©Wolfgang Kaehler

Baja California with Un-Cruise – Day 4

by Michelle Alten –  Photographs by Wolfgang Kaehler

Colorful metal artwork picturing macaws on a wall of a restaurant in the town of Loreto, Sea of Cortez, Baja California, Mexico. A tree in front of the hotel Posada de los Flores on the city square in Loreto in Baja California, Mexico. The tower of the Jesuit Mission built in 1697, with palm trees in the foreground in Loreto in Baja California, Mexico.

In the bay at Loreto, pelicans perch on a tethered panga like patient fishermen.  About eleven years ago, we stopped at this beachside hamlet.  Today, the pelicans still linger, waiting for their meal, but a new hotel alongside the malecon is the first sign of the town’s metamorphosis.  Once quiet and dreamy, the town now reveals its role as a winter for snow dodgers.  Restaurants stand where food stands once catered to adventure travelers.  The town today is proud of a new art school for the local children.  The charming neocolonial Posada de los Flores still graces a corner of town, and the mission museum continues to string together the tale of the Jesuits who began their California region missions here, discovering and mapping the peninsula but also devastating the natives with disease.  At the museum, I discover that there are caves not far from here with pictographs—an adventure for a future trip.


Blue whale with calf

Leaving Loreto, we cruise the Sea of Cortez. Time at sea on some trips means hours sitting on deck buried in a paperback novel.  But in the Sea of Cortez, it means discovering the world’s great cetacean maternity ward.  We spot a blue whale, the largest mammal on earth, with its calf and learn that this is a favorite breeding ground for the world’s giants.  So much of the whale is beneath the water that I cannot get the full impact of a creature that can reach 98 feet in length and weigh 190 tons.  But seeing the greatest baleen whale feels as thrilling as walking on the moon.

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