Friday, August 17, 2007

South from here.

The location from where today’s posting is coming from, El Triple in Baja California, Mexico, has been visited for the first time in 1979.

This stretch of coast is unpopulated.
To the South is a lighthouse and a camp of fishermen about a one-hour and a half drive from El Triple.
This is called Punta Marquez.
To the North is another lighthouse with a camp of fishermen and that takes over two hours.
This is called Punta El Conejo.
In miles those lighthouses and fishermen camps are not that far, but the roads in this area are not maintained.
They are dirt roads of the worst quality and can only be negotiated by high clearance vehicles, at low speed and with a lot of patience.

The fishermen use what is called “panga’s”.
About 6 meter (20 feet) long polyester boats with an outboard engine.
They use nets to fish.
And lines with baits as well as lobster traps.
These fishermen in their panga’s pass by sometimes in front of El Triple.
They shout and whistle and wave to greet.
Because over the years they have come to know that for months someone is living there.
In the past the fishermen have come by in their old battered up pick-up trucks to make acquaintance offering fish and lobster.
They know who is there: Miguel, the photographer from Holland.

South from El Triple, at the end of the long bay and beyond a cape, is a wide dry riverbed.
A 45-minute walk.
This place is called La Aguja.

In 1979 it was completely abandoned.
There was a big “palapa”.
A palm leaves roof on poles without any walls.
This palapa had been used for entertaining but was deserted for a long time.
About 10 years ago La Aguja was bought by an American couple and they have been developing it.
They had electricity come to La Aguja and last year had a well drilled and got official permission to pump up water.
At the dirt road side a wall was built and in a small house near the gate Ramon’s family is living.
Ramon is paid to guard and work on the property: the American couple is not there all the time.
Of course, Ramon has become a friend and each time a run is made to buy supplies in La Paz, urgent needs for his family are being taken care of.

As is the common practice, now that there is water and electricity, the American couple is dividing their property and selling lots.
Eventually it will be a resort.

It is a matter of years now before the first houses will be ready and people will start to live there.
It is a question though if they will like that.
There is a big difference between sales talk and actually living in a place like La Aguja.
There are many positive reasons to be there but some serious negatives as well.

For example, the nearest town is La Paz.
To go there one needs to drive for one hour on a dirt road partly in very bad shape: no ordinary car can negotiate it.
Next, it is another hour to La Paz on an asphalt road.
One is two hours away from the nearest shop.
But also two hours away from medical care and the church.
If one needs urgent life saving medical care, one will die at La Aguja.

Another negative is that from December/January until June/July a very strong northwestern wind blows.
It makes life a hell.
One cannot go to the beach because the salt and the sand get in the eyes and the ears and the body is pulled and pushed.
This wind drives crazy and this phenomenon occurs half of the year.

A very scaring and serious negative is that La Aguja is in a hurricane zone.
In late August temperatures reach over 35 degrees Centigrade (95 Fahrenheit) and the heat builds up.
The nights remain hot too.
This is the situation a hurricane might hit.
It happened last year on September 1st.
Hurricane John.
This photographer happened to be at El Triple on that day and experienced what it is to be in a hurricane.
It is an absolute nightmare and very, very dangerous.
One of the consequences of a hurricane is that so much rain comes down that all the land gets flooded.
Massive amounts of water, not being able to penetrate the hard earth, destroy all roads.
Last year, for one week it was impossible to get out of this area.
And then only with a 4x4 truck.

North of El Triple is another dry river bed where used to be a small rancho called “La Ballena”.
“La Ballena” is tomorrow’s subject of the posting.


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