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From The 90 Day Yacht Club Guide to Ensenada

May/June 2007

Volume 5 , Number 5/6

 

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

True Traveler Publishing

P.O. Box 60023

San Diego, CA 92166

E-mail:

sitka@truetraveler.com

Phone:

(619) 857-0368

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                    

COCKFIGHTING IN NORTHERN BAJA


A BLOOD SPORT SOME CONSIDER FOUL

            A cockfight, or Palenque as it is called in Spanish, is a glorious Mexican tradition. The combatants, known as gamecocks or cocks, are specially bred and conditioned for stamina and strength. Cocks possess an inherent aggression toward all males of the same species, thus they do not require fight training. Most fights are to the death, although the winner can also be determined by various rules. Winning birds often continue in their careers for more matches, until they are killed in a subsequent fray. The losers land in a decrepit heap in the corner of the arena.

            The Ensenada cockfights are staged on Sundays and holidays at 2:00 p.m. in a big warehouse occupied by concessions, grandstands and the cockpit; which is perhaps 25 feet wide and 3 feet tall, resembling a child’s backyard pool. The event draws a large and spirited crowd of around 100 people. The admission charge is 50 pesos, which includes a free bowl of seafood soup. Wagering is feisty and fast paced. The combatants are from the “green” corner, or the “red” corner. Thus, a bet on the “red” cock is not a bet based on the physical color of the fighter, but rather the name of its corner. One can place bets with the official in-ring bookie, or make outside bets with another spectator. Most bets are 200 pesos, but individuals will also take your bets in other amounts. There are at least two or three uniformed policemen present at the spectacle. One man placed a bet while accidentally standing right next to one of them, but fortunately the cop seemed to be looking the other way.

            A cockspur is a leather bracelet with a curved, sharp spike which is attached to the leg of the bird. The spikes range in length from “short spurs” of just over an inch to “long spurs”, which are almost two and a half inches long. The cockspur protrudes just above the talons directed to the rear of the rooster’s leg. The curved design and sharp blades are designed to kill the other bird. After the spur is strapped on, the trainer squirts a bit of lemon juice on it, to add a little extra burn.

            First the cocks are weighed. They fight in weight categories just like human prizefighters. During the weighing, the beauty of the bird is on display, it’s potential fighting prowess can be evaluated, and the wagering begins. The two combatants are then introduced to each other by the handlers. The men holding the birds swing them back and forth to where the beaks are just touching, meanwhile patting the birds forcefully on the chest in an effort to get their blood stirring, adrenalin flowing and the fury going in preparation for the start of the fight. This proven age-old methodology indeed works effectively, and soon the roosters are pecking away at each other with each introductory thrust enraged and ready for the battle.

            Each fight is timed to last 15 minutes, and will be fought to the death unless there is a draw declared. Every surge of engagement causes feathers to fly and blood to appear on the remaining feathers, now bristling and rustling with rage. If one bird falls and seems unable to continue, the handlers revive the bird by a healthy spray of saliva followed by quickly putting the cock’s head and beak in the handler’s mouth. The birds are then placed a foot apart on their haunches and made to hold up their heads. Even if a bird has suffered near mortal wounds already, he is revived and made to poise for the next confrontation. The referee counts to ten, usually during the count, one bird will spring forward and attack the other, often you are surprised, as the seemingly mortally injured bird is the first to attack. This process goes on repeatedly, until one bird is deemed either dead or so wounded it can’t be revived and made to front the opposing bird again. If at the end of the 15 minutes both birds are still standing and able to withstand another face-off, one final 10 count is made, and the match is called a draw if they both survive the final round.

            The roosters are imported from the United States and are fattened up with diets designed to make their muscled larger and stronger. Often an event will last all afternoon with a procession of new fighting birds, and casualties galore. Many of the spectators come dressed in their Sunday best, and there is no age limit, as many children are commonly at the fights. The cock owner’s entry fees and prize purses vary according to the number of fighting participants signed up that day. On a regular Sunday, prize purses can vary from $100 to $500. An occasional Super Sunday is staged, as was staged on Sunday March 25th  with extra special birds and prizes of up to $2000. The location of the next event can be easily found, just ask around like we did. By the way, cockfighting is illegal in Mexico…

CLICK HERE FOR OUR COCKFIGHTING PHOTO PAGE - DUE TO THE GRAPHIC NATURE OF THESE PHOTOS WE HAVE DEVOTED A DEDICATED PAGE TO THE UNIQUE PHOTOS TAKEN AT THIS EVENT, VIEW AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION!

