A Loreto Farewell

It started innocently enough, ten years ago, with a postcard. There was a picture on the front with a couple of kayaks floating in clear blue water and on the back some information about a new development near Loreto, in Baja California Sur, a place that we had thought about visiting anyway. It was the sort of item that usually went right to the recycle bin, but I left it around where Alex saw it, and soon we were thinking of a winter trip to Mexico and of buying a house there where we could live in retirement.

It was a handsome spot, with mountains and desert and protected salt water, but it was the talk about conservation and sustainability that made up our minds. We set about choosing the decor for the house where we could save the planet in comfort, within walking distance of the organic garden and everything else, except for the wind farm to be located on the other side of the peninsula. By the time the house was finished, in the spring of 2007, the developers were struggling and the real estate market was about to collapse, so some of these features have been a bit slow in materializing.

Instead, homeowners at Loreto Bay, left to create community out of chaos, have developed popular institutions to take the place of their corporate predecessors -- a competent homeowners association, an army of volunteers, a business that turns organic waste into compost, etc. There is still not the density that would support some of the lavish amenities, but construction has resumed and it probably hasn't hurt to have some new and very wealthy neighbors.

We have changed too, though, or at least gotten older, and many of our favorite activities now seem better suited to a more urban landscape. We had meant to live out our days in Mexico but discovered that we needed to get away from the heat in the summer, and we gradually filtered back to Seattle, where we occupy the enviably tiny footprint that we always planned, but with big-city convenience. Two houses was more than we wanted to have, and so we have sold our Loreto home.

For a long time, this page was one of the first that people were likely to encounter when looking for information about Loreto Bay, and though I don't plan to update it I think I will leave it around for a while out of nostalgia, and in case it is still useful in some way. My thanks to those who have clicked here over the years, and to those we later met in person. Best wishes most of all to those friends and relatives who actually made the trip down to visit us, or otherwise supported our move -- and to the very best friends, whom we met in Loreto.

We will miss the familiar folks and the landmarks that guided us on our trips into town and our excursions into the back country or over the water. Animals too -- the horses, cows and burros who used to cross our paths, the birds who made their nests in our yard, so close that we could touch them if we wanted. On one of our last evenings we saw all six of our geckos on duty near our porchlight, and by that time we had a skink who patrolled the garden in the daytime. Goodbye to the crabs and spadefoot toads of years past!

Before we even took possession of our house we knew our local raven pair, since they were spending time at the hotel also. Over the years we developed a little dance that we would do so that they would know us when they saw us walking along the beach or out on our bicycles. Sometimes they would accept a treat or at least go out of their way to fly by us. During our last Spring they perfomed some of their mating behavior in the fan palms across the street from our house. One evening when I was down by the sand cleaning up a kayak the male flew by me from behind, close enough that I could feel his wing-beat.

On our very last night in Loreto, left as so often with the hotel as our only prospect for dinner, we were walking toward the snack bar when I saw the male raven take off. I called to him, and he circled back and perched on the edge of the building to watch us as we walked by for the last time.

Snowball at the ready

Some web logs by residents:

  • Living Loreto, Drew McNabb publishes the most complete and consistent account of events in Loreto Bay and the area.
  • Casa del Milagro, a blog by year-round residents Paula Pennell and George Russell
  • Sea Creatures, our own blog about kayaking hereabouts. I hope eventually to link to lots of useful information like tides and weather, campsites, etc.
  • Where in the World is Nellie? A blog by a former Loreto Bay employee, current resident and Loreto entrepreneur. Nellie is no longer updating this site, but there's a lot of news up till 2009. Also there's a lot more information available from Nellie through her Dorado Realty, Loreto Bay Homes and BajaBOSS offices.
  • Watch and Learn: Lost in Loreto An earlier but long-running chronicle of the adventures, in Loreto and elsewhere, of Kelli and Robert McDill.
  • The Nopolo News, with some other features like classified ads and restaurant reviews.
  • Discover Loreto

Other information:

Some of our own panoramic pictures:

Previously published information about our house in particular:

More about Baja:

It was talk about sustainability that first caught our attention, but even for us the appeal to the senses is undeniable. The following sites have general information about the area:

Morning light on our front gate.