Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Santa Rosalia is a very interesting town. There was a Catholic mission established in the area in the 1760’s. The town came into existence when a French company was granted a mineral license for the area in the late 1890’s. The French came in and built the mine and the town infrastructure. As a result the buildings from that era are all built from wood that was imported from the U.S.A. There is a distinct French influence in the architecture which makes Santa Rosalia quite unusual. Most of the wooden buildings are still in use today, one houses a beautiful hotel. This hotel was in use in the late 1800 and has been restored to that era. We went and had brunch there the other day and it was a real treat to sit in antique wicker chairs. The paneling and the furnishing in the lobby and the restaurant were gorgeous. Another building is being used for a mining museum. Barry enjoyed reading about the mine activities and the pictures were unbelievable. There was one shot of a miner, clothed only in a loin cloth, nothing on his feet, pushing a mine car. I was thinking it would have been interesting to tour the old mine but then decided that given the state of repair of some of the building in town, a Mexican mine might not be a very safe place to visit.
The public library, the town hall and numerous government buildings are housed in structures built at the turn of the century. We figured the wood lasted as well as it did because it is so dry here. I can’t imagine the devastation a fire would cause. The local church was designed by Eiffel, of Tower fame. It is not particularly beautiful but it was one of the first prefab steel buildings, put together in France and shipped over here. If you ever tour the Baja make sure you stop here and stay at the Francis Hotel. There is even a French bakery in town.

Most of the town of Santa Rosalia is in a valley, above the valley on one side of town were the mine management buildings. Above the valley on the other side is a graveyard, Barry and I climbed up see it. In Mexico the further up the hill you go the cheaper the land is, opposite to our Canadian standards. It is just too far for them to walk up there so land is a premium lower down, thus the graveyard at the top. There was evidence of an Easter celebration with three wooden crosses. It would be a very effective spot, I wonder if they had a sunrise service? We saw gravestones dating back to 1907, the graveyard covered the whole top of the hill.
We were going to cross the Sea of Cortez today and head to San Carlos, but put if off for a day.
A typcial Mexican sidewalk, they must not have lawyers down here!!
Up until today we have been anchored, but a boat left last night so we got to tie up at the dock which means access to unlimited pressurized water and we spent the day washing our sails and getting all the salt off the deck and the rigging. My arms are very tired and I am sure they will be sore tomorrow. After we had washed both the main and genoa by hand, using a brush and hot soapy water, Barry on one side, I on the other, Barry wanted to get the all the chain out. He stood on the dock and I pulled all the chain out of the locker and he pulled it on to the deck. My arms were so sore I had to take many rests before it was done. Barry didn’t seem to have the same problem, must be testosterone. Mungo is at the slip beside us so it feels right, Barry is cooking up a beef stew in the pressure cooker and making guacamole for dinner for the four of us. I plan an early night though because we will leave here about 1500 hours tomorrow and do an overnighter to San Carlos.
Update-We don´t think we are going to leave until midnight, the winds are supposed to pick up in the afternoon and we would like to sail so if we leave later we should get some wind in the afternoon.

This is a view of the dock, the contraption at the top of the dock is an old diesel pump that is still in use. Barry walked to the Pemex station to get diesel!!!