Internet Newsletter

From The 90 Day Yacht Club Guide to Ensenada

June 2005

Volume 3 , Number 6



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







>TSUNAMI WARNING LAST NIGHT (6-14-2005) ! CANCELED WITHIN AN HOUR! NO DAMAGE IN ENSENADA!< See our archived article about Tsunamis in our January 2005 Newsletter


Copyright 1978 Lonnie Ryan


First yacht and team to arrive in the Coral Marina, the Lucky Sperm

Click on these photos and the following photos on this page 

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            In order to better serve you, West Marine and Boat US are rearranging how they order products in their stores. This has affected the process by which “The 90 Day Yacht Club Guide to Ensenada” is re-stocked and you may find the book not present in some stores. While this change takes place, ask for our book at your local West Marine or Boat US store if you don't find it in stock. You will find our book available in the West Marine and Boat US computers referenced by the SKU # 5107735 and our True Traveler Publishing vendor # is 36936. Our book can be transferred to your local store from any other store in the chain of over 300 stores nationwide that has our book in stock. Currently the largest marine store in the world (verified by West Marine), the West Marine in San Diego on Rosecrans has 12 books as we delivered a fresh supply yesterday, June 14th. You can also find the book one block east at Seabreeze Limited Nautical Books, see the article in our previous May 2005 newsletter.  Our books are also available at Boat US, CME Electronics and Downwind Marine in San Diego. The West Marine in Chula Vista has 9 books, the Long Beach West Marine store has 25 books, the Newport Beach West Marine store has 7 books and the Newport Beach Boat US store has 5 books. The smart boat buyer is buying the book now for study in preparation for the trip south to Ensenada after the law soon changes back to the 90 Day rule. “The 90 Day Yacht Club Guide to Ensenada” continues to sell at a fast pace in spite of the current temporary change in the law! 



            This past month I took a drive to Tecate because I wanted to see the spring flowers and green rain fed hills in the backcountry of Baja California. Indeed it was a beautiful drive with hardly any road traffic and the color along the road was spectacular. The Tecate border crossing has been a nice diversion from having to deal with Tijuana traffic and the long lines you usually find at the TJ border. Indeed the line was a short 10 cars and I got across the border with little time lost in the waiting line. The difference with this trip was the somewhat convoluted new route that takes you east about a mile and doubles you back along the border fence to a brand new and more "contemporary" crossing complex. By the time you leave the gate and snake through the road matrix you are deposited exactly where you would have been if you had crossed at the previous-crossing gate. When entering Mexico nothing has changed as you travel south through the same crossing into Mexico. This effects all those that used to walk across to Tecate because to get back into the US you would need to hike the 2 mile plus loop that now exists. True? I don't know, because I have never walked across that border. Perhaps they have made provisions for border walkers by giving them a special lane. E-mail me if you have more info please.

            While somewhat distracted making notes about the new area for the newly revised map of Tecate below I was unfortunately stopped by two Tecate Policia in a brand new police truck. They said I had ran a stop sign, so I apologized and showed them my book and gave them a couple of my business cards and after a song and dance about how my book benefits the Mexican culture I was eventually allowed to exit the area. The most tense moment in the exchange was when the junior cop (who kept referring to his partner as his supervisor and had to continually consult with him and get approvals for his actions) said those dreaded words we hate to hear from a Mexican Policia guy- “we’ll have to go to the police station now and take care of your ticket” (basically the death knell for all Mexican cop encounters)... Now walking a tightrope I insisted they take the copy of my book and all would be fine between us and again sorry that I didn’t see that alto sign. They went for it!!! The line after the book was given was truly classic- “Let’s make this understood, don’t consider this a bribe” OK, OK, consider it whatever you wish, I breathed under my breath as I wheeled around and strode back to my truck at a quickening pace.

            After that little experience I will evaluate a little more closely if I want to take the Tecate route again. I will have to take the route occasionally, as I need to keep my information current for you, my reader, in my newsletters and books. That’s the first time I’ve been stopped in the 6 1/2 years since I relocated my boat here in Ensenada. I attribute that to the good karma created in the creation of my books and this website. Guess that is further illustrated by them accepting my book as a “gift”. By the way, I swear there was no stop sign as I was following every move of a local Tecate dump truck, and he never stopped…go figure! 

Follow the signs marked “garrida/border”- Crossing closed midnight to 6am

New Revised Tecate Map

Click on this map and feel free to print it!

