Internet Newsletter

From The 90 Day Yacht Club Guide to Ensenada

October 2005

Volume 3 , Number 10



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












            Yes, the term of the change in the law to a 1-year stay offshore is due to be automatically reverted to 90 days on the first of July in the coming year. I assume many of you are waiting until that date to buy your next yacht as the marina occupancy here in Ensenada is nearing 40% full as opposed to the 100% full in March of this year 6 months ago, 6 months after the change in the law. All those that bought before October 1st, 2004 had 6 months to do the offshore delivery and their 90 Day Yacht Club stay and March was the 6th month after the change in the law. At that time yachts began to leave Ensenada and no more newly purchased yachts arrived to take their place. Yes, we have a few very expensive large yachts that are here for the one-year stay, but that is the exception and all these $500,000 mid range yachts are not here filling slip space. The new Mikelsons, Hunters, Cabos, Catalinas, Beneteaus, Friendships, Nordhvens, Silvertons and Tiaras are simply not visiting the Club this year. The tax savings on a half million-dollar yacht is not enough to warrant a one-year stay in Mexico. With little or no slip space in California, you make your own conclusions about how many of these yachts are being purchased in California this year.

And yes, the reversion back to the 90 Day statute is subject to an impact study, and I ask, how could any California legislator see the current state of affairs as a good thing for yacht, plane and RV sales in California? Those in the Sacramento house of law would be wise to let the law revert the 90 Days without any action necessary from them what so ever. After all, it wasn’t their fault the law created such a mess in the yacht, plane and RV sales in California; it was their predecessor in the seat that they now occupy. And, why prolong the mess? In this case inaction will be the greatest form of action for yacht, plane and RV sales in California! At that time the legislators can just walk away from the 90 Day Yacht Club controversy and the subject will never be visited again in the future.

It would be wise for you, your yacht club, yacht broker and local marine stores and services to get involved in the process and contact your local senate and assembly reps and make sure they know how you feel about this subject and the reinstatement of the 90 Day Yacht Club. See our article in our archived March 2005 Newsletter about the ill advised “Luxury Tax” that was imposed on consumers purchasing yachts, private luxury aircraft, high end cars, furs and jewelry during the last decade. Buyers of these items caused this tax to be appealed eventually due to a consumer revolt and resultant boycott. We are again witnessing this phenomenon in the upcoming undoing of the change in the 90 Day offshore delivered yacht, plane and RV law.  


Due to a deposit given before the drop dead date of October 1st 2004 and a recent delivery of this newly constructed Santa Cruz 53C yacht from San Francisco; the last of the officially christened 90 Day Yacht Club yachts arrived in Ensenada in this last week of September, 2005. Are you latitude 38 skippers and future buyers of new yachts stoked and waiting for the change of the law back to 90 days so you can visit Ensenada again? I bet you are, and so are your yacht brokers!!! Below are photos of that yacht, the La Dolce Vita, which is planning to stay here at the Coral Marina through winter and into next spring. See the photos of this boat sailing on our Photo Album page posted 10-14-2005.

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Our best recommendation for burgers in Ensenada is Q’ Burger just up the street from Hussong’s Cantina on Ave. Ruiz. 4 blocks up from 10th street at the corner of Ruiz and 14th street you will find this clean and contemporary burger stand with both indoor and outdoor seating. 5 dollars will buy you our favorite plate; a charbroiled bacon and cheeseburger with all the trimmings, including 3 crispy onion rings laid on top of your lettuce and tomato slices. The 5-dollar fee includes crispy fries, a drink, and a side serving of peppers and spicy carrots. If you are visiting Ensenada mid week you can treat yourself and your mates to a special deal, 3 burgers for the price of 2, or 10 bucks for three burger combos. The menu also includes other burger selections, chicken burgers and fish burgers. Flautas, a super dog, a root beer float and ice creams are just a few of the other choices offered. Service available (servicio a domicilio, or service at your domicile) delivered at your boat by calling 175-93-47 or call your marina office on VHF and have them call for you! The owner and grill master speaks English so don't be hesitant to call if your phone service allows Mexico connections. See the below photos for menu selections. Try the French style spicy fries, very tasty! If you need a third wheel on special days, come by my boat and we’ll enjoy 3 charbroiled Q’ Burgers together in Ensenada, Baja California. Ah, the proverbial cheeseburger in paradise! 

