Sunday, June 28, 2015

Baja Sierra Juarez wildfire brought under control...

fire, sierra juarez, baja california, tecate, ensenada, incendio, conafor, wildfire, forest, desert, brush, fire-fighters

After a week and over 62,500 acres burned, the Sierra Juarez wildfire has finally been brought under control with the help of nearly 400 firefighters and volunteers from various groups and organizations including Conafor, Secretaría de la Defensa Nacional (Sedena), Comisión Nacional de Áreas Nacionales Protegidas (Conanp), Brigadas Rurales, XXI Ayuntamiento de Ensenada, Bomberos Tijuana, Protección Civil del Gobierno del Estado and the Secretaria de Protección al Ambiente (SPA).It is considered the worst wildfire in 5 years for the northern state of the Baja peninsula and one of the worst in recorded history for the local Sierra Juarez region.

More images...

map, mapa, fire, sierra juarez, baja california, tecate, ensenada, incendio, conafor, wildfire, forest, desert, brush, fire-fighters

fire, sierra juarez, baja california, tecate, ensenada, incendio, conafor, wildfire, forest, desert, brush, fire-fighters

fire, sierra juarez, baja california, tecate, ensenada, incendio, conafor, wildfire, forest, desert, brush, fire-fighters

fire, sierra juarez, baja california, tecate, ensenada, incendio, conafor, wildfire, forest, desert, brush, fire-fighters

fire, sierra juarez, baja california, tecate, ensenada, incendio, conafor, wildfire, forest, desert, brush, fire-fighters

fire, sierra juarez, baja california, tecate, ensenada, incendio, conafor, wildfire, forest, desert, brush, fire-fighters

fire, sierra juarez, baja california, tecate, ensenada, incendio, conafor, wildfire, forest, desert, brush, fire-fighters

fire, sierra juarez, baja california, tecate, ensenada, incendio, conafor, wildfire, forest, desert, brush, fire-fighters

fire, sierra juarez, baja california, tecate, ensenada, incendio, conafor, wildfire, forest, desert, brush, fire-fighters

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Cabo San Lucas - Saltwater Fishing Report

Capt. Tracy Ehrenberg

JUNE 13TH TO 19TH, 2015 

Overall Catch Success Rate All Species Combined 90% 
Numbers at a glance: Billfish 62%, Tuna 12%, Dorado 11%, Other 49% 

BILLFISH: Cabo San Lucas experienced great fishing again this week with striped marlin remaining steady and more sailfish starting to appear. As well as billfish we are starting to see more table fish showing up, with dorado starting to put in an appearance as well as some nice tuna and a bunch of inshore fish. The honeymoon with the 11.50 seems to be over for the time being as the fish moved on to other locations. With the concentration broken up boats were able to manage catches of one to four marlin per day, when not heading out in search of tuna. Pisces Listo released four stripers up to 140 lbs. off of Lands' End for the Moore family from Colorado Springs – the fish a took a combination of live bait and lures. This same day, June 17th, Pisces C Rod also released four marlin between Lands' End and the lighthouse, all on caballito for a group from Brea, California. The fish were spread out from Land's End to Palmilla and on some days were closer to Chileno. A few sailfish were picked up with the marlin and averaged 70 lbs. Pisces anglers caught a total of 99 billfish this week with all but two released – 96 striped marlin and 3 sailfish. 

OTHER SPECIES: This week was a virtual bonanza with wahoo, tuna, dorado, sharks, jack crevalle, triggerfish, bonita, roosterfish, needlefish, grouper, snapper and amberjack caught. What anglers were most excited about were the tuna, with some huge fish being caught well over 100 lbs., whilst others caught school size fish in the 15 to 25 lb. class. Some of the better catches of tuna were out of the 180 spot and Destiladeras, which is up past San Jose. Brett, Brianne, Tyler & Briley Bradford, from Texas had a great day aboard Rebecca landing dorado and a tuna that nudged in over 100 lbs. Only twelve percent of our boats targeted tuna but they managed to catch a total of 42 fish. Dorado catches were a little slower, but this won't be for long, as the summer progresses their numbers should climb. It was nice to see some wahoo of a good size in the 40 to 50 lb. class. Doneene Loar from Treasure Island, Florida landed a beautiful 51 lb. specimen aboard Pisces Andrea as well as a dorado. Sharks remain in the area, mostly pilot sharks in the 70 to 80 lb. class, as well as one black tip – all were released. Michael Sandman from Ellenberg, Washington caught a very nice roosterfish, estimated at 50 lbs., as well two huge sierras one was reported to be 18 lbs., which if they had verified would have equaled the all tackle world record set in Ecuador in 1990. Lots of jack crevalle this week with boats catching a marlin or two then fishing or jacks closer in with catches of up to seven fish in a day. Many boats had fantastic mixed days, such as Flora T with two striped marlin released, a 40 lb. wahoo and three jack crevalle for a group from Dallas. Another example would be C Rod with two marlin released, a pilot shark released, one tuna and three jack crevalle. 

