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Thursday, July 30, 2015

DAY 2 - HOLA MEXICO! MY TRIP TO BAJA MEXICO, SEA OF CORTEZ SERIES

At 05:50 on the second day and the first morning in Mexico, I awoke to a small ray of light shining in my face.  To my pleasant surprise, I was being awoken by the very first rays of the sun making its presence for the day.  I peaked over my hammock and saw a small orange sliver of light peaking over the far horizon of the Sea of Cortez.  I had never been woken in this manner before.  It was heaven-like!




Being woke up by the first light of the morning sun instantly puts you in the right mood to start the day!
A special place indeed!


While we were having our breakfast and coffee, we saw this in the ocean from the kitchen.  A "bait ball"!
I learned that these bait balls are a smaller fish that swarm in a tight, spherical formation.  This action serves as a defensive measure when these fish feel threatened by predators.  I was lucky enough to see quite a few of these on my trip.  Quite a sight!  Mother Nature and the food chain at work!

Not long after this ball of fish dissolved into the deep, Michelle was quick to point out another phenomenon.  About 200 yards off shore, there were mobula rays moving south down the coast line and jumping out of the water and making a belly flop sound.  Spectacular!
I was unable to get a picture but found this excellent BBC video to explain what happens and why.
(I wish I could take credit for this outstanding footage!)



The Sea of Cortez is known world wide for its unparalleled salt water fly fishing.  Only knowing a tiny bit about salt water fly fishing, I brought our 9 wt fly rod down there with me anyway.  Can't be that much different, right?

Some time ago I had tied up a bunch of these Clouser Minnow's for bass fishing but they seemed like the right hardware to represent small ocean like fish.  I took a stab at it and actually had some type of silver fish having a long look at it.  
Unfortunately all I caught this day was a bit of a sunburn!



I was in the house when I thought I heard the world's largest mosquito.  I ran outside to this making a drive by down the beach!
I yelled out to see if I could catch a ride but,
he must not have heard me.  
(Ok, not really but it crossed my mind!)


Returning to base.


After not having any luck with the fly fishing from the shore, Michelle and I hopped in the Razor and headed north on the beach toward town in hopes of finding a dive shop to rent a couple of scuba tanks.  After looking around on what we thought was supposed to be the spot for the scuba shop at the resort, we found some beautiful flora instead.  The resort had cute little adobe type huts adorned with flowers like these.


Beautiful!


Without any luck finding the scuba shop on the beach, we headed home and contacted one of the owner's of the shop and decided to meet 'Claire' at a mutual spot in town.  Shortly after we arrived in town,  Michelle and I met up with Claire and were able to rent our scuba tanks so we could do some diving from the house.  We also met Claire's business partner, Simon.  Both very nice.  Very British - straight from England.  It's always a treat for me to hear another language or a heavy accent.  Simon is a scuba instructor and teaches kiteboarding in the winter.
Simon and Claire had been in town less than a year and were building their new scuba business and were in the midst of moving and finding a more permanent shop.
If you are ever in the area, I would suggest looking them up.
Here is the link to their website:
Dive In Baja

After getting our tanks rented, Michelle and I went across the street to the local produce market.  I could smell the goodness of the fresh food before I stepped foot inside!
When you first walk in, there were dozens and dozens of eggs on the shelves!  Wait, what?  "Eggs out in the heat?", I asked Michelle.  We're talking 90 degree heat!  Michelle said because their eggs aren't pasteurized like ours are in the states, they can withstand it.  Farm fresh and delicious!!


After Michelle and I got back from town, it was time for lunch.  Yep!  Yummy leftovers from Norma's chicken mole!  Just as good as the night before.  Such a treat!
After lunch it was time for, yep, a siesta!  Took a 20 minute nap out in the hammock.  Gently swaying in the ocean breeze and listening to the gentle roll of the ocean.  More heaven!

Woke up to the neighbor yelling, "Dorado! Dorado!".  I sat up out of the hammock to see two fly fisherman dressed in long sleeves, pants, and a face covering running up and down the beach frantically.  They were after two very large dark shapes swimming gracefully and quickly not 20 feet from the surf!
One of them managed to get a quick bite, but it was over before it started!  Very cool to observe and learn!



Michelle and I planned on doing some scuba diving that afternoon right from the house, but the wind picked up causing the ocean to stir itself up like a weak chocolate milk.  Not only did the visibility diminish, but it also brought in sea algae, and jellyfish!!  SO bummed!
We ended up just walking about a mile up the beach to what they call "The Point".  We found many jelly fish like these and a few Man O' War washed upon the beach!  I am glad that we did not snorkel or dive that day!  Found some shells and some really cool broken glass pieces that had been worn smooth by the constant washing machine effect of the ocean and the sand.



Poor little puffer fish.  
He must have been dehydrated and drank the salt water.



Here is "The Point".
A rocky out cove that hosts a resting place for the brown pelican and a ton of sea life below the surface.  Beautiful walk on the beach!

