Catching Up: Baja California 2011

Long-beaked common dolphins. ©Jack Swenson, 2011

Those of you who have ventured around Baja California by sea will recall how every new day is both blissful and exhilarating. In March and April we spent a month in those sunny climes. We began with some days camping at the beach near Loreto with our aging desert camper van. It was delightful sitting by a flickering driftwood campfire under the brilliant umbrella of stars, and the sounds of lapping waves along the shores of the gulf.

Strangely shaped Boojum trees. ©Rikki Swenson, 2011

We then began our annual ship voyages around the Baja Peninsula, traveling aboard the National Geographic Sea Bird from the lagoons of Magdalena Bay into the magical Sea of Cortez. The two-week “Remarkable Journey” continues to be an absolute favorite voyage. As always, we had countless amazing encounters with whales and dolphins, and so much more: rippling sand dunes, zillions of seabirds, weird wiry Boojum trees, exquisitely painted sunsets, and sharing it all with friends. We’ll miss it next year (but are very excited to be scheduled on the new West African Odyssey voyage next spring). We’ll hope to be back in Baja for 2013.

Job hazards: Cholla cactus chunk in Jack's shoe and foot. ©Rikki Swenson, 2011

In the harbor town of Santa Rosalia, we continued tradition with a group margarita party at the historic Hotel Frances where we showed guests the curious photo technique of “Selective Color” which is possible with some models of Point’n’Shoot cameras. Using this function, an entire image becomes black and white except for one specific chosen color.  Our smaller Canon cameras have this as an option within the “Scene” modes, labelled “Color Accent.” In this mode, the “DISP” (Display) button shows what color is selected (i.e. green). On Canons, pushing the left < selector on the wheel dial while pointing the lens at a different colored object then selects that particular color (i.e. yellow, blue, orange, etc.). On a side street near the hotel we found this classic old dusty VW Bug. I walked up next to it, pointed the camera at it while pressing the color selection buttons (as described above) to select its color (red), then took this shot.

Dusty VW Bug, Santa Rosalia, Mexico. (Shot in "Color Accent" mode) ©Jack Swenson, 2011

Jack’s self-portrait in Santa Rosalia (no, not what you’re thinking, this was taken before the margarita party…)

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