Author's note... Isn't the word burger a great and nebulous designation for an entity we all love? I once had a car as a young surfer dubbed the "Burger Mobile" by my surf buds, a French Renault Dauphin (no body else had one of those at the beach) that barely got anywhere without coaxing in it's native language, and lotsa money to keep it interested in contributing to the cause. By the way, Renault just won the Formula 1 Constructors Championship and the new F-1 champion Fernando Alonso, a Spaniard and the youngest F-1 champion ever, triumphed in a Renault powered and sponsored car- go figure... See for details. Cheeseburger Cheers :)

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            Today we were driving out to Baja Mama’s Restaurant (see our last Newsletter about this fine eating establishment) for Sunday brunch and on the way we passed through some of the prettiest and greenest agricultural areas in the Ensenada area. At one time during this region’s history (see our May 2004 Newsletter for a detailed history of the Ensenada province) the area was considered too arid and lacking of irrigation for agriculture, but smart planning brought the area around Maneadero to where it is now as a very productive agricultural region. As we passed through row upon row of late summer crops, I was gazing at the workers in the fields, and was struck by the fact that I saw not one illegal American farm worker out there. Strange…

            After brunch we stopped at the brand new Costco Store, which was absolutely rocking, packed with a wide array of colorfully dressed Mexican families. Very few were in traditional garb, no stereotypes here; I saw not one serape, no one leading a burro, a bandoleer, or big wide sombrero in the whole place. Actually, you would have sworn you were in the San Diego Costco as the place looked just like the stateside big box stores architecturally and the clientele and their trendy contemporary style of dress was a duplicate of what you would see in a busy L.A. Target store.

I was the tour guide this day and had nothing to buy for my boat, and there was a time gap between one group from one boat completing their shopping and the other boats crew from completing theirs. So I had about a half hour to sit by the membership sign-up area near the exit and people watch. Incidentally, the Ensenada Costco membership cost is 350 pesos, about $33 US dollars. You get two cards for that price, and up to four additional cards at 100 pesos each. Do you know what struck me the most during my time waiting? There was not one legal or illegal American worker in this whole huge arena of Latino humanity. Bizarre…

Last stop was a Home Depot style home self-improvement do-it-yourself store for some needed hardware stuff for my marina neighbor’s boats. Now my awareness to the days surging subject at hand in my curious and ever thoughtful author’s head was would we see illegal American workers standing on the streets as we approached the store waiting to be picked up by Mexican families looking for cheap American labor or an American maid around the house for the day?

Would there be a little Home Depot style store-created kiosk with benches and bathrooms to enable the illegal American workers to have comfort during their day of looking for a short-term means of family support? Would there be another illegal American there helping to get these illegal American workers a Mexican drivers license or another fake Mexican ID so they could vote in Mexico for the politician that most strongly supports illegal American immigration? Maybe a bank loan from a Mexican bank will be offered for a house in Ensenada for the struggling illegal American’s family now living in a house, which contains 10 other families that all were smuggled in a van south across the border. Some of the families walked south over the perilous desert for the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of Ensenada and the peace of mind shared here. If all this sounds absurd, think about it, indeed it is, but the joke is on all of those that continue to reinforce stereotypes and stick their heads in the sand and deny the presence of the reality that confronts them.

Yes, the world has turned upside down and those that have a way to go are coming to Mexico to escape the insanity that exists north of the border. Gas prices are cheaper here, the people are friendlier here, and yes it is secure and safe here if you choose the right community, just like north of the border. The weather is less polluted and better here, and the overall cost of living is much lower here. Plus- you are close to the border for health care, doing business, and visiting the family. But please, don’t drink the water while you visit… Another stereotype, eh? No one drinks the water here; we all, Mexican and American, drink bottled water just as most folks do north of the border. Come visit Mexico and Ensenada in particular - devoid of stereotypes - you will be pleasantly surprised.

