Thursday, July 21, 2016

San Ignacio, Oasis in the Desert

Volcano and lake at San Ignacio 

Our friends Steve and Sue of s/v Kashmera planned a drive trip to San Ignacio, 
60 miles west into the Baja interior, and invited us to come along.

We drove west from Santa Rosalia on the Sea of Cortez
 coast to San Ignacio, in the center of Baja.

On the drive to San Ignacio we passed the beautiful Tres Virgenes volcanoes

Soon, the 300 year old church of San Ignacio appeared through the palms

Chris and DeeAnne of s/v Stridor, who also came on the trip,
marvel at the majesty of the church

An educational placard outside the church (hence the bird droppings) states that " 1716, on the FIRST day of his visit, Jesuit Padre Francisco Maria Piccolo and the ENTHUSIASTIC Indians built a chapel." 

Well. Not sure how much documentation there is that the Indians were ENTHUSIASTIC about stopping their hunting, fishing and foraging and doing the exhaustive work of building a giant brick church in the middle of the desert for strangers newly arrived from Europe. 

Now that I think about it, maybe the bird droppings are the pigeons expressing their opinion on the validity of the statement. Anyway, there is no doubting that it is a gorgeous church -- one of the most beautiful we've seen.

Church wall and sky 

Priest with broom statue --
no idea what it means.

Machete out in the courtyard

Out in the graveyard, I liked the family 
crypt shaped like a historic mission

After touring the church, we explored the little town of San Ignacio

300 year old ficus trees cover the town square

Wow! We were blown away by the beauty of San Ignacio!

Beautiful San Ignacio home

And have I mentioned that it's hot? Literally every Mexican I pass on the street says "Mucho Calor..." for their greeting (translation: It's damn hot!)

I'd like to introduce you to my new hobby:

Me sticking my head and upper body inside an icebox each time I pass one. 
And I'll stay there for about 20 blessed seconds. 

We were surprised to see orange and lime groves here in the middle of the desert.

Limes hang like Christmas ornaments on the trees

There was a nice little clean and well stocked grocery store in town.

DeeAnne marvels at the produce selection

And then at the other end of the store was this:

Unmarked little baggies filled with an unknown 
white substance on the shelf of the grocery store

Pretty little main street on San Ignacio

We spent awhile in the shade of the trees in the town square, 
listening to musicians playing guitar and mandolin 

After a nice little taco lunch and date shakes (specialty of the area due to the hundreds of date palms), we climbed in the car and headed over to the San Ignacio lagoon.

The beautiful oasis that is the San Ignacio lagoon

There are small resorts and camping along the shore of the lagoon

Friends amongst the palms

After exploring the oasis and the lagoon, we started back to Santa Rosalia.

Home in shadow of volcano

We visited a hunting lodge along the way. Beneath a volcano, 
it's mostly used by Americans

The lodge leads hunting trips into the desert for ram

Outside there's a tall lookout tower.

The caretaker's son shows off his big binoculars in the lookout tower

View from the lookout shows the hunting cabins and the volcano.
You can see evidence of a lava flow between the cabins and the caldera.

We noticed a little hatch in the middle of the lookout tower.
Perhaps it was a gallows in a previous life?

I have to say that San Ignacio was a beautiful surprise, and I strongly recommend a visit if you are in the area.

Meanwhile, we're leaving Santa Rosalia tonight and sailing north to San Francisquito. Several buddy boats are all heading there in the same timeframe, more or less -- Vivacia, Kashmera, Firefly, Linger Longer and Stryder.

We'll have little to no WiFi for a couple of weeks at least. No worries!


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