Todos Santos Had a Marina?

We didn’t know that!
BY: DAVID ZIVIC

OK, maybe it was not really, really a marina, but it is a concrete quay where boats were docked. A quay (also pronounced kay or key) is a wharf or bank where ships and other vessels are loaded and unloaded. It’s usually a concrete, stone, or metal platform lying alongside or projecting into the water for loading and unloading ships. In this case it is in the water.

Todos Santos’ quay handled boats going to and fro with both mainland Mexico and California. It hasn’t been used commercially for more than 50 years now.

It was constructed in 1932 by General Juan Dominguez Cota who was the Governor of the state of Baja California Sur at that time. The first port captain of this installation was Rafael Martinez Colunga and he collaborated on the construction with the local 11th infantry battalion. You can still see the concrete shelf.

Boats would arrive from California and other Mexican ports and they would load up with the local panocha and tomatoes. Panocha is a brown sugar product processed from sugar cane. For a long time, it was the main product of the local agricultural area. The tomatoes were loaded in wooden boxes and shipped to the San Francisco area.

One of these many tomato freighters that plied the waters between here and the Bay Area was the boat named Molokai. She was said to have been the most frequent and popular vessel of the fleet, and was crewed with Japanese and American sailors.

With the demise of sugar cane as a viable cash crop came the end of the sugar cane panocha export business. Sugar production was dealt a mortal blow by the water shortage in the 1950s. Next the trans-peninsular highway was built in the 60s and early 70s, ending the need for sea transportation for the tomatoes, which meant there was no need for a wharf either.

To find the old marina, you have to claw your way up the very steep hill behind the headland on the south side of Punta Lobos. When you arrive at the saddle, you can either enjoy the view of the marina from above or climb down for a closer look. At the bottom is a small cove, officially called Puerto Campechano,

And there you have it, the story of the only marina in Todos Santos!