*Read our December 2004 archived Newsletter article about the repossession of California by northern migrating Mexicans intent on repatriating their former possession before the mid 1800’s war caused California to become a part of the United States.

Perhaps this is an illegal American worker, entertaining the tourists on the Ave. Lopez Mateos for tips in his sax case

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The only thing more Mexican than tequila is mariachi and it seems a shame to have one without the other. The resulting sound is the heart and soul of Mexico.

“Mariachi” definition from the Latino Encyclopedia.

MARIACHI (1) A specific type of Mexican musical group or ensemble. (2) An individual musician in a mariachi group (synonym: mariachero). (3) An adjective denoting a genre or style related to the mariachi, e.g., mariachi music, mariachi trumpet.

Mariachi music was not invented or discovered on some date in history but rather is a result of various cultural forces in Mexico over time. Although mariachi music is not especially well documented, the factors that contributed to the development of this genre of music are very definite. The word mariachi refers to the musicians now commonly seen in restaurants or strolling the streets, dressed in silver studded charro (Mexican Cowboy) outfits with wide brimmed hats. The instruments originally used by the mariachi were those introduced by the Spaniards - violins, guitars, vihuelas, harps, etc. The vihuela is a small guitar variant also with a belly and five treble strings. These instruments were intended to be used during masses but the criollos (Mexicans of Spanish descent) began using them to make popular music as well, much to the chagrin of the priests, since they were used to accompany some of the more scandalous, satirical or anticlerical couplets of the times. Mariachi music thrived with the support of the people. The criollos of the 19th century did all they could to wipe out every last trace of the Spanish presence in Mexico and, by doing so, supported the mariachi music. The songs speak about machismo, love, betrayal, death, politics, revolutionary heroes and even animals.

Mariachi goes beyond music, it is the sum of a cultural revolution expressed through a group of musicians, dressed in popular clothing (most recently, charro suits) which encompasses the essence of Mexico and its people. Early mariachis wore peasant garb, and had little concern for dressing alike. After the Revolution of 1910, however, modest uniforms began to appear. When for the first time mariachis could afford to outfit themselves elegantly, they chose the suit of the horseman or traje de charro. Prior to the 1930's, photographs show early Mariachis dressed in calzones de manta, and huaraches, homespun white cotton pants and shirts and leather sandals, the clothes worn by most peasants in Jalisco. The gala version of this suit worn by contemporary mariachis-with its tightly-fitting ornamented pants, short jacket, embroidered belt, boots, wide bow tie, and sombrero-was once the attire of wealthy hacienda owners. It is something cultural, spiritual and traditional that is unique to this country, an experience not to be missed. No discussion of Mariachi music would be complete without mentioning the famous Jarabe Tapatio - the Mexican Hat Dance. Associated with Guadalajara in the state of Jalisco, it has become the national dance of Mexico. It is highly stylized, with prescribed movements and costumes. The male wears the classic outfit the Jalisco horsemen or charro, while the female, the China, wears a hand-woven shawl and a bright sequined skirt.

Mariachis often help celebrate the great moments in the lives of the Mexican people. With the serenata (serenade), the Mariachi participates in the rite of courtship. In a society where the young members of opposite sexes were kept apart, the serenata was a means of communication by which a young man could send a message of love to the woman of his heart. In many areas of Mexico, it is not unusual to be awakened by the sound of Las Mañanitas, the traditional song for saints days, or birthdays. The Mariachi is usually positioned strategically on the street beneath the window of the festejada, but the sound of its music echoes through the whole neighborhood. Mariachis are also commonly hired for baptisms, weddings, patriotic holidays, and even funerals. It is not unusual for the deceased to leave a list of favorite songs to be sung beside the grave at burial. Mariachi music has been incorporated into the Roman Catholic Church's most sacred ritual - the Mass. The Misa Panamericana is a Mariachi folk mass, sung in Spanish, that uses traditional instruments to create vivid new interpretations of the traditional elements of the service: Angelus, Kyrie Eleison, Gloria, Alleluia, Offertory, Credo, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei. The first Mariachi Mass was the concept of a Canadian priest, Father Juan Marco Leclerc, and has been celebrated in Cuernavaca since 1966. It originally took place in a small chapel, but news of it spread so rapidly, and the crowds grew so large, that the regular Sunday Mariachi Mass had be moved to the Cathedral of Cuernavaca. It is now frequently performed throughout Mexico, and in many areas in the United States where people of Mexican origin live.

