Tuesday, June 27, 2006

San Carlos Beaches Most Polluted in Mexico

Wow, what a report that just came out about the beaches of this area. The worst in Mexico. If the bacteria count gets to 104 they close the beaches in the USA. The bacteria count was as high as 22,000 at our beaches. I don't know how it can be this bad and there not be a lot of people getting sick, but the testing was done by an official government lab. Maybe we locals that are in the water all the time are immune to this level of bacteria but it could make an unsuspecting tourist very sick. Green Peace Mexico has started a campaign called "Queremos Playas Limpias" or We Want Clean Beaches. I know that of all the places that I have been in Mexico, Guaymas is the most polluted, and I have read that the levels of skin and respiratory infections are extremely high among the children of Guaymas. It will be interesting to see what the reaction will be from the local business leaders. Will they demand action to clean up the pollution, or will they try to cover up the facts and downplay the risks. Would you swim in water or let your kids swim in water that you know is more than 200 times the established at risk level for bacteria? You wouldn't if you were in the states because the risks would be well publicized, but I'll bet that most people here will ignore this report. Swim at your own risk !

Monday, June 19, 2006

A Nice Sunday

Well, there wasn't enough wind Sunday. What else is new. It was blowing 10 - 12 knots, which was enough to go out on a Hobie Cat. Rodolfo, his 5 year old son, and I had a nice sail, pulled the boat up on the rocky beach near the tip of Deer Island and had a nice time snorkling in the warm, fairly clear water. There were lots of fish, especially hiding in the sargaso seaweed that reaches from the bottom almost to the surface. I didn't take my speargun, but I should have. Later, back at the Hangout which has a new bar called The Soggy Peso, it was time to enjoy a cold beer and listen to some live music. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Earlier in the week we tried out the conditions at a beach the other side of Guaymas, called Cochorit. It was fun to go someplace else but the sand is oily, the result of being downwind from the sardine packing plant. Below are a couple of photos from that day. We also got in one good day this week kiting near the condos Pilar. A bit gusty, 12 - 24, and big choppy surf but it was fun.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Quiet Summer Days

It has been a long time since I did an update, but there isn't much to report. The wind has been light and variable, not enough to power up a kite. Did get in almost an hour of kiting today just before sunset. Wind predictions sometimes look good a few days out but then fizzle out as the day arrives. So I've been forced to find alternative things to do and the other day I bought a motorcycle to get me out into the desert and mountains. It is a 200 cc trail bike made in Mexico, and while it doesn't compare with a Yamaha, it cost less than $2,000 new and has a dealer here in Guaymas.

The visibility in the sea has gotten decent and the water temp is up to about 83 degrees so the snorkeling is good too. Still the heat is oppressive and I have been spending lots of time looking for other places to go. Dominican Republic is looking real good for kiteboarding. I think that I'll be making reservations very soon.

A couple of weeks ago I had my ripped up Crossbow kite repaired at a local shop, Marine Mart, and they did an excellent job for only 300 pesos, about $27. They have also done other repairs for kiters including things like harness repair and zipper replacement, usually while you wait and for as little as $10. The shop is located on the way to the beach so it is a great asset to the kiting scene.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Road Trip to Altata

Scott, Chino, and I took off to seek wind and adventure in Sinaloa. We got to Culiacan Sunday evening, got some food, saw a movie, and drove into Navolato to stay at a hotel that I had stayed at before. A room for three was 400 pesos, about $12 each - not bad. There isn't much going on in Navolato but it is a very pleasant city of about 30,000 people and just 15 minutes to the beach. There are two parts to the beach community of Altata, where we spent the next couple of days. Old Altata is on the bay and has several blocks of sea food stands and restaurants right on the waters edge. We had some great food there. New Altata is a resort on the ocean side. Very nice. Everything is beautifully done and well maintained, and the beach is gorgeous. We didn't have as much wind as we would have liked but had some surf to play in that more than made up for it. Probably the thing that has impressed me the most about this beach is the people that I have met there. David Garcia and Hector are two guys that work at the beach and do whatever they can to help out including loaning us surf boards and launching and catching kites. I met them the last time I was here and it was great to see them again. On the last day we met Marcela, a beautiful girl from Culiacan that just started to kite in January. She ended up showing us around a bit and taking us out to a great dinner. I wish I could have had more time to kite with her as she is just fun to be around. Meeting great people is a big part of what makes kiting such a great sport.

Above and below are photos from the beach at Nuevo Altata.

Food, drink, and live mariachi music at the waters edge.

In the center of town in Navolato.