Kayaking in the Sea of Cortez: A Paddler’s Dream

Kayaking in the Sea of Cortez: A Paddler’s Dream

May 31, 2015

Kayaking is the use of a kayak for moving across water. It is distinguished from canoeing by the sitting position of the paddler and the number of blades on the paddle. A kayak is a boat where the paddler faces forward, legs in front, using a double-bladed paddle. Most kayaks have closed decks, although sit-on-top and inflatable kayaks are growing in popularity as well. This popular sport can be done in many places throughout Baja California. Wilderness kayaking among the islands of the Sea of Cortez, however, is a more challenging prospect. Avid paddlers know that the protected coves, white sand beaches and abundant wildlife in this area make it a paddlers dream. But the islands location tens of miles from the mainland, combined with strong winds and unpredictable seas make it available only to the most experienced sailors, paddlers or organized camping groups. Small ships however can safely transport guests to the islands, choose the most inviting or protected cove and allow ordinary travelers to enjoy the benefit of wilderness paddling.   Stunning beaches, dramatic rock formations, azure waters and sunny skies await those who wish to paddle in the Sea of Cortez. Here is the testimonial of an experienced paddler: “The rugged cliff rising out of the water was a beautiful red ash with colorful rocks and the occasional shell fused into it, an ancient ash flow now being exposed by the erosion from waves. The upper crust of soil, if you could call it that, seemed to hang over the edge as if it were melting into the sea taking cactus, flowers and shrubs along with it. The water is crystal clear and we could see nearly 50 feet into the azure depths. As we glided along our guide was explaining how large rays would breach the surface and come flopping down with a pop, but I wasn’t really listening to her. I was overwhelmed by the incredible scene around me and as I gazed I did hear something, but it was not a ray. Cracks in the rocks had been exposed to the sea and warn through like narrow canyons. Waves were pushing in and out of the cavities and you...

Mexicali girl who did not speak English, will now attend Harvard

Mexicali girl who did not speak English, will now attend Harvard

May 30, 2015

The little girl from the poverty-ridden streets of Mexicali, Baja California didn’t know a word of English when she entered 3rd grade here in 2006 at age 9. “She has come from the most humble of circumstances and catapulted herself to the highest point of our country’s educational system” says San Fernando High School Honors and AP Literature teacher Natalie Armstrong.   Now, she’s 18 and headed for Harvard in the fall. Yeah, that Harvard.   “I’ve never had a student who has come so far so successfully in such a short period of time, and this is just the beginning.” How Noemi Valdez made that climb is a story of heartache, devotion and the power of the American Dream which, contrary to popular opinion, is still a huge motivating force around the world in the minds of children from humble circumstances. When she arrived in this country with her mother, who works the night shift at Pacifica Hospital in Sun Valley as a housekeeper, and her baby sister who is now 13, Noemi was sick much of the time. Her father, who worked at the Department of Motor Vehicles, had finally saved up enough money to send for his family to join him. He would take his daughter to the hospital often, but the doctors couldn’t find anything wrong with her because she wasn’t sick. She was terrified. “Every morning around 7 a.m. I’d begin vomiting and violently shaking,” Noemi says. “I was terrified of having to walk into my third grade classroom because I did not speak English”. “In Mexico, I was always one of the students with the best grades, but coming to the United States, everything changed for me. Those red-circled tens I had been receiving turned into ones and twos.” In her letters to the Harvard selection committee she describes those early days. “I had been in school for about two weeks and my teacher asked me to close the door. After several frustrated attempts at trying to make me understand what she was saying, she finally said to me in Spanish, ‘You have been here for two weeks, and you can’t even understand one simple sentence. I want...

Millions of “Baby Lobsters” Appear on Tijuana Beaches

Millions of “Baby Lobsters” Appear on Tijuana Beaches

May 28, 2015

The big waves delivered by a Pacific groundswell and climate change are a couple of reasons that have been offered to explain the appearance of millions of small “baby lobsters” on beaches around Tijuana. The lobsters began showing up Monday morning. On Tuesday morning, local police and firefighters were joined by residents in efforts to return to the sea those that were still alive. Members of the organization Border Project for Environmental Education have estimated that as many as 2.5 million of the crustaceans have been left high and dry, and cite El Niño as partially responsible. Fire Chief Carlos Gopar described the lobsters as five to six centimeters long. Local officials issued a call on Tuesday to local residents, particularly those who live in the beaches area, to assist with rescuing the lobsters and returning them to the sea. They are also known as “baby lobsters,” a gastronomic delicacy for some, so the beaches are under surveillance to ensure they are not taken for sale or consumption. – Source:...