Since the 1930s, the mariachi has been widely considered the quintessential Mexican folk-derived musical ensemble, and has become an institution symbolic of Mexican music and culture. Mariachi groups are currently found throughout the Americas and in Europe. Mariachi is not simply an invention of one person but is a product of Mestizo culture, religion and music, which have evolved from as early as the 1500’s. With the arrival of the Spanish conquest there also came Christian doctrine as its religious music, which spawned a combination of liturgical doctrine and native music. Quickly as Christianity spread, in many areas these instruments gave way to instruments imported by the Spanish. This essentially was the birth of música meztiza, known today simply as mariachi music.

Prior to the arrival of Hernán Cortés in 1519 the music played with rattles, drums, whistles,reed and clay flutes, and conch-shell horns, which were an integral part of religious celebrations. Although the indigenous tribes of Mexico performed this ethnic music, there is no clear link between the indigenous music and the mariachi. Professional musicians accompanied Cortés when he arrived in what is now Mexico. Among their instruments were the harp and the vihuela, prototypes of those later used by the mariachi. Natives, who had their own highly developed musical traditions, quickly mastered European musical practices. With the importation of large numbers of black slaves, African music was also brought to Mexico during the early colonial period. Many regional traditions of mestizo folk music, including that of the mariachi, resulted from the ensuing cultural and musical blending of indigenous and foreign elements.

Historians claim that as early as the year 1533, Fray Juan de Padilla was instrumental in teaching the natives of Coculán the Christian doctrine using Spanish music. With the influence of Spanish music, the Indians soon made an effort to include the use of a violin to their ensembles. They built these rustic instruments out of a native wood called palo de colorín. Because they had such a talent for copying instruments, they adapted the guitar and soon after, the Indian Justo Rodríguez Nixen invented the vihuela using an armadillo shell. Later the guitarron was introduced using animal gut for strings. Throughout the 16th and 17th centuries, popular Spanish music began to comb the regions throughout Mexico, causing Mestizic percussion and melody to involve. Even popular Spanish dance with native dance combined to create a new hybrid form, one that was moving, songful and danceable.

The Fandango in 16th century Spain was a popular dance that was also sung. In Mexico, it became a popular dance among the common people of the county side. As time went on, the term fandango took a new meaning. Fiestas were known as fandangos. It was common for people of the pueblos to say, vamos al fandango, “Let’s go to the fiesta”. Soon after, fandango took on the meaning of orchestra, and mariachi. By the 19th century, mariachis began to flourish throughout the states of Nayarit, Jalisco, Guerrero, Michoacan and Colima. By this period of time, the use of primitive instruments in the fandango or mariachi had nearly disappeared. The guitar, harp, vihuela, and violin became the primary instruments that were to guide mariachi towards the present day.

The consensus of modern scholars is that the word mariachi is indigenous to Mexico. The now-extinct Coca language of central Jalisco is that most frequently cited as its probable source. Legend erroneously attributes the word to the French Intervention of the 1860s, explaining it as a corruption of the French word mariage, and citing a similarity between mariachi (or its archaic variant, mariache) and the French word for wedding. Historical documents prove that both the word mariachi and the ensemble it designates pre-date the French occupation of Mexico, making any similarity with the French word a phonetic coincidence. Another theory states that the word comes from the indigenous name of the Pilla or Cirimo tree, whose wood is used to make guitars. If this were true then the word mariachi would be applied to the instrument itself and not to those who play it. It has also been suggested that the name comes from a festival in honor of a virgin known as Maria H. (mah-ree-ah AH-chay) at which musicians played and that over time they were given this name. The truth is that no one knows where the name originated which is associated with a great deal of prestige not only in Mexico, but around the world.

The mariachi is native to a region of western Mexico that includes what are today the states of Jalisco, Nayarit, Zacatecas, Aguascalientes, Guanajuato, Michoacan, and Colima; extending as far north as Sinaloa and Durango and as far south as Guerrero. Despite frequent attempts to attribute it to a specific state or town, the exact birthplace of the mariachi is unknown.

