled,” SCORE Chief Executive Officer Sal Fish said. The truck was about a mile away from the checkpoint when the course went up a steep hill. The truck couldn't make it up. It backed up to make another try but in doing so went over the side, rolling over and over down a 100-yard ravine. Lokken was thrown from the truck and his helmet came off. He died at the scene of head and internal injuries. The other two people in the truck were wearing helmets and seatbelts and were not hurt.

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To Whom it May Concern,

Nancy Conroy is the Editor and Publisher of the Gringo Gazette, and as such is solely responsible for the entire content of the newspaper.  Lonnie Ryan's Baja 500 article was edited during the production process, and additional information was inserted.  The Gringo Gazette stands behind the entire content of the article.  Interested parties are invited to read a follow up article printed in the June 28th, 2007 edition of the paper that provides further information about the legal aftermath of the Baja 500 fatality.  Read the article at www.gringogazettenorth.com.

Nancy Conroy

Publisher

Gringo Gazette North

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 BAJA 500 FINAL RESULTS

CLICK HERE FOR A RESULTS SUMMARY

CLICK HERE FOR SELECTED DRIVER QUOTES

CLICK HERE FOR A COMPLETE LIST OF ALL FINISHERS

BELOW PHOTOS TAKEN SATURDAY 6-2-2007 AS THE TROPHY TRUCKS STARTED AND LATER THAT DAY AS THEY ENTERED THE SANTO TOMAS AREA FROM THE RUN ON THE BEACH - RACE MILEAGE - 340 MILES

ABOVE PHOTO BY DAN EVANOFF

1ST PLACE #12 RAGLAND/COLLINS

ABOVE PHOTO BY DAN EVANOFF

2ND PLACE #71 ROBBY GORDON

ABOVE PHOTO BY DAN EVANOFF

3RD PLACE #1 B.J. BALDWIN

ABOVE PHOTO BY DAN EVANOFF

ABOVE PHOTO BY DOUG GOULD

4TH PLACE #3 MARK POST

 

 

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Cynics regarded everybody as equally corrupt... Idealists regarded everybody as equally corrupt, except themselves.
  Robert Anton Wilson

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Mario Mijares caught this 60 to 65 pound stingray on March 25th off the Las Gaviotas jetty. Mario, as is his nature, made it into soup and fed his fellow Las Gaviotas staff members. Enjoyed by all, and the talk of the town!

Photo credit:Felipe Cruz

BAJA DECEMBER 2005

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OUR ANNUAL GILL BILLY®   FISHING TOURNAMENT HELD IN LOCAL ENSENADA, MEXICO WATERS WAS WON SATURDAY 6-16-2007 BY THIS FISH!

OUR SKIPPER PEDRO WEARING OUR LATEST DESIGN NOW AVAILABLE AT WWW.GILLBILLY.COM

THE DAY'S EVENT WINNING CREW

A GREAT TIME WAS HAD BY ALL!

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You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.
  Jack London

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NEW PASSPORT LAW EASED

            The Department of Homeland Security has suspended a new law that led to a massive backlog of passport applications.  The U.S. has decided to temporarily suspend the requirement of a passport in order to go to Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, or to the Caribbean (currently the law only applies to those traveling by air) . The resulting flood of applications left travelers waiting an average of three months for a passport, about twice the standard wait.

            On May 30, U.S. Rep. Heather Wilson, an Albuquerque Republican, called for suspension of the law. Wilson's office has said it received more than 500 complaints in May from people worried they'd miss a trip because their passport hadn't arrived. On Thursday, she said senior DHS officials told her the law will be put on hold until September. Travelers still need to apply for a passport, but can return to the United States with a photo ID and a receipt showing their passport is on the way.

            The new requirement took effect in January as part of anti-terrorism legislation passed in 2004. The Bush administration put into action a requirement which would make all travelers carry passports to fly to and from other countries. The reasoning behind this temporary lift of the requirement was to try and catch up with the backlog of passports. The State Department cannot keep up with the millions of passport applications. The suspension will allow the State Department to catch up with the surge in applications. Between March and May alone more than 4.5 million passports were issues and there is still a three-month delay for travelers.

 

 

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I don't know why we are here, but I'm pretty sure that it is not in order to enjoy ourselves.
  Ludwig Wittgenstein

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DUMP TRUCK BRINGS DOWN THE EL SAUZAL PEDESTRIAN BRIDGE ON FRIDAY 6-8-2007

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It takes hundreds of nuts to hold a car together, but it takes only one of them to scatter it all over the highway.
Evan Esar

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