Puerto Penasco

Puerto Penasco, Mexico was at the end of a 2, lane road built by the U.S. Army Engineers. During the early part of WWII, things weren’t going well for the Allies, a Japanese invasion of the west coast of the U.S. was expected and our Government needed a port on the Pacific Ocean to move materiel and troops to thwart the expected invasion, hence the nice 2, lane road to Puerto Penasco.

The upper end of El Golfo, the Gulf of California, is the final destination of the western Colorado River. The same river that roars through the Grand Canyon meekly trickles into the top end of El Golfo at San Louis, Mexico, 60 miles southeast of San Louis is Puerto Penasco, or Rocky Point, as the local Arizonans called it.

Local Arizonans, yes local Arizonans. At the time, around 200 families had established an American colony there centered around, fishing and relaxing. The beach houses were minimum standard, but sufficient for occasional use by their lessors. At the time, Gringos couldn’t own property in Mexico. The two best facilities at Rocky Point were the boat storage area, patrolled by the local police and fenced with concertina wire around the top, and the boat launching equipment.

My boat, at the time, was an 18 foot, tri hull, with 2, 60 HP outboards, with 2 internal, 24 gallon gas tanks. Loaded out it would cruise at 25 and had a range of 75 miles. We caught some very nice fish, sea bass, grouper, corvina, snook, bonefish and Queen triggerfish. I won a category of a tournament there in 1973 with a 10, pound triggerfish. Once we approached to within 20 feet of a huge whale, at a minimum, twice the length of the boat!

An unusual feature of Rocky Point were the extreme tidal fluctuations caused by its location at the top of El Golfo, which is several hundred miles long and for a large body of water, very narrow, 50 to a hundred miles wide. Tidal pressure going in and out causes wide fluctuations at Rocky Point. The Bay of Fundy, in Nova Scotia, is the only spot in the world with greater tidal fluctuation.

Several times we took part in one of the local sporting events, a vehicle mountain climbing race. The objective being to drive to the top of a local mountain in a wash, this wash was a sandy, boulder lined, strip that made it all the way to a road that ran along the top of the mountain. We tried it at different times in both of my vehicles, a 1968, 4WD Ford Bronco and a 1973, 4WD, Dodge Power Wagon, neither one made it to the top, but the Power Wagon came within 50 yards! One funny thing, both trucks just played out and wouldn’t pull through the sand, finally with great roaring and sand flying they both just stopped!

In 1973 or 74, my memory fades, robbers stopped 2 people driving back to Arizona from Rocky Point, obviously touristas, shot them and stole their belongings. About 2 weeks later, the Federales, or “Green Hornets” as they were called, posing as tourists captured and shot the attackers! For the time being this stopped all of the criminal activity coming and going to Rocky Point.

From our first boat launch to our last trip down we thoroughly enjoyed “South Of The Border, Down Mexico Way.”