Internet Newsletter

From The 90 Day Yacht Club Guide to Ensenada

 

March/April 2008

 

Volume 6 , Number 3/4

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                 

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BAJA MAMA’S FINE DINING AND THE BEST SUNDAY BRUNCH IN THE ENSENADA AREA

Do you like fresh oysters, clams and crabmeat? Do you also have an affinity for excellent Mexican pastries with a made to order omelette? How about adding a healthy selection of fresh fruits and vegetables and dips to compliment your meal? Do you enjoy the company of other likeminded folks celebrating the beauty of the day and the Ensenada area? All the while savoring perhaps the best biscuits and gravy I have ever experienced keeps calling you back for another serving. Would you like to have an all you can eat Sunday brunch for 10$ that includes all of the above plus a magnificent view of the Todos Santos Bay, Islands, and the Punta Banda ridge? Well my friend out there in Cyber Ville, Baja Mama’s Restaurant is definitely the place for you.

More a gathering at a treasured friends house than a restaurant, this place will charm you with not only the generous board of fare, but perhaps more importantly the new people you will meet and blessings you will delight in sharing together. After all, isn’t that what Sunday is all about, a day of rest and exaltation in the good lives we all are able to share? And yes, you will need to rest after this generous feed. You can grab a book in the new library facing the beach, walk the beach, or just relax in the company of your new acquaintances. Dogs are welcome here and they too will look forward to Sunday as you will after visiting Linda, Fred, Mike and their friendly cast of helpers.

Baja Mama’s is located just off the road to the Blo-Hole or La Bufadora about 20 miles south from Ensenada on the sand spit that extends out into the Todos Santos Bay. Make the right turn at the last stop light and the “Y” split in the road as you pass out of Maneadero en route to the wine country of Santo Tomas and on to La Paz and the south cape of the Baja peninsula. After you turn right, be aware of the series of 7 speed bumps along this road, as they are very dangerous if you go over them at high speed. 7.3 miles after you exit highway 1 you will see a white sign on the right hand side of the road marked “Aguacaliente”. Make a right turn on this road, most of which is paved but there is a short ½ mile dirt section that navigates you to the paved road. About a mile after the occupied guard shack (just wave as this guy as he is just there to keep out the bad guys which you obviously are not) you will see one of the yellow Baja Mama signs guiding you to turn left toward the beach. Here you will encounter another guard gated stop at the end of the road. After a short uphill dirt road along a high wall you turn left to the restaurant a short distance down the road on your right and on the beach.

This past weekend we took a fishing buddy that has definitely been around the block a few times and is a hardened Baja vet. Knowing the area, the available oyster, clam and crab population, we were interested as to his response to the feed. 3 buckets of clamshells later he was still smiling broadly and struggling with the urge to go back for more! These tasty treats are brought up from 100 miles south farmed from San Quintin where the water is much cleaner and the harvest much more pure of the pollutants up north. Oh, and yes for 10 bucks this is an all you can eat brunch establishment; we figured our buddy ate more than his share at that price plus had a serving of his own custom omelette and all the refreshment he could drink.

I told Baha Mama he’d have to find his own way out there next time! No worries as she gets a kick out of making sure all are fed righteously and all the food is consumed by the end of the day.Linda, aka Baja Mama is you hostess, Fred, her husband and greeter, and Mike, their son and cook will all basically “Make Your Day”. This custom of serving started when they lived in Michigan. Weekly informal gatherings of families at their house grew to a scope that they were forced to develop the talent they now share for making all feel at home and comfortably well fed. 

Visit them Sunday for brunch from 10 am to 4 or so in the afternoon (there is really no definite closing time on Sundays) and for dinner from Monday to Saturday from 5pm to 10pm. Visit the little gift shop while you are there and ask for and buy a copy of our book!

         There are a few small hotels near by if you want to make a whole night stay of your visit to this beautiful area of the Ensenada panorama. See our article in the January 2004 Newsletter entitled “Road Trip to San Quintin” and October 2004 Newsletter about the history of San Quintin. Read about the history of this beautiful agricultural area of Punta Banda in our January 2005 Newsletter.

Click on these photos and the following photos on this page 

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

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Below is a satellite map illustrating how to get to Baja Mama's from Ensenada 

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  “Your true traveler finds boredom rather agreeable than painful. It is the symbol of his liberty-his excessive freedom. He accepts his boredom, when it comes, not merely philosophically, but almost with pleasure.”

-Aldous Huxley

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PUSH THE ABOVE BUTTON FOR A GREAT BAJA PHOTO FLASH SLIDESHOW!

Photo Credits: Doug Gould at http://bajawild.net

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There are painters who transform the sun to a yellow spot, but there are others who with the help of their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into the sun.
  - Pablo Picasso

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THE CELEBRATION AND JOY OF A MEXICAN CIRCUS

            During August 2005 a plane daily circled the skies of Ensenada heralding the “SPEC-TAC-U-LAR!!!” arrival of the Circus Norte Americano to Ensenada. Two big horns mounted on the wings pointing straight down beamed the same Spanish recorded message over and over to those who could not read or afford a paper- smart advertising!  It got my attention and Mark on Luna Sea mixed a strong brew of Margarita Mix in a gallon water jug and we headed to the huge circus tent erected near Cruiseport Marina. Below is a collection of photos from that night.           

We arrived early to take in the entire flavor of the event. It being two for one ticket night we bought our tickets earlier in the day expecting a large crowd. Also being Monday and the first week of school in Ensenada that big crowd never materialized and we had a small and thoroughly entertained group to share the festivities with. The stars of the show are the tigers and a magician named Eriko. We saw 2 loud motorcycles circling a brave girl in a small round cage just inches from her body. A trapeze and high climbing ribbon act in the heights of the tent defied death without safety lines. Funny clowns selected people from the audience and took them on stage for fun and good-natured humiliation. All the while the crowd roared with hoots and uncontrolled laughter.           

The prices were affordable for the local Ensenada crowd. Seats were 5, 7 and 10 dollars. I wanted to be as close to center stage as possible and level with the stage and that put us in the 5-dollar seats. So, at two for one we enjoyed a lot of entertainment for 5 bucks! You will notice in the photos that the girls in the red and blue outfits that greeted us and took our tickets were actually performers in the circus. This was a nice touch and made the visitor to the tent feel a part of the performing family. The blonde in photo number 010 was the trapeze artist and is seen emerging from the box through which a multitude of swords were thrust in photo 034; the ticket taker on the right in photo 006 is Eriko the magician’s wife and is the performer in the above photo appearing in a Shrek skit which the children attending the Circus thoroughly enjoyed.           

I was fortunate to meet Eriko and his wife Karla in Ensenada at a local restaurant recently after midnight after one of their shows (they do two performances a night). I asked him if he would tell me how he does the trick with the box and the tiger. The tiger is loaded in the box and after spinning the box and a wave of a hand, his wife pops out of the box (photo 031) and the tiger disappears. He asked me if I could keep a secret and of course I assured him I could… his response was “well, I too can keep a secret” with a sly and sparkling smile. Visit Eriko’s web site at http://www.magoeriko.com/ for more information about this talented artist. He is based in Las Vegas and travels the entire southwest of the US and throughout Mexico performing magic and creating awe in the wide eyes of both children and adults alike. If you are in Ensenada and would like some excellent and inexpensive entertainment, be sure to take in the visiting circus! A Mexican circus is an event not to be missed! You will not only enjoy the event itself, but will also be entertained by the celebrating crowd surrounding you.

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Character is what you have left when you've lost everything you can lose.
  - Evan Esar

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THE PUEBLO CAFÉ HAS SIMPLY THE BEST PIZZA IN ENSENADA!

            Located near the corner across the street south from Papa’s and Beer on Ruiz at #96 is a favorite place to dine on fine pastas, salads, and the best wood fired pizza we have found in Ensenada. The restaurant has a full bar and you will marvel at the interior decor in its unique style and comfortable atmosphere. There in an outside sidewalk covered and enclosed dining area that reminds us of our French campaigns surfing in France. Back to the pizza, the crust is so light and thin resembling a carefully crafted piece of baked crispy bread that could stand on its own. On top of the crust is the best tasting and most perfectly mixed assortment of cheeses, pepperoni, sausage and mushrooms. The classic wood fire stove located behind the bar brings this all together with a crunchy and delightful completeness that you will simply have to try next time you are in Ensenada. The last time we were there for lunch the restaurant had perhaps 7 tables full of beautiful local girls and we were the only guys in the restaurant! Needless to say we lingered after the food was gone and the check delivered just to enjoy the Buena Vista as we also viewed the wide assortment of plates of delicious food being delivered to the patrons. The waiter said this was just a sample of the action that is experienced in the night as this little place rocks due its location near to the Ensenada nightly hot spots. All this is making me hungry, time to shut down the computer and get into town and visit the Pueblo Café and Deli… Oh, did a mention, all this for about $12 with two sangria drinks, a perfect compliment to the flavor of our Mexican/Italian pizza pie!  