 The early development of mestizo folk music in Mexico is largely undocumented, making speculative any theories on the early evolution of the mariachi. The earliest known incontrovertible reference to a mariachi appears in a letter written by priest Cosme Santa Anna in 1852, although the word can be found earlier as a place-name. Mariachis documented during the second half of the nineteenth century in central western Mexico were commonly associated with the rural fiesta or fandango, and with the tarima or wooden platform upon which couples would dance sones and jarabes, the two most important genres of the early mariachi repertory.

While its roots are rural, the contemporary mariachi is an urban phenomenon associated with post-revolutionary Mexico City. It was in the Mexican nation's capital and principal metropolis that the urban mariachi was born and where most of its development took place. Vestiges of earlier types of mariachis may still be found in rural Mexico, but the urban mariachi has been the dominant model since the 1930s.

In 1920, Cirilo Marmolejo moved his group from Tecolotlán, Jalisco to Mexico City, becoming the first mariachi to establish itself permanently in the capital. In 1923, the cantina Salón Tenampa opened on what is now Plaza Garibaldi, where the mariachis of Concho Andrade and Cirilo Marmolejo performed. The Tenampa soon became Mexico City's center of mariachi activity and attracted other groups from rural areas to that plaza.

Although mariachis had performed for official functions under Porfirio Diaz in 1905 and in 1907, it was not until after the Revolution of 1910 that the mariachi became widely adopted as a symbol of nationalism. Since Alvaro Obregón's administration (1920-1924), post-revolutionary Mexican presidents have used mariachi music for political events, with Lázaro Cárdenas being the first to officially subsidize it during his term (1934-1940).

The role of the media was crucial to the popularization of the mariachi. During the 1930s, radio, cinema, and the phonograph came of age in Mexico, launching what had previously been a rural, regional music to national and international prominence. The principal role of the mariachi in the media became that of accompanying leading vocalists of the ranchera (country) genre, Mexico's most popular nationalistic musical expression.

 At the turn of the century, a typical mariachi consisted of four musicians. While precise instrumentation could vary with each group, regional tendencies existed. The two most prominent mariachi regions were that of central Jalisco, which preferred two violins, vihuela (a small, guitar-like instrument with a convex back and five strings), and guitarrón (a large, six-string bass version of the vihuela); and that of southern Jalisco and Michoacán, which preferred two violins, harp, and guitarra de golpe (the original mariachi guitar).

After the Revolution of 1910, mariachi groups tended to grow in size. Instruments previously associated with specific regional traditions were combined, and existing instruments were doubled. Following a period of experimentation, the instrumentation of the urban mariachi became standardized. The modern classical guitar was adopted, and the vihuela and the guitarrón were retained, while the guitarra de golpe and the harp fell into general disuse.

In the early 1900s, wind instruments were frequently added to the traditionally all-string ensemble. By the 1920s, mariachis in different parts of Mexico were using the cornet. With the advent of radio and television their popularity continued to grow. Recording contracts were signed and they were paired with famous singers like Jorge Negrete and Pedro Infante. Due to the popularity of jazz and Cuban music the trumpet was adopted, pushing the violins into second place and, in some cases, replacing the harp. In the 1930s the trumpet had replaced the cornet and had gained a permanent foothold in the mariachi; by the 1940s, the trumpet had become a mariachi institution. The two-trumpet combination popularized by Mariachi Mexico de Pepe Villa in the early 1950s is the most recent innovation to take place in the standard mariachi instrumentation. Today, the standard contemporary instrumentation for a full mariachi is two trumpets, three or more violins, a vihuela, a guitar, and a guitarrón. The guitarrón is a large bass guitar-like instrument with a large belly in the back. It has six strings tuned within an octave and a half range. This is the heartbeat of the mariachi ensemble. An additional guitar or trumpet is sometimes added, and the basic ensemble is often reduced for economic reasons. All members may sing.