SAN MIGUEL THREATENED BY MARINA DEVELOPMENT

THE LAST PUBLIC BEACH NORTH OF ENSENADA

             A two pronged industrial and private marina development engulfing the beaches below the San Miguel toll booths is currently in the final planning stages. Another one of northern Baja’s natural treasures is in danger, the world famous point break, San Miguel, a long tubing right that has earned its status as one of North America’s best. Legions of surfers, both local and global, have used this classic recreational zone through the years.  This legendary wave has not only been the site of numerous surf contests and brought millions of dollars to the local economy, but it has also holds an enormous importance to Mexico’s surfing history and the Ensenada surfing trade businesses. Yet, once again, developers and the Mexican government have ignored this surfing “sub-culture” to create economic growth for an elite few, who are not the least bit concerned about the negative environmental and economic impact their project will likely have on the local community and ecosystem.

            Beyond the surfing community affected, this is a favorite beach for seaside recreation by those living in Ensenada. The beach is clean, devoid of the rubbish and refuse found on the stretch of beaches just south of Ensenada. There is a gated San Miguel community in existence situated on a hill that has one of the best panoramic views of the Bahia de Todos Santos and Punta Banda. The gate guard charges a small fee to visiting surfers, campers and local day users. Guests are happy to pay to enjoy this magnificent area. These funds also contribute to the beach crew that daily preens the area of trash left from the day before.

            An unspecified, multi-million dollar resort development company is joining forces with the currently in place El Sauzal commercial harbor to extend the now existing harbor an estimated 185 acres further out into the coastal waters, which will occupy the San Miguel surf spot and adjoining cove and eliminate the waves. Another favored surf spot, 3M’s, which is just southeast of San Miguel near the El Sauzal harbor, will also be lost to this development. Local surfer and oceanographer, Jose Puig stated, “The area will be completely engulfed by the marina, ruining the natural coast.” This $370 million dollar project, titled “Marina San Miguel,” will harbor 550 yachts.

            A 21 acre mega-resort is projected to occupy the bluff between the ocean and Highway 1 where the old fish processing plant once operated and where the San Miguel community now stands. An article published on February 4, 2007 in a local newspaper, Ensenada.net, plainly stated the company's plans for the project. They claim that this project will increase economic growth in the area by providing more jobs. Save the Waves environmental research director, Christine Garcia, thinks otherwise. “This project will negatively affect the national economy,” claims Garcia, “due to the devastating impact that this marina will have on ecotourism, and the destruction of San Miguel’s waves and oceanic biodiversity”.

            The Mexican surfer community is uniting to try to put a stop to the resort and marina project, as it would not only bury the wave but also would ruin one of the last remaining public beaches on the north side of the Bahia de Todos Santos. There are meetings currently being held and a petition in circulation to try to stop this planned development. The Surfrider Foundation and Save the Waves Coalition are also joining forces to campaign against this project. It is important to remember that this beach closure will prohibit any open public access to the coastline north of Ensenada.

            The entire coast north from Ensenada to Bajamar and beyond is largely private with projected high-rise and residential condo projects, the LNG plant on Punta Salsipuedes, and private camping areas in between. As you round Punta San Miguel from the north and pass through the San Miguel toll booths, imagine your welcoming view to Ensenada being entirely obscured by a huge resort and marina emplacement. This is a view we have all grown to love after escaping the overcrowded insanity in California and along the Baja border beltway.

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An intellectual is a person who has discovered something more interesting than sex.
  Aldous Huxley

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 FIRE ENGULFS YACHT IN THE ENSENADA HARBOR

 

This fire took place at 3pm on Saturday, March 10th at the Ensenada Harbor. The boat was completely engulfed in flames in a matter of minutes and was impossible to put out with the available fire fighting equipment on the scene at the dock. Within approximately 15 minutes two fire trucks came down the Malecon and extinguished the fire with water from the truck's fire pumps. The boat has been declared a total loss by the owner’s insurance officials.

