BAJA FROM ABOVE & BELOW

Baja from Above – Aerial Views of the Baja California Peninsula

Written by Chris Sands

Sometimes a shift in perspective lets you look at a familiar place in an entirely new way. It’s not exactly like seeing it for the first time, but you will undoubtedly find new facets, observe details you never noticed before, and thus come away with a fresh appreciation. That’s the way we feel about aerial views of the Baja California peninsula.
By moving up, up and away, we lose an intimate sense of both wildlife and street life–the eclectic jumble of shops and restaurants, the distinctive tenor and pace of each neighborhood–but gain a larger, more encompassing sense of the places we love. We’re able to take their measure from new and exciting perspectives.
Just as exploring the undersea world off the Baja coast offers a breathtaking, utterly transformative glimpse at a world of colorful reefs and wrecks, and an astounding diversity of sea creatures, seeing Baja from the air allows us to step back from hustle and bustle of human interactions and truly appreciate the incredible natural beauty of this unique land.

Videos with Drone Footage
In recent years, drone footage has given us brilliant new looks at some of the peninsula’s greatest treasures, from its majestic coastal vistas and natural wonders like El Arco, El Hongo and La Bufadora to its highways, byways and rugged interior mountain ranges.
The new technology has also produced a new crop of talented artists and photographers.
Raul Ruvalcaba is the man responsible for the gorgeous aerial images of TijuanaRosarito and Ensenada in the aptly named Mi Tierra.
Matador Network explores the natural wonders of the southern municipalities of Los Cabos and La Paz.
Jordi Ahumada captures some glorious aerial views of Playa Balandra in La Paz, annually rated as one of the most beautiful beaches in Mexico, with spectacular additional footage of uninhabited islands like Espiritu Santo and the Revillagigedo Archipelago, the latter an island chain considered one of the world’s premier dive meccas.
The beauties of Mulege are also shown to great advantage, thanks to the creative drone photography of IronBoy FPV.

Aerial Views of Baja from NASA Images
Satellite images continue to offer magnificent views of Baja California from space, and provide rare opportunities to see the peninsula in its entirety, from the world’s busiest border crossing in Tijuana to the southernmost tip of Cabo San Lucas.
NASA Images are a fantastic public resource in this regard, with daily views from orbiting satellites and interplanetary missions that showcase the awe-inspiring beauty of the cosmos, but also zero in on specific regions and spotlight one-of-a-kind topographical features.
The four photos below are among the best Baja related images in the NASA collection. The first does indeed show the peninsula in its entirety as Earth spins through space at a stately pace of 30 kilometers per second; the second and third are satellite visible images of beautiful Baja California Sur, while the final image shows category-4 Hurricane Odileengulfing the southern region–from Los Cabos to the barrier islands of Bahia Magdalena–on September 14, 2014. The fourth anniversary of this profound natural disaster just recently passed, and this image is a potent reminder that things invariably look a lot nicer from the air than they do on the ground.
Perspective definitely matters.

Baja Beneath the Sea – Underwater Views Off the Coast of Baja California

October 19, 2018 by Chris Sands Leave a Comment

Last month our “fresh perspectives” series showcased some remarkable aerial views of Baja California, revealing what some of the peninsula’s signature landmarks and geographical oddities look like from high above the earth. This month we head offshore, diving into a kaleidoscopic seascape teeming with aquatic flora and fauna.
Sometimes a shift in perspective lets you look at a familiar place in an entirely new way. It’s not exactly like seeing it for the first time, but you will undoubtedly find new facets, observe details you never noticed before, and thus come away with a fresh appreciation. That’s the way we feel about undersea views of the shelfs and reefs just off the coast of the Baja California peninsula. So much of Baja’s incredible natural bounty lies tantalizingly close to shore, hidden from view from all but intrepid snorkelers and divers.
For a fuller frame of reference, the Baja California peninsula boasts a truly massive amount of coastline: over 2130 kilometers, or 38% of the coastline of Mexico as a whole. That’s only 39 kilometers less than the Florida coastline in its entirety (including the Panhandle), and a whopping 780 kilometers (or half as much again) more than the U.S. state of California.
But what’s truly amazing is not just that Baja has well over 1300 miles of gorgeous coastal real estate–although the innumerable beaches along this stretch include some rather breathtakingly picturesque examples of the genre–it’s the fantastic abundance of marine life easily visible to those willing to look just below the surface. The Sea of Cortez alone offers some 900 species of fish, and better than 2,000 types of marine invertebrates…a litany of colorful creatures that includes everything from endangered sea turtles to leaping dolphins, and the largest living things ever to exist on Planet Earth: 100 ft. long and 100,000 tons or bigger blue whales.  

Videos
Some of the spectacular features of life beneath the Pacific Ocean and Sea of Cortez have to be seen to be believed, and luckily, a new generation of videographers have risen (or, more appropriately, descended) to the challenge. 
Wreck diving and artificial reefs are becoming increasingly popular around the Baja coast. There’s the Uribe, a decommissioned Mexican naval vessel detonated and sent to a watery grave in the Parque Submarino Rosarito in 2015; the SS Harry Lundeberg, steered to her doom at Land’s End in Cabo San Lucas in 1954, and uncovered by Hurricane Odile 60 years later; and Fang Ming, one of two Chinese ships illegally ferrying immigrants that were seized by the Mexican government and subsequently sunk to become dive sites. The 185′ Fang Ming was sunk near Isla Espiritu Santo, north of La Paz, in 1999. 
How big are blue whales? So big you see them from space. It seems impossible but it is true.You don’t actually have to go below the surface to appreciate their beauty and behemoth-like proportions, but a trip to the offshore Islands of Loreto is definitely indicated for those who’d like to see these special creatures up close.

