2/8/2013 – Punta Chivato

After breakfast yesterday, we launched the dink (got to come up with a name for the dink; I’m leaning towards BabaLooie)and rowed ashore. We carried BabaLooie well above the high tide line and, there being nothing to lock it to, we just walked off trusting it would still be there when we got back.

Our first job was to find a garbage can as we had a small bag of organic garbage that needed a home ashore. We had high hopes as there was even a garbage can on the remote beach we were anchored off of on Isla San Marcos. But Punta Chivato is another beast. We’ve never seen this kind of place in Baja before. Other than the hotel, it is just houses, and mostly gringo houses at that. And most of those were closed up even though it seems like this would be one of the prime times to be down here if you lived in the States and had a house in Baja. We did finally find a garbage can in front of one residence and deposited our little bag of cantaloupe rinds, pineapple trimmings, and coffee grounds

Our next goal was to see if we could locate Julia’s Cantina. The cruising guide described it as being “north of the anchorage, up the small hill at the back of the airstrip”. Well, maybe it is but we certainly didn’t see it. The only thing we saw that was in that area and looked like a place to eat was a building that said, “Rest. and Pizzeria” but that building was completely falling down and definitely did not look like it was about to open anytime soon. Oh well.

We started walking west between the airstrip (actually just the strip where they parked the planes) and the homes lined up along the beach. Some of these places were pretty spectacular and most were quite pretty. Lots of tile and stone and wood. At the end of the first strip of homes there is a gap where the actual runway ends. Near it there is what’s left of what would have been a very nice home. We always wonder about these places as they look like the majority of the expense has already been paid and that it wouldn’t take much to finish them up. But there they sit, abandoned and deteriorating. We’ve seen these places everywhere we’ve been in Mexico. I’ll have photos for you when we reach a wifi hotspot.

As we continued down the beach, we were amazed at the amount of seashells that were piled up. There were long stretches of shells that were 6-10 feet wide, 6″ deep or deeper and extended way down the beach, basically the whole length of the beach. Most had been out of the water for some time as evidenced by their bleached out colors. Some were still pretty vivid, though. We saw all kinds of shells: small conch, mussels, lots of varieties of clams and scallops, periwinkles, crab, even abalone! And they were just piled up. I assume this is natural and that someone didn’t truck these here as a shell disposal site. Again, I have photos for later.

On the subject of shells, we have a question and we don’t have access to Google right now to research the answer. So, if you’re at work right now and are really bored, and the boss isn’t looking and you couldn’t come up with a good reason to start your weekend early, would one of you look something up for us? A lot of the shells we find are very thick. So thick that there wouldn’t have been room for a creature to live inside at times. We’ve never seen fresh shells that are anywhere near as thick as these. Some of them get so thick and worn that they start to take on the look of stones. It seems to us that these are the shells that have been on the beach awhile. So, our question: what causes sea shells to thicken?

We walked a couple of miles down the beach. Clear water lapping at the shore on one side, tasteful vacation homes lining the beach on the other side. Here and there an occasional beached kayak attesting to the fact that not all the houses were empty. We happened on a home owner and asked him about water and electricity. I’m always wondering where the water comes from (professional curiosity) and we had seen a few solar panels but no overhead wires. He said that everybody used solar power exclusively. He said that water is a bit harder. It comes from a well and feeds an elevated cistern. From there it’s fed to individual rooftop tanks at each home. But, the well hasn’t been running for the last few days and they were running out of water in their tanks. Not sure why the well pump hadn’t been running as he didn’t say.

We headed back towards the boat ramp where BabaLooie was waiting but then decided that, after all that walking, we really needed a reward. We looked again for Julia’s but still no luck. There’s a place that matches the cruising guide’s location that might be it but, if so, there were absolutely no signs to differentiate it from someone’s house nor were there any sings of life. So, we opted for the restaurant and bar at Hotel Posada de los Flores. We knew it would probably be spendy but we decided, what the heck.

The hotel, which sits out at the end of the peninsula, is beautiful. The buildings are stone, wood, and stuccoed concrete. Floors are tiled. There were a row of rooms along the cliff that looked like something out of a travel magazine. Again, I do have photos. I don’t think I’ve ever shot as many photos of a hotel as I did of this place. It was gorgeous and the setting, up above the waters of Bahia Santa Ines, was absolutely beautiful. We sat outside at a round, tiled concrete table and had a couple of Pacificos. There being so few guests (one couple as far as we could tell), they didn’t have a full menu but were offering hamburgers or chicken wings for lunch. We both opted for the wings and fries. Like most places that serve wings, there weren’t nearly enough but they were tasty. We whiled away another hour or so over a couple more beers and toasted our good fortune to be where we were, doing what we’re doing.

