Monday, January 30, 2017

Santa Rosalia

[Maryanne]The strong winds forecast have held all week, and we've been safely secured to the dock with a spider's web of lines at Marina Fonatur here in Santa Rosalia.

The town was a purpose built mining town back in the 1800's and run by a French copper mining company. It has barely an ounce of tourist influence, with only a few restaurants even having English translations in their menus, and most people seem to know little English - so it has been good for our Spanish language attempts (and required a good deal of hilarious charade playing in the hardware and other stores).

The town is filled with simple wooden structures making it look (as Kyle said previously) like a set of a wild west movie. In the summer it can get VERY hot here, but since we're here in the winter AND waiting out some very strong winds, it is cool and blustery (we turn on the heater at night and are wearing long trousers and sleeves, and even jackets at times).

Although not a tourist town, it is a popular stop with boaters as it connects with the main road north out of Baja, and has reasonable grocery opportunities - but several years ago a major hurricane did severe damage to the town and especially the harbour area - so they are down to 1 marina with 20 slips (shared with the local Navy)

While we've been here there are only 6 visiting boats in the marina and 3 of those have the owners currently away. And for the most part we've been hunkered down and barely seen our neighbours (although we did join them for dinner at a restaurant in town and were able to glean some tips from those that have been cruising in Mexico for years).

Just because Santa Rosalia isn't a tourist oriented town, doesn't mean there isn't stuff to do. There is a great little bakery (in place since the French times). The library is dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi (I was never able to establish why). Many of the mining artefacts and structures are scattered (mostly decaying) all over town, and there is even a Mining Museum (although we found it was closed for at least the next 3 months). But the most famous structure is a small metal church, a prefabricated unit, shipped here by the French and erected for the community of miners; it is famous as the design for such churches (intended to be shipped out and erected in French Africa) was an award winning design of Gustave Eiffel (of Eiffel tower fame). I'm not sure how many of these churches exist but a quick Google search found just this and one in the Philippines. The church here is dedicated to the St Barbara (patron saint of miners), and to be fair, there is also some dispute regarding any Eiffel connection.

In fact there was so little to fill the week we have here, that we even resorted to a trip to the cemetery. We kept ourselves occupied with chores such as cleaning the boat (and again after the dust layer was added), fixing our sea water tap at the galley sink, grocery shopping, laundry and showers.

At one point while enjoying pottering about on the boat one morning in blustery weather, we noticed a lone fisherman in an open boat (a panga) secured to a hazard marker and busy casting a net and catching fish. His boat didn't have an engine and it seemed like a pretty miserable place to be. Then the next time we glanced out, his boat was still secured to the marker (with his NETS), but the guy was missing. Oh boy. I rushed down the dock towards the Navy rescue boats and in some terrible Spanish managed to explain my concern. The Navy were amazing, they rapidly deployed a crew and boat to the harbour entrance to perform a search and rescue.. only to find the fisherman simply resting in the bottom of his boat presumably waiting for the tide to turn so he didn't have to row against it. Doh! Embarrassed me, but the Navy were very chivalrous about it all.

Navy rescue/practice

So basically we’ve had a quiet and idle 8 days, but the spare time we’ve had has been consumed with the unfurling distressing news from the USA and President Trump's chaotic and unconstitutional edicts that are wrecking the lives of many and distressing many more. I'm starting to believe that Trump and his team don't give a hoot about combating terrorism - these policies are simply a way to keep us all distracted in chaos while they grab for power and money in other areas. Sickening. Frightening. Wrong.

It has been hard to enjoy Santa Rosalia with such a backdrop and we feel uncomfortable even with the thought of travelling for fun through Mexico given the current bigger picture. Regardless, we head north on Tuesday deeper into the Sea of Cortez and hope for the best. Big respect for the many #Resist movements back in the USA.


Neil said...

Hi, do you reckon you'll be able to see whales in the Gulf of California?

SV-Footprint said...

Hi Neil - yes - we have already had whales around as we sail - we see them spout. We haven't got close enough to tell the species yet. Also there are Whale Sharks in this area so we are keeping an eye out for them too.