Sunday, December 12, 2010

Cabo San Lucas

Now I know what cruisers mean when they say “get in and out of Cabo as fast as you can”. It’s no place to spend much time by boat unless you are very rich and love sports fishing. After spending the last three plus weeks working our way down the Baja, we were well ready for showers, laundry, provisioning and a touch of civilization. Well, you get it in spades at Cabo!

We woke up the morning after we arrived to discover a gorgeous place. See through, turquoise waters, spectacular geological formations lining the bay, azure skies, calm waters – we thought we might be in heaven.

Land's End - Cabo San Lucas

Not for long! First, we were greeted by the “harbor patrol” who told us we had to pay 133 pesos a day to anchor. We could pay them if we didn’t want a receipt, or report to the Harbour Master’s office on Monday if we did. Hmmmmmm. Sounded like graft, so we elected for the office, but the angst associated with trying to do the right thing without being ripped off gnawed at us and set the tone for the rest of the day.

Just after breakfast the jet skis began. We counted over 20 on the beach and the tourists who were using them must have decided to do loops around Ka’sala for fun. The constant traffic of glass-bottomed pangas giving gringos the guided tour, combined with several para-sailing speed boats, made for extreme wave action about the boat and we bounced around like we were on a trampoline. The microphones from the resorts kept blasting all the activities that could be enjoyed, as well as up-tempo, grate-on-your-nerves happy music and a constant stream of incredibly expensive fishing yachts making their way to the Gordo Banks, had us pretty irritated, to say the least. We couldn’t even speak to each other without yelling. We decided to leave the chaos and head into town. You can just imagine the difficulty we had getting the dinghy in the water and the motor on it – horrible – though we found out later we could have taken a panga “water taxi” for “tips”.

Ka'sala at anchor in Cabo - notice para-sail in background

Once through the breakwater, we checked out the two marinas. Both had limited space available for a 34 foot sailboat, but the nightly rate was $120.00 US dollars! Gulp!

Cabo Lucas marina

We continued on to the dinghy dock where a security man took $3.00 US to guard our little tender.

dinghy dock - Ka'sala's tender is second from the right

The waterfront is very elegant with expensive hotels and condos, as well as a surreal shopping complex selling high end designer everything.

One block past this is more chaos. Heavy traffic, little bars and restaurants, and touts trying to sell you everything under the sun from cigars to scuba trips to banned substances. Dust, grime, garbage, and garish colours greeted us. It was hot. We were tired and thirsty. We were cranky.

We found a little cantina with a shaded terrace that served us a relatively expensive, mediocre lunch of tasteless fish, smothered in sauce with mashed potatoes on the side. However, the Pacifica Clara and a very delicious spicy broth, which we were given when we sat down, soothed our stretched nerves at least a bit.

 Culture shock, after the isolation of the Pacific Baja, and the unbelievable dichotomy between rich and poor, gringo and Mexican was really unpleasant. We returned to little Ka’sala in the late afternoon – the beach activities had quieted down and there was a welcome lull before the discos started up for the evening.

Luckily this noise also ended relatively early and we were delighted to have a calm and quiet night. The next day we stuck pretty close to the boat and endured the aggravation by reading books. After all, it was still warm and we were very tired after our spirited sail to get to Cabo. On the second day, there was a good wind up, with some choppy waves, so the beach activities were more subdued. As Doug sat in the cockpit, nose pressed to his Kindle, he couldn’t help but notice a young couple on boogie boards heading out to sea. The woman was obviously in a panic, and her partner was unable to help her. Doug launched the dinghy to go to help, but a jet ski assisted the woman before he got there, leaving her partner to fend for himself. Doug ended up towing him to shore. No sooner was he back on the boat, when he looked out to see a teenage boy thrown from the jet-ski he was on! The Mexican lads who rent the skis came to his rescue quite quickly. What a place!

That day we saw Thor, Blue Rodeo and Cloudy Bay, the boats we had left behind at Bahai de Magdelena, arrive at Cabo. We discovered they had a much more pleasant passage than us, but windy nonetheless. We decided we had enough of Cabo and decided to continue on to San Jose del Cabo. Through email with the marina there, which was still under construction, we discovered we could rent a slip without power or internet for $40.00 a night. We felt this was still a lot of money, but we were so in need of a quiet rest, we booked three nights. We raised our anchor at first light and motor-sailed the 17 miles in light winds to get there around lunch time.

Good bye to Cabo San Lucas!

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