Internet Newsletter

From The 90 Day Yacht Club Guide to Ensenada

November/December 2006

Volume 4 , Number 11/12

 

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

True Traveler Publishing

P.O. Box 60023

San Diego, CA 92166

Phone:

(619) 857-0368

E-mail:

sitka@truetraveler.com

 

 

A COMMON SIGHT ALONG THE ROADS IN MEXICO ARE CROSSES AT LOCATIONS WHERE LOVED ONES HAVE PASSED AWAY - THIS CROSS IS LOCATED ON THE BEACH WHERE LOCALS DO SOME HARD PARTYING

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MURDER NEAR MULEGE!

 

THIS IS WHERE THE CRIME OCCURRED; MR. CURTIS'S JEEP AND TRAILER ARE CLEARLY SEEN IN THIS PHOTO TAKEN BY A PASSING BAJA 1000 PRE-RUNNER ON NOVEMBER 6TH. THIS IDYLLIC LITTLE COVE IS SITUATED JUST BELOW HIGHWAY 1, FROM WHICH THIS SHOT WAS TAKEN - THIS HEINOUS CRIME COULD HAVE HAPPENED TO ANY OF US STILL TRUSTING THE SAFETY OF VISITING REMOTE AREAS OF BAJA WITHOUT BIG DOGS AND WEAPONRY!

            On Sunday night November 12th the US consulate in Tijuana informed the family of 73 year old Lloyd Duane Curtis that their Dad had been murdered. He was stabbed three times, as a result his lung was punctured and he drowned in his own blood. The fatal blow was so forceful that it also broke Curtis’s ribs. This senseless and brutal crime was committed to steal Curtis’s money, Jeep, a portable DVD/TV, and a portable battery charger/jumper box. The crime is assumed to have happened sometime between Thursday and Saturday (November 9th to the11th) at an idyllic beach cove Curtis loved and often visited, south of Mulege. Curtis was there to enjoy the Baja 1000 off-road race as the racers passed by on November 16th. An American couple reportedly discovered his body on Sunday, November 12th. Many conflicting reports and accounts of this murder have confused and frustrated the Curtis family in their quest to find out who committed this murder, and when the slaying occurred.

            An American citizen left a message on the US consulate hotline on Thursday or Friday (November 9th and 10th) reporting a lone trailer sitting on the beach and asked if the local police would investigate it. The police didn't do so until Sunday after another American couple reported the death. It appears the local Mulege police are lying about the time of death to hide their incompetence. The medical examiner told Curtis’s son "off the record" that the police were not telling the truth about this and that the stabbing most likely occurred at least 24 hours before the police said it happened. When the Curtis family members arrived to claim the body and fill out paperwork, they were told the local DA was fishing, so they had to wait a few hours for him to arrive for the family to claim the body. Daniel, Curtis’s son said, “he was most concerned about showing us that he was the big shot in town and nothing happened without his ok. He even started talking back to me in Spanish after I questioned why it took them so long to find my father and that it appeared he had been dead for longer than they were saying. Their "investigation" consists of about 10 pictures and a coroner's report. And it seems like they feel that they won't find the killer so why even bother.”

            Mr. Curtis’s son further related, “Over 10 years ago my father had throat cancer but he recovered. The doctor still only gave him 5 years to live. Every year he personally gave the doc a box of chocolates, half in gratitude, half to show the doc that he was wrong. I've been prepared for his death for a while, but not like this. I can't believe I used to think the worst that could happen would be my dad getting in a car wreck or dying naturally. I can't shake the images of the police photos from my mind. The shear horror on his face. It's all I see. This was a person who would stop and leave food for the junkyard dogs. Bring candy down for the local kids. He'd even pickup hitchhikers, and who knows, maybe that lead to his death?”

