Saturday, January 17, 2009

Life's a Beach!

If you're lucky!

One of the best parts of Living Loreto is the beach, at sunrise. No, this isn't the same picture as the header of my blogsite, it was just taken one morning this week, about 7:15. When I woke up early that morning I decided it was a day to walk the beach, so we got into some “warm” clothes, (it's pretty chilly at dawn, this time of year) and headed out. The beach is only about 250 feet from our front door, past four or five neighbors' homes, through a fringe of unfinished custom homes, and then we're there.

In January the sun rises on the southern horizon, behind Punta Nopolo, and so looking east from the beach the water is glowing silver and gold with shades of blue, reflecting the sky which is just starting to colour. On the horizon, to the east, we see the rim of Isla Carmen, giving definition and perspective to the view. I'm glad that we have these offshore islands of Carmen, and Coronado further north, to split the sea from sky and provide a tangible horizon. A Pelican drifts across the sky, skimming the water, as graceful in flight as they are ungainly when perched on land.

As we look south to Punta Nopolo, (a volcanic conglomerate pile that rises over 150 feet from the south end of the beach) the coppery-gold sunburst is just beginning to break over the edge and flood the beach with light. The sea is almost glassy calm with a smooth line of surf gently cresting on the beach. The tide is quite low and falling, leaving a few stranded souvenirs behind, including this colourful starfish, perhaps wistfully pointing back towards the receding water that had been it's home until this morning.

There is also a lush green carpet of seaweed, which blooms periodically. This current species, thick in patches, looks like grass clippings left behind by some marine mower. It is fresh and clean smelling, not tuberous, like some of the types that collect at other times. But a day in the sun, until the evening tide rises, will probably start to turn it brown and sour, while providing protection and nourishment for the tiny insect life that thrives on the edge of land and water.

Now that the sun has cleared Punta Nopolo, Cathy and I cast 50 foot shadows down the beach and as we turn around again we see the first dog walker of the morning approaching out of the pale sunlight.
The Activity Shack is still shuttered from the night before, but the fleet of Kayaks are ready for another day of paddling in the shallow water off the Hotel beachfront, and on a calm morning like this they will probably be kept busy.

There is more seaweed as we reach the end curve of the beach where it joins the rocky outcrop, separated by the signature green of the golf course's current 6th hole. Before we leave the beach we turn and enjoy the view of the Village as it wraps back around the crescent that is now known as Loreto Bay.

As we walk along the shelf of rock under the cliff, a resting Pelican is framed against the sea and sky, catching a final snooze before starting another day of fishing and gliding. As we get closer, “he” is aware of our presence, but succeeds in ignoring us until we break some invisible personal boundary. Then, with a few beats of his powerful wings and a couple of awkward strokes of his webbed feet, this 20 plus pound, prehistoric throwback is launched into it's true element - thin air - to join his friends, who have already begun the day's ballet of diving for their breakfast.

Looking back towards the Inn, the sun is now beginning to hit the folds of the Sierra Gigante range, appearing deceptively lush and green from this distance. But we know that these slopes are dry at this time of year, as it's been months since the fall rains. However, on the rocky wall behind us there are still some hardy patches of greenery, managing to survive in crevasses, protected from the full heat of the summer sun when it shifts further north.

Walking out to the east end of Punta Nopolo we are still in shade, but the morning sun is full in the sky ahead and reflecting in the patchwork of tide pools that spot the rock shelf we are on. As we retrace our path back, rocks frame the Inn and the southern extent of the Village homes, now in full morning sun. Another vista is ahead, a Pelican accenting the Inn's beachfront, with rows of lounges waiting for the sun worshipers who will congregate there soon.

But the Pelicans aren't the only ones working this early in the morning - the golf course's grounds crew are practising their maintenance ritual on the early morning greens, manicuring them to the treacherous finish that will plague players for the rest of the day. As we pass in front of the Inn again, we see the first Kayakers of the day hitting the water and paddleing out into the flat calm bay.

Further down the beach, we see one of the few construction crews that is currently working, beginning another day on a custom home. As we pass the Posadas, frozen where they stand since our return in the Fall, we wonder when work will begin on them again and when the storage area that will someday be the Beach Club will be cleared for that project to begin.

But then we are home again, after ushering in another perfect morning on the Baja. This is mid-January? It's hard to believe! But that too is another wonderful part of “Living Loreto”.