Loreto, Mexico

2016-02-17 : Fly from Calgary to Loreto
Loreto is a very small town, about 10,000 people, and is much less touristy than other places we've been in Mexico. You don't get accosted by anyone walking down the street. What a nice change! I like it!
When we got to our villa, our host wasn't here, but a long-time guest, Keith, was here to greet us. He gave us some great advice about what to do and who to do it with in the area, and invited us to join in to the "family dinner" on Friday night.
So far I haven't seen a mosquito. Normally I am eaten alive when I go anywhere. It would be awesome if I didn't have to worry about that on this trip.
Before we came, I researched transportation to/from the Loreto airport. The airport is 6km from downtown. 4km via a dirt road that goes cross-country (maybe).

When I asked about transport, I received a recommendation for a driver who charges $25/USD/person round-trip. That's about $40/CAD each to go 12km. When I looked into taxis I found out that a one-way taxi is a fixed rate of $25/USD, so $50/USD round trip ($80/CAD). Outrageous.

On Google Earth I saw what looked like a dirt road that cut across country and was about 4km from the airport to downtown. At the time, Brent wasn't on the trip yet - it was just me and Ed. I spoke with Ed about it and we decided to use backpacks as luggage so that we'd have the option of walking instead of taking larcenous transportation.

Then Brent piled onto the trip and I filled him in on the plan.

When we got here today we had a quick look around and the dirt road didn't look like a particularly good option. It was warm enough out that Ed was a bit uncomfortable with the idea, and I was uncomfortable with setting out on a walk that may or may not get us where we wanted to go.

So, after a bit of discussion we decided to take the shuttle. $25/USD round trip was the same as what we would pay for taxis anyway since Brent is coming back separately (we'd have to pay for three one-way taxi rides).

We jumped into the shuttle and were told it was 90 pesos each (one way). That works out to a little over $7CAD/ea one-way. That's WAY better than the $40/CAD round trip that the internet said.

So, although it may be possible to walk the 4km from the airport to town, we ended up not doing it and I probably wouldn't advise it. If Brent and I were here for a while, I'd probably try walking it from the far end just to test it out and consider it in future, though.

2016-02-18 : Loreto - Blue Whales
We had a fantastic day out on the sea today. We were on a "blue whale watching tour", but we actually saw: Manta rays, Needle fish, Common Dolphins, Bottle nose Dolphins, Humpback whales, Fin whales, Blue whales, Pelicans, Cormorants and an unidentified jelly beast. We shared our panga with Rich and Sally from the San Francisco area, and Keiko from Japan. Our tour guide, Daniel, was fantastic. He was fluent in English, extremely knowledgeable about the animals and the area, and cut a mean avocado.

2016-02-19 : Loreto - Planning/Walking
Today was a walking and planning day. We had a walking tour over to the wrong side of the wash, and tried to make arrangements for diving, fishing, and other tours. Not a whole lot of luck all around, but we did book in for snorkeling tomorrow so we'll work out the other things soon. Walking across the wash was interesting. That was the way we would have walked if we'd walked from the airport (in reverse direction). There were vultures on the power poles in the middle, and when we came back we got to see the Vaccination Parade. It was very festive.
Revisiting my thought about walking to town from the airport, we scoped out the far end of the 4km walk (in reverse) today when we visited the "wrong side of the wash". If Brent and I do happen to come back, I would totally give walking a try. We know where to find the gravel road that takes us around the airport to the south end of Loreto, and we know how easy it is to get across the wash (provided the river's not running).

2016-02-20 : Loreto - Coronado Island Snorkeling
We took a long panga ride over to Coronado Island today for snorkeling. On the way we got to see some sea lions, and our Belgian companions jumped out and swam with them a little. Continuing on our way, we got to the main beach on Coronado. There were lots of features to explore and we basically stayed around the main set of rocks just off shore. Brent and I being total sissies went for the wet suits after insisting that we wouldn't want them. We saw lots of interesting critters including a sea snake, a sea star, a crown-of-thorns sea star, a scorpion fish, a puffer fish, and lots of colorful little fishies.
This evening, Keith (the long-term guest of our villa) took us over to the campground to meet Hiker Senior Ken, a British Canadian who likes to take people out hiking. Ed and I are scheduled to join Ken and his crew to go hike Coronado Island on Wednesday when Brent goes home.