Group of Volunteers Build 25 Houses in 2 Days from Tijuana to Ensenada

Group of Volunteers Build 25 Houses in 2 Days from Tijuana to Ensenada

May 28, 2015

ROSARITO BEACH — Cipriano Morfin-Ramos moved his wife and their two young children, soon to be three, out of their one-room, dirt-floored hut Saturday and into their new house on a concrete slab with two bedrooms, a kitchen and a bathroom. Before he did, he thanked the group of about 20 volunteers, some from as far as Canada, for spending their Memorial Day weekend building his home, which is right beside his old one. “Wherever you come from, tell them there is a family here that really values what you do,” he told the volunteers in Spanish, as the green paint was drying on the door frame of his new abode. More than 500 volunteers from across the United States and several other countries spent the weekend helping the San Diego-based nonprofit Homes of Hope celebrate its 25th anniversary by building 25 small houses for 25 Mexican families from Tijuana to Ensenada. Homes of Hope, an interdenominational faith-based charity, has built more than 5,000 houses in 19 countries since it began in 1990, said founder Sean Lambert. Most of the houses, about 4,000 of them, were built just below the border in Baja California. “We are extremely spiritual,” Lambert said. “But that’s not a qualification for getting a house.” The recipients must have a family, must own the land the house is built on, and must have a job, he said. And they must help build their own house. The structures are wired for electricity and plumbed for running water and sewers, but the utilities are not provided. Most of the owners eventually get electricity, which costs them about $350 to hook up, Lambert said, but few can afford to get running water and plumbing. Homes of Hope helps the “poorest of the poor,” he said. The organization works to make people self-sufficient and takes time to find families who need a hand, not a handout. “You have to have the right giving formula,” Lambert said. “If you don’t have the right giving formula, you end up hurting people.” Apparently, the formula works, he said, because a survey of 400 homes the group built shows more than 90 percent are still owned and occupied...

Deadly Tornado struck Ciudad Acuña, Coahuila, Northern Mexico

Deadly Tornado struck Ciudad Acuña, Coahuila, Northern Mexico

May 27, 2015

Nine people have been confirmed dead after a Category 4 tornado swept through three neighborhoods in the northern Coahuila city of Ciudad Acuña the morning of Monday May 25th, 2015. “Some 1,500 homes have been left uninhabitable“, said Mayor Lenin Pérez. “Most damaged neighborhoods were Santa Rosa, Altos Santa Teresa and Las Aves“, said Civil Protection officials. “The storm began around 5:30 and continued for about 20 minutes but the tornado itself lasted just six seconds“, the mayor said. “Vehicles were lifted from the ground and flung on to the roofs of houses“. “The Altos de Santa Teresa area saw the worst part after the tornado passed through in a straight line, causing destruction in four city blocks“, said Government Secretary Víctor Zamora Rodríguez. Today, Tuesday May 26th, Civil Protection authorities in Ciudad Acuña have confirmed that 13 people died, 300 were injured and one child is missing after a yesterday’s tornado. A census is under way today to determine how many homes were damaged: the most recent count is that 247 were completely destroyed and 871 partially damaged. Most are located in social housing developments. Cars were picked up and flung on top of houses and at least one transit bus was flipped over. A state of emergency has been declared to provide access to money through the emergency fund, Fonden. The storm struck about 6:00am and came with little warning. But for many a rapid increase in the intensity of the wind and hailstones the size of golf balls was warning enough to stay inside. One family of eight took refuge in a bathroom. Upon hearing the hailstorm, Luz Elena Ramírez Cigarroa’s maternal instincts kicked in and she herded her family into the bathroom after dissuading her husband from going outside to cover his truck. The tornado struck and six seconds later the truck in question had been picked up and hurled on to the roof of a neighbor’s house. Ramírez Cigarroa explained the family had moved to Acuña from Ciudad Juárez. “We came to flee the violence and now look what we found instead.”   President Peña Nieto toured the damaged areas yesterday and today, where dozens of houses could be seen missing roofs, walls...