From late morning on, the winds kick up in Cabo Blanco, blowing sand into small dunes. The fishermen have come ashore, their boats anchored in the steely-blue waters. Against the backdrop of the clear sky soar the bright chutes of paragliders surfing the waves.
Few come to this small fishing village, located 29 kilometers (17.5 mi) south of MÃ¡ncora. For many decades, this was the stomping grounds of the richest U.S. families: the Rockefellers, the DuPonts and the Firestones. The famous came also: sports great Ted Williams and Hollywood elites like Carole Lombard, Gregory Peck, Spencer Tracy and Jimmy Stewart. The most famous guest of the exclusive Fishing Club of Cabo Blanco hideaway was Ernest Hemingway, who had stayed here a month during filming of his novella The Old Man and the Sea in 1956. (The movie was shot at a number of locations. Almost 10 minutes of footage from Cabo Blanco made it in the final cut.)
The Holy Grail they all came in search of was black marlin. Because of the meeting of the warm El NiÃ±o and cold Humboldt currents, the sea here is rich in plankton, thus drawing the much-prized sport fish. Many over 455 kilograms (1,000 lb) were caught. The largest was by Alfred C. Glassell, Jr., weighing in at 708 kilograms (1,560 lb). Yellow fin tuna is another big catch here for sport fishers. The Fishing Club has been closed since 1992, but you can stop by and ask the guard to let you take a look around. In Room 5â€”Mr. Hemingwayâ€™s old quartersâ€”are the typewriter and other items he left behind.
At present, the hamlet has only one lodge, Hotel El MerlÃn (Tel: 256-188, E-mail: email@example.com. Single $23, double $46 in low season). During the summer vacations (mid-December through March), Cabo Blanco has many visitors. At the end of the year, Billabong hosts a major surfing competition here. Mid-March is neighboring El Altoâ€™s Tourism Week and Founding Celebrations, with regattas and other events taking place in Cabo Blanco. The Southern summer is also the best season to try your hand at landing one of those black marlins. Yate Cristina out of Los Ã“rganos offers these deep-sea expeditions (Condominio El Mirador de Punta Veleros. Tel: 257-600, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, URL: www.vivamancora.com/hangaroa).
In the low season, though, few tourists arrive. The fishermen continue to haul in their catches, now mostly albacore. North of the fishing pier is a cove where boats are dry-docked for repair. Windsurfers come to practice their sport. Natural gas and petroleum exploitation are becoming a major industry in the area.
While in Cabo Blanco, stop by Restaurant Cabo Blanco, owned by Hemingwayâ€™s bartender Pablo CÃ³rdova. While serving you an absolutely exquisite chicharrÃ³n de mariscos (or any other seafood delight), he will tell you all about Papaâ€™s stay at the Fishing Club (daily noon-5 p.m. Tel.: 256-121).
(Population: 212, Altitude: 29 m/94 ft, Phone Code: 073)
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