Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Endangered Vaquita Porpoise in the Sea of Cortez

Vaquita mother & calf. Artist: Raziel Levi Mendez Moreno

The seldom-seen Vaquita is a small porpoise (similar to a dolphin) that lives only in the northern reaches of the Gulf of California between the states of Baja California and Sonora below the Colorado River delta. Unfortunately, a rare Sea of Cortez fish called the Totuava swims in that same region. The Chinese value the bladder of Totuava in the thousands of dollars making fishing very profitable for the fisherman of the area. The problem is it's illegal to catch Totuava so it's done clandestinely. The same nets used to illegally catch this fish are killing off the Vaquita as a by-product.

The Mexican government has banned gill nets in the northern region of the Gulf of California. The Mexican Navy is now patrolling the region plus other organizations such as Sea Shepard have stepped in as a last ditch effort to save the marine mammal from extinction. They believe there are less than 60 left in the world.

The good news is the plight of the Vaquita, which means "little cow" in Spanish, has spread rapidly across both social and regular media (#SaveTheVaquita). And possibly with the outpouring of support, this magnificent creature may be saved. Please take a look at the links and articles below for more information and to possibly help the cause.

We've put together a list of articles, websites, videos and organizations

- Basic Facts about the Vaquita from Defenders of Wildlife

- The Last Vaquitas segment on 60 Minutes

- The time is now: Solutions for lasting change in Upper Gulf of California - ¡VIVA Vaquita! is a coalition of like-minded scientists, educators, and conservationists, who strive to increase the attention given to the vaquita, the World's most endangered marine mammal species. Our goals and mission are to generate awareness of the vaquita and to promote a healthy Upper Gulf of California ecosystem. We conduct research, public awareness and education activities to bring this about. Ultimately, we aim to help save the vaquita from extinction, and to do so in a way that also provides long-term benefits to the fisherman and other residents who live around the Gulf of California, Mexico. - Souls of the Vermilion Sea is a feature length documentary about the struggle to save the world’s most endangered marine mammal, the vaquita.  Searching for the Vaquita is the first short film in an ongoing series about this small species of porpoise, focusing on the Vaquita Survey Mission that took place in the Fall of 2015.  See what life was like on board the vaquita survey vessel, Ocean Starr, and hear about the struggle to save this species from top vaquita experts as well as local fisherman. - I’m Aidan Bodeo-Lomicky, a 16-year-old boy living in Greenville, South Carolina. I play tennis about 15 hours a week, but when I’m not, I’m either birding, making music, drawing and painting, or working on marine mammal conservation, (oh yeah, and school). A few years ago, I stumbled upon the vaquita, a tiny endangered porpoise. I was heartbroken when I read its story, so I decided to start this blog, along with many other efforts to help this species. V-log (pronounced VEE-log) started as a website where I posted updates, artwork, facts, and poetry about the vaquita weekly, and had other pages to help inform you about the vaquita and its helpers. It has grown tremendously and become a primary source for vaquita news and information about our conservation initiatives. I hope I will help save a species in need. - Vaquita Endangered Porpoise is a science documentary project exploring the decline of the critically endangered vaquita porpoise. We explore solutions for the species and local communities in the Upper Gulf of California, Mexico.

Friday, May 1, 2015

The craziest volleyball tournament/party in the world!

Part Beach Volleyball Tourney/Part Mexican Fiesta!

Just south of the US/Mexico border at San Diego, you'll find the beachside town of Rosarito Beach. And on the sands of the beach, Mexico International Volleyball puts on a two-day volleyball tourney every June. In fact, this will be their 40th year.

The tournament was previously called Estero Volleyball Tourney, due to the fact that it was held just south of Ensenada at Estero Beach for the majority of years. Even though the tourney is now in Rosarito Beach, many still call it Estero or Esterito.

Many people sign up and play in this weighted-draw tourney, but there are many who come down with friends just to party and relax. Among the highlights, besides volleyball, is the Saturday party at Papas and Beer beach club. After playing all day Saturday, the music and drinks at this bar is a welcomed way to blow off some steam. In fact, for those players who make it to Sunday's playoffs, getting through Saturday night (and the flowing drinks) is part of the process.

On Sunday, with more than half the players out of the running for the finals, the party continues. Tacos, beers, margaritas, tequila shots on the beach. Friends gather and follow their friends who are still in it from court to court until you get down to the semi-finals on the main court.

