We've been docked at the FONATUR marina in Santa Rosalía for ten days now. We'll be here for another few days, as we await the return of our cruising friend, Dan, who graciously offered to bring some items back from the States for us.
It's kind of lonely here, this time of year. We are one of two occupied boats in the marina, the other one being the power boat, Sun Hunter
. A couple of other cruising boats were here when we arrived, but they've left now, on to other adventures. To give you an idea of how quiet things are here, the arrival and departure of the Santa Rosalía ferry every couple of days - with all its associated activities - captures our full attention.
Our occasional entertainment
, we learned from her owner, was tied up in the city's other marina, Marina Santa Rosalía, when Hurricane Odile came through last September. Marina Santa Rosalía is no longer, having been reduced to sticks, flotsam, and rubble during the storm. Sun Hunter
ended up on the beach but has since been refloated, and her owner is working hard to get her back in shape; she is looking good but still bears the scars of her misadventure. Another boat, Golden Eagle
, is still on her side where the old marina used to be. Across the harbor, another dock is in disrepair, with the hulk of a fishing boat partially sunk behind it. The Navy dock has been completely destroyed; the Navy boats now raft up at the fuel dock. This harbor is a vivid reminder of the havoc a hurricane can wreak.
On a brighter note, Eric and I have been enjoying exploring Santa Rosalía. Taking our cue from the locals, we hang out near our cabin fans during the day, venturing into town only when the heat fades in the evening. The stores' hours reflect this trend, being open in the morning, and late into the evening, sometimes closing for an hour or two in the afternoon.
One fascinating building here is the Iglesia de Santa Bárbara, the Church of Santa Barbara. Made entirely of steel, the church was designed in 1884 by Gustav Eiffel, purchased in 1897 by the Boleo Mining Company, disassembled, shipped to Mexico, then reassembled in its current site in Santa Rosalía. It is still in use today.
The Eiffel Church
Santa Rosalía was the site of a busy copper mine from the 1880s until about 1980. All over town are the remnants of the mining operations - the smelter and its associated hardware, smokestacks, machinery - all rusted and crumbling. Unlike in America, where these would be surrounded by chain link fences with No Trespassing signs, or torn down and paved over, these edifices and contraptions are just sitting there, open and unattended. The only place that is locked and off-limits, with a posted guard, is the mining museum building, which was heavily damaged by Hurricane Odile.
Old mining shaft
Santa Rosalía also boasts a black sand beach. But it's not the same kind of black sand you might find in Hawaii...rather than bits of lava, I suspect that this sand is composed of ground up black slag, from mine tailings that were dumped here for a hundred or so years. Still, it's pretty, though.
Black sand beach
By the way, a Korean corporation has resurrected the mine, which shipped out its first copper this month.
One evening, we visited Chuyita's salchicha (hot dog) street cart, where we chowed down on bacon-wrapped hot dogs with the works, with Mexican Cokes to drink. (Fun fact: Mexican Cokes are made with cane sugar, not high fructose corn syrup.) We've also visited Splash!, a great little ice cream shop, a couple of times. We like to try flavors with Spanish names that we don't know the meaning of, and flavors that you don't usually see at home, like limón.
Eric enjoying a bacon-wrapped salchicha
Last night, we had our first Chinese food since coming to Mexico. I don't know why, but I've been sort of shying away from Chinese restaurants here. The few we've seen haven't been in very good shape, and didn't have many customers. Plus, Mexican food is so good! But last night, Eric and I took the plunge and dined at the China City Restaurant, a little place across the street from the malecon. It was decorated with all the Chinese kitsch you'd see in Chinese restaurants anywhere, but I have to admit that we were a little bemused to be speaking Spanish to the Chinese waitress. I know, I know, what would you expect, at a Chinese restaurant in Mexico?! But it still struck us as kind of funny.
For some reason, Santa Rosalía has a great selection of hardware and auto parts stores. We've been able to find most of what we needed, by making the rounds of these. That's been really handy for the boat projects we've been working on. By the way, the toilet has been working great since its rebuild.
Yesterday, we traded time for money. How? By circumventing the fees charged at Mexican fuel docks. When you bring your boat to a Mexican fuel dock, you are charged a 12% fee and an additional docking fee (priced per foot of boat length). The FONATUR fuel dock is close enough to hit with a rock from SCOOTS' deck (not that we would do that, it's rude), so it would be really easy to use on our way out of the marina. Just across the street from the marina is a Pemex (Mexican state-owned petroleum corporation) gas station. They have diesel, too. We have diesel jerry cans, a rolling cart, lots of time, and an aversion to spending money needlessly. Also, the ferry didn't come in last night, so there was nothing interesting to watch. So, over the course of about an hour, Eric made four trips between SCOOTS and the Pemex station with the cart and jerry cans, eventually filling our tanks with 40 gallons of docking-fee-free diesel. Boy, didn't we feel thrifty!
Adding the diesel to the tanks 5 gallons at a time, and then reading the level given by our fuel gauge, also gave us valuable data for our ongoing quest to calibrate our fuel gauge (so we can avoid running out of fuel, as we did in Manzanillo back in March).
So that's what's up with us in Santa Rosalía. This afternoon, taking advantage of SCOOTS being safely tied up in a marina, we're going to take a little excursion inland for a few days. I'll fill you in on our inland adventure in the next blog entry.