Sep 9, 2012

Puerto Peñasco – The Port of Shrimp Boats... And Amazing People

Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit;
Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
Miles Kington

Shrimp boats tied together like a huge floating raft
Dreading in many ways getting back to civilization, but we have to get a few parts, mostly a new fridge, and check emails after a little more than 6 weeks of being ‘disconnected’. 

They raft up to 9 of them wide...
Good thing they are made of thick metal
The wear from this type of tying together is high
Dreading traffic, schedules, people in a rush, people who just do things automatically, or people who no longer see or appreciate what is around them. 

They seem to raft by company
All dark black shrimpers together
All white and red shrimpers together, etc
Dreading being away from nature and its simple pleasures. 

They are around the whole marina/port
Dreading the 23 feet tides when we enter the marina and of course all the dealings with port captains, immigration, customs, etc.

Speaking of high range tides
Dock poles at mid-tide
They probably measure at least 30 feet
But it will also be nice to see our home in Arizona, contact family with live voices, get a few goodies not available in Mexico (maple syrup for one!), mostly treats we enjoy and savor even more now that we know how difficult they are to get!

Being in the Sea, disconnected for six weeks, has reminded us of the good old 70’s and 80’s where no one had cell phones seemingly attached to their bodies or easy access to internet from blackberries to tablets, etc. Those were easier times – although I miss the ability to instantly research what I see/hear about, I don’t miss having electronic ‘leashes’ keeping us on our toes at all times.

We hope to be a little while on the internet to study our next portion of this adventure. We may be heading to Central America, stay in the Sea of Cortez, or simply spend 6 months here and 6 months back home on a rotating basis. We just don’t know yet. Many new possibilities come up as we meet and speak with other cruisers / travelers about where they have been.

Nikki, after 10 months, seems to have finally gotten the hang of her boat life vs. on-land life. She has finally figured out how to use her “rest area” when at sea instead of holding it in too long for comfort. She loves her dinghy rides from the boat to shore where, upon arrival, she bolts out on a run like a furry rocket ship. She occasionally meets other “salty” boat dogs and enjoys playing even at nearly 10 years of age!

Puerto Peñasco is a devastated town economically. Most places are barricaded and closed down; the downturn has really hit this place hard. We heard that a couple of weeks ago, some cartel related killings happened in the area which adds to the ever diminishing tourism. As for us we have been treated fairly and kindly everywhere we have been. We feel safe even on our evening walks with the dog – fearing other dogs more than we do people.

Couldn't help it - how much do you tip to use it?
We are surrounded by shrimp boats. We are told the shrimp season starts next week or the week after that so all these boats are here getting repainted, refitted, filled with fuel, water, salt, food, etc getting ready for the next fishing season. These shrimp boats are not at docks like we are used to, one boat is tied to a concrete type of pier and from there the other boats are all side tied to the first one – like a gigantic float of boats. People then have to walk from one boat to the next to get to their respective boats. If one boat moves out, they all have to reshuffle and retie.

We watch crews of 8-9 men fixing nets, tying chains to weigh the bottoms of these nets down, and buoys at the top to keep the tops near the surface. Everything is done by hand, measuring, marking, knotting, tying, cutting, etc. We also watch as huge bags of salt and empty fish crates are passed down from boat to boat – again everything done manually, taking considerable amount of time and energy. Others are climbing various parts of the boats checking pulleys and cables or doing some welding. Of course they do this without harnesses wearing flip-flops, electric cords dangerously dangling in and out of the water, etc.

The pelicans and cormorants rule the port – they are absolutely everywhere. It’s impossible to keep the boat clean of guano but thanks to Nikki, we fare much better than others. She’s good at keeping most of them away from our boat. They roost so closely together on steel cables high on the shrimp boats that if one yawns or has an itch and slightly loses its balance, it sends all of them in a frenzy to re-steady themselves, hence they always seem to be on the move. It’s quite entertaining to watch actually.

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