The semi-finals and finals take on a different vibe. The courts get crowded with spectators within feet of the court. Drinks are flowing and the crowd is getting loose. The peanut gallery is in full force with everyone one-upping each other on heckling. Make a mistake and expect to see a tequila bottle fly on the sand court. If the players don't drink it, the crowd will let them have it. Eventually we have women and men's champions who are exhausted, elated and a little drunk. And that's how you throw a volleyball tourney/party.

Should you dare go (why wouldn't you?), be prepared for a couple crazy days of beach volleyball, friends, sun, sand, parties and of course tequila.

There's some serious volleyball being played

Friends gather, drinks flow and volleyball is played

What's better than a day of volleyball on the beach?

As the day goes, so do the hi-jinx

The courts are in front of Papas and Beer where the famous Saturday night party is held

Rosarito Beach, Baja

Traditional tequila shots during finals play

Tequila, beer and beach volleyball. Doesn't get any better.

The finals on Sunday

Adios Amigos! See you next year.

Rosarito Beach Hotel & Spa just south of the tournament has ocean view rooms including a new 17 story tower. US Tel: 1-866-Rosarito

Tacos! Try El Yaqui tacos for their famous Perrones. The line is worth the wait. It's one block east of Rosarito's main street from Festival Plaza Hotel.

Don't drive in Mexico without car insurance. We used Baja Bound Insurance Services. Easy to buy/print online at

Information/Photos: Ted Donovan

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

American Football in Rosarito & Baja

Did you know Football Americano (American-style football) is being played by high school kids in Baja California? We didn't. When we received a press release from Rosarito coach Mike Robles, we were curious. So we sent him a couple questions to be answered and asked for some photos. Looks exciting and we are sure they would love to see you at a game this fall.

BajaVisitor: American football in Baja? How did this come about?

Coach Robles: There have been teams in Baja and throughout Mexico for many years. For the past 4 years I have been collecting, importing and distributing donated equipment for Baja players. So Cal supporters with donations include the Chargers, seven universities, a dozen high schools.

BajaVisitor: Coach Robles, can you give us a little background on yourself and how you ended up in Rosarito? 

Coach Robles: I played high school (Wilson Los Angeles, a national power) and college football, Claremont McKenna. I coached high school and college football and baseball for 30 plus years in So Cal, head coach and assistant roles. I was teaching and coaching the previous 3 years in Ensenada (UABC and CETYS).

With the collapse of the highway connecting my home in Bajamar to Ensenada, I decided to look for who I could help in Rosarito. My wife, Kate, and I have owned in Bajamar for 12 years and have lived here full time the past 4 years.

BajaVisitor: Are the rules the same as in the U.S.? How many teams play in Baja and how many games will you play in a season?

Coach Robles:  The rules are the same as USA. In Baja there are over 30 high school, 8 college, and numerous youth teams that play American football. A few compete with teams in So Cal. Teams play about 10 games each season.

BajaVisitor: How do we find more information on the team? Where/when do they play? Is there a website?

Coach Robles: The players are from COBACH Primer Ayuntamiento High School Playas de Rosarito. The COBACH system (38 high schools in Baja - 2 in Rosarito) is simular to So Cal Magnet Schools providing for the top public school students in Baja. We have 40 players, ages 15-18, only 5 have ever played American Football.

Our first game is Sept 6, 1PM, Rosarito, Government Sports Complex Stadium (one mile north of Walmart, next to COBACH).

There is a COBACH website:

BajaVisitor: Any final thoughts you'd like to pass along?

Coach Robles: We are blessed to have 5 assistant coaches - we are all volunteers - 2 retired Americans who coached football in USA, 1 Mexican vetenarian who played professional soccer in Guadalajara, 1 American working in Rosarito (photographer) who played college football in USA, and one Mexican Dad who played football in USA.

Baja leaders have been helpful with importation of donations- Nicolas Saad/Owner of San Nicholas Hotel, Ensenada and Baja icon, Mariano Escobedo/Director of Baja International Relations, Oscar Escobedo/Director of Baja Tourism, Linda Casillas/Director DIF Rosarito.

