Saturday, April 25, 2009

Villages by the Sea

All along the shores of the Sea of Cortez, there are fishermen working out of camps on shore, minimal shelter to clean and pack their catch and give them a place to cook for themselves and sleep. But in the stretch of islands and bays between LaPaz and Loreto, there are a number of year round villages where families live permanently. Many - like the little settlement called Nopolo shown above - can only be reached by boat. I am fascinated by the life style, by their arrangements for getting the basic things they need, but most of all by the way the small concentrations of man built structures cling to the rocks, and are dwarfed by the surrounding mountains.

Maybe the most dramatic of these villages is on Coyote Island, an abrupt rock wedge of less than an acre. Is the unlikeliest place imaginable for a village. It is eight miles from the nearest settlement, and many hours from the nearest paved road, but in the midst of wonderful fishing grounds. A few dozen people live here year round. When we kayaked to Coyote Island a few days ago, men and women were cleaning fish on the beach, and up the hill another woman was cooking the local dish called Machaca from freshly caught Manta Ray.

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