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Gary Graham – ROAD TREKKER

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014
A Baja Adventure of TITAN proportions


All systems go?
The spring season is gaining momentum built on the base of the mild winter with a strong show of fish. One could assume that everything is back to normal – well, yes, no or maybe.

According to recent reports, there are plenty of fish to catch in the neighborhood and I suppose catch is the operative word since also recent reports indicate that many more are being seen than caught, or simply stated they seem to have lockjaw.

From an economical point of view, messages are mixed. When asked at recent shows, most hotel, charter and related tourists operations expressed optimism that the impact of the crash that was experienced a few years back, was finally diminishing and prospects were generally looking up for the entire Peninsula.

nowresortssometimes
NOW RESORTS SOMETIMES fill up on weekends but unless there is a big event, occupancy continues to lag mid-week … revealed by the large number of their fishing fleet still on shore in dry dock."

However, apparently there are still some areas feeling the hangover. Mark Rayor, Team JenWren, noted in a recent report that while fishing was pretty good, " … Resorts sometimes fill up on weekends, but unless there is a big event, occupancy continues to lag mid-week … as evidenced by the large number of their fishing fleet still on shore in dry dock."

In contrast, reflecting the optimism shared by many, there was an announcement by Mexico's Ministry of Communications and Transport (SCT) that it had granted Baja Norte’s Governor, Francisco "Kiko" Vega a lease (concession) to build a small craft marina at East Cape. The new $55 million boater's facility will be part of the El Anhelo resort located midway between Hotel Buenavista Beach Resort and Rancho Leonero Resort.

Scheduled to be built in a partnership with the developers of the El Cid Hotel chain in Mazatlan and Van Wormer Resorts, the new marina will include hotels, 1,300 home sites, condominiums and an Arnold Palmer Signature 18-hole golf course.

Vega reportedly has a home at East Cape and visits the area often. He has been a familiar face at many of Baja Sur’s sportfishing tournaments over the years, usually fishing with Chucky Van Wormer's team, which frequently finds itself in the winner's circle.  My report about this development first appeared in a "Road Trekker" column in early 2011: "If the East Cape has been your favorite in the past, the two new marinas, Cabo Rivera with construction underway, along with the Van Wormer's and El Cid's El Anhelo Marina and Resort that is scheduled to begin construction later this spring, will change the face of East Cape for generations to come … offering unprecedented access for boaters and enhancing the amenities already offered by the existing resorts."

althoughcaboriviera
ALTHOUGH CABO RIVIERA seems too big to fail, no one can predict the final outcome, but it's not going away.

It was an ambitious project that was delayed because of the persistent weak economy. Based on recent reports, the project is on track to start construction later this year. Back in 2011, there was a detailed plot map online that reflected the magnitude of the development.

Meanwhile, 10 miles farther down the beach is the 900-acre Cabo Riviera, the planned 285-slip full-service Marina Harbor for boats from pangas to super yachts with condominiums, apartments, boutiques, shops, harbor house restaurant and exclusive yacht club along with a five-star,150-room hotel and a championship golf course for guests and residents which seems to be experiencing some difficulty.

All the dredging, earth moving and construction has ceased; the rock-lined channel leading into the partially completed marina, islands with home sites surrounding it as well as some docks, is what remains. It was only last year that a number of yachts participating in local tournaments stayed in the Marina. However, this year confusion reigns as most activity on the project has come to a halt. By all accounts the partnership has been experiencing difficulty and is seeking new investors for the elaborate development.

Boats arriving recently have found limited services available. Last year, management arranged for fuel to be available for purchase, thus far, according to recent visitors, that service is no longer offered.

There is no doubt that the addition of the two marinas will change the face of East Cape for generations to come, much to the chagrin of many. One only has to drive around the Cabo Riviera Marina now to appreciate the long-term consequences these two developments will cause.

Although Cabo Riviera seems too big to fail, no one can predict the final outcome, but it's not going away. Meanwhile, there is little doubt that the new El Anhelo development with the involvement of two formidable families – both with extensive experience backed by a respected track record – will become a reality. The only question is, how long will it take?

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