Editor's Note: Coach Robles' team (COBACH Primer Ayuntamiento High School Playas de Rosarito) has made it to the the playoffs. They play the weekend of Nov. 21st-23rd at a TBD location.We are sure Coach wouldn't mind more fans, so if you are interested in seeing the game, please email him at



Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Cabo update for Hurricane Odile

We received this update courtesy of

A I R L I N E  &  A I R P O R T   I N F O

    Commercial airline flights resumed October 8th
    By October 15th, 30 flights are expected to be in operation per day and the number of flights is expected to grow based on demand from travelers. Non-stop flights include:
    October 10:  Atlanta (Delta), San Francisco (United)
    October 15:  Orange County (Southwest)
    October 18: Dallas, Chicago (American), Denver (Southwest), Charlotte (US Air)
    October 23: San Francisco (Virgin)
    October 26: Los Angeles (United), Calgary & Vancouver (WestJet)
    October 31: Dallas, San Diego (Spirit)
    November 1: Denver (Frontier, United)
    December 13: Newark (United)
    Full flight itineraries are expected to return beginning early December.

​I N F R A S T R U C T U R E  &  T O U R I S M

    -As of today, electricity, telephone, internet and potable water supplies have been restored in Los Cabos and Baja California Sur.
    -CFE restored 7,971 damaged power poles, 1,353 damaged transformers, 534 damaged transmission towers and power to 292,000 residents in only 17 days.  A truly notable effort.
   - The Mexican government has made the recovery of Los Cabos, Mexico's third most popular tourism destination, a top priority.
    -Los Cabos welcomes approximately 2 million visitors per year.
    -Cabo welcomed four cruise ships this past weekend from Princess, Holland  America, and the Norwegian cruise lines.
    -Ten more cruise ships are expected to arrive in October with an estimated 18,000 passengers.
    -Los Cabos activities and tours are up and running: fishing fleets, water activities, tours and land activities and more!

G O L F   C O U R S E S:

Area golf courses are moving forward, as well. See below for a status update on local golf courses.

    Cabo del Sol - November 15 - estimated
    Cabo del Sol Ocean - October 1 (Holes 10-15.) Complete course Nov 1 - estimated
    Cabo Real - open
    Chileno Bay - October 31 - estimated
    Club Campestre San Jose - open
    Cabo San Lucas Country Club - October 4
    Diamante Dunes - November 1
    El Dorado - TBD
    Palmilla - December 15 - estimated
    Puerto Los Cabos - open
    Punta Sur - November 27 - estimated
    Querencia - open

H O T E L S:

"The news that has encouraged us the most is that the investments are not going to stop in Los Cabos; rather, hoteliers and owners who may have considered hotel renovations in 2015 are taking this as an opportunity to handle any remodeling now. This will not only allows Los Cabos time to recover but several of our hotels will now be "upgraded" in terms of facilities, landscaping and services. This will further solidify Los Cabos' position as one of the top international and national tourist destinations," said Renato Mendonca, President of the Los Cabos Hotel Association.

Just some of the open Hotels are Bahia Hotel and Beach Club, Hotel California (Todos Santons), Pueblo Bonito Rose, Casa Dorada, Riu Palace, Hacienda Encantada and more. Some others set to open are:

    Tropicana Inn - October 15
    Royal Solaris Los Cabos - November 1
    Sheraton Hacienda Del Mar Resort & Spa - November 1
    Barcelo Grand Faro at Los Cabos - November 3
    Secrets Puerto Los Cabos - november 15
    Secrets Marquis Los Cabos - November 15
    The One&Only Palmilla - December 15
    Esperanza - An Auberge Resort - December 15
    Cabo Azul Resort & Spa - January 2015
    ME by Melia Cabo - February 2015

Monday, September 22, 2014

September 22nd - Hurricane Odile Updates, Information, Photos

Damage in Mulege

NOTE: This is will be the last post we put on our blog, look to our Facebook or Twitter account for future Hurrican Odile information.

September 21st - Hurricane Odile slammed into the Baja Peninsula on September 14th at night. Significantly damaging Los Cabos, La Paz, Loreto and Mulege plus the smaller local communities. There are many reports, updates, photos and information out there so we decided to place some of the information in this blog post which we will update for the next few days.

We will keep contact information at the top followed by a chronological order of information. Most current information first.

Please SCROLL DOWN for all updates (Don't forget to read the other posts from yesterday. They are to the right)


U.S. State Department’s Overseas Citizen Services at 1-888-407-4747

U.S. Consulate in Tijuana has an email for information/assistance;

U.S. Emergency tel: (619) 692-2154

Los Cabos Consular Agency (An extension of the Consulate in Tijuana)
Las Tiendas de Palmilla L-B221, Km. 27.5 Carretera Transpeninsular
San José del Cabo, Baja California Sur C.P. 23406
Fax: (52)(624)143-6750

Here is a link with the U.S. Embassy & U.S. Consulates in Mexico:

Link to Mexican Embassies in U.S./Canada;

Red Cross (Cruz Rojo Mexicana) Cabo; (624) 143-7869
Red Cross (Cruz Rojo Mexicana) La Paz; (612) 122-1222

Red Cross Mexico's website;

General information on Mexico;

UPDATES from Twitter, Facebook, Websites plus images
If you have some information you want us to post, email us at or post to our Facebook page ( or our Twitter ( Or you can comment at the bottom of this long post.

