Que Pasa in Cabo?

June 25, 2018

Park remodeling is here. After several years of requests to improve the Amelia Wilkes Park in downtown Cabo San Lucas, the state government has finally obtained funding from the feds to carry out the job. The outline of the project was proposed by the downtown business association, known as Amigos de Cabo San Lucas, and it included more trees, benches, trash cans and some general improvements to the park’s look.

Last week, Genaro Ruiz, the state’s secretary of urban infrastructure and planning, announced that $1.3 million USD had been allocated for the job, and that it would start right away. At a meeting with downtown merchants, Ruiz presented a slide show of the architect’s renderings and heard several comments and suggestions from those in attendance.

The Amelia Wilkes Park is a historic site, as it was the original civic plaza for commemorations and local fiestas, and flag-raising ceremonies on national holidays. Next to it sat the first jail and local government offices. Cabo natives would like the park to be updated and improved without losing its historic essence.

The remodeling will include new marble stairs, new marble flooring, improvements to the bandstand and a sculpture honoring Amelia Wilkes, one of Cabo’s first elementary school teachers. A new structure for the whale skeleton will also be in place. Lots of new trees will be planted to add shade for visitors, and a total of 52 new benches, 19 trash cans, three bicycle parking stands, 10 ashtrays and 36 new light poles will be added as well. Electrical, sewage and water supply lines will also be renewed.

Oh, and the park will have a large water pila for the automatic irrigation system.

Work should be going on by the time you’re reading this and is expected to be complete by the year’s end. Vehicle traffic will be affected by the constant coming and going of dump trucks, heavy equipment, and worker’s vehicles. The small street (Guerrero) between the church and the Cabo Coffee shop will be closed to regular traffic.

We have water! Thanks to tropical storm Bud, the San Lazaro and La Palma water reservoirs are full, said the head of the National Water Commission in our state. They were actually so full, that “doors” had to be opened to let some of it go to prevent flooding and damages to neighboring communities.

New diesel plant for Cabo on its way. After months and months, Mexico’s National Bank for Public Works and Services (BANOBRAS) has approved funds to build a second diesel plant in Cabo San Lucas, announced with great fanfare by governor Carlos Mendoza.

The approval was followed by the needed approval of the Los Cabos city council, which is the group that has to organize and launch the bidding process to find a builder. The plant construction and operation, like the previous one, will work under a 20-year contract with the city, which will pay for the construction. The operation and maintenance will be in the hands of the company that wins the bid. This means that the city will pay the operating company a certain amount of money per gallon of water produced and supplied, while the company will be responsible for operation and maintenance.

The plant is expected to supply Cabo San Lucas with nearly 66 gallons of water per second. Currently, the city’s need is 52 gallons per second so there will be  a small surplus. The population is always growing, though, and its likely that production will be insufficient by the time the plant beings pumping water. Not to mention all the water that will be lost through the leaky pipes.

More bad news is that if the city council chooses the same corporation that operates the first, existing diesel plant, we can expect to have numerous breakdowns in the plant and some serious wait time while parts are shipped from Spain. As in months.

Some neighborhoods in Cabo go as long as six weeks without water due to the current plant’s malfunctions, lack of spare parts, and who knows what else. Buying water from private water trucks is expensive and unattainable for many families.

One suggestion would be to get a third plant approval and bidding process going right away, or the supply will continue to be as erratic as it is now.

Electric carts coming soon. They will be here to transport handicapped tourists from the cruise ships around the marina, said Hector Montaño, the director of API, the company that oversees the operation of the Cabo marina.

“They will be here soon,” he added. API signed a contract with a private company, at the request of cruise ship companies. Five cars will be deployed possibly by the end of this month and five more before the end of the year.

President announces new fourlane. On his recent visit to Los Cabos, President Peña Nieto officially inaugurated the LeBlanc resort on the corridor between Cabo and San Jose, and he announced the construction of nearly five new miles of highway between the Costa Baja Resort in La Paz and the commercial port of Pichilingue. Peña Nieto, accompanied by his secretary of tourism, also cut the ribbon of the La Palma water reservoir in San Jose.

Then in La Paz, he once again cut the ribbon of a sewage treatment plant, the largest in our state, that will supply treated water to water plants of 875 acres, mostly golf courses, with a good amount of it being treated and converted into drinking water, benefiting approximately 250,000 inhabitants by treating about 184 gallons per second.

Alaskan crabs found here! And we’re not talking about the ones for sale at Costco. A medium sized school of red king crabs (paralithodes camtschaticus) reached the waters of Mulege, about an hour north of Loreto on the Sea of Cortez, where they were caught by local fishermen. The red king crab, also called kamchatka crab or Alaskan king crab, is a species of king crab native to the Bering Sea. It grows to a leg span of 1.8 m (5.9 ft) and is heavily targeted by fisheries. A six foot crab!? How would you like that snatching onto your bathing suit?

