Friday, October 8, 2010

An interview with Cabo Pulmo Vivo

Baja Visitor recently interviewed Pedro Zapata, the coordinator for the Cabo Pulmo Vivo campaign. Their mission is to save the Cabo Pulmo reef and lifestyle for generations to come.

Baja Visitor - Can you please tell our readers about Cabo Pulmo? Where it is? Why is it so special?

Pedro Zapata - Of course, Cabo Pulmo is a national park, on the Gulf of California coast, between La Paz and Los Cabos. With over 20,000 years, it is one of the oldest and the most important coral reef in the Gulf. It has been a protected area, with no fishing allowed, for a little over 15 years. In that time, Cabo Pulmo has experienced an incredible recovery in every aspect of marine life. There are more fish, bigger fish and more complex food chains. Cabo Pulmo is a window where one can see how the Gulf must have been like 100 years ago.

Baja Visitor - And what is the organization called Cabo Pulmo Vivo?

Pedro Zapata - Cabo Pulmo Vivo is a coalition of organizations and citizens interested in the conservation of Cabo Pulmo, and concerned with the pressures of unplanned, chaotic growth coming from tourist developments all along the region known as the East Cape.

Baja Visitor - What is the idea of the Cabo Pulmo National Park?

Pedro Zapata - Currently, Cabo Pulmo is a protected area, with more marine life than almost anywhere in the Gulf of California. The idea is that a protected area can provide a livelihood for the people who live near it, without making an extractive use (fishing), but rather focusing it on eco-tourism.

Baja Visitor - Tell us about the animals and plant life in Cabo Pulmo?

Pedro Zapata - Cabo Pulmo is teeming with life! There are plenty of fish: giant groupers, large bass, tuna, jacks, parrotfish, mobulas, etc. Also, predators are coming back. A generation ago, the people of Cabo Pulmo were told stories of sharks, but had never seen them. Today, there are tigers, bulls, white tips and others!! As many of your readers will know, top predators are indicators of healthy ecosystems. Finally, large migrating species stop by Cabo Pulmo on a regular basis these days: humpback whales, whale sharks, giant mantas, marlin and several species of turtles can be seen while diving or snorkeling in the reef. And I haven´t even mentioned the coral... The main threat to all of these forms of life comes from the pressure of tourist developments that are planned throughout the region.

Baja Visitor - How has support from local, state and federal government been?

Pedro Zapata - The federal government is responsible for the management of protected areas like Cabo Pulmo. Although there are important challenges to the management of the area, there is currently good coordination between levels of government.

Baja Visitor - Are you able to get the message out to the public about Cabo Pulmo and Cabo Pulmo Vivo? What methods are you using?

Pedro Zapata - Well, we are trying. There are some television efforts, a lot of newspaper and magazine stories and we are also using social media tools. Editor's Note: as well as blogs like Baja Visitor.

Baja Visitor - What do you want the readers of this interview to take from this? How can they help?

Pedro Zapata - They can help by going to Cabo Pulmo, getting to know it and getting the word out that a different type of tourism is possible, and that big hotels, golf courses and marinas are not the only way forward. Alternatively, they can log on to, where they can find more information.

Baja Visitor - Thank you for your time. Any last words or comments?

Pedro Zapata - Any help is useful: come to Cabo Pulmo and support local businesses, visit our webpage, become a donor or supporter of one of the local NGOs or simply spread the word! Any help you can give will be much appreciated!! We need to make sure the Cabo Pulmo gets told and becomes a model story for other communities and their ecosystems, so that we can have many Cabo Pulmos for generations to come. Thank you!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tequila Aficionados! Expo Tequila 2010 in Tijuana

Tijuana's tequila expo is coming up soon, specifically October 13th-17th. The event runs for four days right in front of the Jai Alai building, between 7th and 8th avenues on Avenida Revolucion. It will open Wednesday from 4pm-11:30pm; Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 1:00pm-11:30pm and Sunday from 1pm-8:30pm.
There will be over sixty (60) tequila vendors and representatives. Guests will have the opportunity to sample over 300 types of Tequila. Admission is $5USD or $60.00 pesos (Tequila sampling is included in the price). Entertainment and music, beer, soft drinks and typical Mexican food vendors will be on site to compliment the event.

San Diego's Five Star Tours is offering transportation packages to and from the event. You can even book a hotel in Tijuana for overnight stays.
You can fin more information on their website at

Monday, October 4, 2010

El Cajon man to hike from Tecate to Cabo San Lucas

Wow, what an incredible journey Mike Younghusband began on October 1st. He is walking with a burro and two dogs from the border town of Tecate to Cabo San Lucas in, hopefully, six months.

You can read the story below from the San DiegoUnion Tribune newspaper and we'll hopefully have updates throughout his travel. You'll see he began the journey and purchased his donkey at one of my favorite Tecate ranches; Rancho Ojai.
Baja adventure begins for man, his burro and two dogs

By Ed Zieralski

Friday, October 1, 2010 at 11:10 a.m.

El Cajon's Mike Younghusband begins his trek of the length of Baja with his burro, Don-Kay, and two dogs, Rusty and Max.

