Sunday, January 9, 2011

Of Hockey - and Messing about in Boats!

For those of you who are not Hockey fans the context of this posting may not be relevant – but there was an International Under 20 Championship that has been going on since Christmas with the games being played in Buffalo NY. Canada’s team was not considered a favourite going into the competition (Canada had lost at the same tournament last year to the US) but after a few “soft” games to begin with, they had an impressive winning streak going and had beat the Americans in a semi-final to play the Russians for the Gold Medal.

I had a couple of Canadian friends over to watch the final game one evening this week and we were very impressed with the dominant way the Canadian’s controlled things for the first two periods and had an apparently commanding lead of 3 – 0 going into the final 20 minutes. Our cozy little Canadian Club was joined by an ex-pat American during the third period and, coincidentally, things began to change at about the halfway point of that period.

The Russians scored a goal – and another one 12 seconds later! It was now 3 – 2, with half the period to play! Another unanswered goal and it was now tied at 3, but not for long – next the unthinkable happened, 3 – 4 for Russia! As time wound down without Canada regaining the tie, spirits around the TV monitor were low and getting lower, until the game was put out of reach by Russia scoring their 5th unanswered goal and winning the Gold Medal!

Sad times in Mudville!

I am sure most of you reading this will appreciate what a tragedy such an upset is for born and bred Canucks! It is, after all, OUR GAME! And we had beaten this Russian team convincingly earlier in the competition. But to be beaten by FIVE unanswered goals in the last half of the final period – after leading 3 – 0 and dominating play for the first two periods – well it was a black day for Canadian Hockey fans!

So, to cheer us up, after such a devastating defeat, our American friend invited us out on his boat the next morning – no particular purpose or destination, just a half day cruise south of Loreto Bay with some vague plans to finish up with lunch. Needless to say, our spirits were lifted and the bitterness of the defeat we had just witnessed was soon washed away with the sweet anticipation of our outing the next morning. It was decided that we would meet at 8:00 am, as the forecast was for calm winds in the morning with clearing skies.

This was important because it has been very windy the past few days, with unusually overcast skies – for Loreto – so the report of calm winds were reason enough for the boat captain to celebrate with an outing. Our Captain Robert, who is a Loreto Bay Homeowner, is lucky enough to have secured a marina slip on the estuary at the south end of the development so we had a short trip to the boat after we all met the next morning. Soon the four of us were aboard his nice center cockpit fishing boat and with little delay we were motoring our way slowly through the mangrove bordered estuary that winds through part of the Golf Course and out to join the Sea of Cortez. 

(I am trying out my new video camera so click on the link below and watch an unedited 4 minute clip of the beginning of our trip.)

Now, although there was little or no wind, there were still some heavy swells from the previous windy conditions, once we were in the open water off Punta Nopolo at the exit from the estuary, but we started to head south and although we rocked and pitched about some, it was wonderful to be on the water! Before long, we saw the choppy water break in a few places about 100 – 200 yards off our port side, either dolphins or seals, or both, but other than various cruising seabirds that was the extent of wildlife on this trip.

While I settled in on the bench in front of the cockpit and enjoyed the sea air and breezes and shot these pictures of the most beautiful part of Loreto – the water – my companions Grant and Tony and Skipper Robert chatted easily in the back of the boat. Although they were all Homeowners, they were here on visits of less than a month and their conversation touched on how they felt about heading back north. Once again, I was reminded how happy I was to be able to call this place home, and not have to think about leaving again for a while.

We passed outside Puerto Escondido and continued south past Isle Danzante heading along the coast until we were approaching Ensenada Blanca, where the new Villa del Palmar Loreto is preparing to welcome it’s first guests early in the New Year. With 171 villa suites, this resort will soon become one of the most desirable resort destinations in the southern Baja, with restaurants, a large spa and several pools. Although we could see that there was still some heavy work being done on the grounds surrounding the tower complex, the buildings themselves looked substantially complete and very impressive!

It was time to head back and so we turned about and made our way back to Escondido where we entered the harbour and tied up at the dock, among some large yachts. After stretching our legs a bit on shore, we determined that the Porto Bello Restaurant would not be open for about another hour for lunch, so we boarded our boat again and after a circle tour of the bay, where hundreds of boats could moor in protected waters, resumed our trip back to Loreto Bay.

Heading north was considerably “bouncier” than the outbound trip had been, due in part to the fact we were going a lot faster on the return, possibly because there was going to be lunch at the other end. As we re-entered the estuary and slowed down in the calmer water we were following several sea kayaks and then we passed a group of golfers teeing off on their 16th hole which dog-legs around the estuary – what a special place this is, where so many activities can be happening at the same place and time!

After tying up again in the slip, we washed down the boat and left it ship-shape for it’s next adventure, then, after many thanks to our noble Skipper Robert, we headed off to Del Borracho, a favourite saloon/restaurant for a feed of El Guapos, (loose translation “The Whopper”) arguably one of the best burgers in the Baja

So a story that began with disappointment at the result of a sporting event played thousands of kilometres away and turned into a mornings boat trip along the beautiful coast of the Sea of Cortez, and then concluded with great food enjoyed in a friendly atmosphere – this is the stuff that makes Loreto Bay such a wonderful place to call home and why I love “Living Loreto”!

SPECIAL NOTE: For any of you who have been thinking about visiting Loreto some day and sampling the lifestyle that I write about here, there may be no better time to make that trip! Alaska Airlines has just announced a seat sale to their Mexican destinations including Loreto - $119 + taxes, one way from LAX! You can find out more at the following link:

Perhaps you too will be Living Loreto soon?  Still not convinced?  Well, this week no less than The New York Times listed Loreto as #8 on a list of 41 places to visit in 2011 - the exerpt is copied below:

 8. Loreto, Mexico

A beach hideaway with sport fishing gets a luxury resort.

Long known for sport fishing, Loreto, on Baja California Sur’s eastern coast, is poised to become one of Mexico’s next luxury destinations.

On Wednesday, Villa Group Resorts, one of Mexico’s largest privately owned hotel groups, will open a $60 million Villa del Palmar resort with three restaurants, a 20,000-square-foot turtle-shaped pool and 150 suites from $250 to $1,500 a night. The resort is the first phase of an 1,800-acre development, Danzante Ba. It will add seven resort hotels, restaurants and a Rees Jones golf course.

Loreto also has longstanding attractions to tout. It recently started a public relations campaign, with help from the Mexico Tourism Board, to highlight its colonial architecture, deserted beaches and marine life. Founded in 1697 by Jesuit missionaries, Loreto is home to the historic Mission of Our Lady Loreto, one of the first “California” missions. The baroque Mission of San Javier can be found nearby in the Sierra de la Giganta Mountains.

Visitors can take day trips to see prehistoric rock art in the Sierra de San Francisco region of Baja California between Loreto and Bahia de Los Angeles. Five islands that make up the Loreto Bay National Marine Park, which covers 797 square miles in the Sea of Cortez, offer extensive snorkeling, kayaking, hiking, whale-watching and scuba-diving opportunities. The area is home to more than 800 species of marine life, including six-foot-long Humboldt squid.


You can read the whole article here: