Loki Look Out

At the edge of the Pacific, I am washed in my own personal solace. The heaviness of the larger world slips away and I am able to breathe. Loki, my silly sweet Australian Cobberdog, seems to be getting a taste. Or maybe he’s simply looking for lizards, or whales, or another dog passing that might be a playmate. His long legs balanced atop the wall, I love watching the search all that spreads before him.

My passion for the Pacific originated in my teens, when the beach became a refuge, bearing both a sandy towel or game of hearts, and a canvas mat or surfboard on a wave. When friends piled up in long summer days, the air perfumed with coconut oil and tuna fish sandwiches with lemonade and potato chips. When the long pause in and/or near the water could quell disquieted thoughts. Where family troubles or teen angst vanished.

Something in the persistence of the horizon. That deep cerulean blue line.

I laughingly say that my skin gets itchy if I’m more than 20 miles from the ocean, and when I get within 10, I can scent the pungent seaweeds and tossed shell fragments, as if carried on a particular air current designed for me. I climb back into my skin, my watery alter-self contented with the proximity.

When I’m immersed in the water, my body feels as if it is 12 years old. The aging muscles and bones suddenly young again. The exquisite weightlessness, the dolphin-like quality. The freedom. The fluidity.

Wallace J Nichols writes about the positive impact of the ocean on the human species. His award winning book, Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do explores exactly what the title promises. Decades ago, a scientist friend said that ocean air bathes the body in negative ions, which in contrast to their name, have been shown to have a beneficial effect on the human psyche.

I no longer understand cities or their draw, and am sure that Loki has caught my ‘crowd allergy’ as he stares out and searches. Ah .. there .. an osprey with a fish. Ah .. there .. a pelican diving. Ah .. there … the chatter of a cactus wren, the slither of a lizard, the float of a cloud. Free from high-rises, traffic jams with road rage, sniper shootings …. We are out here on the edge, Loki and I, building a space where our thoughts are not boxed and our creativity flourishes.

Imagine

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.

Click below for selfish self-promotion 🙂

https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/16338244

LORETO BAY NATIONAL PARK INTERACTIVE MAP

Here is a link to an interactive map for the The Loreto Bay National Park (PNBL) created by Blue Nation,  a small, family based dive shop, founded in 2018 in the beautiful Loreto, Baja California Sur.

The map has linked to dive, photo and snorkeling sites on the islands – with descriptions of each location. A wonderful informative tool for understanding all the wonders that our 5 main islands contain.

Loreto Bay National Park

Revised Management Plan for Loreto Bay National Park

PARQUE NACIONAL BAHIA DE LORETO

New Park Management Plan for Loreto Bay National Park

Mexico’s Federal Register published the revised Loreto Bay National Park Management Plan in April, 2019. This supplanted the 2002 version, and expanded to 510,472 acres protected waters and lands.

The plan is the result of a thousands of hours in 10-year process of scoping meetings to build capacity and consensus.  These meetings were held with the participation of scientists, fishermen, tourist service providers, trained facilitators, conservationists, economists, and several non-profit organizations.

The newly released plan divides the Park into 7 different sub-zones and expands the areas of protected and no-take zones.  The objective of this plan is to protect habitats critical for biodiversity, rare ecosystem, and satisfy the needs of local fishermen and visitors to the area.

To learn more about the details, click on the Eco-Alianza link below.

http://ecoalianzaloreto.org/revised-park-management-plan-declared-after-ten-year-wait/

Soundings – August 2017

SOUNDINGS
The ecological e-newsletter of Eco-Alianza de Loreto, A.C.
August 2017

Eco-Alianza de Loreto’s mission is to protect and conserve the natural and cultural environment by empowering civil society and government to jointly create healthy and prosperous communities.

Our vision is that communities believe their quality of life is related to the health and vitality of the environment and citizens act accordingly.

Fishing is for the Birds


Photos courtesy of Richard Jackson Photography.
This photographic series by Rick Jackson proves how the proper tools and the proper technique make for an effective combination, as this Reddish Egret successfully catches breakfast (clockwise from upper left). Summer heat in Loreto demands efficiency in movement!!
Grants and Donations Support Marine Park Enforcement Efforts

Photo courtesy of ProNatura Noroeste.

Paralelo 28 Gathering Steam Statewide


Hugo Quintero (third from right at front table) took part in the La Paz presentation.
Photo courtesy of Paralelo28.org

As reported previously in Soundings, Eco-Alianza is one of four non-profit partners in the
Paralelo 28 collaboration. Late last month, Eco-Alianza President Hugo Quintero joined in a public presentation in La Paz, where representatives of tourism companies presented a check to support the collaborative efforts. Funds are raised through a variety of methods, including sales of wristbands, stuffed animals, events, and general donations to Paralelo28.org .

