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Gary Graham – ROAD TREKKER

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Wednesday, April 04, 2018
Fiestas Tradicionales San José, 2018
Wednesday, May 02, 2018
Blowing in the Wind


In the Blink of an Eye
Easter week 1969, with my 9-year-old son Greg, I made my first trip into Baja … Loreto to be exact. It was quite an adventure for us with many moving parts. When I planned the trip, we were scheduled to depart from Tijuana on a DC-3 that Loreto’s Ed Tabor, founder of “Flying Sportsmen Lodge,” piloted.

I soon learned traveling in Baja in those early days required flexibility, often demanding last-minute adjustments to schedules. This time our trip began with a cranky motor that refused to start.


afteralong
AFTER A LONG, hot ride with all the windows open (no air conditioning), we pulled into the Flying Sportsmen Lodge, poised on the beachfront with a long pier extending into the sparkling Sea of Cortez. In the blink of an eye, my son and I became Baja aficionados for life … not quite understanding exactly what that really meant.


With Greg and our luggage in tow, I went to the ticket counter of an airline where we were able to catch a flight to La Paz later that same day. Since our destination was Loreto, this required we spend the night in Hotel La Perla on the malecón overlooking La Paz Bay. Next morning, we hired a cab to drive us to Loreto.


After a long, hot ride with all the windows open (no air conditioning), we pulled into the Flying Sportsmen Lodge, poised on the beachfront with a long pier extending into the sparkling Sea of Cortez. In the blink of an eye, my son and I became Baja aficionados for life … not quite understanding exactly what that really meant. At that moment, it meant we were charmed by all we saw.


The fishing exceeded all expectations I had derived from WON’s Ray Cannon columns as well as his book, “Sea of Cortez.” Loreto’s dorado dazzled both of us and we returned frequently each summer.


Soon, Greg’s younger brother Geoff was coming along on the trips, and after Mex One opened in 1973, I wasn’t waiting for summer vacation. I began exploring Baja from border to Lands End, frequently with friends and family in a van and I added a 19-foot Bayliner to explore the waters.


We discovered a remote beach named Nopolo Cove a few miles south of Loreto. It was the perfect set-up for us, and the sleepy village of Loreto became a frequent destination.


By the mid-’70s, Yvonne and her family, Teri, Julie and Michael and mine merged. In another “blink of an eye” there were seven of us enjoying many of the hidden treasured spots Baja had to offer.


Our “blink of an eye” moments continued. The little 17-foot boat led to larger boats; our vans and beach camping let to “Rancho Deluxe,” our home on an East Cape beach, which lasted 18 years; then, that home was followed by the self-contained “Roadtrek” van.


Somewhere in the midst of those moments, Greg, Geoff and I made a return trip and paused at Puerto Escondido for a rest stop. Both boys pulled a couple of rods out of the van and soon were happily catching small cabrilla and grouper.


thefisingexceeded
THE FISHING EXCEEDED all expectations I had derived from WON’s Ray Cannon columns as well as his book, “Sea of Cortez.” Loreto’s dorado dazzled both of us and we returned frequently each summer


A local resident stood beside me watching them, volunteering that there was a marina being planned for the small, shallow bay. Frankly, stories like that were common and the likelihood of that becoming a reality seemed remote, and, like many other rumors, I dismissed it.


Yet, slowly, very slowly, with a few fits and starts, the marina did begin to take shape. Our remote Nopolo Cove, where we had camped with not another soul in site for many years, became a golf course, and in the past few years Puerto Escondido Marina with fits and starts and a couple of owners later, is now a reality.


It seems as though I’ve been back in Loreto more frequently the past several years. In a “Roadtrekker” Column titled, “ Mex 1 road trip conquered with common sense, coupled with modern technology,” I briefly mentioned touring Marina Puerto Escondido with Gregory Nash Rhew, manager of the Puerto Escondido Marine facility.


http://www.wonews.com/Blog.aspx?id=4062&AuthorID=0&t=Mex-1-road-trip-conquered-with-common-se


But the local fishing came of age “in a blink of an eye” moments earlier this year when three giant yellowfin tuna weighing 424.6, 319, and 212.5 pounds were caught over a three-day period early January off Loreto.


This underscored the impact that the new Marina Puerto Escondido is having on local sportfishing, drawing larger sportfishers capable of fishing farther offshore than the smaller pangas and sportfishers in the past. No longer is Loreto as dependent on only the traditional dorado and yellowtail fishery.


According to the website of Jay Yadon, owner of Outpost Charters in Loreto, he offers a 40-foot Luhrs Express model boat, powered by two 430 HP Caterpillar engines, which can take up to 10 guests, a fact the other boats cannot match. I’m almost certain that it won’t be long before additional larger boats join that one in the newly-completed Puerto Escondido Marina facility.


Rhew recently agreed. “Those yellowfin tuna catches, along with the new marina facility have certainly drawn a lot of interest in Loreto.”


In the “blink of an eye,” the little village of Loreto that had trouble getting an airline to fly in regularly grew, and like Cabo and some of the other villages that have become cities, Loreto is on its way.


No, you say, and you dismiss it as another rumor…


* * *

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