Saturday, July 31, 2010

Picnic no.27

This is one of the nicest times of the day, it starts to cool down and the girls are occupied on the step fighting over their food. Soon the sky will turn pink, the kids will go to bed, and at last it will be time to relax, ahhh.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Game fishing on the Sea of Cortez

They call it ‘the big fish trap’ because it has the highest concentration of game fish in the world. Having been here for nearly a month we thought we'd do as the Americans do, we hired a fisherman and went in pursuit of some cheesy photos of 'me and my big fish'.

You start by fishing for squid which you then cut up and use for bait.

You also visit smaller Mexican fishing boats to buy live sardines which you keep in a tank on board and use to fish for Tuna.

The Tuna when we found them were amazing – absolutely incredible fish and fought like Atlantic salmon. We lost a few and broke a line but still managed to haul in about 14 decent sized (10-20lbs. whilst we were out someone got a 200 lb).

We then went looking for marlin, the king of game fish. We sighted a couple close to the boat which made for some exciting manouvers although in vain. However we did see amazing flying fish, a giant turtle, a shoal of 50 jumping mantas and a school of dolphins so a fabulous day.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Moon rise over El Cardonel

A stunning dusk view from our house as the full moon rises

Our day out at the Rodeo

We told Mathilda all morning that she would see lots of horses in the afternoon, she was super excited. We got to Santiago, about an hours drive away just in time to see them packing up. We tried explaining to Mathilda that we had screwed up but she just kept repeating, I wan see horsees, all the way home.

So we stopped for an ice cream.

my gorgeous girl

just look at her!! incredible.

J's Birthday dinner

We chanced upon this hotel - Los Pescadores, on the outskirts of Los Barriles last week and spontaneously booked dinner here which was a complete result. Its been open for a year and is unlike anything else around; boutique vibe with lots of attention to detail. The people that run it, Paddy and Sean are fabulous hosts and the evening was very special. We started with a quick dip in their pool before sitting down to a beautifully dressed table with lanterns flowers and tea lights. Behind us the bar, beyond us the desert.

They served Maco shark with a mango salsa which was fabulous, and quite the best thing we have eaten since leaving London.

A cake arrived after dinner, heralded by a choir of some of the guests.

Our first night on the booze since our detox !

Sasha, Emma, this is a great base for a shoot - Mexicos best kept secret.


We have a friendly lizard that sits on the flag pole on the lower terrace. It gets out there about 10am, and one of us will say 'lizards out'. Around lunchtime it goes inside the tube for an afternoon sauna, and one of us will say 'lizards gone'. I no longer wear a watch ...

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Clover has a new tooth

A lovely big top tooth, and she cleverly delivered it on my birthday. All the better for eating bugs off the floor with...

A family portrait

Mathilda has chosen this (least lovely) spot outside the back door as her special picnic place. I think the step is just her size, and its in the shade. We all ended up out there and managed a rare (kinda funny) group shot.

The sea that delivered (a long story but a good story)

