Omage to the daybreak …

Sunrise : Loreto : 102111

Sunrise : Loreto : 102111

Flap of pelican wings. Graceful dive of Arctic tern. Splash and leap of tiny fish. Wind rustling palm trees. The chatter of house finches. The coo of rock doves. The squawk of sea gulls.

The islands floating in the not quite break of day. The Sea of Cortez in stillness.

Buster, patiently waiting for his walk. My coffee, hot and a writing companion.

Neighbor, Chris, fishing on the shoreline. Neighbor, Mary, early walking the beach with her dog, Riley. Neighbor, Mark, sweeping his patio. Dogs at the door for morning treats.

Last night, the horses – five of them – on an unsupervised beach walk. Or did the bell on the lead horse signify a chain of command?

So much life to recognize each day.  Such gratitude.

… too much time in baja! ….

(coming round again)

You my have spent too much time in Baja if:

You open the refrigerator and are stunned it’s not filled with Coronas.

You can’t drink anything unless it has a slice of lime.

It’s not a meal without salsa fresca and chips.

You greet everyone with “Hola” or “Buenas Dias”.

You keep trying to throw your toilet paper in the wastebasket.

There are too many paved roads in your neighborhood.

You go out to check the pila, but it’s not there.

The electricity stays on for days without an outage.

You suddenly understand your gardener and your maid.

You step outside to swim, and all you find is your lawn.

Your neighbors’ dogs are all on leashes and snarl instead of licking you.

There’s nobody riding in the back of pick-up trucks.

The phone interrupts your siesta hours.

You try to bargain with the butcher.

Your feet no longer fit in hard soled shoes.

You’ve forgotten how to wear a necktie.

You’re surprised to find all your groceries at one store.

You don’t need to make an ice run for the drink cooler.

Shrimp, shrimp, shrimp.  Is there any other food?

One hardware store carries everything.

You think nothing of driving the length Mex 1 in a day.

Your trips are measured by distance between gas stations.

Doritos are a poor substitute for the real thing.

Baja Rummy is actually a game.

A traffic jam means there are three cars stopped in front of you.

Your electric bill comes in the mail, instead of being stuffed in the fence.

You actually have a water meter.

You wake for sunrise because it is breathtakingly beautiful.

Dorado is both a fish and a style of taco shell.

Golf carts are used everywhere except on a course.

You start jonesing for fresh tortillas.

The guy who fixes your electric, also does your plumbing, builds your fence, plants your trees, looks after your house, and feeds your dogs when you are away.

No one has a doorbell and everybody stops by.

A palapa, a panga, and a hammock are three of your favorite places to be.

Your friends ask you when you’re coming home and you wonder if they’re crazy.

Blue Mind …


“This is Your Brain on the Ocean,” is a must read article about our ‘own’ Wallace J. Nichols – who’s research and perseverance has led to protection and enhancement of turtle nesting grounds in and around Loreto (okay, and the globe).  The interview of Nicols by Jeff Greenwald for onearth,  a survival guide for the planet, explores the work of J. and the foundations he has created and supports.

When asked the question by Greenwald, “What do you mean by ” Blue Mind,” J. answered, “When we think of the ocean — or hear the ocean, or see the ocean, or get in the ocean, even taste and smell the ocean, or all of those things at once — we feel something different than before that happened. For most people, it’s generally good. It often makes us more open or contemplative. For many people, it reduces stress. And that’s ‘Blue Mind.'”

J. organized this past summer, the first Blue Mind Summit: “a revolutionary new approach to studying — and energizing — the complex relationship between humans and the sea.”  Nicoles believes that the our connection with the ocean is neurological, and an awareness of this inter-relationship can change the way we treat the seas.

The article and J.’s research opens the question and dialog : What is your own personal relationship with the sea?  What actions can you take to protect her bounty and beauty?  Check out : Blue Marbles for ideas of ‘random acts of ocean kindness.’

sup morning sup …

Sea of Cortez : Morning

morning paddle toward the island and back .. glassy seas and then winds and then swells and then glassy seas again ..

sting rays floating, then diving : brown boobies & blue footed boobies foraging, along side arctic terns : pelicans in formation with cormorants snug in their midst : tiny fish being chased by bigger fish : early divers out clamming : all around beauty, the mountains running down to kiss the sea ….

into the aquarium …

There are seven islands off the coast from Loreto.  The closest reach is Isla Coronado, with beautiful white sandy beaches and warm turquoise water.  The backside of the island has several great spots for shallow scuba diving along with a colony of sea lions.  In the shelter of the bay, a rocky shoreline rings the white sand beach, and in the shallows, small numbers and ‘small’ versions of most of the reef fish can be found.

