A Hike on a Foggy Morning/El Faro Dentro de la Niebla

I’ve told you before about the wonderful lighthouse we have here in Mazatlán. We hike it once or twice a week, and we so enjoy the families, young couples, exercise groups, and elderly people, too, who make the climb up one of the ways they stay healthy. It’s a gorgeous view, and a terrific group of young Mazatlecos has been working hard to keep the area clean and maintained. I’ve heard the lighthouse is owned by API, the port authority. If so, Mis Estimados Señores del API, sure would be a wonderful community service for you to invest a bit of money in making this a better tourist attraction and community gathering area….. It’s so beautiful, it wouldn’t cost much… Just an idea 🙂

Anyway, yesterday morning was pretty foggy here. As we made our way down the malecón toward the faro there were lots of oyster divers and panga fishermen out, despite the foggy conditions. We are so spoiled here with clear, sunny weather, that seeing a bit of fog once in a while seems so absolutely gorgeous!

We wondered as we approached the lighthouse hill if we would be able to see anything as we made our climb. It sure did seem to be heavy fog.

The harbor had more boats than usual, it seemed. We guessed that perhaps people had brought their boats out in preparation for Semana Santa.

As we started our climb it seemed we weren’t going to be able to see much of anything. It was pretty cool, sort of like walking in a spook house. In the photo at left, we SHOULD be seeing, or are used to seeing, all of Isla de la Piedra/Stone Island. Not today!

The cacti and vegetation, which are so gorgeous this time of year, were shrouded in veils of fog, making for a very mysterious feeling. There were way more hikers, bikers and runners on the trail than is normal, however. Again, we guessed that people are getting in a holiday mood.

As we reached the top of the lighthouse hill the fog had moved a bit. We couldn’t see much of anything of the city, but the teeny-top of the hill on Stone Island that I showed you above, much more of it was now visible. Kind of a nice change of pace to have changing scenery, when we’re spoiled with consistently perfect views…

Despite the fact that the view from the top was still foggy, the weather at the top was very clear and bright. I took a shot up, through a tree. You can see there was no fog whatsoever up high.

And one of the lighthouse’s many resident iguanas was more than happy to sun himself, more than ready for the R&R and hopefully increased sales that Semana Santa will bring for our local economy.

High Tides/High Sands

 

The last 2-3 weeks have seen tides higher than we’ve seen in a long time here. Often this time of year the waves splash up over the seawall near Valentino’s, sometimes even onto Avenida del Mar. But this year, the waves have even been splashing onto the Avenida in Olas Altas.

Last Thursday we were taking our morning walk and we had to turn back because we were getting sand blasted. We’ve noticed the last week or so that there are 2-3 inches of sand all along the malecón in various places, as well as onto the street.

The surfers are of course happy with these waves, as are the body boarders. Though the waves are too high for some. The fishermen have not generally been pleased. The waves have overturned quite a few of the pangas, and the port as well as the beaches have been closed a few times due to the high seas. The fishermen have had to put their pangas up on the malecón several times for safe keeping. Shrimp season this year is predicted to be fantastic, thanks to all the high seas plus the rain.

Today we bicycled down to the Pedro Infante statue. We were, gratefully, splashed by waves a few times as we rode. What was most remarkable, however, is that the beach is AT LEAST ONE METER HIGHER than it normally is! There are places where you can now almost walk from the malecón onto the beach. There are numerous palapas into which the waves are now entering freely. The few palapas that have laid concrete flooring, that are normally a foot or two above sea level, they now have sand for flooring. La Corriente and other palapas near the Hotel De Cima have had to bring in bulldozers to dig their spaces and furniture out from under the sand.

In the photo at left, note that the round table is normally about one meter ABOVE the sand. The lower part of this palapa, normally, is well above head height. Not this week!

In this next photo, please note that the sign normally has a pole that keeps it a couple of feet/half meter or so ABOVE the sand.

And all this, with no hurricane, and with no real horrific storm. It’s eerie.

