San Quintin and the surrounding area is a
special place because of its natural beauty and because I remember
going there on many occasions as a child. It is a semi-arid region of
Baja California along Pacific coast. Unlike the eastern part
of the Baja, it receives
more rain, has a Mediterranean climate, and is cooler. The climate is
similar to San Diego in southern California. The vegetation is mostly
chaparral, scrub, and succulents such as agave and
cacti. The coast
line is both sandy beaches and sandstone or other sedimentary rock
cliffs. The cliffs are eroded away in many places, forming interesting
rock structures along the coast.
Where the cliffs are composed of rock cemented together with sand, the
sand has been eroded away to leave beaches covered with polished
boulders. On some beaches the rocks are polished and small
(2-5 mm) and feel nice on the feet. Some parts of the cliffs have
withstood the waves and have formed small fingers of rock jutting out
into the ocean. The relentless waves crash against the cliffs, spraying
the top with water. In the crevices of the cliff top, tide pools
formed. These tide pools are full of purple urchins, green anemones,
crabs, starfish, and sometime fish. I do not know how the
fish would get in the pools except that they launched from the water
with ocean spray.
The beaches in San Quintin are deserted and peaceful unlike the beaches
of California and Florida where they are choked with people. It is so
peaceful to walk along the beach looking at nature and hearing the
crashing waves without the sound of loud people and obnoxious signs of
|Top: Here is a cave
formed from water erosion of the sandstone cliff. The cave is about 200
m deep and 8-15 m high with at least half of it being filled with water.
The interior part of the cave eroded away to form a wider room and a
small underground beach formed from the sand of the sandstone walls.
Eventually the top of the cave collapsed, leaving the cave exposed to
light. Harbor seals use the cave as a nursery. As many as 200 seals
have been reported using the cave at once. I wonder when the seals
discovered this cave and started using it as a nursery. Were they using
it before the roof collapsed? I doubt that they would find the dark
cave conducive to raising young, but what an interesting story that
would be if they found the dark cave useful. Note: If you look closely,
you can see a few seals laying on the beach.
in the surf.
godwits, willets, long-billed dowitchers, and sanderlings were
extremely plentiful in the salt marshes of Bahia Falsa.
San Quintin is an
agricultural valley where strawberries, raspberries, tomatoes, and
cucumbers are grown.
|Agriculture is this region produced
quantities of fruits destined mostly for the US. However, the
valley does have its agricultural problems. Groundwater is
principal source of irrigation water, and it is becoming saltier from
over pumping. As the aquifer is drawn down from over pumping,
water from the ocean replenishes the aquifer. Over time the
small amounts of remaining water in the aquifer is too salty to be
To adapt to the new conditions, the farmers use large reverse
osmosis systems to bring the salt concentration of the irrigation water
to 1200 ppm. They cannot supply enough low salt water from
the land that was in cultivation. Now most of the fields are
fallow, and the remaining cultivated land in the salt-affected areas is
nethouses. The rows are covered with very fine netting to
out bugs as small as thrips. The netting provides shade,
maximum temperatures, and higher humidity. the combination of
these conditions results in much higher yield per acre of land.
The increase in cost per acre is more than compensated by
profits per acre.
Another way the farmers have adapted is to develop new areas for
farming. Biscayino, another area several hours drive to the
south, is under cultivation, especially by the Los Pinos
about 2-3 days away from being ripe. This farmers in a very
successful grower of organic raspberries ans strawberries sold under
the Driskoll brand. Driskolls is probably the best
and raspberries in the US.
Bottom: strawberry blossoms. The blossom with a brown center
dead from the cold. The other appears to have survived the
spell and will produce a strawberry.