By Lorna Hill

Road Trip part two is a continuation from Road Trip to Baja 2021 part 1 article, you should start there if you haven’t read it yet.

During the three days at camp, we awoke and bed down by the movements of the sun.

On a low tide, we donned rubber boots and walked out onto the lagoon bed, close to the kitchen palapa, to see what we could find.

So many different types of shells, marine snails, star fish, brittle stars, egg casings. 

We saw several octopi, all mostly beneath rocks or inside shells, however we found a couple that were whizzing through the shallow water, one of them decided to move over to Pacos boot and cling on for dear life.

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Paco, so characteristically, calmly waited there a while before peeling it off his boot, so he could walk over to the nearby abandoned shell and let it make its way back into its temporary home. 

I snapped a quick photo as I was curious how they were slightly different colours, however both had the blue spot beneath the eye on each side of the head; a trademark characteristic with the The Bimac Octopus — aka The California Two-Spot Octopus.

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We all know octopus change colours (mainly to hide from predators, but there are other reasons too), so I am still to find out whether this was the same species but just different colours, or different species entirely! 

I feel another article coming on…….

The walk continued on and we finally came to an old friend we often see on the walk – the piece de resistance – our dear friend, the hole-dwelling jaw fish. 

Some say it is called a Sarcastic Fringehead, however as we never see it out of its hole (where it dwells during the low tide), we can never say for sure. However, it sure does look like one; a mix of vulnerable-looking and creepy, all at the same time. 

We have grown so fond of it over the years, we love to bring the guests to have a look, and have a wander around the rock pools. 

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Walks, sunsets and buenas vistas

The Road Back

The Road Trip must go on…

The last day rolled around far too quickly, but again, we always say it’s nice leaving wanting more. After our final whale watching trip, we packed up the car, said our goodbyes (I seemed to drag mine out, like I always do! It’s just so hard to leave), and off we went, back to San Ignacio town, where we were overnighting again before returning back to Loreto.Road trip

As we were pulling out of the camp, our eyes strayed one last time across the lagoon, only to spot 2 coyotes strolling across the low tide flats, the setting sun making their coats glow and eyes glisten, as they searched the shoreline for food. We felt so in touch with nature, like we had been given the final salute by these wild, lagoon-dwelling canines. 

This time, we were staying in San Ignacio Springs, a beautiful, idyllic, palm tree lined place, full of yurts and cabins, all leading onto the river, part of the beautiful Oasis of Kadakamaan. 

After a delicious dinner in Restaurante Rancho Grande, another great spot to stop and eat (you might also be serenaded by the owners son, Oskar, who seems to have taken on the John Lennon persona of long hair, round glasses and, of course, the guitar), we arrived up at San Ignacio Springs, the sun well set by this stage. 

We were just in time, as they closed the gates by 10pm and we had to be extra careful not to wake the other guests who were already sleeping in the yurts close by. We found our (adorable) accommodations and fell into deep slumber. 

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The mornings in San Ignacio Springs are just magical.

The sun glistens through the palm trees, and the gentle breeze rustles through the reeds that stand up tall in the river. 

You can’t help but gravitate down there, especially as they have opened up a serene little sitting spot, with kayaks and even some steps that bring you down to the water, a refreshing way to start the day.

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This is exactly what we did, after breakfast. Took ourselves off to the river and just sat, and watched and listened. It was so peaceful… until I decided to go swimming, which meant a couple of woops and splashes ensued!

I couldn’t help myself, it was just so glorious. And, it was also St Patrick’s Day, which meant I just had to have a swim, to get back to the roots, and to honour my family back home; a ritual we always carry out, to mark a special occasion.

Marilyn had brought some St Patrick’s Day attire, which fitted us out perfectly for the occasion and off we went, with our shamrock-shaped sunglasses and necklaces, fitted with whistles and mini shot glasses, perfect for hitting the town with a bang and painting it green.

Road trip in Baja goes on

However, we had an interesting event to attend to first, before flopping down in our rented beach house, and that was to hit Augie’s Bar in Loreto for some St. Patrick’s Day festivities!

Back in Loreto

A few years back, Rodrigo and I had landed in Loreto after a season of working at the camp, only to hear Irish music wafting out of the rafters of the old mission. We couldn’t believe our ears, and we followed the music right into the mission, where we found a group of young Mexican musicians, all playing Irish music! What a joy! 

I put this down to being a once off, and tried to lower my expectations for this year, especially with the COVID restrictions. 

