Author Scott Sadil sailed last week into Puerto Adolfo López Mateos, Baja California Sur, completing the final leg of a 300-mile circumnavigation of Isla Magdalena in his home-built double-ended beach yawl, Madrina.
“We had the typical 20-plus knot afternoon winds blowing in off the Pacific,” said Sadil, who undertook the voyage to help raise awareness of one of the world’s last undeveloped estuarine habitats. “With a single reef in her mainsail, Madrina galloped up the bay like a horse heading for the barn.”
Bahía Magdalena, stretching 150 miles along the Pacific coast of Mexico’s southern Baja California peninsula, has long been known as the annual mating and calving destination of migrating gray whales. Each winter, tourists from around the world flock to the bay hoping for arm-reach encounters with these 15 to 30 ton mammals and their young.
“What most people don’t know,” said Sadil, “is that the mangrove esteros and barrier islands that create the bay remain much the same as they’ve been since Europeans arrived on the peninsula 400 years ago — fabulously rich in a diversity of flora and fauna alike.”
While circumnavigating Isla Magdalena, Sadil explored the length of Bahía Magdalena, Bahía Santa María, and Bahía Almejas, sailing Madrina in and out of the open Pacific through a series of bocas, where surf and tidal currents challenge fleets of local fishermen or pangeros who make their living from the area’s wealth of diverse marine life.
“If this were the USA,” added Sadil, “traditional fishing livelihoods would be a thing of the past. The bay would be dredged and destroyed by so-called developers. All you’d see are beach homes, condominiums, and marinas filled with the usual show of a culture of consumption.”
For more information, contact Scott Sadil at firstname.lastname@example.org.