Our last evening in Guerrero Negro was spent birding along a river, where we watched tons of Brown Pelicans diving for fish. Perhaps every 30 seconds or so a large pelican would dive from maybe 40 feet up, and hit the water with a resounding crash. Often they would pop up with a fish in their mouth, and make quite a show of swallowing it.
We also saw several Osprey, including this guy who carried his fish to the top of a pole, and ate at it while it was still wiggling.
The Pelicans dive with wings out for control, but at the last second they fold them in to make their entry to the water a little less traumatic.
The next day we were off to San Ignacio. The central plaza has huge trees, lots of flowers, and is surrounded with cute little shops and restaurants. But the centerpiece is the church at one end. The gardens in the churchyard are interesting, but exploring the church itself was the most fun. The walls were made of black basalt bricks, but then plastered over and grooves placed and painted into the plaster to look more impressive, like it was made with huge stones.
Construction of the church was started 1n 1733. Work was slow and hard! San Ignacio suffered a sever malaria epidemic in 1742, followed by typhoid, typhus and measles. Wave after wave of locals died. In 1746, a nearby volcano erupted, and in 1750 the river flooded, took out the flood wall, and eroded away much of the soil. 1752 brought drought and more epidemics, and in 1754 another flood came and wiped out the area. (wouldn’t you think of moving elsewhere??) It says “The Indians cried.”
One of the major builders was blind. His sense of touch and his knowledge of building techniques let him direct the crews as they worked. They called him “Blind Andres.”
But by 1759 a lot of the church was built, and by 1785 the roof was closed and the building considered finished. Absolutely amazing!
I liked the heavy wooden doors…
Quaint shops and restaurants encircle the central plaza.
Jeff noticed that this place advertised Date Shakes. This whole town is surrounded with date palms, so a date shake sounded like it had potential! We tried them out, and they certainly did not disappoint! Fantastic!
The shop is wallpapered with stickers and other memorabilia from the Baja races. (as are a lot of the places we’ve seen) We asked the owner, and she said her son had been racing for many years, and she showed us his picture. Then she said he was sitting in the plaza outside, so we had to go meet him. What fun!
Next stop – Mulege… pronounced “Moo-Lay-Hay.” I guess the formal name is Heroica Mulege. During the Mexican-American war of 1846-1848, Americans tried to occupy a lot of the Pacific Coast, from California to Baja California, which belonged to Mexico at the time. The people of Mulege defeated the Americans, and were honored by adding the title “Heroica” to the town’s name.
The town is interesting, and has provided lots of challenges finding things we want.
One of my favorite finds was this little Tortilleria, where we could watch them making the small corn tortillas. The guy in the blue hat took a ball of dough that must have been a foot and a half across, and stuffed it into the funnel he is leaning on. The machine somehow scoops it and shapes it into the tortillas, and maybe cooks them a bit, finally sending them up a chain conveyor belt to the guy in the red hat, who watches them as they slide into one of two piles. When a stack is high enough, he hands it to the lady at the counter, who sells them to us, and we have tacos for lunch with tortillas we saw made an hour before! Super cool!
Watch the tremendous energy expended by Red Hat to be sure the tortillas are not folded over!
We saw this guy painting a mural on a wall… and a couple of days later, saw the finished project. That’s not a mask on the central character… it was his overall plan for the mural.
Obviously, we have to check out the area’s birds! One of my favorites happens to be one we see a lot in Tucson: the Vermillion Flycatcher. They are very common here also, but still strikingly beautiful.
Of course the most fun way to look for birds is from the kayak!
By the time we got back to the ramp where we’d launched, the tide had gone out far enough that we had to walk the kayak the last little bit.