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(a sample excerpt from our current books)

            The 60's were great years to be young and emerging. Those times were truly special and I enjoy sharing a gratification for the gift of creation during that era. We had many conveniences previous generations did not enjoy that are often taken for granted: electricity, running water, a greater life expectancy, the mechanized age, worldwide communication and travel, and color TV. We saw the evolution of records to 8-track tapes, to cassettes, and now to CDs and DVDs. During the Summer of Love, while listening to music from the Quicksilver Messenger Service, Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, the Steve Miller Band and the Doors; a new oneness of being was being realized and shared. Timothy Leary was encouraging all to tune in, turn on, and drop out. Drug experience was worn like a badge; the trips were in your mind and not on a highway. Donavon sang of e-lec-trick-a-banana, inferring that banana peels would get you high, and telling us they called him Mellow Yellow.

            I also enjoy sharing my appreciation of the fact that I was born in perhaps the most perfect of all areas of the world and in the finest city of that area-San Diego. No humidity or bugs, mild temperatures year ‘round, and 20 miles from a country of bars that allows you to drink at the age of 18!

            1965 to 1967 were my high school years and we did a bit of scuffling around Ave. Revolution in Tijuana. We explored the dark and dangerous side streets where a real or imagined tales of Donkey Shows and Spanish Flies (don't ask) were proliferated. This was just after the early 60's reign of a young musician who rose out of the streets of Tijuana to be discovered by the nation in a movie named Woodstock, and to be known during his professional career as Carlos Santana. He played in the same bars we were then carousing and leaving at the first light of day. A typical night started at the Hotel Nelson for quiet warm-up cocktails, the Long Bar for rowdy beers, and then to Mike's Bar for a dance 'till dawn attempt to score a girl. The song “Funky Town” brought everybody onto the floor, “Light My Fire” was sung with a heavy Mexican accent, and space up front next to the band was a premium.

            The famous Long Bar (now gone), was one of those loud bright-lights bars made famous by what else, it's long bar. This was Tijuana's Hussong’s Cantina equivalent; mariachi bands, beer by the huge pitcher full, arm wrestling, and camaraderie with total strangers speaking little of your language, or you speaking little of theirs. If you met American girls here, they were usually game to spend the rest of the night with you and your buddies dancing in another bar.

            At the close of the night, we'd pile in the car and drive back up to San Diego occasionally taking a little extra time to make a side trip. Instead of continuing back up I-5, we'd drive through Imperial Beach to the Silver Strand and to the now defunct Coronado Car Ferry. For a couple a bucks a car, the little ferryboat would transport us quietly across the bay to what is now Seaport Village.    

            One of these nights in TJ we were with a buddy that was intent on scoring an ounce of hippy lettuce from somebody on the street. Regardless of our attempts to dissuade him due to the danger of being arrested, dealing with an unknown element, and the “take it back across the border factor”, he was still ready to lay down 10$ to a stranger for a bit of loco weed. Soon he was happily striding back to us, hiding paranoid in the shadows, proclaiming he had met someone who was soon to hook up with him and complete the deal. One could find mood altering uppers or downers in the farmacia easily bought over the counter. This nefarious means of dealing was a bit scary and new to us. Was our friend dealing with an undercover policeman, or worse, a criminal that may use an act of violence in an effort to rip him off for the 10$? That was big money in those days.

            What happened next was the realization of another one of those classic common stories told by those who'd spent time in Mexico. Our buddy went and did his deal and nonchalantly we removed ourselves from the area before examining the newly purchase "stash". It was truly a righteous amount he said, but he had not examined the contents due to how many people were on the scene at the time of the exchange. We finally reached a quiet back street area with a bit of overhead light and opened the paper bag to discover the zip lock bag inside indeed was as big as reported. Upon opening the zip lock bag, a whiff of the contents confirmed the fact that this was truly an exotic blend, but was a bit different in fragrance than what we expected. Passed around to all, we finally agreed, yes, this was an extremely rare form of mind-altering substance-oregano!  You know, the mint seasoning Origanum vulgare... We had a good laugh over that one, after the shock wore off, and told our friend he had better stick to smoking banana peels. Forever, after that day, we called him Mellow Yellow.


A new nightclub with a buena vista of the Bahia Todos Santos and the Ensenada harbor is soon(?) opening (on the left side of the road as you enter Ensenada just before the bridge on Highway 1); so far they seem to have re-painted and re-decorated the outside facade 3 or 4 times in the past 2 months in preparation for the opening...