Photo credits: Dave Lewis

 

THE LNG PIPELINE IS NOW BEING INSTALLED

COULD THIS BE A VOLATILE FUSE?

            Now that the construction of the Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) plant has started and is well under way, the beautiful hills of the backcountry of the Baja are being slashed in order to bury the pipeline that is to channel the gas north to the United States. Miles and miles of trench are being excavated, without any security provided to guard the project. Could this one day become a giant fuse, causing a path of destruction the length of the pipeline as the gas explodes and engulfs the areas it is traversing in searing raging flames? Is it possible a terrorist group could cause this calamity by placing explosive remote control charges in the unattended trench now as the pipe is under construction? Shamefully, the locals that live in the pipeline’s danger zones are benefiting nada in dinero from this project, as all the profits are due to be sent directly to Mexico City.

            The LNG will be shipped to the LNG plant on Punta Sasipuedes in huge seagoing tanker ships, in a cryogenic or frozen state. In this frozen state, the LNG is considered basically inert, and relatively safe for transportation and storage. The gas will be pumped from the ships into the two towers at that location which act like giant thermos bottles designed to keep the LNG in a frozen condition until it is transferred to the re-gasification plant, currently under construction at the same site. The gas is converted in the re-gasification plant to its normal gaseous liquid state and returned to the temperature of the surrounding environment and prepared for its trip north through the pipeline headed north to the hungry hordes of gas consumers in the southwest United States.

            A search of the history of LNG disasters includes this occurrence at a pipeline 20 miles south west of Brussels, Belgium, on July 30th, 2004. A huge gas pipeline explosion killed 15 people and injured 120. A fire service spokesman at the scene said the site of the explosion looked like a war zone. Some of the dead are reported to have been killed as they went to investigate a leak in the pipeline carrying gas from the port of Zeebrugge on the Belgian coast to France. Firefighters and policemen were among the casualties. A witness report, “I live 10kms from the scene. I was awoken early this morning by what I thought must have been a plane crash, the noise was extremely loud and unnerving! The house was shaking to it's very foundations, I went outside to see what had happened and all I could see was this huge cloud of black smoke, and flames shooting high into the air!”

            A search of the internet yields accounts of many, many more LNG pipeline disaster accounts. This is a classic case of “not in my backyard”, as the country of Mexico and its loose environmental strictures became the perfect target for Sempra to build its dangerous and environmentally exploitive project. Attempts to approve LNG projects in California have been repeatedly thwarted, and having the LNG operation constructed in nearby northern Baja became a convenient alternative. The pipeline now being laid goes north to just inland of the Rosarito power plant, and then turns east and winds to south of Mexicali and crosses the border at the California, Arizona and Mexican border intersection. All these many miles will not be able to be guarded and secured from tampering, which is a major possible source of disaster in this post 911 terrorist volatile era.

            North of Ensenada, a dugout is left unguarded stretching as far as the eye can see. Passing the trench on a Wednesday, not a person could be seen the entire length of the pipeline ditch. The pipes were arranged neatly in place in preparation for their installation, end to end. It was a quiet and eerie sight, knowing how dangerous the liquid is that will be processed through this pipe, and how little was being done now, or could ever be done in the future to keep these buried pipes safe from terrorist activity.

            A LNG disaster could envelope a 50 mile circular area, and the pipeline could burn from end to end. These are not idle threats of possible death and destruction to the locals that live in the vicinity of this project; these are facts derived from previous documented disasters accounts compiled in the media over the years. Other than Sempra promising to build a few schools locally, there will be no positive financial impact on the local communities affected by this dangerous project. The gas pumped north to benefit Americans will produce funds pumped directly to Mexico City and not to the local economy in northern Baja.

Above Photo Credit: Doug Gould at www.bajawild.net

PIPE PATHS

READ THE ARTICLES ABOUT THE PUNTA SALSIPUEDES LNG PLANT IN OUR JANUARY/FEBRUARY NEWSLETTER AND IN OUR PREVIOUS ARCHIVED NEWSLETTERS.

