The Gypsy Carpenters finally broke out of their ho hum routine and took an excursion. Dreams of jetting to the mainland crumbled in a cloud of overcommitment and fuzzy logic. I never could figure out when to go with all our tennis dates and musical engagements and visitors and menopausal inertia. Finally we just decided to drive over to the other side of the world’s third longest peninsula and see what was happening. Cabo Pulmo is about three hours from here and is a world renowned dive and snorkeling location. You can swim to the coral reef from shore. Magi and Cathie had gone over last week and reported of meeting an 84 year old proprietess still managing a restaurant and cabanas. Nancy is her name. Then we found out another friend knew Nancy and we figure we better get on over and see this Nancy character while we still could. So with the lure of meeting an icon of Baja and the hopes of snorkeling we headed around the mountains to the Golfo de California on Sunday afternoon. Cabo Pulmo is a Mexican National Marine Park. It is the oldest of only three corral reefs in North America and the farthest north.
I don’t know why the following text is mashed together and a different font. I’ve tried to fix it ten times. Sorry.
- I was ready to snorkel. Too bad the wind wasn’t going to let us. Cabo Pulmo’s season is in summer when calm seas allow for visibility of 100 or more feet. This week high winds raked the sea into a turbulent chop that muddied the waters. There was no point in going out for a look around. Burt and I lazed about reading and eating in the decrepit glory of Nancy’s cabañas.. Nancy’s place is long past its glory years. While Nancy seems hale and vibrant her vision is suspect. Poor eyesight explains some of the less than ideal esthetic issues of her wabi-sabi habitations. Our cabaña had been unoccupied for a month or more (according to Nancy) and showed the signs of a return to nature. Palapa roofs and torn screens are open doors to insects and rodents and birds (yes, we had one). While our room might have been cleaned just after the last human occupants left it was apparent other organisms had made themselves at home in the interim. Not that this really bothers us. The place was cheap, private and close to the beach. Our own gNash has been invaded by ants and mice and mosquitos. The ants are finally gone. They were lured out by the hummingbird feeders. Nancy has a diverse and extensive exchange library and we picked up a few things to read, too. If you’re looking for cheap, convenient and unconventional Nancy’s is the place to go as long as you aren’t afraid of nature and her inhabitants.
- After two nights it was time to head home. We had a heavy agenda for the return trip. Fossil hunting, church finding, pizza eating and cactus sanctuary visiting. First up was prowling for fossils near where the Tropic of Cancer crosses Mexican Highway 1. Burt got into it. I kicked about with my own lack of clear eyesight and walked the dogs. Progressive lenses just don’t cut it when you are peering at the ground looking for tiny anomalies. Burt found a couple of tiny hard to discern shells. I found an actual snail. Next up was the church in San Antonio. Rumors had it that the church was pretty. We found it but it was closed. From the exterior it resembled a bunker with 10′ thick concrete buttresses on the front. If the Soviet’s would have allowed churches to be built they would have looked like this. The insides will have to wait for another time. Next was pizza at the Caffé El Triunfo. This restaurant was our goal a few weeks ago during the El Triunfo Art Festival. There was a three hour wait that day. Today we slid right in and got a serrano ham and arugula pie. We parked the car in the shade and bought a few souvenirs from the adjacent merchant to ensure it’s safety. We usually don’t worry but our dogs and instruments were inside with the windows down so we were more cautious. I got an old cow bell (more cowbell, anyone?) and Burt bought a 5′ whale rib.
- Finally it was time to visit the Cactus Sanctuary. This place has been on my list for three years. The name makes me think of refugee cactii fleeing political persecution but that’s just silly. It was closed. We drove the the adjacent town and wondered what to do. By virtue of making or presence known the problem was solved. Untethered gringos wandering the town were reported to the powers that be. As we drove away we were hailed by a man waving a key. He announced he was opening the park for us. We gave him a ride and he gave us a tour. He explained the epiphyte (air plant) cactus growing off the Mesquite trees and pointed to a crop growing out of the palapa roof. The ranger/guide also demonstrated how the Hairbrush Cardon cactus got its name. He showed us how to use its fruit as a comb. When he tried to get me to do it I told him my hair was like a nest and I didn’t want a spiny cactus fruit stuck in it. He understood. Burt and Olvis and I took a self guided walk around the place and enjoyed seeing the super large and crowded cactii. Elvis filed a complaint that the sand path was too hot for him. He did this by convulsing and whinning and gyrating. Olive said it didn’t bother her. To appease he-of-the-hot-paws we hustled from shady spot to shady spot. It reminded me of when we would whine on an excursion as kids and Mom would offer to let us wait in the car. That usually shut us up.