2016-02-21 : Loreto - Mijito Sport Fishing
Fishing today - awesome. Ed caught a Skipjack, a Yellowtail and a Roosterfish. We released the Roosterfish. He also caught a seagull. Oops. Brent caught a Skipjack and I didn't catch anything except a bunch of awesome photos. Tonight we get to have dinner at Loreto Islas where they will serve us our own fish.
I'm completely frustrated with going out in boats and spending most of my time uncomfortable because my stupid bladder is full. I'm going to buy a Stadium Gal and see if I can use that in future. More blogs about urination coming up...
When we got off the boat today, we were met by a guy who could process our fish for us. We sent some with him to be smoked, which we can pick up tomorrow afternoon. The rest he fileted for us. Brent picked it up about an hour after we docked. We went past the Loreto Islas restaurant and talked to them and arranged to come past at 6PM for dinner, bringing our fish with us. We brought three pieces of fish in a Tupperware and they made us a lovely meal with rice, vegetables and three sauces. We all liked the green sauce the best. I can't remember the name.
At the start of our trip, Ed told us that he knows one word in Tagalog: Mabuhay. I LOVE Mabuhay. I've started using it as my toast word. Best. Word. Ever.

2016-02-22 : Loreto - Canyon Hike with Said
Inquiring minds want to know: Yes, our guide's name is Said. No, he's not Arabic - he's Mexican. But his parents were creative when naming his children. He says that Said means "Happy Man". When I get back to Calgary I'll have to ask Saeed if Saeed means "Happy Man".
When I contacted Said I asked for a "light hike" in the area, maybe 6-8km. When we set out up the orroyo today, it was a little scrambley, and it just kept getting more and more scrambley as we went. Said had done is best to get us a light hike, but the terrain around here is just extremely rugged. In fact it tuckered Legendary Ed right out. Good thing the scenery was so spectacularly beautiful, and there were cervezas waiting for us at the end. Ed had his first afternoon nap of our trip (Brent and I have been napping almost daily).

Where we hiked today was the canyon with the original Road to San Xavier. It was also known as the cave paintings hike, but the cave paintings were buried by rubble in one of the recent hurricaines. Too bad. But the canyon itself was extremely beautiful, so yay!
Tonight we hosted a fish dinner at the villa courtyard. Brent cooked the fish (with Chato's help). I made my favorite dish from Croatia - blitva, and bulked the meal out with some refried beans. Most of the same gang from the Friday dinner were there - Chato, Keith and Mary, Pat, Marcia and Rex, plus Jason who is a Canadian down here seeing about building a life here.

2016-02-23 : Loreto - Grey Whale Watching
This was one of those magical days that you never forget. After driving across the peninsula to Puerto Adolpho Lopez Mateos on the Pacific side, we spent about two hours with the grey whales. There were whales EVERYWHERE today. Some of these whales are extremely friendly and enjoy playing and getting pets from humans. We saw other folks petting them, we petted them ourselves, and we even saw one whale lift a boat up about 8" out of the water on one end. We all got a little whale snot on us; especially Brent. Grey whales mate in this area, and they birth their calves here. Then they travel up to Alaska and only come back down to Baha for mating and calving.

We had Daniel again for our guide - the same fellow who took us out for blue whale watching. He's extremely knowledgeable, personable and passionate about the whales.

Daniel said he recognized five whales today. One, with a white head, is named Olivia. One, with a white patch has no name, but we named it Mole Blanca. The one that we petted doesn't have a name (that we know of) so Brent and Ruby named her Mama Ceta (Ceta for "Cetacean", of course).

2016-02-24 : Brent goes Home; Hike with Hiker Senior Ken
Hiker Senior Ken had 19 people out today for a hike on Coronado Island. Their plan was to hike to the top of the volcano. Legendary Ed and I had other plans. We would join them only until we decided we'd had enough of their ambitious plan and then we'd explore the island on our own.

The forecast was for a very windy day so I didn't even expect the pangas to run today, but the drivers were willing to take us, albeit to the opposite side of the island from where we would normally have gone (the same beach where we'd snorkeled before).

