“If it were lush and rich, one could understand the pull, but it is fierce and hostile and sullen. The stone mountains pile up to the sky and there is little fresh water. But we know we must go back if we live, and we don’t know why.”– Steinbeck, Log from the Sea of Cortez
Imagine waking to the gentle slapping of sea water on cobble and sand. Hearing the chatter of terns overhead as they search for fish. Watching a flotilla of pelicans glide inches from the surface of the sea.
Imagine, your days transport for fishing or island hopping, a pangero, pulling up on the sand in front of your Casita.
More of the magical ways to begin a day in Loreto.
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It’s true for all of us – worldwide – global. Life as we knew it changed with rise of an invisible, silent, and killer virus transmitted between humans by vaporous breath.
Baja did not go unscathed, but at the time of this writing, my sweet “Pueblo Magico” of Loreto, has survived with zero cases. The population has maintained its physical health through many of the same strategies practiced in other parts of the world: social distancing, mask wearing, and for those entering town, temperature taking and confirmation of residency. A cadre of devoted volunteers insured that the local hospital was fully supplied with masks and PPEs, should the need for treatment arise.
Airlines stopped carrying passengers in and out of Loreto in April, but now, come June, weekly flights are again scheduled. Alaska Airlines has added Saturday only flights, and those are carefully booked to provide distancing between passengers. It is my understanding that masks must be worn from check-in to disembarkation. Seems smart to me.
Loreto, like the bulk of cities and towns in Mexico that depend on tourism, has been badly hurt economically. Food drives developed through grants and donations provided both locally, and under the aegis of the International Community Foundation, have assisted with keeping food in the mouths of the most affected and needy. Eco-Alianza de Loreto, through the overwhelming support of their donors, initiated a voucher program, that will continue to provide much needed assistance throughout the summer.
June in Loreto. Restaurants slowly begin to offer more than take-out service, and shops other than grocers open their doors, while everyone looks toward a change in the season.
Hot and sultry – those are the marks of summer on the Sea of Cortez, the fishing shifts to those species that like warmer water: yellowtail, dorado, marlin, wahoo. Seabirds move more slowly. Life is steady and calm. Easy days on the hammock for reading material consumption. Cold beverages in the afternoon.
Slowly, we inch toward our new normalcy.
Hopefully, we will remember some of the insights gained by being forced to stay still. Hopefully, we have expanded our ability to hold open our hearts, increase our empathy and personal understanding of both our frailty and our strength. Hopefully, we are ever more aware of our shared humanity.
See you soon on the beach ….
While most thoughts of Mexico in the winter are of sunshine filled days lazing or frolicking on the beach, there are still those that sneak in – like this morning – cloud filled and gorgeous – and yes, chilly.
The beach walkers bundled up in sweatshirts and even down jackets. Ugg boots, or at least fat socks and tennis shoes, instead of flops and beach shorts. Their pace is a little quicker to fend off the cold.
Winter in Baja.
A place where pelicans, boobies and arctic terns dive for bait fish in the shallow waters close to shore. Where egrets and herons patiently hunt on the shoreline or in the estuaries, side by side with sandpipers, godwits and occasional killdeer. Where offshore, orcas, fin whales, dolphin, and dancing mobula entertain guests and locals, while we wait for the arrival of the blue whales.
A place and time for contemplation. The hunkering down that winter begs of the body and the mind. A hibernation of such, so that when spring unleashes her torrent of renewed growth, we are fresh from rest and ready to press forward again.
A tiny crescent moon floats above the edge of Isla Carmen waiting for the sun to chase it higher. The silvery sliver of light bathed in soft yellows and pink. The sea presses gently on the shoreline with tiny slapping sounds. Such a morning!
As light begins to fill the waters of the bay of Loreto, neighbors appear, dogs in tow or in the lead. Joggers breath heavily, keeping their pace. Seagulls strut and small fish leap as if to tease.
Gorgeous, this Sunday .. this honoring the beginning of a new day. Un dia de descanso. Heart full. Mind at peace.
Sundays by the Sea … Shore bird chatter presses landward, layered against the backdrop of whirring hummingbird wings and the staccato call of the flashy yellow oriole. A few walkers. A few dogs. Temperatures in the low 70s. The color of sunlight plays amidst the palm fronds and the pink and red garden flowers. Yes … morning … Grateful I am to inhale your intoxicating air.
roosters crow in the distance … so blessed to be in space where i can hear their call to morning
dogs begin their own conversation one house to the next .. a woof/bark that reaches all the way to Buster, who adds his voice to the symphony of canine expression
in the hour before light, each sound echos across the flat basin that flows to the sea from the foot of the sierra
i hear the chatter of early beach walkers, their figures shrouded in the dark, their voices announcing their presence before i can make out their shadowy forms .. girl talk, boy talk, start the day talk.
the crunch of footsteps on the gravelly sand – the neighbors and their dogs out for morning ‘duties’
pre-sunrise light paints the sea and the sky with corals, periwinkle blues, deep reds and brilliant yellow gold
a pelican splashes
the wind begins to ruffle the surface of the tranquil sea
a cruise ship waits to unload their guests for an exploration of our small town of Loreto.
morning. wednesday. for those of us with breath, we begin again.
Sultry .. the air thick with moisture but still. No wind ruffles the palm fronds. Splashing fish jar the glassy sea surface and small shorebirds call to one another in their morning search for food. Golden sun drives trails across the water, free from her stormy yesterdays. A low bank of clouds hangs over Isla Carmen’s craggy shape. At the water’s edge, tiny rolling bumps curl and roll into sand and stone. The passing of the storm .. the beginning of a new day.
Predawn paddle on shimmering seas.
I float with the sea. The sky envelopes me.
A baby bat ray dances, his ‘wings’ like tiny shark fins breaking the surface of the water. He swims toward me–another morning gift– and after a brief exchange of glances, he dives beneath my board and gracefully undulates toward deeper waters.
Blue-footed boobies dive for his breakfast. Their aqua colored feet always surprise me.
A pelican flotilla glides inches from the sea’s surface. How can they hold steady so close to the water?
I am so blessed to have these moments .. and thank you for letting me cryptically share them with you.