            The stolen vehicle is an ALL WHITE (grill, bumpers, everything) 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4x4 4.7L V8, with tan leather and a sunroof. The windows are slightly factory tinted. The vehicle had California license plates # 5NRK826. Anyone who may happen to see this Jeep, please contact the Gringo Gazette. You can also call the Santa Rosalia DA Sergio Villareal (011 - 52) 615 - 153 – 0804, or the U.S. Consulate's office in Tijuana (011 - 52) 664 - 622 – 7439. You can contact Daniel, Lloyd Duane Curtiss son, at 619 - 933 – 1396, or e-mail him at gtx510@gmail.com.

IN MEMORY OF DUANE LLOYD CURTIS

 

ENSENADA AGAIN DECREES THAT THE S.S. CATALINA BE REMOVED FROM THE HARBOR

          As you enter Ensenada Harbor you will see a curious sight to starboard that may shiver your timbers. Half submerged and arising from the harbor mud is the carcass of a once proud ferry that served the run between California ports and Catalina in times past. For the past 20 years this navigation hazard has kept vigilance on the busy port activities in Ensenada Harbor. Brought to Ensenada almost 22 years ago to serve as an entertainment center and gambling casino, the historic ship has been the subject of controversy for many years and now may be forced out of its resting place by an adjacent new proposed hotel and marina development, aimed at increasing tourism to the area.

          The Catalina was commissioned in 1924 by chewing gum magnate William Wrigley to ferry mainlanders to his island of Catalina. She holds the honor of being listed on the National Register of Historic Places. But unlike the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum or the Mission San Fernando Rey, which share these accolades, the Catalina carried 24 million passengers in her heyday, and ferried more troops in World War II than any other military transport. A recent panga ride by this author around the 302-foot-long, 52-foot wide vessel found much of the vessel's port railing stripped away, revealing a bizarre sight of sea lions bellied up to the U-shaped wooden bar where passengers once gathered to sip cocktails. Imagine the luminaries that once walked these decks! Anything that could be done, should be done to save this once proud classic maritime lady.

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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Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.
  - Dr. Seuss

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MAN STUNG TO DEATH BY KILLER BEES

What ever happened to those carpet bagging bees that were moving through Mexico to the United States?

Mon Aug 21, 2006 2:12pm ET143

          PHOENIX (Reuters) - A swarm of "killer" bees attacked a man and his father as they repaired a roof in a small town in southeast Arizona, killing one man and hospitalizing the other, police said on Monday. Cochise County Sheriff's Department said the Africanized honey bees stung Charlie Pasley, 39, more than 300 times as he carried out repairs to a home in Huachuca City, 160 miles (250 km) southeast of Phoenix on Sunday. He died at the scene. Spokeswoman Carol Capas said the swarm also attacked Pasley's father, Chuck, 62, who was reported to be in a stable condition in hospital late on Sunday.

                                                            TAXONOMY

Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptra "Membrane Winged" (Wasps, Ants)
Family: Apidae
Genus and Species: Apis mellifera scutellata (Africanized Bee)

 FACTS

bulletAre slightly smaller than the European honey bee, but only an expert can tell them apart
bulletDefend their hive more rapidly than the European honey bee
bulletUsually sting in greater numbers
bulletAre less selective about where they nest
bulletSwarm more often than European honey bees
bulletDo not have stronger venom than the European honey bee
bulletEach bee can only sting one time – females die after stinging
bulletEat nectar and pollen and make honey
bulletAre not native to the U.S.; they came from Africa

            In the movie The Swarm, great clouds of angry bees attack entire cities and sting hundreds of people to death. This is pure fiction. It could never happen. But folklore like this has arisen within the last ten years regarding the Africanized sometimes called "Killer Bee". The ancestors of the Africanized bee live throughout Africa, south of the Sahara Desert. African bees were accidentally introduced into the wild in South and North America during 1956. Brazilian scientists were attempting to create a new hybrid bee in the hopes of creating improved honey production. The Africanized bee escaped and began to dominate the honey bee.

            These insects, commonly known as "killer" bees for their highly aggressive behavior, are descended from a ferocious strain that was first introduced to the Mexico and the Americas from Africa in the 1950s in the hope that they would produce more honey. The bees absconded from research hives in Brazil, slowly spreading through South and Central America. They first crossed into Texas from Mexico in 1990, since when they have attacked and killed dozens of people. Researchers say the bees developed their highly defensive behavior and furious work rate to deal with voracious predators in the areas of Africa where the bees originated.