Red king crabs have been seen in water temperatures that range from 28.8° F to 55° F, so it’s unusual to find them here. Since there are no permits for their capture, the Mulege fishermen told us (and we believe them) that they only kept a few for personal consumption and returned the rest to sea.

Bridge over troubled roads. The recently opened Chedraui Selecto store in San Jose, located at the entrance of the toll road to the airport, announced its plan to build a pedestrian bridge to cross from the McDonald’s store next to the MEGA supermarket to their store and back.

This pedestrian bridge will probably reduce the number of accidents caused by pedestrians crossing – running for their lives – from one point to the other. This includes the Chedraui’s and MEGA’s many employees. Work will begin in early July. We sure hope the bridge is used, as just last week a woman was run over by a car just outside the Soriana’s store in Cabo San Lucas – just underneath the existing pedestrians bridge. Sigh.

In related news. The city’s council of urban development, which includes several organizations, decided to hire a vehicle traffic specialist – who was already here – to evaluate the traffic problems around the Fonatur roundabout in San Jose. The council expects a proposal from the specialist that will solve the traffic jams and prevent accidents in that area.

Popular activity restricted. Swimming with sea lions around Espiritu Santo Island near La Paz has been suspended through August 31 this year. it’s mating time and the male sea lions, known as bulls, are very protective of their female mates, known as cows, and their offspring. They get aggressive at this time.

Almost 50,000 tourists a year visit the area, which can get crowded at times and disrupt the sea lions’ mating and breeding season. Visitors may watch the sea lions from aboard their boats at a comfortable distance of at least 40 yards. What is that, sea lion porn?

California sea lions reside along the Pacific coasts, mainly in the waters of the Baja California peninsula and central Mexico where they breed, but in non-breeding season they can be found as far north as Vancouver Island in Canada. These highly intelligent and social mammals breed in large colonies on offshore island rookeries such as  Espiritu Santo Island and near the arch in Cabo San Lucas.

Their breeding season takes place around May to June. Male sea lions establish territories in order to be successful in breeding and mating, which takes place approximately three weeks after the females give birth. Postural displays, fighting – often violent - and barking and growling is common as males compete for females. Males assemble a number of females and young into a group called a harem and protect them throughout the breeding season.

After the breeding season, female sea lions normally stay in southern waters while the adult males and juveniles generally migrate North to feeding sites for the winter. Except Pancho, Cabo’s famous male, who doesn’t travel North for feeding, he just follows our fishing boats as the sailors and tourists toss him sardines and remnants of fileted fish to feed him. He is well known for jumping on boats and stealing their catch of the day. He’s got a sweet gig going.

What’s up with the malecon in La Paz? The first phase in renovations is about to end, said Genaro Ruiz, the state’s secretary of urban planning and infrastructure. The second phase will begin “soon,” at a cost of nearly $7 million USD. Vehicle traffic will be affected from Salvatierra street (just below the Las Gaviotas hotel), to El Molinito, a tad before the road to Pichilingue starts.

In a visit to the malecon last week, this reporter saw that the ugly concrete floor of the new sidewalks is slowly being polished. Very slowly, or course, but still revealing much prettier flooring. That was a surprise, as we were never told a polishing job was included. On the seaside, workers are also cutting and polishing, creating a cloud of dust on both sides of the street. And this will continue probably through the spring. Sigh.

Todos Santos gallery moves. The Galeria de Todos Santos, owned by painter Michael Cope and his wife Pat, has moved back to the downtown area, to a smaller location. When Pat decided to retire from their restaurant and gallery, she told us, “I knew the time had arrived.”

Cope and his partner Erick Ochoa decided to seize the opportunity to move. “Out of the blue an opportunity to move from the Huerta Las Palmas back to the historical area of Todos Santos came and I jumped on it,” Michael added.

The new gallery location also has a working studio that will be open to the public. The restaurant will open at the end of November in a more intimate site within the gallery and will be open three evenings next season. The new location is on Topete between Juarez and Centenario.

Goooooool! To the surprise of literally everyone, Mexico defeated Germany in a World Cup game on June 17th. The win came unexpectedly as Germany has a long record of success in the soccer world. Mexicans were so happy about the win that they may have created their own earthquake. According to U.S. news site, The Guardian, The Institute of Geological and Atmospheric Investigations said highly sensitive earthquake sensors registered tremors at two sites in Mexico City, seven seconds after the game’s 35th minute, when star player Hirving Lozano scored. It called the tremors an “artificial” quake.

Mexico’s next game is slated to take place Wednesday the 27th against Sweden. If you act fast, you can snag a green jersey from Walmart for about $200 pesos to show your support. We may as well adopt Mexico as our team since the US and Canadian teams didn’t qualify for the tournament.