In addition to all the high seas, of course, we have had heavy rains. It is rainy season. Saturday a week ago we received in one day one-third of the rain we normally get in one year! Nine inches poured down in seven hours. Thousands if not tens of thousands of homes have been flooded repeatedly, and most of those families have lost all their furniture. It rained high in the Sierras as well, and as the rivers brought all that rain down to the sea, the rivers carried in them tree trunks, dead cows and pigs, silt, sediment, and trash of every sort. The tides were just right that the rivers washed it all out to sea, and then the waves came in and washed it all up to the beach. Everyone has spent the last two weeks cleaning up wood and other items from the beaches. It’s been a remarkable, community-wide effort.

 

Sky on Fire – Time Lapse

 

29 January 2011, photos taken from our terrace

5:42:12 pm
5:42:43 pm
5:43:39 pm (note the yate fiesta/party boat)
5:44:05 pm (note the yate fiesta/party boat)
5:51:38 pm
5:53:32 pm (clouds moving quickly though there is no wind)
5:54:21 pm
5:54:51 pm
5:55:34 pm (almost set)
5:55:52 pm
5:56:07 pm
5:56:26 pm
5:56:40 pm (and set)
5:56:52 pm
5:57:45 pm
5:57:54 pm
5:58:22 pm
5:58:42 pm
5:59:40 pm (we feel the best is usually after the sunset…)
6:00:42 pm
6:02:18 pm
6:02:30 pm

6:02:48 pm

6:03:47 pm
6:04:01 pm
6:04:14 pm
6:05:06 pm

 

Las Temporadas de Mazatlán/Seasons of the Year, Updated

 

  • Season of the Curved Tides (January-February): The ocean waves come in with scalloped edges, leaving the sand on the beach with ripples. It’s beautiful! (See the photo above for an idea.)

  • La Temporada de la Neblina, Fog Season (February or anytime as late as May): Starting around Carnavál and continuing for a few weeks, the cold ocean air meets the warm land and….our building disappears, as does Ice Box Hill and many other landmarks, for a good portion of the morning.

 

 

IMG_2985

  • Season of the Crying Screens, in May-June, after the heat of summer begins and before the rains start. We get condensation of salty ocean air on our window screens.
  • La Temporada de los Candidatas, the season of the PARADES!!! (May): Two kinds of candidates: political and royal. The royals are the fun ones—girls (and sometimes boys) from all over the metro area, who want to be queen or king of their school. They walk the malecón, the plazuela, and the Golden Zone collecting donations, usually accompanied by their court if they’re teenagers, and by their families if they’re primary school kids. When the little girls wear nice dresses, boy then am I a supporter of their cause! Parades of course accompany the campaigns of both kinds of candidates. Parades include multiple live bands (not marching but riding), cool cars, loads of balloons, horn honking, and sometimes fireworks. The political campaigns include the standard posters, bumper stickers, t-shirts, etc., and their parades, unfortunately, include the loudspeaker campaign speeches.

  • Season of the Panzas–or Panzones! (July-October): If you are walking the malecon, walking to the market, or basically just standing outside, beware of the bare bellies! Men of all shapes and sizes seem to quite enjoy the air conditioning they achieve by rolling up their shirts and exposing their mid-sections. Unfortunately, six pack abs are few and far between! This is also the season to carry a wash cloth or small towel–sweat rag season. A handkerchief will NOT be sufficient. 🙂
  • Septi-Hambre, Hungry September: The month when those who serve the tourist trade complain because there are neither national nor international tourists around.
  • La Temporada de Venezia, The Season of Venice (August and September): This is when you need a gondola to get your son to school, or to go grocery shopping. MUST wear waterproof shoes and shorts, as streets are flooded at least 1/2 meter deep and more in places.
  • Necklace on the Bay Season (September or October through April or so): Open season on shrimp! US$4/kilo and even cheaper, higher for the really giant ones. You can get shrimp any time of year, but the legal shrimping season is now, so you can get fresh not frozen shrimp now. Mmmm. Our fleet is the biggest in Latin America. Opening day of the “veda” is one of my favorites. The shrimp boats all leave port, and in the darkness of night you see the lighted boats forming a beautiful necklace around the bay. Very difficult to capture on film, but incredibly beautiful and, from our experience, it only happens once a year. Don’t miss it! Opening day of the season….

This is the sixth update to this post. I’ll keep updating this post as I learn more.