The Gulf of California was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 2005, with modifications added in 2007 and 2011. Considering it’s beauty and bounty, it is easy to see why this area received recognition. A brief description from their website gives an overview of why this wondrous area is protected:
Islands and Protected Areas of the Gulf of California
The site comprises 244 islands, islets and coastal areas that are located in the Gulf of California in north-eastern Mexico. The Sea of Cortez and its islands have been called a natural laboratory for the investigation of speciation. Moreover, almost all major oceanographic processes occurring in the planet’s oceans are present in the property, giving it extraordinary importance for study. The site is one of striking natural beauty in a dramatic setting formed by rugged islands with high cliffs and sandy beaches, which contrast with the brilliant reflection from the desert and the surrounding turquoise waters. It is home to 695 vascular plant species, more than in any marine and insular property on the World Heritage List. Equally exceptional is the number of fish species: 891, 90 of them endemic. The site, moreover, contains 39% of the world’s total number of species of marine mammals and a third of the world’s marine cetacean species.
Loreto Bay National Marine Park is one of the areas included in the World Heritage designation. Efforts of local and government organizations focus on maintaining the seas bounty and wild beauty, and are supported by increasing awareness by organizations such as Eco-Alianza de Loreto.
For additional descriptions of the criteria for inclusion as a World Heritage Site – as well as expanded details on the areas themselves, here is alink to the site: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1182
Completed! And now the dream is available to share. Listed with VRBO – here’s the link for information on enjoying a vacation on the water in Loreto.
‘goodest’ christmas morning you ..
woke to a crescent moon lingering over dark seas .. the lights of the small city twinkling across the beach and water … grateful to be able to walk to the beach .. stand on the shore and ponder the inhale exhale of the planet and it’s inhabitants.. the strangeness and the things that make sense .. so many mysteries .. how energies can work at cross purposes and how our now individual manifestations can blend or clash with amazing intensities …
i sit somewhere down this long narrow peninsula .. once a piece of a grander whole, and wonder if that isn’t just us .. small fragments of something once much larger ..
or still connected .. that cosmic force that is unseen but occasionally intuited ..
ah .. the ponder .. the fresh cup of hot coffee .. the sleeping children way past the dawn .. the gifts waiting to be opened .. the stockings to be reckoned with .. the early preparations of a meal to be shared with family and friends ..
so many ways to open a day ..
on this christmas morning .. i wish you the magic that fills the hearts of children in anticipation of the holidays .. the gift that winter bestows, begging us to rest .. in preparation for spring and the burst of new life ….
.. or maybe I’ve gone too far for a desert beach Christmas? After sourcing the fabric shop and grocery store in Loreto, I’ve come up with enough bits and pieces to ‘decorate’ Casa de Catalina for the holidays. Too many issues in the past few years had kept the ‘spirit’ at bay … and numb had best described my feelings. This year, I play Christmas carols – Frank Sinatra and Johnny Mathis. I see my grandmother playing her accordion and my grandparents dancing around our living room. I see my brother and sister in matching pajamas carefully setting out cookies for Santa. I see my mother beaming, an apron around her waist, as she flits between the kitchen and the raucous spirit in the living room.
This year, I am creating a space of playfulness, with a focus on love and laughter. I hope that each and everyone one of my readers has a joyously full holiday season.
It was always the dream. When I first purchased the beach house and the adjoining lot in Loreto, I dreamed of expanding the property with a guest house, pool and entertainment area. After nine years of dreaming, I took the steps with local architect Yvo Leonardo Arias Salorio to draft the plans to manifest my dream. Contractor Jose Rochin and his crew worked with me to craft a magical home and outdoor world.
The photos below capture the transition from plan stage to completion. Yes, dreams do come true!
After a couple of dry runs with family and friends, “Casita de Catalina” is finally ready for prime time rental. If you or your friends are interested – first in vacationing in lovely Loreto – and second staying in a dream property just feet from the Sea of Cortez, the property is listed with VRBO . Photos and rental information can be found by clicking here: https://www.vrbo.com/966177?unitId=1514132
It’s no surprise that I have a deep connection with the city of Loreto in Baja California. Ten years ago I went to visit my girlfriend, Val Wilkerson, and left with a house, a decision that I have never regretted. Loreto sits perched at the edge of the Sea of Cortez against a backdrop of the craggy and towering Sierra de la Giganta. Marine and mammal life forms abound.
Aside from it’s natural beauty, Loreto is home to some of the kindest people I have ever known. The original capital of California, the city grew from five founding families,and their descendants carry on on century old practices of family first.
Just before I had been introduced to Loreto, an organization to which I am now an advisor, The Ocean Foundation, had become an integral part of the development of Loreto Bay, billed as a sustainable community to the south of the city proper.
This morning, President of TOF, Mark Spalding, posted a blog piece about Loreto, and if you’d like to know more about his work in and out of our Baja community, please read what he has to share. He provides an overview of the natural resources, their current and threatened state.
Traveling the highways of Baja are – well – different than driving stateside. When a huge rock slide close off a section of Mex 1 – the main north/south artery that connects Tijuana with Cabo San Lucas, the locals got to work. In the USA, next steps would be emergency vehicles, flashing red lights, and weeks of no passage. In Baja, next steps are a couple of guys with pickup trucks and ropes who move the offending obstructions out of the way, followed by maybe a friend with a bulldozer pushing some of the dirt aside. I.e., roads are the lifeline .. and the residents don’t wait for the government to fix things.
Mex 3 – a southern route from San Felipe along the western edge of the Sea of Cortez has long been an out-of-the-way route that that terminated at Mex 1 near Lake Chapala. Mostly rugged washboard miles with an occasional paved section that washed out during hurricanes, the road was merciless on tires, suspensions, and overall mechanics of vehicles.
During the last two decades, small fishing villages have given way to retirement homes for gringos from the states, and the road has become more popular. Gonzaga Bay, originally a landing strip with fly-in homes, now sports an upgraded hotel and multiple restaurants.
In their continuing effort to enhance access to all parts Baja, the government has set about ambitious road development projects, and Mex 3 is one of them. The included photographs illustrate the scope of this project, the fact that a little dirt never hurt an intrepid Baja traveler, and the vast beauty of the landscape.
Just as Mex 1 was a dream before it opened in 1972, Mex 3 will provide an alternative to the crowded western route.
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.