Are you planning a diving trip to La Paz, Baja California Sur?

Are you planning a diving trip to La Paz, Baja California Sur?

Jul 20, 2017

Located about an hour and a half drive from Cabo San Lucas and serviced by the same airport is the resort destination of La Paz. La Paz faces the Sea of Cortez/ Gulf of California. It has an outstanding reputation as a resort destination and one of the best diving destinations in the Baja Peninsula. Marisla Seamount, or El Bajo is one of the dive sites that is accessed from La Paz. This site has three peaks that reach up to just 60 feet below the surface. It is considered one of the best sites in the world for hammerhead sharks. Hammerheads are frequently seen on this site and have only been sited swimming clockwise around the seamounts. Amber jacks and tuna are some of the large marine life found here. Los Islotes is also close to La Paz. The waters around these islands are teeming with sardines. Over 200 California sea lions make the islands their home attracted by that delicious food the sardines are to them. Sea lions are very playful and will frequently check out the divers to see what’s up. The waters of La Paz is also a seasonal destination for whale sharks and some whales. Whale shark snorkeling trips are available as are whale sighting cruises. Divers often come across them while diving at the peak season. Socorro IslandsBy Hobe / Holger Behr (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia ...

Jacques Cousteau called the Sea of Cortez “the world’s aquarium”

Jacques Cousteau called the Sea of Cortez “the world’s aquarium”

Jul 9, 2017

The Sea of Cortez has an almost legendary status among divers and marine naturalists. John Steinbeck wrote a book about his voyage here aboard a scientific collecting expedition in 1940, and Jacques Cousteau famously called it “the world’s aquarium”. The 60,000-square-mile gulf is divided between a temperate zone (north of La Paz, the state capital of Baja California Sur) and a warm-water “Panamic” zone (southward to Cabo San Lucas, a resort city on the peninsula’s tip). The confrontation and subtle mixing of these two ecosystems partly accounts for its richness: some 900 fish species and 32 types of marine mammal gather to feed and breed here. Massive blooms of plankton mean that even elusive blue whales are seen here, along with the gnarled humpbacks and grey whales that sound and breach in the bay, to the delight of whale-watching parties. This rich sea is in stark contrast to the forbidding desert at its edge. Driving north from the tourist hub of Cabo San Lucas, you enter a new world: giant cardon cactuses stretch to the horizon where the mountains, the Cordillera del Pacifico, cast a great blue shadow in the midday heat. Click here for full article on Telegraph UK...

San Diego family lives harrowing hiking experience on Baja’s Highest Peak

San Diego family lives harrowing hiking experience on Baja’s Highest Peak

Jul 8, 2017

Rescue workers on Wednesday July 5 reached three hikers from San Diego County who have been stranded on mountainous terrain in Baja California’s Sierra San Pedro Martir National Park. Alpine resident Morgan Fox, 61, and his daughters Claire, 25, and Maura, 20, had entered the park on June 20. Their plan was to scale the peak known as Picacho del Diablo last Friday and return to their vehicle the day after. The 10,157-foot peak is the highest on the Baja California peninsula. The search for the three hikers was launched Monday afternoon after they didn’t return to their car. According to a statement posted on the Baja California Civil Protection office’s Facebook page, the father is an experienced hiker while the daughters aren’t. The three were spotted at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday by a Mexican navy helicopter, but high winds prevented the initial rescue effort. Antonio Rosquillas, the head of civil protection for Baja California, said Wednesday morning that heavy fog was delaying a renewed attempt, but that the rescue helicopter was in San Quintin, preparing to take off as soon as conditions permitted. A statement subsequently posted on the office’s Facebook page said the updated plan was to have the three Americans hike their way to safety, with support from the rescue workers. The daughters are in good shape, the statement said, while the father, who suffers from diabetes, “feels a little weak,” it said. The evacuation will follow the route taken by the rescuers who reached them, the statement said, as the steep terrain “is not adequate for landing or airborne rescue operations.” Officials also said “all indications are that it will be successful,” but involve a hike of eight hours or more. On Wednesday evening, an updated report from civil protection authorities said that the victims were in good condition, and that they would be hiking out early Thursday morning to reach their vehicles. David Larson, a family friend, said the Fox household does a lot of hiking. He and Morgan Fox joined a group four years ago that climbed Picacho peak, Larson said. “It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.” Source: San Diego Union...