Natural Born Killers

'Mean Gene' Found In Africanized Honey Bees

            For those who grew up in the 70s, the rumor that "the killer bees are on their way!" lasted for 20 years or so, usually in the National Enquirer and other over the top pulp publications. But they never seemed to get here. Well guess what? They're here! Africanized bees proliferate because they are less discriminating in their choice of nests than native bees, utilizing a variety of natural and man-made objects, including hollow trees, walls, porches, sheds, attics, utility boxes, garbage containers and abandoned vehicles. They also tend to swarm more often than other honey bees.

            Scientists have hoped to take the sting out of those dreaded killer bees. A team of researchers has isolated a gene responsible for the aggressive behavior of Africanized honey bees, which have terrorized people and animals in their slow migration into the southern United States through Mexico. Scientists located DNA markers on the chromosomes of the mean bees and compared the genes with those of nonaggressive species. Their research may lead to the origins of a trait that could help “predict the probability of queen bees having the African version of stinging genes so it will be easier for breeders to avoid using them,” says Robert E. Page, an entomologist at the University of California at Davis.

            Now that they have mapped the gene in the honey bee genome, the researchers say the next step would be to isolate the gene for further study. "We've found a place on a chromosome where this gene or genes may be, but we hope in time to be able to localize it better," Page says. "Someday we may actually be able to isolate and characterize the gene and find out how the two versions of the gene differ." Borrowing techniques from crop genetics, the team ultimately hopes to turn killers into kinder, gentler insects. Bees are essential to honey production, and a third of the food grown in the United States comes from plants pollinated by honey bees. The U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1993 committed nearly $1.8 million to Africanized bee research, and the current study was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

           Killer bees are known to swarm in larger numbers than typical honey bees, releasing a pheromone odor that stimulates the rest of the colony. The odor comes from the stinger itself, which dislodges from the insect’s abdomen upon stinging. Swarms of killer bees are 20 times more likely to sting than normal honey bees, and leave eight times as many stingers in a victim in the first 30 seconds, researchers say.

           Killer bees were imported to Brazil from Africa more than 40 years ago. The idea was to crossbreed African and South American species to produce a gentle bee with high honey production. African bee colonies can produce five times as much honey as their South American cousins. As a result, Brazil rose from 27th to fourth in the world’s honey production, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Unfortunately, a Brazilian scientist accidentally released some of the captive insects from Africa. The mean bees soon mated with indigenous colonies and their aggressive behavior spread.

          They moved into Central America and were documented in Mexico in 1988. Within three years, scientists think, most wild bees in Mexico contained DNA from the African species, and killers were found in California, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.

           US stinging incidents resulting in serious injury to man or domestic animals are still widely reported in the press, as are also minor events in newly colonized areas. However, minor casualties do not always make local news in those communities where Africanized bees are well established. The Los Angeles Times (3/13/94) reported The Tucson Citizen “ ... all but stopped reporting routine bee incidents" as early as 1994.”

Hive found in the backyard BBQ

THAT'S RIGHT GRINGO, THE KILLER BEES!

            Africanized honey bees--a.k.a., killer bees--crossed the border from Mexico in the early 90’s. At first, authorities said there was no danger. But soon they started spreading across the nation through commercial air travel, terrorizing the whole country.

            Snakes in a plane, what about killer-bees in a plane, it sounds like a bad horror movie, I know, but IT'S REALLY HAPPENING!  There have been reports that swarms of killer bees have been converging on airports across the Southwest, invading airplanes and preventing them from flying. The aggressive bees, like to travel across open spaces and stop to rest whenever the queen gets tired. Airports have few trees or other natural rest stops. That makes planes, jetways, baggage-loading equipment, terminals and parking garages popular for stopovers. Consequently, pilots and mechanics sometimes find thousands of bees burrowing in engine covers, clinging to cockpit windshields or swarming in the luggage compartment. It seems the bees are particularly attracted to the bright yellow paint of Southwest Airlines jets as well as the scent of jet fuel. And there are an awful lot of the critters at the Tucson Airport, after a swarm nearly shut down the control tower, airport authorities decided to set up traps. The airport installed traps that emit a bee-attracting pheromone.  They now capture 60 to 80 swarms a year. Fortunately, beekeepers can dispose of the pests easily enough, by spraying a pesticide that kills them and then vacuuming up the remnants.

