First off, I need to thank Dani for doing the research on why sea shells thicken. Haven’t actually seen the answer yet but we got an e-mail from our daughter saying that she was going to do the research but Dani beat her to it. So, thanks, Dani! Looking forward to finding a wifi spot so we can actually read what you found out. Should have known a fellow Westsailor would be the first one to get the answer.
We’re still anchored at Santispac inside of the huge Bahia Concepcion. Yesterday the wind never stopped blowing. It was blowing from the north which is where shore is so there wasn’t enough room for the water to get wild but we still never even bothered launching the dinghy because the wind was so darn cold! We mostly stayed below. Yeah, it was cold. So cold that I briefly considered socks.
But today was much nicer. The wind stopped yesterday evening and never really got started again during the night. When we got up today, it was nice and calm outside and, at least in the sunshine, nice and warm. After breakfast we launched BabaLooie and headed ashore with our backpacks. Our plan was to hitch a ride in to Mulege and replenish our agua mineral and cerveza stocks. We’d also heard about the annual pig races to be held mid-day and figured that would be a good diversion.
We rowed ashore, carried BabaLooie up above the high tide line and headed to the highway. No need to lock dinghies up here as there are plenty of RVers keeping a watch. Everything seems pretty darn safe here. There are 2 restaurants/bars located on the beach. The larger is Lupe’s (used to be Ana’s) and smaller is called something like Restaurant-Bar Playa Santispak. We decided to try them both before we leave.
Highway 1 runs right by the entrance to Playa Santispac and is reportedly a good spot to hitch a ride to town. We were told that the first car to pass would probably stop. Well, that didn’t turn out to be the case. The first vehicle to approach as a newer full-size pickup with a crew cab, an empty bed and Oregon plates. They zoomed right past us! Hey, we’d be happy to ride in the back folks! Couldn’t be real Oregonians, must have been transplants from some unfriendly state. Next vehicle, another full size pickup, whoosh! Right on by. A semi passed but we didn’t even bother sticking our thumbs out. The driveway to the beach is a low spot and there’s a gruesome climb right afterwards. Those big guys need to keep their speed up approaching the grade. Finally, the next vehicle pulled over. It was a well-loved Isuzu Trooper or something like that. And guess what? Oregon plates! Turns out that Ron and Shana (not sure of the spelling) are from Bend. They bought a place overlooking the next cove south from us, maybe a mile away by water. Said that the temperatures in Bend are in the single digits and we weren’t missing anything. They were on the way to town to get a few groceries and watch the pig races. Said that if we wanted to meet them at a pre-planned spot after the races, they’d give us a ride back. Cannot beat a deal like that! Once they found out this was our first time in Mulege, they also showed us the good grocery stores.
We got our groceries and locked them up in their car and then they went off one way and we headed the other with plans to meet at the swine derby. We wandered Mulege a little but didn’t really do a very good job of exploring. We’ll have to go back to do that. The races were supposed to start at 11:00 so we headed to the basketball stadium where they were to be held. The place was crawling with gringos! There must be tons of them living around here at least part time. But there’s no telling from how far away they came. We saw David, Jim, and Chuck from Santa Rosalia, Dodie and Shamus from down the road at El Burro Cove (though we met them in Santa Rosalia), and we even got to talk to Cindy from s/v Tequila Mockingbird (Puerto Escondido) who we haven’t seen since summer of 2011. The place had the feel of a middle school carnival. You bought tickets for food, drinks, betting on the pigs, etc. They also had a raffle although we didn’t look to see what the prizes were. They were selling hot dogs and popcorn, beer and a few kinds of mixed drinks (OK, so it wasn’t exactly like a middle school carnival). The event was put on by the Rotary Club and the proceeds go to help various factions of the local population, mostly kids.
And now to the main event, the swine derby. Geary, the Sonrisa Net weatherman from El Burro Cove, was the announcer. He also wrote up a handicap sheet for the bettors. The pigs had names like Swine Flu, Hogzilla, and so on. When they brought the pigs down to the “track”, they were somewhat smaller than I’d expected. The last hogs we saw were at the Oregon State Fair and they were HUGE!. These guys were cute little porkers weighing maybe 50-75 lbs tops. And they didn’t sound any too happy to be here either. The track was a short dirt swatch maybe 5′ wide by 25′ long, maybe a little longer. The lanes were marked with gypsum (maybe from Isla San Marcos?) and had a cord strung maybe 15″ above the ground and running the full length. As the first heat neared, the excitement in the crowd intensified. The pigs were squealing and folks were crowding in for a good view. A group of women sat down at the very end of the track to get the best head-on camera angles. We had visions of pigs running hell bent for leather and not stopping at the end of the track but just plowing through these gringas. Whish also made us wonder, how are they going to catch them after the race? This was our first pig race, obviously. When the race started, the pig squealing intensified. We were way down at the finish line and it was hard to see what was going on because of all the people in front of us. I had my camera ready, though. Ready to snap a lightning fast photo-finish. Ok, so where are the pigs? What the heck is taking so long. I finally leaned out to where I could see and was thoroughly disappointed. The pigs weren’t loose to race as I’d envisioned. They were tethered to those lane dividers by their collars. Like when people hook their dogs’ leash to the clothesline so they can run a little but not run off. The handlers were right behind each pig doing everything they could to encourage them to run short of touching them. Touching your pig got it disqualified. Well, the pigs weren’t cooperating AT ALL! They would move a little and then just refuse to move, either by standing there with their little pig feet splayed out or, in at least one instance, actually laying down on the track. They even managed to turn around and run back towards the starting line a few times. Finally, after a lot of yelling and screaming and laughing, 2 of the pigs did manage to make it to the end of the track. One of them won by a nose. Actually, his nose was the only part of him that crossed the line.
While they were setting up for the second heat, we found Ron and Shana. Shana said that she could cross this off her bucket list now. We all decided that we really didn’t need to see any more races today. So we headed back to Santispac. They drove us right down to where BabaLooie was beached and we unloaded all our stuff into the dink. They needed to get going because they had meat in the car and were having guests over for dinner and didn’t want to feed them spoiled meat. After loading up BabaLooie, since we didn’t have anything that was going to spoil, we walked over to Lupe’s and had a couple cervezas and fish tacos for lunch (Lulu had shrimp tacos). The wind was beginning to pick up when we were done so we rowed back out to Siempre Sabado and whiled away the rest of the afternoon. Lulu just put a pizza in the oven for dinner.
As always, there will be photos when we reach a wifi hotspot. And also, as said before, I’m sending this out via Sailmail on the SSB radio and so, can’t read your comments. But do send them. We love reading them when we get somewhere that we can.