Tag Archives: afamilyalfoat

Loreto: an Eco Tourism Mecca

There is so much to see in Loreto ! Where to begin?!

Loreto is a small town with about 15,000 people, 2/3 rds the way down Baja on the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California) side. As the starting point for the California Mission movement, the town offers a lot of rich history and sightseeing opportunities. In the last 15 years+, Loreto has become a mecca for its Eco-Tourism.  The Sea of Cortez and the desert of Baja can be described as a melting pot of marine life and a rich desert ecosystem.  There are flora and fauna here that can not be found in many other places. The eco-tourism offers ways to see these spectacular sights with minimal to no impact on their ecosystem. As a family living on a sailboat, we are able to have our own eco-tours on the ocean, but finding land based activities are more of a challenge.  Thanks to our friend, Sara, who helps operate Loreto Sea and Land Tours, we were able to explore a snippet of Loreto’s land based ecosystem and other tourist sites.

Loreto was the first Spanish Colonial settlement of “New Spain” on the Baja. The Jesuit missionaries built the first of the California Missions there, Mision de Nuestra Senora de Loreto Concho,  in 1697. Loreto offered a fresh spring as a perfect resource for the missionaries to build and provide food to offer for the local Cochimi tribe and offer Christianity in return. This was a peaceful movement at the time. In 1769, the quest to explore the northern areas and establish missions along the way started.  As time passed the territories of missions fell in control of the Franciscans and then later, the Dominican order and divided into two regions, Baja California and Alta California. Alta California became the California we know today in the United States. I could go on and on about Loreto’s history, but I wont. If you are feeling the need for more of Loreto’s history click here.

June 4th, 2017:

After exploring the town of Loreto, we ventured up into the mountains, named Sierra de la Giganta, to explore the desert and visit San Javier, the second of the California missions. On the way up we stopped to hike to a very old and lonely fig tree growing up a rocky hillside. Of course everybody had the urge to climb it!

Further up the road we pulled over to get a view of the original “El Camino Real”! We had no idea that the “El Camino Real” in California had originated in Loreto. We saw the first road that brought the missionaries from Loreto up to San Javier and eventually up through modern-day California as the path of the California Missions!

Mision San Francisco Javier de Vigge-Biaundo was founded just 2 years later, in 1699, but took many more years to build. It was fully functioning by 1758. Water was more abundant here than in Loreto and the location was better protected from hurricanes. It was for these reasons that San Javier became the primary mission. The Cochimi tribe was drawn to the church and Christianity for the food and kindness they provided. The mission was successful with its community and agriculture for many years. Unfortunately, European diseases from the Spaniards spread among the tribe, eventually leading to the decimation of the Cochimi. Their culture and language became extinct by the 20th Century.

If you find yourself in Loreto either by boat or land and wanting to see sea life, land life, and culture, we highly suggest using Loreto Land and Sea tours. Not just because they are friends of ours, because they offer a plethora of different ways to explore the area and ways for the sailing community to explore inland history and culture: scuba diving, snorkeling with seals, fishing, hikes and many more options for adventures. Finding someone who can share so much local knowledge is a prized opportunity for our family as well as for many other cruisers.  We get to check off History of California Missions from Ellamae’s  4th grade boat-school curriculum, one year in advance!San Javier Mission (Mision San Francisco Javier de Vigge-Biaundo)Mike, aboard S/V Easy joined us along the tour. Taj can’t resist the temptation to climb another tree.

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ship shape # 7

Hi all my ship shapers,
We’ve been keeping up with our ship shape but not with posting about it. Urg. We’ve been in the Sea Of Cortez enjoying lots of free diving, snorkeling, fishing, and hiking. We have also enjoyed the lack of Internet.

Here’s a few pictures from our satphone (low quality) with a few exercises to do on the boat underway.

Exercise #1 pull ups from the back stay. Not only does this strengthen arms and shoulders, but also gives your hands a good workout.