Boat caught on tape illegally fishing in Cabo Pulmo BCS

Boat caught on tape illegally fishing in Cabo Pulmo BCS

Jul 2, 2017

Sport fishing employees denounced stealth fishermen on a tuna boat tending their nets in the protected natural area of Cabo Pulmo Park, Baja California Sur. The scene was recorded as evidence of the illicit, and according to the complainants, they were intimidated by this illegal fishermen surrounding their boat with speedboats. The video was displayed before public opinion, as the local fishermen stated that the authorities have totally ignored the complaints filed. For his part, the subdelegate of the National Commission of Aquaculture and Fisheries (Conapesca) in the state, Francisco Rubén Baiza Serrano, says that they will follow up on this complaint, with the corresponding surveillance operations in the area....

Renowned Mexican ecologist says native crops hold key to food security

Renowned Mexican ecologist says native crops hold key to food security

Jun 29, 2017

TEPIC, Mexico — Mexico’s ancient civilizations cultivated crops such as maize, tomatoes and chilies for thousands of years before the Spanish conquerors arrived — and now those native plants could hold the key to sustainable food production as climate change bites, a leading ecologist told Thomson Reuters Foundation. PHOTO: mexiconewsnetwork.com José Sarukhán Kermez, who helped set up Mexico’s pioneering National Commission for the Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity (CONABIO), said that analyzing the genetic variability of traditional crops, and supporting the family farmers who grow most of the world’s food offered an alternative to industrial agriculture. “We don’t need to manipulate hugely the genetic characteristics of these (crops)… because that biodiversity is there – you have to just select and use it with the knowledge of the people who have been doing that for thousands of years,” said Sarukhán, CONABIO’s national coordinator, in a telephone interview. The emeritus professor and former rector of the National University of Mexico (UNAM) recently won the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, often referred to as a “Nobel for the Environment”. Making use of the knowledge held by indigenous groups is “absolutely essential”, Sarukhán told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. That requires working with a wide range of people, from local cooks to small-scale farmers, especially in states like Oaxaca and Chiapas in the south of Mexico where indigenous farmers have a strong traditional culture, he said. “They haven’t gone to university, and they don’t have a degree – but they damn well know how to do these things,” he said. For example, they discover and incorporate new knowledge as they exchange seeds with peers from different areas. Click here to read complete article. Source: Thomson Reuters...

Mexican scientists claim red octopus’ saliva could cure Alzheimer’s

Mexican scientists claim red octopus’ saliva could cure Alzheimer’s

Jan 6, 2017

The red octopus’ saliva is a potential substance that would contain agents against Alzheimer’s disease, and its chemical components could contribute to the understanding of this condition’s mechanism. “However, a lot of research is still to be done,” Sergio Rodríguez, head of the UNAM’s Faculty of Chemistry, Sisal unit, in Yucatán, said in a statement. According to the research carried out by Rodríguez’s team at the Sisal unit, it was discovered that the saliva of the red Yucatecan octopus contains a “cocktail” of polypeptides, proteins, free amino acids, enzymes, ions and carbohydrates representing two primordial phases, during the feeding process of this animal. “These phases are divided into metabolic and neurotoxic. The results obtained in the laboratory revealed that the neurotoxic effect is produced by tiny molecules, and when we injected only this part of the venom, we noticed that the prey is paralyzed for two hours and then returned to normal, without other side effects,” Rodriguez said. “In this sense, when the venom of this cephalopod was submitted to several tests, it was proved that its metabolic compounds contribute to pre-digestion, in addition to proteases – enzymes that break down proteins – kill the prey and within 20 minutes, transforming the Fibrous flesh in an easy-to-ingest gel,” he continued. Based on these results, researchers at the UNAM consider that these enzymes could serve industrial purposes, such as meat softeners or detergents. The Chemistry unit at Sisal is the only faculty that is in charge of studying the possible applications of the red octopus’ saliva, and they have discovered it can be used in diverse fields. Finally, Sergio Rodríguez stated that studies are being conducted at the Sisal unit, on aquaculture — a set of techniques and knowledge related to the cultivation of aquatic species — and biotechnology — the employment of living cells to obtain and improve useful products such as food and medicines....