 The most important group in the history of mariachi music is Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán, founded in 1898 by Gaspar Vargas in Tecalitlán, Jalisco. In the 1930s, its leadership was taken over by his son, Silvestre Vargas, considered the greatest mariachi organizer and visionary of all time. In 1934, the group moved permanently to Mexico City, where it played a leading role in the evolution of the mariachi. The majority of influential musicians in the genre have passed through its ranks, including arranger Rubén Fuentes and trumpet player Miguel Martinez. Since the 1940s, Mariachi Vargas has been the model ensemble for the urban mariachi tradition, in which its trajectory and influence are without parallel.

Mariachi music has become deeply rooted in the United States, where it has taken on unique characteristics and even influenced its Mexican counterpart. During the late 1950s and early 1960s, a number of organized mariachi groups immigrated to Los Angeles, an urban area that has in many ways became to the United States what Mexico City is to Mexico as an urban Mecca of mariachi music. In 1961, Nati Cano organized Los Camperos, which became the best-known U.S. mariachi and the country's pioneer group in popularizing this music among non-Hispanics. In 1969, Los Camperos opened La Fonda restaurant in Los Angeles, the world's first venue designed to showcase a mariachi. Other U.S. groups followed suit, and eventually this concept was adopted in Mexico.

Mariachi Uclatlán, founded in 1961 at the University of California at Los Angeles Institute of Ethnomusicology, pioneered the academic mariachi tradition, and today educational institutions throughout the Southwest offer classes in mariachi music. Mariachi Cobre, founded in Tucson, Arizona in 1971, was the first prominent Mexican-American mariachi group.

In 1979, a U.S. mariachi movement was born at the First International Mariachi Conference held in San Antonio, Texas. Since then, mariachi festivals and conferences have proliferated in the United States; Mexico celebrated its first international festival in 1994. Linda Ronstadt's 1987 album, Canciones de mi padre, heralded the creation of a new audience for mariachi music among non-Hispanics. While Ronstadt is a traditionalist, mariachis such as Sol de Mexico in Los Angeles and Campanas de America in San Antonio seek innovation, combining other musical styles with that of the mariachi. See our article about Linda Ronstadt’s excellent traditional and classic music albums entitled “Linda Ronstadt Sings the Flavor of Mexico” in our March 2004 archived Newsletter.

Mariachi music reached its peak in popularity during the 1950s and 1960s. Movies were made which represented Mexico as a place populated with truly macho men whose lives revolved around the charro, tequila, and of course, the mariachi. Since then, it has increasingly become a nostalgia genre, marginalized by the media that initially catapulted it to fame. With the exception of isolated attempts to infuse new vitality into the tradition from outside sources, relatively little new mariachi music is composed or performed today. Nevertheless, the mariachi remains in demand for social functions in Mexican and Mexican-American communities, where it has become a cultural inheritance. The recent revival in the United States has given new life to the mariachi, whose appeal transcends ethnic groups and national borders. With all its riches, it is no wonder that mariachi music has grown to such enormous popularity throughout North America. Today, in the United States, mariachi exists as a common folkloric music form and mariachi music is played around the world in places as far away as Japan and Europe. This integral part of Mexico's culture and history is celebrated each September in its birthplace, Jalisco. It will continue to represent Mexico’s rich cultural heritage. Mexicans, Mexican-Americans and people from non-Hispanic origin as well, will continue to nestle and nurture the Mariachi through its course and evolution.


A recent wedding at the Coral Marina Hotel complete with mariachis to serenade the event's assemblage of guests. 7 classically dressed and accomplished singers and musicians in a picturesque setting made this a very special day for all that attended!

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            You and your crew may enjoy a pleasant visit to the closest offshore landfall to Ensenada at the Todos Santos Islands. Approximately 9 miles away and centered in the entry to the Bahia Todos Santos the two islands for centuries have served as a navigation landmark to passing and visiting shipping and private craft. Once a lair for pirates that preyed on the Manila Galleons carrying rich cargo and gold to the East along the coast during the California Gold Rush, there are still to this day fables about buried treasure on these islands left from that colorful time of the history of the Ensenada region.