This morning I woke up early, too hot to sleep, had tried to manoeuvre into the bottom metre of bed where the slightly cooler air from the ceiling fan hits, but it wasnt very comfortable. The bay was calm and looking promising. I saw Urmas on the early morning water as we always do, told him I was determined to see a flying manta ray today as its my birthday and the sea owed me. Urmas said I needed to go a lot further out, beyond the fisherman in a boat on the horizon, be still and listen for the oomba (or something). I thought the whale whisperer would know, so I followed his advice. I paddled and paddled, past the fisherman who waved, straight into the nothingness, the water glassy, it was like gliding through air. A turtle swam around me, popped its head up, got a shock at how close I was, took a quick gasp and dived. That was cool and I thought perhaps the turtle was my birthday present and I tried to be satisfied. But I really wanted a manta (spoilt brat). I paddled further still, and stopped, and listened to the silence. I started to hear little watery pattery noises every now and then. I wondered if that was the oomba. I could see slight ripples and bubbles around me, spooky, the water out there is like ink. I was getting a tiny bit nervous. A long way from land, in a little plastic boat wearing next to nothing. Didnt Steve thingy die by manta? What if one lands on the kayak? I waited. Then I saw lots of fins making a commotion not far away, it looked exactly like sharks attacking something, I thought SHIT but remembered Nick saying he thought the same thing, that is what the groups of manta's look like. So I tentatively paddled quietly towards it. Soon I heard the loud SLAP of a manta landing on the water and I knew I was going to see my manta today! But hearing them is much easier than seeing them. I waited and watched, my eyes flicking all around with every little sound. Come on manta, jump, jump.. Finally I was rewarded. It flew into the air about 2 metres, right in front of me, it looked exactly like the photo on the wildlife blog, beautiful. They are big! and they jump so high. Seeing one makes you want to see another one, maybe you could get a little bit closer... I saw 3 in the end, and thought I'd better call it a day. I'd been out there for hours, being lured further and further out to sea by the dancing mantas. So I turned reluctantly to go home, had been paddling for about 5 minutes when I saw a big fin pop up about 50 metres ahead. I thought that is definately NOT a manta, and my heart skipped a beat. Then a few more fins rose on the backs of some breaching dolphins, phew, and amazing! They disappeared, and I paddled quickly to try and intercept their path. Suddenly they were breaching again, they had turned to come directly in a straight line towards me, about 10m away. My heart was in my mouth, I sat stock still, a little bit terrified (again). I thought stupidly they're going to tip me out! But they glided past me, about 1 metre from my boat, I could almost have touched them. The were INCREDIBLE. Blowing, big in-breaths then big deep sighs as they went down, like yoga breaths, almost human, an amazing sound, and so close. I have never seen or heard anything like it. I had to sit in silent reverence for a while after. Then I had to paddle all the way home, a rather long way I came to realise, and I collapsed on the beach, my arms like jelly, a very grateful birthday girl. A turtle, some mantas and some dolphins, thank you big scarey ocean, that was a magic morning.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Our friend Urmas

We have made a friend, he's an old guy from California who lives down the road in a cool Airstream caravan. He's 70 but you'd never guess it. A biologist who loves the sea, he's a whale expert, and knows everything there is to know about the fish around here (and the people). He's been coming here for 20 years, and lived here for 2. He kayaks out two miles offshore in the whale season and observes and photographs them. He's a lovely interesting old hippie, his caravan is super cool and he is a good example of a man at peace with himself. He's got some amazing stories of swimming with whales, was one of the first men in California to be granted custody of his children (was a single dad), has had 3 wives, talks to the serpent people and paints rocks. We got on very well. He is making us tuna sashimi for dinner on Saturday night, and taking us to the Mexican Rodeo on Sunday, cant wait for that. Mathilda was pretty comfortable there, she took all her clothes off and wee'd in his garden.

check out his blog at

Amazing wildlife

Today we chased a real live roadrunner down a dirt road in our wylie coyote tin car, it eventually outwitted us.

Yesterday we found this sad little scorpion in our bathroom - it was stuck in the shagpile rug so we caught it (the second one in the house so far). Apparently they come out as it gets hotter so we can look forward to some more.

Most amazing sighting so far was by Nick whilst out kayaking - a group of manta rays (10-15) jumping out of the water around him, incredible. No one knows why they jump. I have been going out every day on a mission to find them but they have never showed up again (but I have seen thousands of lovely fish, many leaping into the air, including a baby swordfish).
Also seen by the adventurer - a tarantula whilst hiking in the Guanajuato hills, saucer size, it was ambling slowly across his path and he nearly landed on it. Couldnt bring myself to put the picture up.

The birdlife is gorgeous, little bright red ones, little bright yellow ones, doves, hummingbirds, birds of prey, big prehistoric looking pelicans that hang around the beach all day in front of the house. And theres lots of dolphins. And huge black butterflies, and bats, and wild horses, and meandering cows, the most beautiful cows I've ever seen. And lizards! so many lizards. and ants, even more ants.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Truck Envy

This ancient dusty land requires an ancient dusty truck. Mexico and Baja in particluar is where the coolest beat up old trucks can be found. The truck maketh the man. The bigger the better. We feel pretty feeble in our little tin hire car (although its also a bit beat up now which definately helps).

Monday, July 19, 2010

How to fill time in the hot mexican sun with two kids

A bit of lying in the hammock (mathilda pretty sad here, she had just sprayed our most hardcore sports sunscreen in her eye, that was a BIG drama, and she was an emotional wreck for the rest of the day).

A bit of exploring (not for long, too hot)

A bit of human sandcastle

A bit of playing in the neighbours beach hut

A bit of 'runny really fast' (had to take a picture, its the only time we've managed to get mathilda to wear her uv swimsuit)

A few picnics

A lot of swimming

A bit of contemplating (Mathilda in her Mexican dress, new current favourite)

A lot of eating. The kids are living on avocados, tomatoes and eggs, which they love. Nick and I are living on tacos from the taco stand at the end of our driveway, the best in Baja! an entire separate blog entry required.

