After the Rain: East Cape Transformed

The East Cape caught the storm's wrath

East Cape Transformed Thanks to the Rain By Dawn Pier The East Cape desert has been transformed. We’ve finally received much-needed rain following a four-year drought; what was once a mixture of grey, brown and beige, has exploded into a verdant landscape unrecognizable as its former self – our Baja desert runneth over with the green of trees, grasses, vines and flowering plants. Add to that a smorgasbord of buzzing insects, singing birds and fat, content livestock. But I shall let the photos speak for themselves.   We had three separate rain events this summer and total rainfall amounted to approximately 23 …

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Villa del Faro: An Eco-Friendly Boutique East Cape Hotel Oasis

Villa del Faro's rustic beachhouse

By Dawn Pier Villa del Faro Eco-Hotel  in the East Cape  is a surprise in so many ways – a lovingly handcrafted private estate turned boutique hotel, hidden on the side of a hill overlooking the Sea of Cortez smack dab in the middle of nowhere. It is truly a tropical hideaway. One is even more surprised to learn that the vast and comfortable compound is powered by solar energy (augmented by quiet generators only when necessary). There are no power or phone lines to connect to, but thanks to satellites, it isn’t difficult to connect to the outside world through the internet and television. The hotel …

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East Cape’s Crossroads Country Club: More Baja Country than Club

The view from inside Crossroads

By Dawn Pier The owners of the Crossroads Country Club clearly have a sense of humor. While it is located at the crossroads of the Coast and Palo Escopeta Roads, smack dab in the middle of the East Cape and about as far from “civilization” as you can get, it is by no means a country club. Don’t worry about donning your whites, ties or polo shirts, just come as you are and bring your appetite. The restaurant is located on a large beachfront lot with commanding views of the expansive beach and desertscape. Large sliding glass doors are typically left open to give the …

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Mexican President Calderon Sides with Cabo Pulmo

The beaches of Cabo Pulmo: safe for now

By Dawn Pier I must preface this blog entry with the caveat that I am not unbiased in reporting the recent cancellation of the Cabo Cortez Project. In 2003, I was one of several people who founded the organization Amigos para la Conservacion de Cabo Pulmo, A.C. (ACCP), the mandate of which includes the conservation of the coral reef ecosystem in Cabo Pulmo National Park. I was executive director of the organization until 2005. In 2009, spurred by the threat represented by Cabo Cortez, I rejoined the current membership as a volunteer. On June 15th, at the height of the …

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Beware of the Jumping Cholla: Not Your Average Garden Plant

Poor guy has had a run in with cholla.  Image courtesy of Lon & Queta

By Dawn Pier After four years with almost no measurable rain in the East Cape region of Baja , the desert looks dead. It’s predominant color is grey with virtually all vegetation appearing devoid of life. The exception is the mesquite, which grow in arroyos (dry river beds) and must have incredibly deep roots that tap into aquifers running deep below the surface. Even the cacti are starting to show signs of water stress, turning red, their ribs shrinking like folded accordions as the water they store dwindles to precariously low levels. I marvel at the free-ranging cows, horses, donkeys and goats. How …

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Morning Miracle on the East Cape

A baby turtle heads for the sea

by Dawn Pier Yesterday,  as I walked back from my morning ritual on the beach , I was treated to a bit of a miracle. There, in a small depression on the sand sat two pint-sized, grey-skinned turtle hatchlings. I knew that there was a good chance that if I didn’t intervene, the nest would be discovered by local dogs, sand crabs and sea birds, so I set to work gently digging down into the sand to see if there were any more hatchlings making their way to the surface. As I dug down I first encountered the empty shells of …

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The Fate of Cabo Pulmo National Park Remains Uncertain

Image courtesy of Greenpeace/Prometeo Rodríguez

By Dawn Pier A couple of posts ago, I wrote about Cabo Pulmo, the Jewel of Mexico . The reef and marine animals living inside Cabo Pulmo National Park may be protected from direct impacts like fishing, aquarium collectors and boat anchors, and it may be the most successful marine park on the planet, but in 2008 a potentially devastating impact to the reef and its inhabitants began to gain momentum. That impact is a massive resort complex that Spanish-based developer  Hansa Baja planned to build directly north of the park.  The proposed development would create a sprawling new city on a scale comparable to Cancún …

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¡Que Milagro! ¡Va a lluver!

After a year's absence, the graders return!

By Dawn Pier Literally translated as, “What a miracle! It’s going to rain!” ¡Que Milagro! ¡Va a lluver! is a saying in Mexico employed when someone who has been away a long time reappears. In an area that receives as little rainfall as the peninsula, suggesting that a person’s appearance is just as rare as rain makes it a truly regional expression. I was reminded of this expression yesterday as I drove my ATV the four miles from my house to an area known as Santa Elena and discovered that the grader had finally arrived on the Coast Road to …

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Cabo Pulmo: The Jewel of Mexico

Image courtesy of Nikki Goth Itoi

By Dawn Pier Cabo Pulmo National Park in the East Cap e is the most successful marine reserve in Mexico , possibly worldwide. It contains the northernmost coral reef in the eastern Pacific, and, at around 20,000 years old, is considered the most important reef in the American Pacific. Only a handful of uninhabited, un-fished reefs found in the Pacific Ocean exhibit the abundance of fish you will see in the waters of the bay on which the picturesque community of Cabo Pulmo sits. However, it has not always been the teeming underwater garden it is today. By the 1990s, decades of overfishing and anchoring damage left the coral reefs …

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Surviving a Drive on the East Cape

A flat tire isn't the only thing you might encounter driving on the East Cape...

By Dawn Pier My previous post described some of the challenges of driving the dirt roads on the East Cape. This post provides some tips that will get you from Point A to Point B without any major hassles. What to do when driving in the East Cape Bring a tire pressure gauge from home. Check to make sure your rental car has a spare tire, jack and lug wrench. Then make sure the spare actually has air in it. Lower the pressure in your front tires to 20 pounds, rear to 18. Drive slowly and with care. Not only …

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