Feeling mellow, we launched BabaLooie and headed back out to Siempre Sabado. I read, Lulu set some laundry to soaking and crocheted. Later, I made carnitas burritos, refried beans and coleslaw for dinner. Lulu made some ricotta cheese for the lasagne she’s going to make either tonight or tomorrow night.

Later this morning we’ll be upping anchor and heading to Santispac in the giant Bahia Concepcion. (sure miss doing accents on the words when I’m posting via SailMail)

Side note: How do you tell if a Mexican establishment caters primarily to gringos, I mean, besides having the signs in English? Give up? If there’s no wastebasket next to the toilet. Mexican plumbing is somewhat cranky and can be plugged easily. Consequently, the custom in Mexico, as it is on many boats, ours included, is that nothing gets flushed down the toilet that didn’t pass through your body first. Therefore, toilet paper, discretely folded over and dirty side down, goes into a wastebasket placed strategically next to the toilet. You’d be amazed at how un-gross this practice actually turns out to be. So, if you’re in Mexico and there’s a wastebasket next to the toilet and there isn’t a sign telling you to do otherwise, save the plumbing and deposit your paper in the wastebasket. I think every toilet plug-up we saw at the marina in San Carlos (and there were many) was due to paper, and mostly caused by unknowing gringos who had flown in for a diving or fishing trip and hadn’t had stuff explained to them.

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About sryoder

Steve & Lulu... retired. Had enough of the cold wet dreary fall/winter/spring in the Pacific Northwest. Bought a boat, fixed it up, sold our home and sailed to Mexico in November, 2010. Been here ever since except for occasional forays to the States (summer only, thank you) to visit the kids, parents and siblings. If you're looking for a sailing blog, this is the wrong place. This is a traveling, hunkering in, eating blog. Sailing is just how we get from place to place when we can't walk.
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11 Responses to 2/8/2013 – Punta Chivato

  1. Nita says:

    Lulu, how do you make ricotta cheese? Steve, thank you for all of the details – I feel like I am right there with you. I am reading a book, The Map that change the world, or something like that – I am referring to your sea shell question. It sounds like an observation from the book. I may take a look for you. Nita

  2. Nita says:

    Steve, I found an article (tried to post it) that indicates higher acidification of the ocean may be contributing to some shells being thicker (but then also making some shells thinner) – more to be discussed.

  3. Nancy J. Pura says:

    Good morning, Steve & Lulu: When I worked at the Gonzales Potato Company, we had trouble with the Mexican women putting the toilet paper on the floor besides the toilet and not in the toilet. We could not convince them that it was okay to flush the toilet paper. Take care and my love to both of you always – Nancy

  4. Ken Page says:

    Rhoda would be a good name for the dink. Hi, I have been following along. I enjoy your blog.

  5. Dani says:

    I did some research for you, and found that some people suggest those heavy rock like shells are actually shell fossils. This is what one has to say:

    “Seashells are actually like the bones for many sea creatures! Often, they don’t have bones like we do, so they grow very hard shells to protect them and help them keep their shape. When the animals die, their muscles and other soft parts decay or break apart and become food for other animals in the ocean. Their hard shells remain. Some wash up on the beach, while others fall to the bottom of the ocean and get buried under layers of dirt and rock. The ones that get buried just might become fossils some day!

    Once they’re under the dirt, they’re safe from the tides and other changes in the water, which might break them into pieces and lose their shape. Even though they’re very hard and well protected, they were still once part of living things. The chemicals that make them up start to break down after awhile, and they leave empty spaces under the rocks and dirt. The empty spaces are in the shape of the shell.

    Minerals in the seawater fill those spaces. They are much stronger and become even harder than the seashell was. When the minerals replace all of the original shell, a fossil is made, and it can sometimes remain buried for millions of years before being discovered!”

    So…You may be looking at 100 Million year old shells.

    Sounds like a great excursion to shore. You have the unique ability words to make me feel as if I was walking around that island seeing the sights.

    Safe travels to your next destination!

  6. Carlosrosselfinger says:

    Dearest Steve & Lulu,

    I enjoyed reading your post about Punta Chivato, my family and I have been camping down there for the past two years, we just love it! Regarding Julia’s Restaurant you were not far from it, it sits just north of the abandoned pizza place and to say the least Julia is a great cook, the place is not a cantina or a restaurant, she serves customers right at the family table on her front porch, she also has a water purifying system and sells purified water, beer, sodas and what ever you may need -that she has available- She has a son -Carlos- that is one of the most reputable local contractors and a great diver.

    Viva Baja!!!

    Carlos Grosselfinger
    Chula Vista, CA

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