A bit of yoga. Nick and I have alternate mornings off, when its my morning off i do yoga, swim then a walk on the beach. When its nicks morning off he goes fishing or for a run, or this morning he went hiking up a mountain, on the hottest day so far, in his jeans and cowboy boots (to ward off snakes). LUNACY i said to the girls at breakfast. He returned shortly after having bushwacked for about an hour, saying he realised he might die. The heat was too much. He then fell asleep on the sunlounger for a long time (very odd).

Now its very late, everyone is asleep and there is some kind of animal trying to get into the house, maybe its whatever has been eating our avocados at night. a bat? or a rabid jackal.. so its time for bed. more exciting updates tomorrow...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Thank goodness for water and plastic

Daily activities...

Mathilda relaxes after a hard day.

a little fish

Apparently the waters around here are the best in the world for fishing. When you go out in a kayak you see so many, the water seems to be teaming with fish, and its so clear you can almost always see to the bottom. There is always fish leaping out of the water that we can see from the house. On our first day a pod of acrobatic dolphins cruised past. So Nick got himself a line and a little sinker and some squid, and went kayak fishing this morning. He caught this...

We just ate it for supper. Two mouthfuls each, delicious.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

specially for suse

Mathilda says thank you susseee for the dress, its her favourite, she has worn it nearly every day, she loves the pockets, they are always full of little secrets.. xx

a bad car day

Yesterday on our trip to La Paz for supplies, we wrecked the uninsured hire car and had to bribe a policeman, twice. Cant mention the damaged car, except to say no one was hurt. The police stopped us for various imaginery transgressions and we thought we'd done okay negotiating down to $600pesos each time. I've since found out the going rate to make a policeman go away is $200 so we were ripped off. An expensive day. I did get a good shot of this cool building with trees growing through it though. And i found a potty - the highlight (and mathilda almost wee'd in it today, she tried, and missed, then slipped over in the puddle).

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


After yet another flight, Mathilda hyper with tiredness after staying up till midnight the night before (she quickly sussed the non-english speaking babysitter could be taken advantage of), and TWO HOURS to hire a car - mexican Thrifty carhire office from hell (did their best to rip us off and almost got away with it but after 2 hours i think we won, or kind of drew) (and somehow the girls managed to hold it together all this time without one meltdown), and then 2 hours of driving dodgy desserty roads (small meltdown at this point), we finally made it to our home for the next month...

The house - 2.5 acres of absolute beach frontage (for any real estate agents out there).
Girls bath in the foreground.

The front garden
The pool and spa terrace! (there are many).

The front of the house - all rickety bifolding windows

Clover is happy.

Mathilda is ecstatic.
Refusing to wear any clothes or swimsuits.

We have been in the pool all day. Its the perfect temperature. And the outdoor spa is naturally bath temp so they girls have their bath in there at night. The house is quirky, an old farm house thats been added on to, thankfully not one of the ugly new monstrosities the americans are all building around here. Its rustic and rusty and perfect. Although there is an abandoned big old fish tank in the kitchen (go figure, there is also 9 frying pans and only one pot), with a strange creature hiding out in it. Creepy - like a big spider but white and moves too fast to get a good look, not a scorpion. Most frightening is that today its not in there anymore. When we got here last night it was a bit dark, we were exhausted, and got a bit jittery with all the foreign creepy crawlies (not helped by Nicks encounter with a large tarantula on his last jogging expedition).

The weather is incredible, just on the cusp of being too hot. All around us is sand, and water, and beautiful birds. Its like being in the dessert, by the sea, and with mountains in the background. We are so relieved to finally be at the beach, after so much city. Its more beautiful here than I had hoped it would be. We just wish some of our mates could come and stay, we have so much space - 2 big detached guest rooms with ensuites. Anyone?

Better than the Sistine Chapel

We only had one day in Guadalajara, it was just a stopover to catch a flight to Cabo, but we loved it, a big city, very mexican. And I finally got to see an Orozco mural. I have waited about 17 years to see one of these, and I was not disappointed. Even Nick was impressed. Unfortunately it was almost impossible to photograph, cant get the sense of scale, but it was so beautiful, and brilliant, in the immaculate University of Guadalajara.

The university old building, the mural is in the domed room
in the middle - can just see the roof.

The domed ceiling, 3 stories up.

My favourite figure, this is huge.