            As pilot Brian Murphy prepared for a quick flight from Burbank's Bob Hope Airport to San Francisco in May 2006, his ground crew alerted him to a problem on his Beechcraft King Air 200: A five-foot-wide blanket of bees was draped over the plane's left engine cover. And many bees were finding their way into an engine compartment and even into the cockpit.

            "I was just shocked," says the 36-year-old charter pilot, who raced to shut the cockpit's open vent windows. "Within just 20 minutes there were thousands of bees that had moved onto the exhaust area." He considered turning on the engines to shoo away the swarm but decided that that might make matters worse by agitating the bees.

            The bewildered crew didn't know what to do, either, but the Burbank Airport Fire Department knew the drill. "I could hear them yell down into their fire shack, 'It's time to go spray the bees again,'" recalls Steven Schell, the general manager for Mercury Air Center-Burbank.

            Firefighters hosed off the King Air 200 with an insecticide foam that suffocates bees. "They were dropping straight to the ground, whole big chunks of them," Mr. Murphy remembers. The bees inside the engine cover, meanwhile, came crawling out through the inner lip once the foam hit the plane. "Once they started spraying, those bees weren't ever able to fly," he says. Then the pilots vacuumed up three dozen bees that had entered the cockpit.

            "The Africanized honeybee changed everything," says David Marder, the owner of Bee Busters, a Laguna Hills, Calif., pest-control outfit. He says that his exclusive deal with Orange County's John Wayne Airport, in Santa Ana, which he has serviced more than 20 times this year, is a big reason business has soared since the Africanized honeybee arrived in Orange County in 1996.

            That is creating scenes like one that unfolded at Love Field in Dallas last April. Gordon Guillory, a 39-year-old Southwest Airlines mechanic, knew something wasn't right when he arrived at the hangar for his shift: A buzzing noise was coming not from the engine but from the tail of the Boeing 737-700.

            "You really couldn't see them, but you knew there were tons of them in there because there were so many that would fly out," he says. "I've been working on airplanes for 15 years and I've never, ever seen anything like it."

            The mechanics watched from a safe distance as the beekeeper smoked out and vacuumed up the bees. When the beekeeper started banging on a compartment in the tail to chase out the swarm, the mechanics became even more agitated. "The guys started yelling at him. You just can't do that. You could damage the plane," Mr. Guillory explains.

            Scents and colors also attract the bees. At an airport, that can lead bees to cluster on a turboprop that's been recently cleaned with lemon air-freshener. "For whatever reason, they seem to like the smell of jet fuel, and especially the yellow color of the Southwest airplane," says Judy Alexander, senior director of operations at Tucson International Airport.

            Authorities there became proactive in 1995 after a swarm on the outside of the air-traffic control tower led some stragglers into the command center. The problem "had to end there," says Ms. Alexander. "You just can't evacuate the tower." The airport installed traps that emit a bee-attracting pheromone. They capture between 60 and 80 swarms every year.

            Last year, he responded to a call from a World War II aviation club that couldn't fly out of Ontario International Airport near Los Angeles because an invading swarm of 30,000 bees had invaded the gun turret in the nose of their restored B-29 bomber.

            While bees don't pose a serious threat to planes, bee experts advise against the temptation to use the engines to suck in and kill a swarm of the uninvited passengers. Bees carry a small amount of honey with them when they travel, and if a jet engine ingested a swarm, "it could do some damage," says George Botta, a Las Vegas exterminator who serves on Nevada's Board of Agriculture. "It's not as bad as hitting a flock of birds, but it'd be like pouring a tank of honey into the engine."