TECATE — Mike Younghusband began his Baja adventure today with a loaded burro, his two pet dogs and a heart filled with wanderlust that he hopes will power him on his six-month, 1,500-mile trek of Mexico’s incredible peninsula.

“Viva Mexico. God Bless America,” Younghusband yelled as a Tecate TV station filmed him loading his burro and heading out on his incredible journey that will take him mostly along the Baja coast to his final destination, Cabo San Lucas.

“He’s driven, motivated, but the thing I worry most about is him getting lonely,” said his daughter, Tammy Mettler, who was part of the send-off contingent that joined Younghusband at Hernan Ibanez Bracamontes’ Rancho Ojai in east Tecate.

Younghusband’s good friend, Buddy Shaffer, drove him from his home in El Cajon, and Younghusband’s neighbor, retired nurse Alice Spence, also made the trip. Once here, Younghusband was met by Eva Raquel Garcia Rocha, Secretaria de Turismo del Estado de Baja California and Juan Carlos Pimentel Lopez, coordinator de Cultura Turistica y Capacitacion. Other Rancho Ojai employees joined in and all applauded as he set out at 9:30 a.m.

It took Younghusband 45 minutes to get his trusty burro, the stubborn, 4-year-old Don-Kay, loaded to go. As he packed, thunder roared in the Tecate valley. If that wasn’t ominous enough, Younghusband drove through a large section of east Tecate that had burned in a roaring wildfire that, at one point, threatened this oasis in the desert last weekend.

It didn’t take long for Younghusband to pit-out his Baja Nomad T-shirt, named for the Web site he frequents. Younghusband, 61 and a former El Cajon cop, wasn’t deterred by any of that.

“He made up his mind exactly a year ago to do this,” his daughter, Tammy, said. “It was Oct. 1 last year when he told us he was going to do this. I’ve hit him with every question I could since then, but he always has an answer. He’s set to do this, and he will.”

Spence, his neighbor in El Cajon, said she knows exactly why Younghusband is attempting this rigorous trek that is expected to take approximately six months. He plans to have a layover in Loreto, where he owns a home. Spence believes it’s as much about soul-searching as it is about wanderlust and adventure-seeking.

“I think he is looking for a purpose to his life,” Spence said. “He told me he just got tired of getting up every day, going to work, coming home and turning on the TV and then going to bed. Same thing every day, he said, and he got tired of it. He said there has to be more to life than that, and he’s going to go look for it.”

Younghusband told a Tecate TV station today that his trip also is about showing Americans that it’s safe to travel in Baja.

“I want all Americans to see that you can come to Baja, be a tourist and be safe,” Younghusband said.

Younghusband was inspired to do this by his mentor, Graham Mackintosh, the Baja adventurer who first walked the entire route around Baja, 3,000 miles, in 1983. Younghusband read Mackintosh’s books about his Baja adventures and was inspired by him.

Younghusband’s family had a going away party for him last Sunday during the Chargers-Seahwaks football game. They made a giant banner that said, “Buena Suerte on Your Adventure Down Baja!” and took a picture of family and friends behind it. They put the picture in a card and all signed it. And Tammy wrote a letter to her father that he’ll open on the trip.

Younghusband said his gear on Don-Kay weighs approximately 200 pounds, about 100 pounds on each side of the sturdy Don-Kay. He’s also carrying 50 pounds of gear in his own backpack.

When told it looked like he had the kitchen sink in his pack, Younghusband said, “If it’s too much, I’ll give some stuff away to a Mexican family along the way. Don-Kay will let me know if it’s too much.”

In addition to worrying about her father getting lonely, Tammy Mettler is concerned that Max, an 8-year-old chihuahua-dachshund mix , will have trouble keeping up.

“The veterinarian said he’s right on the edge of being too old for a trip like this, but my father really wants to take him,” Tammy said. “I guess if he has trouble, someone can go down and get him.”

Younghusband won’t have to worry about Rusty, his 2-year-old Jack Russell terrier who bounded off on the trail after Don-Kay had to be coaxed out of the Rancho Ojai gate.

Younghusband took his leave from Rancho Ojai, Hernan Ibanez Bracamontes’ Tecate paradise. It’s a spread over 300 acres, has 32 cabins, sites for camps, 40 sites for RVs with full hook-ups. It also has a bowling alley. swimming pool, Jacuzzi, miniature golf, basketball court, fields for baseball and soccer, game room, pool tables.

Younghusband bought Don-Kay from Bracamontes, but there was a problem with the first burro Younghusband bought from him.

“It was a female, and it was pregnant,” Younghusband said. They made another deal, and Younghusband managed to get Don-Kay, who was Bracamontes’ prize burro.

Younghusband spent a year planning, and his daughter said he has left no detail unchecked. He made several trips to Baja to bury caches of food and supplies, even whiskey for “drinking and trading,” he said.

As he left the gate, he already had worked up a sweat as dark clouds gathered to the east.

“Viva Mexico, God Bless America,” he said one last time.

Click through to the actual article here.