Exercise #2 chin ups from the Rat lines

Exercise #3 Toes-to-nose using whatever place (back stay for Christian, the dodger for Taj, I like to use the Companion way)

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Toes to nose and chin ups

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Backstay pull-ups

5 day countdown!!!

All the tanks (water and diesel) are filled and we are ready to set sail! I just have to work 4, 12 hour shifts in a row and spend Wednesday buying last minute fresh food and last minute purging of items.  Wednesday night is our “send off” party at Galilee Harbor in Sausalito. We will be having friends and whoever else wants to join us in potluck style and live music (Peter B. and the Harbor Rats) shenanigans.  We will have an abalone shell set out for people to place a bite of their meal in, so that at the end of the evening, before we cut the lines, we will make an offering to the Gods of the Oceans.  After we “cut the lines”, we will head over to Horseshoe Cove (the little cove at the North end of the Golden Gate Bridge) to drop the anchor one last time in San Francisco Bay. Thursday morning, we will head out after breakfast with a max ebb around 8:30 am. If you happen to be on the Golden Gate Bridge, keep your eyes out for us! First stop: Half Moon Bay.  We will try to update our positions to both Marine Traffic and Farkwar. Click on the links to sign up for email position updates.

We have been living “on the hook” for almost 6 months now. It’s hard to believe that this day is finally arriving! My commute to work for the last six month has been a 0.5 – 0.75 miles paddle to shore, then a 12.5 mile bike ride each way. Although challenging at times, overall it has been very rewarding and enjoyable.  Today is my last round trip ride from Sausalito!

Pictures of our boat interior

I recently realized our blog is lacking in photographs of the interior of our boat. So here are a few…

The girls pretending to study in their room (the V-berth). Ellamae on the left and Nina on the right.

Looking aft into the galley from the main cabin area. Note 1 of our 10 surfboards aboard lashed to the ceiling.

Looking through the main cabin area toward the V-Berth. Note 2 more surf boards lashed up to the ceiling.

Two slightly different angles looking from the forward/port side of main cabin area.

And the Aft Cabin, where Mom, Dad, and Taj sleep. Apologies for the heeled over picture look.  Note 4 more surf boards at our feet. 

Easter weekend in the Eastern Sierra.

A little vacay to the Kiddoo (Josie ‘s) family in Bishop, Ca for Easter. We brought the boat from the hook to a transient slip over the weekend, so that we could have peace of mind while we were away.  While to boat was safely docked at Berkeley Marina, we drove (in the car our sister, Tara, loaned us) to Bishop, for a little vacation in the mountains. On the way over, we made a quick stop for a freezing dip in the South Fork American River,  and then later, a warm dip in Mammoth Hot Creek.  Friday night, we had dinner at Mountain Rambler Brewery and enjoyed a documentary by JB Benna called “The Long Haul” on treks of the John Muir Trail made in record time.  I just have to say,  “ultra running is truly amazing”. I need to thank JB for inspiring me to do some filming during our sail around the world!

My cousin’s brewery in Bishop, Ca “Mountain Rambler Brewery”

Saturday and Sunday consisted of Easter egg hunts, and family celebrating Taj’s 2nd birthday and walks in the desert.

Paleo Maple Cupcakes with Chocolate “buttercream” frosting and Maple Bacon frosting. Taj’s first cupcake and he LOVED it!

Yummy!!!

Monday, we made our drive home as a “field trip day” for boat schooling this week.  The Eastern Sierra is full of geologic wonders. We stopped at the Mammoth Hot Springs again for a quick dip in the tubs, then we went to Obsidian Dome for a hike and lesson on volcanic activity and rock formation.

Morning hot springs dip.

    

Ellamae suddenly turned into a Bighorn Sheep.

Nina and Ellamae standing beneath a spire of Obsidian and other igneous rock including Rhyolite and Pumice.

Obsidian Dome is one of many Mono-Inyo Craters