While snorkeling yesterday, I spotted these (that I could identify) and more:

Gafftopsail : Needlefish : Sargent Major : Cortez Rainbow Wrasse : Rainbow Basslet : Spotted Sandbass : Rainbow Runner : Golden Snapper : Threebanded Butterflyfish : Cortez Angelfish : Cortez Damselfish : Indigo Wrasse : Bumphead Parrotfish : Convict Tang : Stone Scorpionish : Spotted Cabrilla

Here’s a short unedited clip of a few underwater moments with tiny GoPro camera … Enjoy!

beach days are some of the best :-)

Pelican swoops into Isla Coronado Bay

Jeanne had this great idea – “Let’s take the boat over to Coronado for the day.  Picnic.  Swim.”  And so we did.  She barbecued chicken, tossed up a couple of salads, loaded the cooler with beer and a bottle of champagne and invited her friends.  That would include me :-), Norma, Tom, and next door neighbor Bill.  We put the boat in at the Marina in Loreto, Mark drove to the island with calm seas and clear skies.  Magic- a perfect day!



Known as ‘the cleaners’ of the desert,’ an appearance of turkey vultures circling overhead is a sure sign that something in the vicinity is dead. With haste and efficiency, the flock will find and eliminate all fleshy materials, and leave a skeleton and fur/skin in place of what was once an animal.

On the beaches in Baja, vultures oftentimes compete with seagulls for spent fish or squid that wash up on the shore. The seagulls are in first – going for the freshest of the remains, while the vultures gather to the side – waiting – to follow up and eliminate the remains. What the vultures leave is not enough to attract a fly.

While not considered a particularly handsome bird – they have turkey-like wattle around their beaks – they are in well suited for their task. They have broad short wings that let them glide aloft with little to no effort and easily spot the carcasses of dead rabbit, ground squirrel, or fish.

I came upon this group in the photograph above sitting atop one of the larger cardons in the open land behind my home. They weren’t hunting, nor drying their wings – more like they were having a chat session – gossiping about the local rabbits or the long summer’s lack of rain. The building clouds just slightly to the west hung most of the afternoon with promise, but if they let go of precious water, it was in the mountains and not the seaside plain.

This morning – vultures again down the beach hopping around/over something left behind by the tide – doing the job that they are admirable designed to complete.

The Beauty of the Night Sky

Milky Way © Astronomy Online

One of the numerous gifts of Baja travel is an experience of the vastness of the night sky. Far from the metropolis light-killing kilowatts, the dark blanket of night spreads from horizon to horizon, all a twitter and a twinkle. In the darkness, the other sky – the star-filled night – transforms the heavens into a shimmering display of other-worldliness.

It’s been a long while since I spent much time stargazing. A lifetime of camping has been replaced with lodging in friends casitas and my own Loreto house.

This last week, when staying at my friend Cynthia’s, “Casa Baja Luna” on the Pacific Coast, a rage of sleeplessness found me wandering her back yard, my head cranked upwards, hypnotized by the reach of the Milky Way. I gazed as if I’d never seen it before, struck by the beauty, the immensity.

It felt as if I could reach my hand upward and pull back handfuls of stardust.

I was struck by the memories of lying in that same backyard on an old piece of sail, staring up at the sky, laughing at the wild world of it all ….

Jupiter and her four moons : Io, Europa, Ganymeded, and Calisto © Astronomy Online

Tonight, the moon caught the trails of a bright star – ah, no – a bright planet (bigger and brighter to the visible eye than most stars), and I couldn’t help but stop, grab the binoculars and see which planet had carved the shimmering trail across the glassy seas.

There was the planet, squarely in the lens of the binoculars, bright enough to convince me to find the spotting scope, pull up some ground and sharpen my gaze.  Magic.  Tripod and search.  Find and focus.  Ahhhhhhhh … Jupiter and her four moons.  Jupiter of pale pink striations across her surface.  Jupiter clearly in my glass.

Her four planets were lined in perfect order : Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Calisto.  Like greeting old friends : How had I stayed away so long?  For months I had chased the night sky cross Baja, learning – or attempting to learn- the ‘other map’ – the sky map.  The map as well defined as that of our planet for navigational purposes – I just don’t have quite the vehicle of say, “Startrek,” or “Starwars”  to venture in real body exploration.  My earthbound self has to be satisfied with the images caught by traveling satellites, the high-powered telescopes, and the stunning finds of orbiting Hubble.

Entranced again, I turned the spotting scope skyward and there, behind the blackness of the unassisted eye was that other world again.  The world where star after star fills the void, and there are more pinpoints of light than I could ever count.  “Campfires” the Indians used to call them, as if the Gods had lit lights for them to name and to follow.

That other map is still used by sailors who shun navigation by computer or GPS – and should be known by every sailor – “in case of” – the dreaded technological failure 🙂 When I traveled in both South America and South Africa, one of my vivid memories is of the southern cross – a constellation seen only on the other side of the equator.

What I found tonight was a re-romancing with the night sky.  A re-desiring to know/be able to name/to chart those heavens that come round every night after the sun leaves her brilliance with the rotation of the globe.  I turned from the stars, and there, caught in the corner of a palm, was the crescent moon.  She glowed yellow in the dark sky, but on closer examination, her brilliant white surface, pockmarked from years of encounter with the flotsam and jetsam of the universe, gleamed in the eyepiece of my lens.

A magic night.  A star-laden night.  A remembrance of how infinitesimally small we truthfully are in terms of the universe.