October is such a transitionary time of year. Too early and it’s baking and humid. The summer storms may have populated the town with bugs and mosquitoes form the standing water, but this quickly fades to the perfect desert weather come mid October. The puddles disappear and the temperature cooperates at an ideal.
Many people return to Loreto in mid October and plan to spend their winter there (I wish I should be so lucky). Morning light beckons all one’s artistic instincts! Find a palette, any palette, even if it’s just soaking in the visual delight with one’s eyes in a moment. Be present and appreciative. It’s a WOW!
For divers, the window of warm water and ideal visibility, I’m told, is the first week in October. It should be prime. This year, the late rains created less than ideal conditions, but the divers in our group were still quite happy. We ventured up to San Nicholas for a birthday celebration and some spectacular diving at Isla San Ildelfenso just 7 miles across the sea.
The water and visibility were as good as any spectacular day around Carmen or Coronado. Not being a diver, I was beckoned by the Caribbean-like water to at least snorkel. My long time friend and local fisherman Pancho Alvarez jumped in with trousers and delight to escort me around the lush blue surroundings teaming with sea life. He said he didn’t need flippers because his feet were “so big”. Can you imagine spending your entire life on the sea making a meager living (by many standards) and then being a passionate wayfarer in this azure heaven we name the Sea of Cortez? I think Pancho is very clear about what he values. I am honored to be considered his friend. I always learn from him.
We enjoyed being on the water and fishing for lunch as much as the divers enjoyed being under the water exploring. It seemed a match made in heaven for everyone. Even our local skipper was content to fish with a hand line and share stories with this new found friend bringing news from Loreto. I asked Pancho the last time he had been 50 miles north…it was 10 years or so. I couldn’t help but take in how special this day was. Just a day among friends from very different worlds to celebrate a birthday. The gift of friendship is what we all had to offer. Nothing more.
We toured around San Ildefenso and discovered the colony of Blue Footed Boobies, brown ones too, a few Osprey, and certainly some west side dive spots that will be forever etched in our brains. We marveled at the spectacular water color and clarity and were in awe of nature. There’s no doubt we share a deep spiritual connection but without the need to agree on what to call it. It’s just Life with a capital “L”.
We laughed and joked on the hour ride home and photographed a “Baja Buffalo” for our missing friend Roy, who recently embelished stories of Bison visits in the Yellowstone wilderness. How I would love to share Yellowstone with the passionate defenders of the Loreto National Marine Park. I am convinced [people like Fernando Arcas and Raphael Murillo are Mexican versions of John Muir.
We arrived back to Loreto, said our goodbyes, and knew being a country apart did nothing to diminish our cherished time in Loreto and our ties. Isn’t that some of the magic of Loreto? You don’t have to define it. It’s just a feeling of belonging and a feeling of making a difference.
We spent our last days in our familiar surroundings, but somehow appreciating them even more! I know that when I focus the lens and really pay attention, there is always another perspetive….another way of seeing things….another way of appreciating a nuance I’ve never observed before. Loreto makes me look with eyes and heart wide open. Loreto sharpens our senses and reminds me that no day is the same and nothing is to be taken for granted. Things change. Visions change. Economies fluctuate. Companies come and go. But connection to self, Spirit, and others is eternal. All we can do is walk authentically, receive the blessings, and be a blessing in someone’s life. Loreto is a place. Just a place. But for many of us….a place that awakens our very soul.
My life is better because of the community of Loreto.
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A special thanks to new friends Lucy Ramos and Dewain and Julie Wooten for their kindness and help this trip.