 

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Laws are like sausages. It's better not to see them being made.
  Otto von Bismarck

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THE BAJA 250 OFF ROAD RACE WAS RUN MARCH 10, 2007!

SCORE FINISHING ORDER CHANGE NOTICE POSTED - SEE BELOW.

THAT'S MY AMIGO DOUG GOULD RISKING LIFE AND LIMB FOR THE THE PERFECT SHOT. AFTER HE LEFT THAT POSITION A BUGGY CAME THROUGH AND CLEARED OUT THE SCRUB BRUSH YOU SEE ABOVE.

THIS IS WHAT WAS LEFT OF THAT BUSH AFTER THE THE ABOVE BUGGY MOWED IT DOWN. NADA! Olé!

DOUG'S SHOTS OF THE ABOVE TRUCK POSTED BELOW:

Above 3 Photo Credits: Doug Gould at www.bajawild.net

 

FINAL TOP 10 RESULTS REVISED

SCORE TROPHY TRUCK RESULTS NOTE: 9:28pm MARCH 11

Unofficial Trophy Truck results posted at the San Nicolas Hotel in Ensenada listed Mark Post as 6th Place. SCORE has reviewed the facts surrounding a classic ill-advised and incorrect Mexican Police detainment of the Post race vehicle. This detainment occurred just prior to and within full view of the timed finish line in Santo Tomas. The detainment was witnessed by a senior SCORE official. The detainment was not race related. Mark Post did not violate any SCORE mandated highway rules on any of the six highway sections. The official results have been recalculated to account for the 4 minutes and 33 second detainment and this moves Mark Post to his correct finishing position of 1st Place in class.

1. Mark Post, Laguna Beach, Calif./Rob MacCachren, Las Vegas, Ford F-150,  4 hours, 24 seconds (miles per hour to be announced) (SCORE Trophy-Truck)

2. Alan Pflueger, Honolulu, Chevy Silverado, 4 hours, 4 minutes, 57 seconds (52.97 miles per hour) (SCORE Trophy-Truck)


3. Tim Herbst, Las Vegas, Ford F-150, 4:05:08 (52.93mph) (SCORE Trophy-Truck)


4. B.J. Baldwin, Las Vegas, Chevy Silverado, 4:05:14 (52.90mph) (SCORE Trophy-Truck)


5. Josh Baldwin, Newport Beach, Calif., Ford F-150, 4:07:02 (52.52mph) (SCORE Trophy-Truck)


6. Gus Vildosola/Gus Vildosola Jr., Mexicali, Mexico, Ford F-150, 4:07:47 (52.36mph) (SCORE Trophy-Truck)


7. Larry Roeseler, Hesperia, Calif., Smithbuilt-Ford, 4:08:08 (52.29mph) (Class 1)


8. Andy McMillin, National City, Calif./Scott McMillin, Coronado, Calif., Chevy CK1500, 4:08:22 (52.24mph) (SCORE Trophy-Truck)


9. Larry Ragland, Cave Creek, Ariz./Brian Collins, Las Vegas, Chevy Silverado, 4:09:10 (52.07mph) (SCORE Trophy-Truck)

10. Mike Julson, Santee, Calif., Chevy Silverado, 4:11:33 (51.58mph) (SCORE Trophy-Truck)

Officially in the race-record starting field of 393, 226 of the entries were cars or trucks and 167 were either motorcycles (108) or ATVs (55). The final entry list of 423 easily eclipsed the previous entry record of 362 set last year, the 393 starters blew away last year’s race-record of 341 starters and the 288 official finishers bettered last year’s race record of 220 finishers.

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Typos are very important to all written form. It gives the reader something to look for so they aren't distracted by the total lack of content in your writing.
  Randy K. Milholland

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BAJA MILEAGE CHART

 

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A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.
  Mark Twain

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BE ON THE LOOK-OUT FOR THIS PATROL BOAT THAT HAS BEEN BOARDING VISITING YACHTS IN THE ENSENADA AREA FOR PROPER OWNERSHIP AND FISHING PAPERWORK

 

HUGE SURF CRAWLING OVER THE MARINA CORAL JETTY, MARCH 10TH, TWO YEARS AGO

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