WEATHER CONDITIONS: Windy on the Pacific, sunny but breezy, seas mostly calm on the Cortez side with wind in the afternoons. 

LOCATION: Pacific for roosterfish, needlefish & other small game, near the lighthouse, other species at Cabeza de Ballena, Lands' End, Cabo Real, Palmilla. 


BEST LURES: Live caballito, orange/black, black/green, green/yellow. 
Based on the catches of Pisces by Tracy Ehrenberg

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Amazing reaction...

Watch what happens...

Is San Diego Feeling the Pressure of the Baja Restaurant Scene?

Upscale Baja Coastal Cuisine coming to PB
by Dave Schwab

The former China Inn in Pacific Beach has a new owner, a new name, a new cuisine and a new décor.

Owner Mark Oliver, who was once part of the executive team at George’s La Jolla, has announced more details about his plans for creating a new, more upscale eatery at 877 Hornblend St.

Oliver’s new restaurant will be named Pueblo and will feature Baja coastal cuisine.

Previously involved with Mission Valley's Randy Jones All American Sports Grill, Oliver is the general partner in the new restaurant venture along with a group of local investors, whom he said “all live within a very short distance” from the property.

Why Pueblo as the name? Because it’s historic — and something San Diegans can relate to, Oliver said.

“The Spanish plan for the colonization of California,” he noted, “contained a civil format for the establishment of communities called pueblos. Other translations of 'pueblo’ are used to define a ‘gathering place’ and to refer to a design style of North America's southwestern architecture that is ‘flat roofed.’ Our concept will relate to each of these meanings.”

The restaurateur said Pueblo will feature “traditional Baja foods that can be found along the coastal communities of Baja, using ingredients that are regional to Baja.”

Oliver added Pueblo’s cuisine will be “contemporary and ever-changing” and be subject to the chef's interpretation and imagination.

“The menu will lean favorably toward seafood and consequently offer lighter, healthier and fresher options than found in a typical Mexican restaurant,” he said, adding, “Completely newly created menu items can also be presented, as long as they honor the essence of Baja cuisine in some way — like the product utilized or the use of a specific cooking method. Guests will probably come to identify us as being a seafood restaurant as much as a Mexican restaurant.”

Without revealing the name of Pueblo’s new chef, Oliver said only that “we do have one identified and committed.” He added the new chef is preparing by “immersing himself in the travel and study of Baja California, especially that of the food culture.”

A fan of outdoor dining, Oliver said the restaurant’s layout “will try to seamlessly blend the indoors and the outdoors, with much of the seating being in an open courtyard or on a rooftop deck.”

The exterior design will display elements of the Pueblo architecture, but in a contemporary way.”

Oliver said he opted for a Baja-themed restaurant, first of all, because Mexican food “is and always will be popular.”

Noting most Southern Californians’ experiences with Mexico are derived from Baja California, which is “Mexico to us in San Diego,” Oliver added, “I love Baja, so creating a Baja coastal restaurant resonates with me, and I believe that it will do the same with a lot of us San Diegans.”

Plans are to reopen the restaurant site, which is being remodeled inside and out, “in the earlier part of 2016,” Oliver said.

Golba Architecture of Pacific Beach is the architect of record on the Pueblo remodel. The restaurant’s interior design is being handled by BlueMotif Architecture of San Diego. Building construction will be performed by K.D. Development of Pacific Beach.