However, dear Janet, forever organised and always with a foot in front, called ahead to our Airbnb host, who booked us a table on the top terrace, right beside where the chefs were preparing the meal of the day – corned beef and cabbage! 

I decided not to tell anyone that we traditionally eat boiled bacon and cabbage in Ireland (hey, it’s St. Patrick’s day! Everyone is having a good time being Irish!) but instead, thoroughly enjoyed being there in this American bar, celebrating an Irish day, in Mexico. 

They also had all the best Irish tunes, jigs and reels to sing along to, I was very impressed! 

I immediately took videos and audio to send back to my Mother at home, who would have immediately had everyone up set dancing in the middle of the floor. I wasn’t so brave but still thoroughly enjoyed myself. I think I can say the same for everyone else! 

We were glad we had dinner reservations, which meant we left the party at the right time – when the sun was still up and everyone was still standing. Besides, Janet, again, had reserved a special something for us, and that was a cook in chef, called Carlos, who owns and runs the well known Santo Cielo restaurant, just opposite the Loreto Mission. 

What a treat it was to be cooked for, in the very place we were spending the next three days.

They also stocked our fridge for our days there and, with leftovers from the wonderful dinner, we didn’t have to visit the supermarket once the whole time we were there.

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The following morning, we were greeted with an incredible sunrise and morning coffee on the patio.

You couldn’t help but watch the diving pelicans, smacking the water like popping corn. And the cormorants, all diving down from the water surface, only to resurface 50 feet away, with a fish in their gullets. The gulls fought each other for food, some of them seemingly too lazy to find their own, and the terns screeched and dove like featherlight butterflies. 

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The COVID test, and walk around Loreto

Road Trip  logistics

Janet, Duke and Marilyn had to take their required covid test, 72 hours prior to their trip, so we found the place that Rodrigo had booked, Nunez Labs, and they were in and out within 20 minutes (they also tested negative for covid, which they learnt about 24 hours later, via email. We only had to drop back to the clinic the following day to pick up the hard copies of the results).

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We decided to have a little stroll around Loreto, to visit the sweet little shops and bazaars, however we were just so keen to get back to our lovely beach house, that we found ourselves driving the short distance along the dusty road that follows the shoreline to our house.

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That night, we ate out in Orlando’s, a must when visiting Loreto. The super friendly staff, tasty dishes and colourful atmosphere really transport you to the heart of Mexico.

The following morning we woke up to another glorious sunrise, accompanied by some splashing noises, coming from the bay, directly in front of us. Then we saw the small spouts, shooting up into the air – they were, of course, dolphins! Off on their morning fishing run, the golden sun glistened off their backs, their blows the only sounds we could hear in the blissful, tranquility.

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Feeling blessed once again, we just sat and watched and listened.

We decided to avail of the kayaks that were sitting out on the patio, and took a little paddle out onto the glassy morning water. We paddled out just far enough to see the beautiful mountain range that flanks Loreto, Sierra de la Giganta, peer over the tops of the beach houses that tastefully lined the shoreline, intersected by palm trees. It really was heaven. 

We had a constant line of sight of the large island that sat out in front of us, Isla Carmen; her jagged mountain line that looks more like someone took a pencil and sporadically and energetically drew a line just above the horizon, and then coloured it in, a shade of gray purple, beautifully contrasting the dark blue of the sea, and the light blue of the sky. 

Last Supper

This night was our final night and we wanted to visit the restaurant Santo Cielo, after our wonderful introduction to Carlos’ cuisine from the first night he cooked for us.

We met Carlos again, whom we now felt had become a friend, welcoming us with his warm, friendly smile and twinkly eyes. We were excited to sample some of the other items on his gourmet menu, which looked so lovingly crafted, we decided to order several of the starters to share, along with mains, which turned out to be so hearty, we had to take the leftovers home!

Carlos and his team were just so warm and welcoming, you felt so at home in this wonderful, illuminous place of sanctum.

Return Home

The following morning, the final morning in our “home away from home”, we knew we couldn’t leave without doing some yoga in this ideally – zenned setting. 

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So we first donned our bathing costumes, took to the beach and stretched out our muscles and joints, as the sun rose, heating up our faces before melting into the crisp, cool, still waters. 

The mist on the water gave the feeling of steam rising from the water surface, which gave it the feeling of mountainous hot springs… yet the refreshing water reminded us where we were; bathing in the Sea of Cortez beneath the forever watchful, overlooking sierras.

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