Photos
Divers know well the beauty that lies just off the Baja shore, from the Parque Submarino Rosarito with its shipwrecks and evocative submerged statues and monuments to Cabo Pulmo, whose protected marine sanctuary now hosts the greatest density of sea life found anywhere in the Sea of Cortez.  
Here are a few of our favorite photos from these magnificent undersea locales, as well as a few shots so colorfully surreal that they surpass in imagination even the most avant gardeof artists. 


All photos courtesy of NASA Images.

Chris Sands is the author of Bohemia by the Bay, and writes about wine, golf, and travel for publications such as Baja.ca, Los Cabos Guide, Los Cabos Magazine, 10 Best, and USA Today. He is a full-time resident of Cabo San Lucas.

Baja Beneath the Sea – Underwater Views Off the Coast of Baja California

October 19, 2018 by Chris Sands Leave a Comment

Last month our “fresh perspectives” series showcased some remarkable aerial views of Baja California, revealing what some of the peninsula’s signature landmarks and geographical oddities look like from high above the earth. This month we head offshore, diving into a kaleidoscopic seascape teeming with aquatic flora and fauna.
Sometimes a shift in perspective lets you look at a familiar place in an entirely new way. It’s not exactly like seeing it for the first time, but you will undoubtedly find new facets, observe details you never noticed before, and thus come away with a fresh appreciation. That’s the way we feel about undersea views of the shelfs and reefs just off the coast of the Baja California peninsula. So much of Baja’s incredible natural bounty lies tantalizingly close to shore, hidden from view from all but intrepid snorkelers and divers.
For a fuller frame of reference, the Baja California peninsula boasts a truly massive amount of coastline: over 2130 kilometers, or 38% of the coastline of Mexico as a whole. That’s only 39 kilometers less than the Florida coastline in its entirety (including the Panhandle), and a whopping 780 kilometers (or half as much again) more than the U.S. state of California.
But what’s truly amazing is not just that Baja has well over 1300 miles of gorgeous coastal real estate–although the innumerable beaches along this stretch include some rather breathtakingly picturesque examples of the genre–it’s the fantastic abundance of marine life easily visible to those willing to look just below the surface. The Sea of Cortez alone offers some 900 species of fish, and better than 2,000 types of marine invertebrates…a litany of colorful creatures that includes everything from endangered sea turtles to leaping dolphins, and the largest living things ever to exist on Planet Earth: 100 ft. long and 100,000 tons or bigger blue whales.  
Videos
Some of the spectacular features of life beneath the Pacific Ocean and Sea of Cortez have to be seen to be believed, and luckily, a new generation of videographers have risen (or, more appropriately, descended) to the challenge. 
Wreck diving and artificial reefs are becoming increasingly popular around the Baja coast. There’s the Uribe, a decommissioned Mexican naval vessel detonated and sent to a watery grave in the Parque Submarino Rosarito in 2015; the SS Harry Lundeberg, steered to her doom at Land’s End in Cabo San Lucas in 1954, and uncovered by Hurricane Odile 60 years later; and Fang Ming, one of two Chinese ships illegally ferrying immigrants that were seized by the Mexican government and subsequently sunk to become dive sites. The 185′ Fang Ming was sunk near Isla Espiritu Santo, north of La Paz, in 1999. 
How big are blue whales? So big you see them from space. It seems impossible but it is true.You don’t actually have to go below the surface to appreciate their beauty and behemoth-like proportions, but a trip to the offshore Islands of Loreto is definitely indicated for those who’d like to see these special creatures up close. .
Photos
Divers know well the beauty that lies just off the Baja shore, from the Parque Submarino Rosarito with its shipwrecks and evocative submerged statues and monuments to Cabo Pulmo, whose protected marine sanctuary now hosts the greatest density of sea life found anywhere in the Sea of Cortez.  
Here are a few of our favorite photos from these magnificent undersea locales, as well as a few shots so colorfully surreal that they surpass in imagination even the most avant gardeof artists. 


Long-spined sea urchins give the sea floor the surreal look of an abstract painting. Photo courtesy of Sylvain Le Bris and Wikimedia Commons.

Beneath the surface of the Sea of Cortez is a strange world filled with strange creatures…like this colorful clubhead barnacle blenny. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.


The Parque Submarino Rosarito is filled with wondrous sights, from undersea statues and an artificial reef formed around a former Mexican naval vessel to a profuse array of Pacific Ocean flora and fauna. Photo courtesy of Parque Submarino Rosarito.


The protected marine sanctuary at Cabo Pulmo boasts the densest concentration of marine life in the Sea of Cortez. Photo courtesy of Cabo Adventures.


Sea lions are among the most playful denizens of Baja’s coastal waters. Photo courtesy of Cabo Adventures.


Cabo Pulmo is home to one of the largest living coral reefs in North America. Photo courtesy of Cabo Adventures.

An “only in Cabo Pulmo” moment. Photo courtesy of Cabo Adventures.

Chris Sands is the author of Bohemia by the Bay, and writes about wine, golf, and travel for publications such as Baja.ca, Los Cabos Guide, Los Cabos Magazine, 10 Best, and USA Today. He is a full-time resident of Cabo San Lucas.

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