            Two years ago, he was called to McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas to spray bees off the windshield of a Hawaiian Airlines plane that had been preparing to taxi for takeoff. Another time, he watched a swarm attack the conveyer belt as baggage handlers were unloading suitcases. The color black, he explains, can agitate bees, and he sprayed them off the luggage equipment. "People down at the carousel were left wondering why their luggage was wet and soapy," he says.

            While the problem is mostly limited to the Southwest, the bees, as stowaways, can become an issue for everyone. In 2001, a ground crew at an airfield in Greenfield, S.C., discovered an Africanized honeybee colony inside the wing of an aircraft that had just arrived from Arizona.

            And Mr. Murphy, the King Air pilot, found a similar surprise after his trip to San Francisco: Bees had melted to an exhaust stack inside the plane and hundreds more littered the floor of the engine compartment. Only a handful of the stowaways survived. "I couldn't have imagined how many bees were in there," he says. "If I had not been there to see this, I would never have believed it."

COLONY LIFE

           The four life stages of a Africanized Bee include egg, larva, pupa and adult. It takes about twenty-one days for a regular worker to fully develop from an egg, sixteen days for a queen, and twenty-four days for a drone. Drones usually live five to ten weeks. Workers usually live fifty days. All the workers are females

           Queens live an average of on to three years. There is only one surviving queen bee in each colony. She mates over with many drones (male bees), and may lay 1500 eggs per day. When the beehive is overpopulated, Africanized Bees swarm to a local area to start a new hive. Too much warm or cold weather may cause swarming. Only one queen bee will rule. When the two queens reach the adult stage, they battle to the death for control of the hive. The cycle of swarming continues until the hive is worn out. If you are in the path of a swarm of Africanized Bees, you have a seventy-five percent chance of a deadly attack.

WHAT CAUSES KILLER BEES TO ATTACK?

           Africanized bees react to disturbance around the hive. They can stay angry for days after being disturbed. If one bee stings, it releases an alarm that smells like bananas. This pheromone causes the other bees to become agitated and sting. The Africanized Bee, like the honey bee, dies when it stings. The tiny barbs on the stinger stick in the victim. When the bee tries to fly away, it rips its abdomen and eventually dies. The opening video at the top of this site shows a Africanized bee's stinger entrapped in human skin. Under usual circumstances, the result is discomfort for the human but death for the bee.

           An extremely aggressive Africanized bee colony may attack any 'threat' within 100 ft. and pursue for up to one-fourth a mile. Generally, Africanized bees attack:

bullet· only when the colony is threatened
bullet· when loud noises, strong odors or fragrances, shiny jewelry, and dark clothes are perceived as threats
bullet· the face and ankles

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF ATTACKED?

bullet· Africanized bees are slow fliers and most healthy people can out run them.
bullet· Run away in a straight line, protecting your face. Avoid other people, or they too will be attacked.
bullet· Do not try and hide underwater. The Africanized bee swarm will wait for you to surface.
bullet· Seek medical attention. Some people are allergic to bee stings causing anaphylactic shock. Since Africanized bees attack and sting in great numbers, it is possible that an allergic response may be triggered.

ATTEMPTS TO STOP

          Entomologists in Texas are working hard to track the northward spread of Africanized bees. The bees are tracked with traps. Usually these traps are nothing more than cardboard boxes covered with blue protective plastic, hung in trees. The traps are baited with a liquid similar to the pheromone that directs a swarm looking for a home. In Texas, more than 1,200 bee traps have been set along hundreds of miles of roadway. European honey bee sperm is inserted into a Africanized bee queen. The queen is then released into the wild. Scientists are hoping the injected Killer Bee queen will produce less aggressive bees and pass the gene to the offspring. So far, not enough queens have been released into the wild to determine if this plan will be successful.

African Honey Bee proliferation in California

U.S. BEEKEEPERS WORRIED?

