Windmills, Building Blocks and Palm Trees

Feb 28, 2015 by Mike Bibb

Can you find Wally the Windmill hiding in the treesWhile lounging about the Playa Bonita RV Park and studying the gawky new windmill electric generator protruding above the dunes, I came to the sudden realization there must be a logical reason someone would construct such a behemoth near the city limits of a picturesque seaside community.

Later, I heard the land was previously owned and sold by a Mexican politian and the windmill was erected to produce electricity for the city of Guaymas, hundreds of miles south. Only problem, the thing isn’t operating — just standing there.

More importantly, why couldn’t Guaymas construct their wind generator closer to home? Isn’t the wind allowed to blow there?

Then someone told me the new cruise ship pier project has again come to a screeching halt — for the second or third time. Reason given; apparently there aren’t enough proper sized rocks in Black Mountain to complete the job. Ordinarily, one would think an entire mountain would contain enough stony material of all sizes to finish a relatively uncomplicated job. After all, blasting and transporting rocks from point A to point B is not a particularly difficult task. Dumping them into the water is equally mundane.

To resolve the rock shortage problem, huge concrete blocks are currently being fabricated in the same general area as the windmill. The blocks are supposed to replace the undersized rocks and also extend the pier another several hundred feet into the sea. Meaning, of course, even more rocks and blocks will be needed. Who knows how much this is going to ultimately add to the cost of the construction?

One thing for certain, specialized concrete blocks has to be significantly more expensive than hauling nature’s dynamited boulders from an adjacent rock quarry.

Maybe that’s the idea.

With curiosity getting the better of me, I had to see these discombobulations up close. To grasp a better appreciation of the situation, I loaded the wife, snacks and Nikon camera into the Chevy and headed out. No GPS required — just aim at the big propeller obscenely sticking into the blue sky.

First stop, the block manufacturing and storage area a short distance from the new convention center. Sure enough, there they were, several rows of neatly stacked concrete cubes, resembling amphibious and anti-tank barricades of Hitler’s Atlantic Wall. Only these solid clusters of gravel, sand and cement are intended to protect from the ravages of invading salt water.

Not being a commercial engineer, geologist or bean counter and certainly having no experience in causeway design and construction, I haven’t quite figured out why it is necessary to use specifically sized rocks and concrete blocks on this exclusive project. What is significantly different about building a rock/block-lined causeway than, say, lining the entire marina entrance and Malecon area with whatever rocks are available? I understand stability and erosion are a primary concern, but seems to me the millions of rocks of assorted sizes are doing an excellent job protecting Old Port!

After viewing the block site, we ventured the short distance north to the windmill. Behold, like a Colossus in the desert it stood in all its towering hideousness — a monstrosity of tubular steel, anchor bolts and three giant propeller blades. Gustave Eiffel would be proud.

Adjacent to the contraption a newly constructed building serves, I suppose, as the office and control center for the project. Only this day no one was around. After taking a few pictures I walked over to the nearby convenience market and asked a clerk if he knew where the windmill operator was?

“No, senor.” Which could mean he hasn’t seen him within the last few minutes or the last few days. I didn’t pursue the conversation, thinking I wouldn’t learn anything more anyway.

So, here we have an expensive new piece of machinery, unfenced, unattended, and no one guarding it but an uncaring Circle K employee next door. Go figure.

When returning to Playa Bonita, I happened to glance into my rear-view mirror in time to see a sight which reminded me of the old comedy film “It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.” A dopy tale about a bumbling troupe of treasure seekers searching for an elusive suitcase of stolen money buried in the sand under the “Big W”; a clue formed by the peculiar arrangement of four palm trees into an image of the letter W.

Only in Rocky Point’s particular comedic episode, a giant wind generator is cleverly concealed in plain sight behind a clump of palms.

Progress marches on. The Sandy Beach area is now replete with several unfinished condo towers rusting in the salt air, a pier to nowhere and a giant dormant windmill. What next? How about a new space port facility to shuttle affluent passengers from the imaginary cruise ship to the International Space Station and back?

“No big deal, it’s just Mexico,” is the customary response, which usually implies someone is making money clandestinely, someone isn’t getting paid for work done or someone has already been ripped-off.

Come to think of it, that’s sort of how we do things in the U.S., too!!!

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