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            Flan, pronounced [FLAHN] is commonly used as a term to describe the Spanish, Portuguese, or Mexican version of French Crème Caramel normally baked in a water bath and turned out of its mold into the plate for serving. You will find this desert in Ensenada in many restaurants as a treat to enjoy after your meal.  It resembles and is very similar to custard made from a combination of milk or cream, egg yolks, corn flour, and sugar and flavorings such as vanilla. Depending on how much thickener is an added the custard may vary in consistency from a thin pouring sauce or Crème Anglaise, to a thick blancmange like that used for vanilla slice.

            The name "Flan" originated from a word in old French "flaon", which comes from Latin "flado" meaning "custard". The same Latin root was used in the Middle English word "flaton", and "flawn" which later became flan”. The roots of Flan, and really custards in general date back to Medieval times. This eggy confection is mentioned in both Ancient Roman and Medieval European food history. The term originates from alchemy, where some practitioners needed to give their materials prolonged periods of gentle heating, in an attempt to mimic the supposed natural processes whereby precious metals germinated in the earth. It was said to be an invention of Mary the Jewess, an ancient alchemist. These custard dishes were widely spread through Europe with the Roman conquerors. " According to Platina's De Honesta Voluptate, an Italian cookery text published approximately 1475, custard-type dishes were considered health food. In addition to being nourishing they were thought to soothe the chest, aid the kidneys and liver, increase fertility and eliminate certain urinary tract problems." Eggs were thought to have many health benefits (and aphrodisiac qualities as well). 

            During the Roman era eggs took on a much greater importance, when domestic fowl first became common. With eggs for the first time available on such a scale, it was now possible to consider them seriously in cookery. The Romans subjugated eggs as a thickening or binding agent for other foods. They borrowed from the Greeks the idea of combining eggs with milk to form a custard mixture, which was either cooked very slowly in an earthenware pot, or fried in oil... Another kind of egg confection was made of fruit or vegetables, or fish or shredded meat, bound with eggs and lightly cooked in the open dish called a "patina."

            Flan is often cooked in a bain-marie. A bain-marie (or "water bath"; plural bains-marie) is an apparatus used in cooking for applying gentle heat to food. The name comes from the French tradition, bain de Marie, meaning "Mary's bath”, a process rendering the caramel sauce on the bottom layer. The food is placed in a container, which in turn is placed in a shallow dish filled with hot water, which is then usually placed in an oven. When finished cooking, the mold is inverted, covering the flan with the sauce. In England the term usually refers to a crust with either a sweet or savory filling.  The crust is formed and baked in a flan ring, cooled and filled. The sweet filling frequently includes custard. 

Flan Variations

Spanish and Mexican Sweet Custard
Flan, the custard, is is a very popular dessert in Spain and in Mexico.  It is   normally made with whole eggs and milk with a caramel coating.  The typical favoring is simply vanilla but there are numerous variations that include almonds , pistachio, lemon, and various other fruits.

Savory Flan, Another Variation
A small savory version of Flan can be found on many restaurant menus as an accompaniment to a main course. Examples are Asparagus Flan, Sweet Potato Flan, or a Sweet Corn Flan. These are typically made of eggs, cream, and the appropriate vegetable flavoring.

Classic Flan Tart
The Flan pastry is baked in a Flan ring atop a baking sheet.  Flan may also be baked in a tart pan or a pan with a removable bottom.  A filling is added to the baked pastry.  Fillings may be of any type but typically they are custard with a fruit topping or cheese custard resembling a Quiche. 

Flan Pan (Mold)
In many countries such as Mexico, Spain, as well as Cuba it is customary to make flan in a special pan (mold) over a bain marie (water bath).  The molds are fitted with a lid that clips on securely.  The custard can be prepared on the cooktop or in the oven. First you add sugar and water to the pan and swirl over a hot burner  to melt the sugar and form the caramel. The pan is then filled with the custard mixture and placed over a pot of boiling water (either in an oven or over a double boiler) where it remains until the custard is set, about 1 hour.

An Easy Flan Recipe

i n g r e d i e n t s
1 3/4 cups whipping cream
1 cup milk (do not use low-fat or nonfat)
Pinch of salt
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
3 large eggs
2 large yolks
7 tablespoons sugar

i n s t r u c t i o n s
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Combine cream, milk and salt in heavy medium saucepan. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean into cream mixture; add bean. Bring to simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat and let steep 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine 1-cup sugar and 1/3-cup water in another heavy medium saucepan. Stir over low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high and cook without stirring until syrup turns deep amber, brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush and swirling pan occasionally, about 10 minutes. Quickly pour caramel into six 3/4-cup ramekins or custard cups. Using oven mitts as aid, immediately tilt each ramekin to coat sides. Set ramekins into 13x9x2-inch baking pan.