In addition to Eco-Alianza, participating organizations include ProNatura Noroeste, Niparajá, and Red de Observadores Ciudadanos La Paz. The groups seek to partner with businesses, tourism service suppliers, tourists, fishermen and society in general, in the defense and safeguard of protected natural areas. Funds raised will be dedicated to support surveillance and enforcement efforts in five natural protected areas in the region, including the Bay of Loreto National Park.

Quintero said he hopes to host a similar Paralelo 28 presentation in Loreto in the late summer or fall. For more information: Paralelo28.org .

Environmental Education Never Ends at Eco-Alianza

Whether it’s an educational event, a workshop, a field trip, a public presentation, or some sort of teacher meeting or training, there’s always environmental education activity afoot at Eco-Alianza. At the center of it all is Environmental Education Coordinator Edna Peralta.Getting children and adults outside to experience nature is her favorite part of the job, Edna says, because helping people learn and helping them to make that personal connection is what it’s all about. After more than seven years building the environmental education program at Eco-Alianza, she is hopeful that she may be joined in the not too distant future by another educator.

In the meantime, here’s a brief glimpse at the activities from the first half of this year (a presentation Edna whipped together for Eco-Alianza’s Board of Directors meeting in July:
https://www.kizoa.com/Movie-Maker/d129472351k5293411o1/201707-reporte-trimestral-edu-amb

And for a sense of the impact these environmental education programs have on Loreto’s children, here’s a brief video, with thanks to volunteer “Pepe” Ruiz Cheires and K-Drone Adventure Films https://youtu.be/_VXF5VmW4bw

Tickets NOW on Sale for 10th Anniversary Gala

Come join us and kick up your heels on November 11 to celebrate Eco-Alianza’s 10 Years of Conservation. Our anniversary dinner/auction has sold out five years in a row, so with limited seating for our hallmark 10th Anniversary we’re expecting to sell out very early. Please reserve your tickets now to guarantee your seats.

Eco-Alianza Headquarters “Going Solar”


Photo of CenCoMA showing solar panels.
Photo courtesy of Richard Jackson Photography.

They’ve been in the plans for some time, but the array of solar panels on the roof of Eco-Alianza’s CenCoMA headquarters is an obvious sign of the organization’s long-term energy efficiency effort. Energy-efficient lighting, modular air conditioning units, outdoor plantings, and a shade-covered courtyard also have contributed to improved energy efficiency.

Hugo Quintero, Eco-Alianza CEO and co-founder, said the nine solar panels and accompanying microinverters are just the beginning. Additional panels will be added over the next year or so, coordinated with other building improvements, to maximize energy production. Each panel is tilted at the perfect angle to take full advantage of sunlight throughout the year.

“Nature Notes” is a monthly short feature detailing some of the wondrous, seasonal activities taking place around us.

Clockwise order from upper left.
Brown Booby adult with single remaining chick.
Brewsteri subspecies pair of Brown Boobies at a nest site.
Blue-footed Booby’s blue feet.
Blue-Footed Booby in flight.

Photos courtesy of Tom Haglund/BCS Birds.

By Tom HaglundThey’rrre baaaack!!

If you’ve been missing seeing the Boobies the past few months there’s good news: they are returning from their annual nesting grounds to Loreto in good numbers. They leave in spring and go to several islands to nest. The Brown Booby (Sula leucogaster) usually lays two eggs. The Blue-footed Booby (Sula nebouxii) lays one to three. Both parents bring food to their chicks and regurgitate it for their consumption. Neither species typically raises all of its chicks successfully.

Both birds dive for fish, the Blue-footed generally from higher than the Brown and very vertically to gain greater depth. The Brown flies lower over the water and dives at a shallower angle, returning to the air very quickly after most dives, whereas the Blue-footed often stays submerged for several seconds. The Blue-footed tends to fish in larger groups than does the Brown.

There is a subspecies of Brown Booby (brewsteri) here, the male of which has a whitish head, the females of both types of Browns look exactly alike. The Blue-footed, as the name implies, has blue feet.

Both Browns and Blue-footed can be seen regularly in fall and winter in various locations around Loreto. On the Eastern and Northern cliffs of Isla Coronado they can be quite numerous. The remaining pilings of the old pier on the north side of Las Garzas often has a number of roosting Blue-footeds. Both species can be seen diving for food all along the malecĂłn and beaches.

There’s Still Time to Take the Soundings Readers Survey

Early last summer, we embarked on a quest to inform more fully, and to interact more frequently, with everyone interested in Eco-Alianza’s mission. The initiative included Soundings – a new, monthly e-newsletter.

