Mexico Cruising – Turtle Bay Fuel Services

Turtle Bay

We spent three days in Turtle Bay (5/31-6/2/2011). The red tide followed us as we moved up the coast of the Baja Peninsula into Turtle Bay. Wind and afternoon six to seven foot southerly swells rolled through the anchorage. The swell was big enough, the first two days, that I had no desire to go ashore and battle the timing of the surf. Bruce and John went ashore one morning, had a long walk, and picked up a few grocery items.  I cleaned “house”. Oh, did that feel good. I still have a few layers of Baja dirt to remove, but it felt good to rid the interior of at least one layer.

Refuel via Panga

I made mention of refueling with Enrique – and the large swell running in the bay. One of my devoted readers, asked about refueling via a panga. Thanks for the request, Dee! We only do this method one place on the west coast of North America – Turtle Bay. It is not something most boaters experience, consequently. Pangas are generally aluminum skiffs of about 18 feet or larger that the Mexicans use to get around on the water. They are their fishing boats, fuel barges, taxis, and transportation to work, among other things.

Most of the pleasure yachts traveling on the Baja Peninsula stop for fuel, if nothing else, in Turtle Bay. There’s a fuel war in Turtle Bay. Two competing companies vie for the business of the yachts – Annabelle’s and Gordo Jr. (Gordo Jr is the company name for Enrique, or he has two names – I get confused sometimes!) Generally, both race to meet you at the entrance to the bay and get you to buy their fuel. It gets unpleasant sometimes, as one of them trash talks the other. It is unfortunate, and we know the truth, though not everyone does. Annabelle refuels from a panga, and Enrique, has a floating dock, and now a fuel panga, too. For years boaters had to drop their anchor and back to the Gordo Jr. dock.

El Gordo Jr /Enrique Fuel Service

The fuel pier is above the yacht.  Boaters can’t see how the fuel flows. This is a precarious situation at best. Gordo Jr now has a wooden dock that boats can tie to, but we would never want to tie to it. In fact it was moved out into the bay, due to the swells coming into the bay. It would have been demolished otherwise. Check out the orange buoy in the fuel pier photo. That is the mooring ball we used to refuel with Gordo Jr. The other problem with Gordo Jr’s dock is that it is in shallow water at low tide, with boats going aground while refueling. Bruce says they have almost stopped using the pier or the wooden dock to prevent boats going aground.

Do you see the little “box” to the left on the floating dock? It isn’t much, but a little dog lives there. There is a gallon jug of water for him. We saw one of Enrique’s men stop by to feed the dog one afternoon. Amazingly, that little dog was quite fierce, not even letting the hand that fed him on the dock at first. Good watch dog – and in the same manner he keeps all the sea gulls from hanging out on his dock, too. Needless to say he was not interested in us coming near his dock either.

This panga belongs to El Gordo, Jr/Enrique. This is the panga that we refueled with this time. Enrique’s man, running a skiff, led us clear into the bay to his buoy, where he assisted us in getting set up, then brought the fuel panga alongside for the process.  They tie to us, and we are secured to their mooring buoy.

We are partial to Annabelle’s Service. We have used them three out of the four times we have stopped in Turtle Bay. They have a mooring ball half way into the bay that we tie to. Then the fuel panga comes along-side our boat, and we secure the panga to us. The panga is an aluminum skiff that has a 2000 gallon fuel tank. They pump the fuel via a generator on their boat. The first time we refueled with Anabelle his brand new generator failed, so we plugged him into our power and we pumped the fuel with DV’s power.

Annabelle’s Fuel Service

I took this photo in 2006. As I noted in the previous post, Annabelle’s was not in the bay when we arrived. Their shore-side business area was closed. After several calls for Annabelle’s we had no choice but to go with Gordo Jr.

All that said, we had no problems with Gordo’s fuel or service. We got the last of his fuel, and testing it, found it clear. That is a really good sign of clean fuel. He took our garbage for us, too. So, in general, though Gordo’s prices are always slightly higher than Annabelle’s, this time we got the same service. We were refueled and ready to continue our voyage north when the weather abated.

Stand by, for the next leg in our voyage, north, on the Baja Peninsula – Cruising in Mexico!

[Note:  As mentioned previously, we are back in the USA. We have been busy (gross understatement). I apologize for not posting more often. I will get it all to you. It is a matter of finding “quiet think and write” time.  I am posting this from Wyoming.  No moss is growing under our feet!]

2 thoughts on “Mexico Cruising – Turtle Bay Fuel Services

  1. You know we aren’t sailors which is probably why we thought it a bit scary to have to refuel boat to boat! Glad you were in such good hands (Bruce’s)!

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