Whisk eggs, egg yolks and 7 tablespoons sugar in medium bowl just until blended. Gradually and gently whisk cream mixture into egg mixture without creating lots of foam. Pour custard through small sieve into prepared ramekins, dividing evenly (mixture will fill ramekins). Pour enough hot water into baking pan to come halfway up sides of ramekins.

Bake until centers of flans are gently set, about 40 minutes. Transfer flans to rack and cool. Chill until cold, about 2 hours. Cover and chill overnight. (Can be made 2 days ahead.)

To serve, run small sharp knife around flan to loosen. Turn over onto plate. Shake gently to release flan. Carefully lift off ramekin allowing caramel syrup to run over flan. Repeat with remaining flans and serve.



            The history of the Spanish and the pirate quests for wealth in the Sea of Cortez is a colorful saga. Truth be told, the pirates that raided the Sea of Cortez shipping during the Baja’s early Spanish colonial exploration and settlement probably gained more wealth than the Spanish themselves. For 250 years they plagued the Manilla galleons off the coast of the Californias, finding the bays, lagoons and coves of the coastline perfect for hiding places from which to launch their intrusions on the heavy-laden treasure ships traveling to and from the east. Their swift corsairs were far superior to the slow and cumbersome ships carrying an affluence of silks, gold and spices. These cutlery compadres would lie in wait until the strong afternoon winds from the east pinned the visiting cargo vessels taking on supplies in the Bahia de la Paz (Bay of Peace). Four centuries after the first Acapulco to Manilla voyages commenced, these winds are still known as el coromuel, named for the Puritan Cromwells, father and son, who ruled successively as Lord Protector of England.

            Famous names such as Sir Frances Drake, Thomas Cavendish, William Dampier, Woodes Rogers, Thomas Dover, and many other colorful English privateers plied these waters in search of wealth and fame. One of the lingering pirate legacies is the collection of tales told through the years in ship's galleys and around shore side campfires. It is rumored that many hidden buried treasure sites left uncharted remain waiting to be discovered on the Cape of Baja California. Many an unlucky pirated crew was left to drift south from the Cape in lifeboats, the next point of landfall due to the prevailing current being Australia and New Zealand. It was a safe bet that these unfortunates would never live to tell the tale about their misfortune at the hands of the free-booters and scallywags that set them adrift.

            Perhaps the most notorious of the Pacific privateers was Sir Thomas Cavendish whose supreme feat of plunder occurred at Cabo San Lucas in 1587. His two ships the Desire and Content engaged and commandeered the Spanish galleon Santa Ana following a protracted sea battle. Cavendish set fire to the Santa Ana after looting her cargo holds and setting its crew and passengers ashore. The Spanish crew later retrieved the burned ship and repaired it for a return to Acapulco.

            The plundered treasure was divided between the Desire and Content. The ships set sail for England with the booty but during the first night the Desire disappeared. Cavendish reported in England that the captain and crew of the Desire must have scuttled the ship on a nearby island and disappeared with the loot. Neither the vessel and treasure were ever seen again and historians speculate that the cache is buried somewhere on the Baja Cape.

            Increased pirate activity in the late 17th and 18th centuries created the need for a Spanish military maritime presence in the Cape Region. In 1719 Padre Juan de Ugarte, then the President of the Missions, contracted a master ship builder to build a ship designed to patrol the Sea of Cortez coast and protect lines of shipping and supply. The barque El Triunfo de la Cruz, assembled of native Baja hardwood at the Mulege estuary, made its first sail to Bahia de La Paz in 1720 with Ugarte and Padre Jaime Bravo as passenger. They founded the mission community of Nuestra Senora del Pilar de La Paz at the current La Paz city site. The mission only lasted until 1749, when it was abandoned because of a series of local Indian rebellions. By this time, another presidio and mission had been founded farther south at San Jose del Cabo, a superior location for guarding shipping from pirate activity.

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



(#7 on our site locator maps)

(another sample excerpt from our current books)

A short walk west of Baja Naval along the waterfront and next to the new Cinema-plex (#29 on our site locator maps) will find you at the open air Ensenada fish market. Here you will discover the catch of the day for sale at economy prices. For example, delicious fresh swordfish for only US $5 a kilo (2.2 pounds). Depending on the season, you may find abalone, shrimp, lobster, yellow fin, yellowtail, albacore, dorado, halibut, shark, rockfish, etc... It’s best to arrive at this market early in the day, before the goods have a chance to ferment in the heat of the day.


The fishing boats are arriving in Ensenada, again filling the slips, and one of our favorites is shown below, a red trimmed Donzi

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