Last month we began a 10-question Readers Survey, which ends a week from today. Please take two minutes to share your thoughts about Soundings‘ first year, and you may find yourself the lucky winner of an Eco-Alianza cap or T-shirt – our way of saying thanks for your time and your opinions!!

Survey in English:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/8J6RTH7

Survey in Spanish:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/KHB3KSC

Coming in the September Soundings

Loreto’s Own Organic, Pasteurized Goat Milk and Cheese Operation Expecting November Opening!!!

Our Loreto office address is:
Centro Communitario para el Medio Ambiente (CenCoMA)
Miguel Hidalgo SN, Loc 3
Esq. Romanita
Col. Contro, CP 23880
Loreto, B.C.S., México
http://www.ecoalianzaloreto.org
http://espanol.ecoalianzaloreto.org

Mining in Baja California: Is it Worth the Risk?

Two presentations by

Mark Spalding, President, The Ocean Foundation

Mining Concessions in Baja California

Mining Concessions in Baja California

Please join Mark Spalding on Friday, April 10, at 3pm at the indoor restaurant at the Inn at Loreto Bay, or on Saturday, April 11, at 5pm at the Community Center for the Environment (CenCoMA) at Eco-Alianza headquarters for an informative presentation and discussion regarding his ongoing research on the various mining projects throughout Baja California Sur, including Loreto.

Is mining actually good for the economy for more than the short term? Or does it do more harm to long-term sustainability of natural resources (land, water and sea) and the plants, animals and people who depend on them? What does it mean for the tourism sector?
Three major projects are currently in various stages of development:

  1. Loreto/San Basilio: Azure Minerals Limited is an Australian mineral exploration company focused on developing mining projects in the richly mineralized Sierra Madre Occidental mining province in northern Mexico. In 2013, Azure successfully bid for the Loreto Copper Project, which covers 9,571 hectares on the east of the Baja California peninsula, 6 kilometers north of the town of Loreto.
    Todos Santos: Los Cardones is proposed open pit metallic mining project. The EIA for the project predicts that Los Cardones will occupy 543 hectares and will include two massive open pits from which 173 million tons of material will be extracted. 135 million tons of extracted material will be placed in material banks of waste rock and 38 million tons of the contaminated processes material will fill a massive tailings pond. The project will require the construction of a desalination plan on the Pacific coast near as Playitas that will extract 7500 cubic meters of water per day.
  2. Ulloa Bay (between San Carlos and Abreojos): Exploraciones Oceánicas a Mexican subsidiary of Odyssey Marine Exploration (OMEX)is in the permit process for underwater mining for phosphates in Baja’s Pacific coast. Known as the “Don Diego project” Ocenanica has received it’s concession for the Gulf of Ulloa but does not yet have its permits. The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for proposed dredging and recovery of phosphate sands from the “Don Diego” deposit has been filed with the Mexican Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) as of Sept. 4th, 2014.

Mark is President of The Ocean Foundation in Washington, D.C., and a Senior Fellow at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, Center for the Blue Economy. He is an environmental expert and attorney, tirelessly advocating on behalf of the world’s coasts and ocean. Mark has engaged in numerous environmental challenges in BCS, including last year’s successful challenge to the Cabo Pulmo development, and the successful prevention of a second industrial saltworks at Laguna San Ignacio. Mark also has a particular affinity for Loreto, serving as a member of Eco-Alianza’s advisory board since its founding, and having helped to establish and steer the Loreto Bay Foundation.

There are two separate opportunities to learn more about mining and associated risks in Baja California Sur with Mark Spalding, President of The Ocean Foundation. Come and increase your knowledge about environmental concerns and add your voice to the conversation.

Friday, April 10, 3pm

The Inn at Loreto Bay
Indoor Restaurant
Loreto Bay
Saturday, April 11, 5pm

The Community Center for the Environment
Eco-Alianza Headquarters (CenCoMA)
#3 Miguel Hidalgo esq. Romanita
Col. Centro

We Begin Again – Welcome 2015

We Begin Again

We Begin Again

With open arms, open hearts and (hopefully) open minds, we begin again. The calendar shifts, we turn the page, and leave the successes and wreckages of the past year behind us.

In the New Year – hopes awaken, dreams rekindle, and we give ourselves the opportunity to peer into the future with fresh eyes. Slate clean. Begin again.

What dreams and hopes do you have for 2015? What challenges are you willing to embrace?

Stormy December The year began for me, south of the American border with rain and dark clouds – unusual for Loreto, BCS, Mexico. Today, the second day, blustery winds whip the seas into a froth of whitecaps. Butterflies tangle in the winds and birds make fast for secure branches. Like my life at times, holding on tight with an illusion of security, or letting go .. flying freely .. letting change be the watchword.

For me, this year, my intention is to let go of all things that keep me small ..
And to embrace and celebrate my personal authenticity …

Welcome 2015.