          Although reported fatalities are alarming, Africanized Bees probably present the greatest danger in the U.S. to American beekeeping and American agriculture in general. AHBs often enter European colonies to mingle and mate with them. Such mating results in more hybrid bees having African genes and tendencies dominating over European ones. An entire colony may suddenly take on aggressive and short-tempered behavior. The bad temper of the Africanized bee, coupled with its ability to dominate a honey bee region and reduce honey bee production, makes beekeepers anxious. Americans eat about 275 million pounds of honey each year. Beehive products also include wax used in candles, polish, and floor wax. Scientists disagree on the Africanized bee's ability to adapt to new environments nor how widely it will range. Also of concern is the possibility of relocating Africanized bee hives without causing an angry swarm. It seems we have much to learn about the bee with the bad attitude, the Africanized bee.

FREE ELECTRONIC NAUTICAL CHARTS NOW AVAILABLE ONLINE FROM NOAA

            In our books we have included a map entitled "Chart #21021 GPS Position Inaccuracy" to make you aware of the fact that you as captain and/or navigator must be aware of the inaccuracies that may exist on any chart you use. In this instance we happen to be using a Mexican chart for our illustration. Some of the charts available for your trip south to the 90 Day Yacht Club are truly vintage and should have been retired to the Nautical Museum and updated years ago.

            From the 60's thru the 80's an era of widely fluctuating Loran C signals, that were only reliable to about 60 miles south of the Mexican border ruled navigation. The U.S. land-based Loran station's triangulation signals faded south of the border due to there being no existing Loran stations in Mexico. A mariner was usually on his (or her) own upon reaching the area of Punta Salsipuedes. In the early 90's, this gave way to the now taken for granted GPS era.

            The first GPS we used was a little black box developed for the Desert Storm military operation by Trimble and was available for around $3000, if you could manage to find one on the black market. Prior to that we had to wait for a couple of hours for "a bird to come over the horizon" (a satellite) to give us a rough position on the widely used Magnavox Sat Nav (not really functional for a trip to Ensenada). Before that celestial piece of gear came along it was the venerable land-based Loran C that enabled you to store that old sextant in the hanging locker.

            We remember when a Loran C readout digit consisted of a vacuum tube that had all the numbers, 0 through 9, inside the tube illuminated by separate numerically shaped and stacked filaments sequentially fired to show your position's numbers. These tubes were arranged in two rows, giving you a readout of your position. If a number failed you changed the tube. Your vessel was probably also being steered by a Wood Freeman autopilot and you had those classic mercury switch tubes stored with your Loran readout tubes. Those days saw you relying on a 1/2-mile or more accuracy, dependant on time of day, ionic atmospheric conditions, and your adeptness at re-initializing the Loran if it got lost. Dead reckoning your position was strongly recommended.

            During the 80's the government decided to spend a little cash for a "global positioning satellite" system for military reasons. This led to what we have today, an umbrella of satellites that enable you to tap the resources of 12 to 20 "birds" for positioning at any given moment anywhere on the planet. Recently the government discontinued its degradation of these signals. Due to security reasons, these signals from the satellites were scrambled to make your GPS receiver vary your position in an erratic, ever changing circle of extremes of more than 50 yards. In potential future times of a national threat to security expect these signals to once again be degraded.

            Today the numbers you receive are good to within a few feet of your actual position and are usually rock solid, and again, to a much lesser degree dependent on atmospheric conditions. Another variable is the quality of your equipment. GPS receivers are designed to sample between 12 and 20 satellites for position resolution. You should buy a GPS unit that samples the most number of satellites as this will increase your accuracy. 

            Many countries don't have the fleet of research vessels that are at the disposal of the U.S. government within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Corps, a branch of the U.S. military. Having spent 2 years serving as an Electronic Technician aboard a NOAA ship (see our NOVEMBER 2004 Newsletter for more information and photos about this author's NOAA service), I know personally of the services rendered by these ships. Research of the positioning and then charting of territories is one of their assigned duties. Tide survey, hydrographic (bottom) survey and wild life survey are also performed. Unfortunately, a recent survey utilizing current charting techniques and GPS signals has not been performed in many areas of the world. Due to lack of funding or interest, many global governments have failed to update their charted shore's positioning.