Read more: 

Hurricane Carlos Slows Down and Dissipates

EASTERN PACIFIC - Former Hurricane Carlos Has Dissipated
Carlos is but a memory now as the former tropical cyclone dissipated over western Mexico. Here's a look at some of the remnant clouds today, June 18, from NOAA's GOES-West satellite. This image was taken at 13:45 UTC (9:45 a.m. EDT) today. **There are no other areas in the Eastern Pacific Ocean suspect for development over the next couple of days**

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

To tip or not to tip...

Seems there is a HUGE disagreement among gringos living in Baja on whether to tip parking lot security personnel in store shopping lots down here in Baja. Seems to differ mostly based on what part of the peninsula you call home.

Are you a generous, smart, conscientious, tight-wad or simply stupid gringo? Jump in the discussion and find out...

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Baja off-road racing too dangerous?

In Defense of Shockingly Dangerous Desert Racing in Mexico

COMBINED, THE MEXICAN STATES of Baja California and Baja California Sur are some 775 miles long. They comprise a peninsula that stretches southward from the California border. Vacation hotspot Cabo San Lucas sits at the Baja peninsula’s southern tip. Between there and San Diego, you have desert, forest, mountains, mud plains, small villages, 1,900 miles of coastline, a handful of paved roads, and some of the most achingly gorgeous places in the northern hemisphere.

And people race things—trucks, motorcycles, cars—all the hell over it.

The Baja 1000 is the king of the nonstop desert races. The grueling, high speed trek, held every November since 1967, covers roughly 1,000 miles starting from the California border town of Ensenada. It draws tens of thousands of spectators, scattered across the region. For safety and competitor challenge, the route is different every year and even alternates regions of the state. Last year, it ended in La Paz, 1,130 miles south. This year, it loops through the desert and returns to Ensenada. And like every Mexican desert race in history, this year’s 1000 will be captivating, wonderful, and shockingly dangerous.

People die in Mexican desert racing. It doesn’t happen regularly, but it happens often enough to talk about. As in any form of motorsport, drivers are at risk. But during this summer’s Baja 500, American legend Robby Gordon hit a spectator with his race truck. (The spectator survived.) 

Two years ago, motocross champion Kurt Caselli died after hitting an animal with his motorcycle. The same year, in the shorter Baja 500, San Francisco-based driver Kevin Price lost control of his buggy and killed a spectator. In 2011, motocrosser Jeff “Ox” Kargola sustained fatal injuries following a crash during an eight-day race from Mexicali to Cabo San Lucas.

Maybe that seems like a lot; maybe it doesn’t. Your answer likely depends on your opinion of risk and racing. But to understand why these things keep happening, and why Baja racing is amazing, you have to know a little about the place.

I’ve been to Baja. Several years ago, I crewed for a friend competing in the 1000. We spent long days and sleepless nights in the desert, chasing a car we rarely saw and—thanks to malfunctioning radios—rarely spoke with or could locate. We lived in a van and drove south through the country, our race car, driver, and co-driver sometimes hundreds of miles away.

If you go to Baja and don't fall in love with either its racing or the landscape, then you sat in a hotel in Cabo and never saw the real land.
Our race ended a few days in, when the steering rack on the car came apart. We spent the rest of the week gathering up the pieces, both figuratively and literally. It was a Mexican vacation without the vacation, very little tequila, and lots of work. Plus several nights under the Mexican stars at remote service stops, next to spectators burning live, in-ground trees for firewood, waiting hours for our car to show up.

It remains one of the best experiences of my life. Baja races draw tens of thousands of spectators, and Ensenada becomes a massive party during the race’s start. On the course, three-ton, 800-horsepower Trophy Trucks—tube-frame machines designed to rip over moonscape terrain at highway speed—shared the same chunk of sand with 70-horsepower Volkswagen Beetles on sand tires. Both ripped through unpatrolled spectator areas—some of them ten or twenty miles long—in fourth gear, mere feet from families and cheering fans.

Spectators do absurd, life-threatening things like play chicken with speeding race cars and set booby traps.

Small towns and villages are virtually and charmingly undeveloped, with 1950s infrastructure and a Mayberry vibe. If you go to Baja and don’t fall in love with either its racing or the landscape, then you sat in a hotel in Cabo and never saw the real land.