            I was the guest of Mark and his dog Sadie aboard the motor yacht Luna Sea for this short shakedown cruise before Mark took his boat north to his slip behind his home at the exclusive Bel Marin Keys of Marin County. See our Article about the miracle rescue of Mark’s dog Marley in our April 2005 Newsletter. Marley was missing for 3 weeks after being scared by fireworks near Estero Beach and ran off wildly down the beach. Marley was found through an intense search utilizing posted flyers, driving all the back roads of the area, and a reward that had Marley finally found at a poor lady’s house perhaps a day or two before Marley would have died. Mark has been a good friend for the past year and a half here at the Coral Marina. He is the last of a community of folks that were here in the marina for more than a year. Now with the temporary change in the law, and the fact that no yachts are selling and coming to Ensenada as they did last year, and occupancy at the local marinas are nearing 40%; it may be a cold, lonely and desolate winter here on the shores of Ensenada…

            As you navigate toward the islands steer to the big white bluff covered with bird guano. This is where each year the gulls come to hatch there young. This bluff is at approximately half way along the two islands that at a distance look like one island as the south island is superimposed upon the other. When you get a little closer you will see the red house to the left of this bluff and the landing for small boats in the cove in front of the red house. This is a restricted area reserved for fishery experiments. As you get closer you will see a white sign on the guano cliff and a little cove to the right. This is where you may want to enter and anchor. We have had multiple boats in this cove for a barbeque gathering. The depth varies from 15 to 25 feet in this cove. You can also anchor outside the cove in 50 to 80 feet of water. Just like Catalina, the depth drops off quickly from these islands. Be aware that there are many old anchors, and other assorted anchoring devices that are left on the bottom from previous anchor foulings and mishaps. In fact, this day we hauled anchor and lodged between the flukes of our danforth was a huge cement block with a rusted steel eye that we luckily were able to dislodge and leave on the bottom for another future visitor to discover. So, anchor here at your own risk, see the charts from our books below that illustrates this little cove and the Todos Santos Islands. Once settled at anchor you are in a completely different environment. It is totally quiet aside from the waves lapping and birds that may be flying by. You will experience absolutely no light at night aside from the lighthouse hidden behind the bluffs at the north end of the north island. There is a dingy landing, a miniature blowhole, and a cut between the islands to discover by small boat.

As you visit the north island lighthouse, imagine the 30-foot waves that break here during the winter storms from Alaska to the north. See our article entitled “Biggest Wave Bounty” also in our April 2005 Newsletter about the history of this famous surfing spot. This spot is aptly named Killers. Killers can be seen breaking from the shoreline of Ensenada on the extreme north end of the Islands with the naked eye when it is "on". A horizontal column of white water foam extending around the point can be plainly seen on the days when it's "working". If you are visiting the Ensenada area in the winter months and the waves are raging along the shores of the Bahia Todos Santos, you may enjoy a cruise out to see some of the biggest waves in the world, at Killers, Todos Santos Islands, Baja California. Observation and surf charters are available along the Ensenada waterfront to this area complete with surf tour guides, which will anchor while you are surfing this magnificent wave.

If you dive, remember it is against Mexican law for a foreigner to take any form of crustacean from the seas of Mexico, so lobster and other shelled fish are off limits to collect as you dive. And if you fish, you must have Mexican fishing licenses for your yacht and all those aboard. We lost that black light velvet Elvis painting we bought in Mexico in a co-habitation dispute many years ago. And the onyx chess set we had stored for 40 years was recently sold at the swap meet. A remembrance of a set of bongos painted with palm trees purchased by our parents when we were children warms our hearts. But one of the most precious of all the possessions we have during our time spent at the 90 Day Yacht Club is the night spent at anchor in the quiet cove at the Todos Santos Islands devoid of any noise or light except for the sound of lapping wavelets on our hull and the light in our eyes in appreciation for the experience shared. Not all of our most special Mexican belongings are store-bought on the Ave. Lopez Mateos.  

Here are two maps of the Todos Santos Islands from our books

  Todos Santos Websize.JPG (118694 bytes)  Santos South Websize.JPG (175760 bytes)

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The hot dry Santana Winds are upon us again here in Ensenada and in Southern California. Read our article about this phenomenon entitled “Those Dreaded, Dangerous Devil Winds” in our archived September 2004 Newsletter.


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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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