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1 - 28 February 2017 - Los Barriles, BCS, Mexico

Wednesday 1st February

One man, his dog and a kayak.

Open mike night at La Fogata Restaurant.

The lengths Peter will go to avoid the camera.

Thursday 2nd February

Today we went snorkeling at Cabo Pulmo where there is a protected coral reef which has been a National Marine Park since 1995. Jacques Cousteau called the Sea of Cortez “The World’s Aquarium” because it has such a variety of marine life from all types of whale down to tiny Nudibranch molluscs. Our guide for the day was Simon Cazaly from Dive in Baja. Simon is a PADI Scuba Instructor originally from England but has been here in the East Cape for about six years.

Simon picked us up at the RV park and we headed south from Los Barriles for the 47 km journey to Cabo Pulmo. We turned off Mex 1 east to La Riberia. Just south of the town the road became unpaved and we followed the old Coastal Road for about 10 km before getting our first glimpse of Bahia Pulmo.

The road descended into the small village that is situated along the sandy bay. Here the small community consists of several Mexican families that have fished the area for generations and expats that have retirement homes. There are three dive centres, holiday casitas and restaurants.

We changed into wet suits and buoyancy vests and went to the beach to pick up our panga boat.

Here we are with Simon, Nin, Debbie, Dave and our Capitan.

The reef is just off shore and within five minutes we were in the water. This is a live coral reef with plenty of fish of all kinds to see. Unfortunately, our underwater camera stopped working, hence, no photographs. Simon C in the background.

Back in the boat we headed to another part of the reef. On the way, we were delighted to see humpbacked whales swimming close to the boat.

Next stop was sea lion rock. Most of the big sea lions stayed on the rock sunbathing but some of the younger ones came out to swim with us.

Motoring back to the beach we saw mobula rays and turtles.

Cabo Pulmo Beach.

Bye Capitan

After getting changed we were ready for lunch at La Palapa Restaurant.

We had a great day. Simon was good fun to be with and his knowledge about the reef and the marine life that lives there made for an interesting and exciting day.

Friday 3rd February

Over to Debbie and Dave’s RV for drinks and then Three Dog Corner for eats.

Saturday 4th February

Off on a road trip north through the mountains to La Paz for an overnight stay.

Here we are sitting outside our rooms in the courtyard at Villa Gemma. Emy and Mauro again made us very welcome to their home.

Harkers Bar with the Malecon and the bay behind us.

Sorstis Restaurant. An Italian restaurant that has become a favourite of ours in La Paz.

We had a warm welcome from Chef Alessandro.

Sitting out in the large inner court yard, Alessandro carved the ham for our starter course and told us how he came to set up the restaurant. The building was originally a house owned by one of the Walton family, not the ones of the TV series fame but the owners of Walmart.

What to have!?

A group of young jazz musicians entertained us.

Courtyard dining. The restaurant also has some small private dining rooms set along one side of the courtyard.

Sunday 5th February

Back into the mountains this morning to the old mining town of El Triunfo. We met Debbie and Dave for lunch at the El Triunfo Café.

After returning to the RV Park we played Mexican Trains and then watched the Super Bowl on TV at Peter and Suzan’s RV.

Monday 6th February

Time for a siesta.

Sundowner drinks at Lazy Daze Beach Bar.

Monday night at La Playa Restaurant is Salsa night!

Pearl, took time off from serving and was joined by one of the windsurf instructors to lead the dancing.

Tuesday 7th February

Humpback Whale out in the bay.

The hot springs at Rancho Santa Rita.

From the town of Santiago, we headed west into the sierras. Simon, Ninette, Nancy and myself travelling with Debbie and Dave, Jane and Peter leading the way as our guides. We soon got out into desert country driving sand tracks along dry arroyos. There were several turns on the way, very little signage and certainly no one to ask, we were grateful that Jane and Peter had been before and were leading the way. Climbing out of the desert terrain into the hills on twisting dirt tracks, we were very glad to be in Debbie and Dave’s 4x4. There certainly was a feeling of isolation as we got deeper into the mountains and the scenery was superb.

The ranchero greeted us on arrival at the hot springs and showed us the way down to the water. We climbed down along narrow pathways and across rocks until we came to the river bed.

The crystal-clear water ran down off the rocks into a hot pool that trickled down into a cooler stream. This place is a hidden gem tucked away amidst the rocks and vegetation of the mountains.

Drinks and nibbles time under the palapa

Wednesday 8th February

Simon and Sandy off to do the garbage run.

East Cape Artists Studio Tour

Each year the many artists in town open their studios and homes for the public to visit and see their work. Debbie, Nin, Nancy, Lori and I picked up our tickets (the proceeds from the ticket sales goes to programmes run by the Association de Arts Del Mar de Cortez) and tour map and set off with Debbie in the driving seat.

Here are just a few examples of the work we saw.

Oil paintings by Steven King at his home on a hill overlooking the bay in Buena Vista.

Linda Bean’s colourful paintings.

Linda Bean’s colourful paintings.

Mary Naylor’s acrylic paintings.

Galleria Los Angeles – art gallery, café and food.

Galleria Los Angeles

It was a full day, we enjoyed meeting the artists, seeing their work and talking to the many people we came across on the tour. The work on display was varied from paintings in oil, acrylic and water colour, to designer clothing, jewellery and pottery. It was also interesting to see the very individual and often imaginative homes that we visited. Many showed the flair of the artist in residence both in the interior décor and garden design.

Our last stop was Hotel Los Pescadores. By the time we got there the artist had packed up and gone. Therefore, we had no alternative but to sit at the bar rest our feet and have a margarita.

Friday 10th February

Went into Santiago for the ATM and had late lunch at Palomar Restaurant.

Stopped off at Rancho Bueno Vista on the way back. This hotel was built in the 50’s for fly-in sport fishing trips from the US and hosted many Hollywood celebrities of the time. It is still a fishing resort that has a south-seas feel, with simple palm leaf thatch casita style rooms, scattered around palm tree filled gardens. There is a large palapa restaurant/bar, swimming pool and beautiful views across the bay.

The sun has set and the moon is rising. Lovely soft light and pastel colours.

Saturday 11th February

The moon going down over the mountains and sunrise over the water.

Several pods of dolphins spotted in the bay. They must have found a fish hole because there was a frenzy of activity with hundreds of dolphins in the water. Unfortunately, not easy to photograph but we got a good view through the scope.

Sunday 12th February

Sunrise on the beach.

Made an early start and went over to Todos Santos on the Pacific Coast.

Had breakfast at Hotel California.

Spent the morning looking around the old cobbled streets of this relaxed bohemian town with its boutique shops and art galleries.

In the afternoon, we made our way back to the east coast and the traditional Mexican town of San Jose. We looked around the historic down town and its fine art studios housed in adobe or colonial style buildings. The town is built on elevated land that overlooks an estuary at the mouth of the Rio San Jose. We crossed the estuary bridge to Puerto Los Cabos for a look around the marina which is part of a project that includes designer golf courses and five-star accommodation. There were certainly a few luxury yachts about.

We ended our day at Restaurant Jazmin for dinner.

Monday 13th February

Simon and Nin on the beach watching the kiteboarders, together with Sandy of course, she is never very far from Simon’s side.