But the place is also famous for a seeming lawlessness. Spectators do absurd, life-threatening things like play chicken with speeding race cars. They famously set booby traps—pits, rock stashes—to cause racers to crash. It’s not uncommon for teams and crews to be robbed on the road or simply lightly extorted, by people posing as armed military. During a service transit the year we ran, we were stopped by armed military at a checkpoint, bribing our way past with cash and racing stickers. Days later, an old Baja hand told me the Mexican police and army hadn’t used that checkpoint in years.

Consider the craziest Baja story of late: In 2007, on the Baja 1000, a race team’s chase helicopter crashed on the course, spitting distance from spectators. One of the dead bodies removed from the chopper was reportedly identified as Francisco Merardo Leon Hinojosa, a lieutenant for Tijuana’s Arellano-Felix drug cartel. Legend—or at least the Mexican media—holds that, the next evening, 50 men with assault rifles stormed the morgue in Ensenada and escaped with Hinojosa’s body and two hostages. The hostages were later recovered. Hinojosa’s body was never found.

And most Baja racers who hear this just shake their heads and go, “Wow. But, you know, that’s Baja.” Not as an endorsement, of course. More a shrug.

It’s not lawless, of course—Mexico is a country like anywhere else, with rules and statutes. But setting aside the odd morgue raid, the police can only do so much in the middle of the desert. It’s impossible to effectively patrol 1,000 miles of race course, and you cannot have a squad car or race official on every hill in a vastly unpopulated peninsula.

Extrapolate that out, and you have the explanation for Baja’s safety, or lack thereof. With a race course that covers that much land, there are only so many safety steps to be taken. You can move fans back from the course in the cities or small towns, but you can’t drape bunting and crowd-control staff over two whole states. Same for booby trap policing. And while some people suggest restricting the horsepower of Baja race vehicles, that only makes sense to an outsider. In the wide-open desert, even a VW Beetle can move fast enough to be deadly for a spectator.

In spite of this, or perhaps because of it, people flock there. And when you hear of an accident like Robby Gordon’s, the Question—everyone who has been to Baja has heard the Question—burbles up again. It always burbles up. It makes the rounds of mainstream media, and if you haven’t been there, you can understand why someone would ask it:

How much longer will this go on?

If you’ve ever watched the local news, you can guess the follow-ups: Is Mexican desert racing even safe? How come lawyers haven’t gotten ahold of it? Should it be “fixed” or—worse—stopped entirely? We should not treat death or injury lightly, but we should also resist the temptation to overreact. To sensationalize, glorify, panic, or neuter.

Like so many human endeavors fraught with risk, there is no easy answer. Maybe there’s no answer at all, nothing between the existence and nonexistence of this race. Like the Targa Florio or the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy, Baja may simply be a binary situation, untamed or extinguished. Given the variables, the only real way to make it safer would be to drastically shorten race lengths, or remove these events from Mexico. And then you do not have Baja racing, you have something else.

I’ve never driven a race car in Baja, but I’ve accepted a small part of the place’s risk and felt the payoff. I’ve stood a little too close in washes as Trophy Trucks came raging through the desert, felt the roar and the rush and the blinding, stinging sand as they ripped by me in the middle of the night at eye-watering speed. I felt alive because of it. I knew I had been somewhere specific, been a part of a specific moment in time. I was, as my friend Bill Caswell says, out in the world and “off the couch.”

Not everyone has to accept that risk. And you have to assume most people who go down there do accept it, and that they try to be intelligent about it, because no one wants to die. Indeed, everyone I met during my time in Baja—racers of any color, even Mexican spectators, for all their absurd, dangerous antics—admitted they knew what could happen. And they still showed up. Because it is amazing, one of our last great adventures.

And if nothing else, I can virtually guarantee one thing: If you stood in the desert wash as the sun rose over the mountains and the thundering blat of a pack of Trophy Trucks deflated your lungs, hundreds of miles and a world away from everything you know, you would have a hard time hating it. You would not ask the Question. You would simply smile, and watch, and, like all the racers and spectators, hope for the best.

Hurricane Carlos

The national hurricane center is projecting that Carlos will fizzle out before he gets too close to the Baja peninsula. Still could bring some much needed rain...

Diver frees sea turtle...

Divers off the coast of the Baja California peninsula, Mexico save a sea turtle that became tangled in rope. Special thanks to Colin Sutton & Cameron Dietrich who freed the turtle and shared their footage with us.