NOTE: we can not verify everything on this blog, so please check all information, etc.


Here's a fundraising campaign for helping the smaller communities in Baja outside the big resorts of Los Cabos, La Paz, Loreto. Help us, help them rebuild their homes & lives by putting money directly into their hands;


Facebook update from

Video showing Ensenada government supplies in Bahia de los Angeles

Here's another donation site;



Here's another opportunity to donate;


Another way to help, buy a t-shirt;

Former NFL QB in Cabo during hurricane, plans to return and help;



"A Rotary Club in Oregon has just donated the material we need to operate our fogging operation! We desparately need to get this marterial transported to Mulege ASAP. It is located near Bend Oregon and consists of 6 cases, 2 2 1/2gal. boxes per case. Partial acceptance is OK. Anyone in Central/Eastern Washington, Oregon, Northern idaho or Canada planning to head south soon? We can meet you at the locale of your choosing for the sake of convenience. Tons of very positive KARMA awaits the person or persons that steps up. We have had Dengue Fever outbreaks before in mulege that resulted in a fatality. Let us not let history repeat itself. We cannot rely on the Feds this time around. Their resources are streached big time. Thanks for considering this vital mission."

Rotary Club : Randy cell: 916.203.7500 or email:


From the U.S. Embassy in Mexico;

"The safety and security of U.S. citizens overseas is a top priority of the Department of State and the U.S. Embassy.  U.S. citizens requiring assistance can visit, selecting “2014 Hurricane Odile,” and providing as much information as possible.  Phone 1-888-407-4747 (from the United States and Canada), +1-202-501-4444 (from all other countries) or email for additional information.  To contact the U.S. Consulate General in Tijuana, please email or call 011-52 (664) 977-2000.  After hours or on weekends, you can also contact the Consulate’s U.S.-based emergency answering service at (619) 692-2154."




Here is a message forwarded to us by Posada del Cortes about Loreto;

"La Sierra La GIGANTA did it ́s work!!, it PROTECTS Loreto very good from Odile. It was
strong,....but our COMMUNITY is even STRONGER!, We are Blessed to be part of this
community that worked very hard to recover most of the town in five days. That is why we need
the support of everybody that loves Loreto and SPREAD THE WORD.....LORETO IS 100%
READY TO RECEIVE YOU AND YOUR FRIENDS !! We need to work and support the south
baja state working!!


La Sierra la GIGANTA nos protegió como siempre, en esta ocasión de Odile....Estuvo
fuerte...pero nuestra COMUNIDAD es aún MÁS FUERTE!. Es una B
ENDICIÓN formar parte de esta gran comunidad que ha trabajado mucho para recuperarse casi por completo en CINCO DIAS!.
Es por esto que necesitamos que CORRAN LA VOZ.....¡LORETO ESTÁ AL100!,
a la Baja SurTRABAJANDO......Porfavor PASA LA VOZ!!

Thank you

La Sierra La GIGANTA did it ́s work!!, it PROTECTS Loreto very good from Odile. It was
but our COMMUNITY is even STRONGER!, We are Blessed to be part of this
community that worked very hard to recover most of the town in five days. That is why we need
the support of everybody that loves Loreto and SPREAD THE WORD.....LORETO IS 100%
RECEIVE YOU AND YOUR FRIENDS !! We need to work and support the south
baja state working!!
La Sierra la GIGANTA nos protegió como siempre, en esta ocasión de Odile....Estuvo
fuerte...pero nuestra COMUNIDAD es aún MÁS FUERTE!. Es una B
ENDICIÓN formar parte
de esta gran comunidad que ha trabajado mucho para recuperarse casi por completo en
Es por esto que necesitamos que CORRAN LA VOZ.....
a la Baja Sur
Thank you

Facebook update from

First hand account - "How Hurricane Odile Turned My Los Cabos Holiday Into Hell";


Texas tourists overwhelmed by Mexican hospitality;


Pro surfer Sunny Garcia heading to Baja with supplies


Princess Cruises cancels port call at Cabo San Lucas;