Another great day in paradise!
Day 3 we'll try our luck at deep sea fishing!
It's time to get serious about wetting a line!

"Nothing soothes the soul like a walk on the beach"
--Unknown


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

HOLA MEXICO! MY TRIP TO BAJA MEXICO, SEA OF CORTEZ SERIES - DAY 1

Baja California Sur, Mexico.  A dry, vast desert region surrounded with an artist's palette of beautiful blue ocean water.  
Bordering the west side is the Pacific Ocean.  Cooler water, ocean swells, heavier tide changes, and heavier surf.  
On the eastern side, the Sea of Cortez.  Warm, calm seas, with post card visuals of a breathtaking spectrum of blue water and white sand beaches lined with palm trees.  


(Picture courtesy of world atlas.com)

The 700 mile long Gulf of California, or what is also known as the Sea of Cortez, is the body of water that separates the Baja California Peninsula and the mainland of Mexico.  It was named after the Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes by Francisco de Ulloa in 1539.  The Sea of Cortez has been considered one of the most diverse seas on the planet.  It is home to thousands of different marine species.  Some of the more commonly known are the snapper or "pargo", yellowfin tuna, striped blue and black marlin, dolphin fish or "Dorado", Sailfish, yellowtail, Roosterfish, a variety of whales and sharks, just to name a few.  

Last month I had a spectacular opportunity to visit this magical place.  


Wanting to spend every minute I could in a new place, I left on the first very early flight out of Redmond.  To the east, the skies were clear and beautiful.


To the southwest, and the direction we were headed, the skies were much more threatening.

When I landed in Cabo San Jose airport, by the first look at things, you would have never known that Hurricane Blanca, with winds hitting upwards of 130 mph in some regions, had just left the area not but a few days earlier.  I was in heaven the first step I took off the plane, yes, even at the airport.  The 86 degree air, although slightly humid, smelled sweet and salty.  The way the sun hit my face made me smile.  I knew instantly, this was going to be a very memorable visit.

After going through the baggage claims, the customs process, and getting asked a multitude of times if I needed a taxi, I was able to meet my very good, life long friend, Michelle.  Michelle and her husband Brian purchased their vacation home down here several years ago and I had this fantastic opportunity to meet and stay with them in their home.  All the while, taking advantage of a multitude of recreational pursuits and learning about a whole new wonderful culture.



Since Michelle and Brian live in a more remote/out of the tourist area, we stopped in San Jose del Cabo near the airport to pick up some more supplies for the house.  This store was equipped with an escalator for your shopping carts!

The smells of the local market were beyond compare!  The fresh baking and tortilla making that was happening made me want to take it all with me.  I am not a big fan of sweets, but everything in the case was beautiful!



Very cool desert type decorations around the house.




This is Norma.
She has her own 'cook in your house' catering business.  She brings all of the necessary ingredients for your order and comes into your home and uses your pots, pans, utensils, stove, etc. to make the meal.  Afterwards, they package up the leftovers in the refrigerator, wash and put away all of the dishes, and clean up the kitchen.  Unbelievable!  

Brian and Michelle bring her into their home about once a week.  From scratch, she cooks true authentic, homemade Mexican food for them.  Norma also brought her daughter, Anna to help.  Very sweet ladies!  This night, they cooked chicken mole, pico de gallo, rice, green salad, corn and flour tortillas, homemade chips, and tortilla soup.  We asked Norma and Anna to join us but they politely declined.

This was absolutely one of the very best meals that I have ever had in my life!!!  Bar none, THE best Mexican food that I had ever had.  What a treat!  Thank you Norma and Anna for making the very best, freshest food!



After dinner, Michelle and I decided to grab the Polaris Razor and take it for a ride on the beach to explore the sights.  Because of the recent storm, a lot of soft sand had been moved into the ATV trail and well...this happened.  Being about a mile from the house, luckily, there were two very nice young gentlemen, Chris and Louis, that were fishing and lent us a hand digging the machine out.  And for the record, flip flops double as a very good shovel type tool!



This is the view I had from my hammock under the palapa.  I slept here every night and let the Sea of Cortez sing me a lullaby and woke to it each morning.  
It was terrible.
(Who am I kidding?  It was heaven on earth!!)




The palapa I slept under that provided spectacular ocean views.
(Out of respect and to maintain privacy to Brian and Michelle, I have cropped the full view of the house and altered the picture color)


This was the view from their back deck.  A beautiful first night sunset on the Sea of Cortez.  

What a very fulfilling first day!  After a full day of travel, taking in a few of the local town sights, eating an authentic Mexican dinner prepared in the house by locals, riding on the beach in the Razor,  and meeting a couple of the neighbors, it was time to hit the hay.  Another full day planned for tomorrow!  

"The free exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world."
--John Steinbeck  


  




#dirtyfingernails #treadoutdoors #outdoorwomen #centraloregon #bendoregon #outdoors #seaofcortez  #bajaadventure