            Aboard our boat we now have a set of slick digital charts on CD's that run in our computer to generate a screen upon which our GPS position is shown by a little boat icon. They are on a collection of chart CD’s that have been collected over the past decade at great cost. The R and R investment that the chart CD manufacturers spent made the cost of these CD geographic nautical charting regions to be in the $100 to $500 range. And the cost of purchasing a chart management program for computer display of these charts also ranged within these same cost parameters.

            Good news to those who plan on purchasing or upgrading their onboard charting system has now appeared on the horizon! Having worked for NOAA, I have often observed to others that those charts we have paid for many times over with taxes which fund the NOAA ships that do the data collection should be made available to the public for free. The time has finally come mates! A visit to the below government website will enable you to download charts from a list that covers a vast array of ocean territory. You simply browse the list and choose the charts you need and download them to your computer.

             The charts are in a new format unfortunately that is not recognized by the old charting program that you may be familiar with and may have used previously on your computer for navigation. These new charts are formatted NOAA ENC and must be utilized in one of the newer charting programs that are emerging to accommodate the new free charts. The first of these programs available is available from Nobeltec and is named the Visual Navigation Suite, or VNS. Pricey yes, but now that the charts are free, the initial cost for the program may make the investment worth the cost. Imagine instantly updating your charts before you start your passage, accomplished by simply downloading the newest charts available from the NOAA website! Unfortunately these charts are currently only covering the geographic waters of the United States. You will have to visit Captain Ann Kinner at http://www.seabreezenauticalbooks.com/ for a complete collection of electronic nautical charts of the world now available on CD.

            Final word on any navigational decision, GPS and chart positioning should not be overly relied upon. Your decisions must be made by reliance on all available means of observance of the situation. This includes radar, depth soundings, compass bearings of known landmarks, knowledge of current drift and wind effects, dead-reckoning of speed and position, and most importantly visual observation. Adding the GPS numbers and resultant chart position, as a last means of verifying all of the above, will probably keep you out of trouble.  After all, what are you going to do if your GPS fails?  At all times of the passage, you must have a moment-to-moment grip on where you are by the most basic means of navigation handed down to us by the ancient True Travelers.

VISIT THE NOAA SITE FOR CHARTS

http://chartmaker.ncd.noaa.gov/mcd/enc/index.htm

VISIT NOBELTEC FOR INFORMATION ABOUT THE LATEST MARINE CHART MANAGEMENT PROGRAM

http://www.nobeltec.com/

And check out the below website to purchase the slickest little GPS on a USB cable that is currently on the market. I have used this unit to navigate on the road with my laptop road navigation system program provided by DeLorme. Very accurate, fast position acquisition and aptly called the “G. Mouse”.

VISIT THIS SITE TO PURCHASE THE 20 CHANNEL GLOBAL SAT BU-353 RECEIVER

http://www.thegpsstore.com/Detail-US-Global-Sat-BU-353-USB-port-GPS-Receiver.asp

VISIT THIS SITE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT DELORME ROAD NAVIGATION PROGRAMS

http://www.delorme.com/

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"Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves."
  Carl Jung

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THE CONSTRUCTION CREW OF MEXICO

(A Sample Chapter from our Books)

            During our travels in Mexico, we have noticed a common feature of the panorama that defines the backdrop of your memorable Baja California experience. In the most scenic and strategic areas of the hills and beachside communities you will see while cruising on your new yacht, or traveling through and visiting by car, there exists an alarming number of unfinished structures. Whether it is a villa on the seaside cliffs, a hacienda at the riverfront, or the estate by the lake, they are left to crumble as the local animal and rodent population lay claim to the empty multi-room, wind swept abodes. Did a pestilence suddenly interrupt the best-laid plans of men, did a bank foreclosure derail the progress of civilization, or did the cast of "The Night of the Living Dead" invade the labor force as the work was being performed?

            We are talking about homes and multi-storied buildings that would be worth hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars if located in Southern California. With all due respect to our neighbors to the south, we have a playful theory that perhaps could alleviate the speculation.