The start of the trail is very well-defined with rock and coral borders around the mostly smooth (sometimes sandy) trail. Abruptly the trail turns from desert to loose lava rock and starts to climb.

That's where Ed and I took our leave of the group. We explored the flat trails around the island, walking over to the beach, to the next beach, back to the place where we left the group (so I could get a photo of the place where the lava began).

We were going to head over to the beach where the pangas were, then back to the snorkeling beach, then back to the panga beach, but when we got to the panga beach, Ed discovered another trail going the other direction on the island so we decided to hike that one. We took that trail all the way out to the far tip of the island and a beautiful little sandy beach.

It was about time to turn back and meet our group at the pangas. I thought we'd finally get Ed through a hike without getting a new booboo but I really called that wrong. When we were only about five minutes from our beach, he took a spill forward cutting his hands and face on the sharp rocks. We had to use all of my available bandaids and when we got to the beach one of the other hikers gave me a couple more bandaids for all the booboo spots. It was a lot of booboos. He's well on his way to having a terrific shiner and I wonder if his eye will even be open tomorrow. It might not.

We had a very exciting panga ride back bucking the swells on the ocean. It was a great day, except for Legendary Ed breaking his face on the coral!
Brent left us to fly home to Canada today. Sigh. He came down to the docks with us in the morning to see us off for our hike, and ran back for my socks when I realized I hadn't brought any. He took pictures and blew me a kiss. <3 Brent.
I can't believe it. Ed Keith and I were out for dinner on the Malecon when I saw Brent Stephens go past in the back of a white jeep.

My brain froze for a few seconds and then I said "Ed. I just saw Brent go past. He was in the back of a jeep." Ed said "".

I said "I must be losing my mind". Ed said "Yes, you're losing your mind. Or maybe Brent has a twin." I said "But it looked just like Brent, right down to the green Croatia t-shirt and mauve backpack".

A few minutes later, we're back at the Villa and there's Brent. In his green Croatia t-shirt with his mauve backpack. His flight went mechanical on the runway and can't leave until tomorrow.

Yay! One more night with Brent!

2016-02-25 : Loreto - Mission San Javier with Said
We were supposed to fish today, but it's really windy again today so we switched things around. Yesterday I e-mailed Said to ask if he could take us today instead of Friday. He said he already had a tentative booking but he'd see what he could do. I phoned Juan to see if he could take us Friday instead of today. He said he already had a booking but he'd see if he could find another captain to take us. Soon, Said e-mailed to see he could take us out today. Yay! Then, Juan called to say that he changed his Friday booking to Saturday so he could take us out on Friday. Yay!

After the hike, and Ed's spill, from yesterday, I was kind of happy to have today as an easy day. Said brought his girlfriend, Leslie, along, which was really fun. Leslie drove us up the road to San Javier. San Javier has about 100 or 150 residents - a very small town. Their claim to fame is Mission San Javier, the oldest mission in this area. The road to San Javier is largely the same route that the jesuits took to get to the mission, although their are sections of the old road off on the other side of the canyon from the current road.

We explored the mission, the grounds, and then the farm behind the mission. Then we had lunch and I bought some really yummy jam and spread.

2016-02-26 : Loreto - Mijito Sport Fishing Deux
Ed and I went back out fishing today with Juan. We spent about an hour around the dock so Juan and a coleague could catch some bait and then we headed out. It was a really bumpy ride out and I was SO glad I'd borrowed Rex's pee bucket. I peed as soon as we stopped. Ed used the pee bucket once too, so I have to declare the bucket a smashing success.

Ed caught a grouper and a yellowtail and Juan caught a grouper. We tried again for some marlin, but no luck. Juan kept our fish this time as we don't need any more to take home.

After the fishing expedition, we came back to the villa and were planning on going down to Orlando's for a last lunch. Keith chased us down, though, and suggested the Blue Anchor instead, so the three of us went there. Then we ran some errands and Keith gave us the grand tour of Loreto, including one of the poorer neighborhoods, and a failed development south of town, and the "airport beach".

Friday night dinner at Villa Santo Nino, and our trip is essentially completed.

 1 2 >