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THE SEA OF CORTEZ

            Welcome to perhaps the most beautiful still unspoiled area on the planet. Jacques Cousteau once called the area, this Sea of Cortez, “the aquarium of the world”. The Sea of Cortez was apparently named by sea captain Francisco de Ulloa after he sailed the entire perimeter of this body of water in 1539 and 1540 at the command of the most famous of all Spanish conquistadors Hernan Cortes. Previous attempts to colonize the peninsula four years beforehand by Cortes resulted in an aborted and futile spearhead into the Sea’s adjacent lands. The name of Mar de Cortes thereafter appeared intermittently on maps of the region, alternating with Mar Vermejo (Vermillion Sea, in reference to the color of the reflections caused by huge numbers of pelagic crabs) until the Mexican government officially renamed it the Gulf of California (Golfo de California) early in the twentieth century. Modern day visiting sailors, and those that live in the area and on her shores, prefer to call this green and blue aquatic body by its more common name, the Sea of Cortez.

            The sea is more or less 700 miles long with an average width of 93 miles. It is divided into four regions based on the characteristics determined by the depth, bottom contours and marine productivity of each zone. The northern quarter of the gulf, between the Colorado River delta and the Midriff Islands, is shallow in relation to the zones farther south because of silt deposited by the Colorado river. The silt also has rounded the bottom contours in this area. Thus the title range in this zone is up to extremes of 33 feet from high to low tide. The seawater in this area is characterized by the presence of a high salt content due to the evaporation of the sea. Before the damming of the Colorado River, the bore created when the seaward river currents met the incoming tide was powerful enough to sink ships.

            The next zone farther south encompasses the Midriff Islands, where underwater canyons reach up 27,000 feet and strong currents bring nutrients up from the bottom while aerating the water. This leads to an usually high level of biological product and nutrients, attracting and nurturing the local sea life, which is very beneficial to the local private and commercial fishery industries.

            In the third zone, from the Midriff Islands to La Paz, canyons depths double, silting is minimal and water temperatures begin decreasing dramatically.  The final sea zone below La Paz is oceanic, with trenches and submarine canyons over 12,000 feet deep. Around the tip of the cape, Cabo San Lucas, the Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific Ocean and their respective currents battle, producing some wicked riptides. This means that although the Cape has the warmest area of the peninsula in the winter months, the beaches are known for their treacherous swimming conditions. It is interesting to note that the prevailing current out of the Sea of Cortez is reported to flow unabated all the way to Australia, where lost floating flotsam from the area is often found.

            Within the Sea you will discover a myriad collection of islands which are a result of the geological split between the mainland of Mexico and the Baja Peninsula as the earth’s continents evolved into the shapes so familiar to us today. Twenty-five of these islands are named and are arranged in such a way that the visiting mariner can travel easily from island to island up the Sea from La Paz to the Bay of Conception and aside from the need for supplies, become delightfully lost within an isolated environment of solitude with a sense of old-world pioneering discovery.

            The upper half of the eastern Baja Peninsula is largely only accessible from the sea due to the main road south being routed along the western coast. The lower half of the eastern Baja Peninsula is also only accessible by boat, as the road south to La Paz must travel west back to the Pacific Ocean near Magdalena Bay due to the sierra range that bars a direct route to the south. This inaccessible solitude has resulted in the perpetuation of a high number of endemic species of insects, animals, undersea life, and flora and fauna on the islands of the Sea of Cortez. 

            The largest of these islands, Isla Tiberon (Shark Island) possesses an area of approximately 1,000 square kilometers. The shores of little Isla San Francisco just north of La Paz has a wealth of puka shells for the browsing spelunker. The inhabited Island of Isla San Marcos has a reported population of over 600 supported by a gypsum mining operation and a thriving fishery. At least half of the 120 cactus plant found on the islands are endemic to this area alone. The Sea is known as the most biologically rich body of water on the planet, supporting over 900 species of marine vertebrates and over 2000 invertebrates. These numbers continue to rise as each new marine study is published. Scripps Institute of Oceanography in San Diego has proclaimed the Sea of Cortez “one of the most productive and diverse marine nurseries on Earth”. As push button navigation make it possible for a greater of number of yachts to visit the area, look for this rich and incredibly striking region to go the way of the Mediterranean Sea, the Caribbean Sea, and the south Pacific Islands. Please be aware of your ecological habits while you visit and help us all to avoid the pollution and degradation of this area, perhaps the last bastion of unspoiled natural beauty we posses. 

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

 

A favorite pastime for visiting senoritas of all ages is having your hair braided by one of the Mexican Indians found on Ave. Lopez Mateos

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If the Phone Doesn't Ring, It's Me
Jimmy Buffett

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