            A construction crew exists that is so far superior to all the others, that it is the only one called on to work on the many job sites available to be completed. They rotate throughout each Mexican territory when the priority list directs them to a specific location. The city of Ensenada completed a new bridge recently in one fell swoop that obviously had the funds and political pull to employ this band of talented artisans. Marina Coral had these craftsmen duly pay rolled for the length of time needed to make the job complete. But just next to the Coral Hotel there is an unfinished high rise structure that is so far not so fortunate, shown above.

            Whatever the real reason these unfinished projects are now blowing in the wind, we see a great opportunity for those who would invest in the possibility of their fortunes being tied to the many buena vistas viewed by these homes needing owners.

            In the future, the narrowing bridge between our two bordering countries should make these unfinished projects more available to those wishing to own and occupy these properties and see them complete in their as yet unrealized potential beauty and refuge from the struggling toils of the overpopulated California lifestyle. Enlightened generations from the north would be wise to find this short drive south a welcome relief, and an opportunity to forge a new self-realization of tranquility and the resultant renewal of spirit necessary for the survival of our race.  

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The cost of living is going up and the chance of living is going down.
  Flip Wilson

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Class 1 Winner Troy Herbst and Larry Roeseler - the 2nd place overall finisher just missed their third consecutive overall Baja 1000 win! They crossed the finish line just 41 minutes behind Team Gordon.

TEAM GORDON WINS THE BAJA 1000!

ROBBY GORDON'S CO-DRIVER 19 YEAR OLD ANDY McMILLIN CROSSED THE LA PAZ FINISH LINE FIRST IN THE RED BULL CHEVY TROPHY TRUCK NOVEMBER 17TH AT 6:12 AM PST. CLICK HERE FOR THE RACE SUMMARY AND EARLY RACE RESULTS, AND HERE FOR THE RACE WRAP-UP.

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ROBBY GORDON'S BAJA 1000 TROPHY TRUCK GETS SOME MAJOR AIR!

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

ROBBY WAITS FOR THE GO SIGNAL ON RACE DAY - NOVEMBER 16TH

Photo Credit: Dan Evanoff

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NEED STAINLESS STEEL HARDWARE IN ENSENADA?

Tornillos Alvarado is # 54 on our Ensenada Site Locator Map in our books.

Located at Calle Seta #1676. Here you will find a small supply shop that has a complete selection of stainless steel nuts, washers and bolts, as well as general hardware. Some English spoken, with a good understanding of U.S. sizing of hardware, rather than metric sizing. Don't blink or you may miss this store located in the middle of the block on the right when traveling east on Calle Seta.

 

ENSENADA SHIPPING FACTS

            Ensenada is locally referred to as La Bella Cenicienta del Pacífico - The Beautiful Cinderella of the Pacific. Ensenada is the only deep water port in Baja California and is part of standard shipping routes that directly link it with the Mexican cities of La Paz, Manzanillo, Mazatlán, Acapulco and Lázaro Cárdenas, as well as the U.S. cities of San Diego, Long Beach and Los Angeles, the Guatemalan city of Puerto Quetzal, the Chilean city of Valparaíso, the Japanese city of Yokohama and the Chinese city of Hong Kong. Ensenada is not part of any rail transport grid, although there are plans to build a rail line to the United States border in the short to mid-term future.

 

HOMELAND SECURITY DEPARTMENT PASSPORT RULE CHANGE NEARS!

A little publicized passport law change is about to take place. As of December 31, 2006 if you return from Mexico by boat or plane you will be required to have a current U.S. passport. And as of December 31, 2007 you will need to have a passport to return by land to the U.S. from Mexico. Contact your local post office for information about how you can obtain or renew your passport in order to comply with the new laws. This needs to be done ASAP as the processing time may take you beyond the December 31st 2006 deadline!

 

FEELING INSIGNIFICANT? HUBBLE DEEP SPACE GALAXY PHOTO...

 

CHANCE ENCOUNTERS WITH LOCAL WILD LIFE HAPPENS OFTEN IN THE PEACEFUL CORAL MARINA

A BLACK CROWNED NIGHT HERON DOZES OFF TO SLEEP ON MY RAIL

 

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