Saturday, November 7, 2009

Something to Beach About

If a picture is worth a thousand words this may be one of my longer essays. (If you click the pictures below they will open up to full screen)

One morning last week I awoke a bit earlier than usual, about 6:30, and, rather than roll over and try to catch another snooze, I looked at the greying sky through the bedroom blinds and decided there were better things to do. I pulled on a pair of shorts and a T-shirt and grabbed my camera and headed to the beach.

Since I’ve been down here, I have settled into a morning routine of spending from 9:30 to about 12:30 in the Dorado Loreto Open House on the Paseo. While this can hardly be considered an onerous schedule, it does impose some necessity for timeliness that I have quickly adapted to. This usually includes a 5 minute commute on my bike, carrying a briefcase with my laptop, various papers and keys, coffee and water. My mornings “at work” are occupied with computer busyness and, most importantly, talking to people who drop in for information or just to visit. Needless to say – it beats working for a living!

As a result of this commitment, I have been preoccupied and have missed out on one of my favourite pastimes living here – walking on the beach at sunrise. This was brought home to me by a special friend who is not here this winter, but understands the special magic of that time in this place, and reminded me in a recent email to “smell the surf”. So with that in mind, I headed out on this morning to walk the beach towards Punta Nopolo and the rising sun.

There was a reason why, over a year ago, I chose the title picture for this blog –
it is one of my favourite images. The sun rising from behind the hulking mass of the rocky point, the contrast of the soft shades of indigo through dove greys turning to deep glowing burgundies, then crimsons into rich tones of gold, bringing with it, rich clear blues to the sky. So begins another day in paradise!

On this morning, the tide was high and the gentle lapping waves reached to the edge of the sea grass dune that separates the shore from the row of beachfront lots, and I noticed how thick and lush these tough grasses were after the recent Fall rains.
This is still a natural beach, scattered with a
collection of palm boughs, and a few larger logs of palm trunks along with the detrious washed up by the high surfs that accompanied the recent storms. So as not to paint too romantic a picture, there was also the usual evidence of civilized pollution, mainly bits and pieces of plastic; bottles, Styrofoam, and a few odd things like a single sandal and further down an odd sock.

But as I look out over the glassy water to the far horizon of Ilsa Carmen, I see one
of my favourite sights – Pelicans, skimming just inches above the surface of the
water, motionless, while seemingly self propelled, as they cruise effortlessly for hundreds of yards between occasional wing beats. These are the true masters of their domain – their prehistoric appearance, perfectly adapted to do precisely what is required to thrive as one of the dominant fishers in this environment. At this early hour, another Pelican is floating lazily about 50 yards offshore, it’s perfectly grotesque beak tucked comfortably into the chest, being gently rocked by the wavelets that are rippling into shore. Apparently this specimen has chosen to catch a few more winks of sleep before taking to the air in search of breakfast, but as I get closer I notice it is keeping one eye on my progress – you don’t survive for millions of years without learning to keep wits about you - even if you are sleeping in.

Continuing on down the beach I note the progress that has been made during the
summer on the row of beach front homes north of the INN. Where there was only one occupied home earlier this year, surrounded by the rough construction of others far from completion – now a number of the neighbouring buildings are in the final finishing stage with windows and doors in place and cosmetic details receiving most of the worker’s attention. I pause for a moment and squint my eyes and imagine what this scene will look like later this winter. With a row of individual and unique custom homes, catching the first rays of the morning sunrise – it will be a truly impressive sight! As these homes reach completion, and their personalized designs become distinct I realize that in a development like this, where the vast majority of homes are variations on a handful of standard floor plans, the one-off nature of these custom homes adds greatly to their appeal.

A little further down the beach I come to some sharp reminders of the potential

destructive power of this now placid environment – shade palapas uprooted from the sand – some missing their thatched umbrella roofs that had been supported by a sturdy frame of braced 2x4 struts. These beachfront “sentinels” had been subjected to the brunt of 100 mph winds for hour after hour during the sideswipe of Hurricane Jimena almost two months ago, considering the force and duration of the storm it’s surprising that there wasn’t more evidence of damage.

These palapas are in front of the Inn at Loreto Bay, which reopened, on a reduced scale, about a month ago. Here too there are some signs of the wrath of Jimena; some beachfront windows still boarded up and a broken window which probably should have been. Overall, there is little sign here of any damage from the storm, but it’s was a different story 200 km north, between Santa Rosalia and Mulege, where the centre of the storm sat for 8 hours or longer, resulting in serious damage and some destruction.

At the end of the Beach I turn and retrace my steps, the sun, now rising at my back

and casting long shadows, strikes the ring of homes that are rising from the shoreline. Once again I try to imagine what this scene will look like, in a few year’s time, when all of these homes, as far as I can see down the beach, are finished and are catching this golden morning light. Walking back to my home I think about how far things have come with this development over the past few years – hundreds of homes finished, over a hundred more in the final stages of completion in the second phase. In spite of the many frustrations and challenges we “pioneers” have faced, and continue to deal with most days, the simple act of spending half an hour walking solitary along the sea shore at dawn has the remarkable effect of putting things into proportion. I feel calm and yet energized, I relish the beauty around me and I realize that my glass is not half full – it runneth over! And this is truly one of the best parts of “Living Loreto”!