A few weeks ago, I happened to see what appeared to be a large swarm of green dragonflies, all heading north as if in migration. This sighting sent me to the internet to find out more about these amazing insects.
Anyone know what the Spanish name is for Crocodile Dundee? It could come in very handy one day, as this beautiful area of the Bay of Banderas is prime crocodile territory, and the legacy of this ancient creature still exists, sometimes in our very own backyard. This time of year, as the rains revive the rivers, the emigration of the crocodile becomes more active.
The following was written 9 years ago for a one-time publication and some may ask what differences are there between a dog's life in Sayulita now and back then?
Visitors to Sayulita will soon notice that dogs play a rather prominent and pro-active role in the life of the town. Indeed, they do have a life of their own, conspicuously woven into the fabric of Sayulita. The town is truly a community of dogs and people, and friend or foe, you can no more avoid dogs than you can people.
As summer approaches and the arrival of the sea turtles begins, turtle camps around the Bahia de Banderas are getting organized for the long work ahead. Two weekends ago, a symposium was held in Rincon de Guayabitos that brought together those who work in various camps around the area, from Mayto to Nuevo Vallarta to Litibu to Playa Naranjo
One morning in late April about 40 years ago, when Pepe was barely a toddler, his mother Consuelo was inside the house preparing something to eat when she heard a commotion from the front patio, like the voices of children laughing and chattering. Having left the little boy to play alone when she had gone inside, she wondered who had come to play with him. When Consuelo came out of the house to see what was happening, she saw her son disappearing around the corner of the neighbor's house, one arm held high as if taking someone's hand. By the time his mother reached the corner of the house, Pepe was nowhere in sight, nor did she see any of the other children she had heard. Consuelo looked everywhere in the colonia for her son, asked all her neighbors but no one had seen him.
If you ever want a science-fiction experience, a walk down to Sayulita's local tide pools might hit the mark. On a recent low tide day, accompanied by a group of ocean explorers, we headed down to the rocky shore area between Villa Amor and Casa Los Arcos. Squatting and bending, we hovered over areas of the rocks and were able to find quite an assortment of invertebrates (animals with no backbones) that transported us to an underwater world where small volcanoes covered the planet and spiky creatures roam.
Although living in an idyllic beach town is a great place to be, sometimes the need to explore more of the bigger world nags at me. On a recent weekend I gave into that temptation, jumped on a plane out of Puerto Vallarta with one of my best girlfriends, and headed to a place completely the opposite of Sayulita, one of the largest cities in the world - Mexico City. Our goal was to drown ourselves in culture, art and all those metropolitan things that I miss after months of only seeing the beach.
A totally natural and expected part of sitting in my living room, is to watch the geckos run around the top of the wall, darting after small insects, creating sheer entertainment for my two young boys. I have come to enjoy having them in my home, almost part of the multitude of household pets that we seem to have these days.
It's startling, even "nightmarish" the first time you see one on your bedroom wall, as you prepare for bed. A large, black spider-like creature with long, thin legs and a hairy pair of thick barbed pincers. Many local people believe they are poisonous, even deadly, but this is not true! Even though they look like they are from some monster movie, they are completely harmless. Cancles have no venom, have no stinger, and are not at all dangerous to humans.
An astounding phenomenon that occurs here along the Mexican Pacific coast is the nesting of the Olive Ridley Sea Turtle. Of the several turtle species to be found in the waters off of Sayulita, the Olive Ridley is the most common although its numbers are endangered due to nest predation, habitat destruction and fishing nets. As one of the world's oldest creatures, its preservation is essential. Locally, we have both Frank of San Pancho (http://www.project-tortuga.org) and Erik of Sayulita to thank for their tireless efforts to protect nests and hatch babies for later release.
One of the most succulent, sensual flowers of the tropics is the showy red hibiscus. Whether seen in Hawaii, the Caribbean, or other tropical environments, the hibiscus is synonymous with the beauty, the lushness, and the relaxed atmosphere of tropical climates.
For the last few weeks, there has been a little roadside stand set up in San Ignacio, the town right before Sayulita. The vendor has precariously set up a beautiful display of bright orange fruit that is unlike any common fruit that I see on a day to day basis in the fruit stands or fruit trucks around town. It is known as the "mamey" fruit and you have to try for yourself to see if the flavor appeals.
Known as the Sacred Tree of Life and the most important tree in the Mayan culture, the Ceiba tree can be found locally in Sayulita and its surroundings. Its medicinal properties as well as cosmologic revelance makes this tree a revered tree to this indigenous group. It is viewed as the energy connection between the Cosmos, Earth, and the Underworld and is referred to in many ceremonies.
If you have ever tried to touch a praying mantis, you will see that often he extends one of his forelegs as if he were trying to box with you. He might even try to pinch or bite you. Sometimes, when directly threatened, they will spread their wings to look larger and look more threatening themselves.
At home this summer with my youngest son, an extraordinary sound came from our backyard. Naturally we immediately ran outside to find the source. No need to meticulously search out where this bird call was coming from, as the branches on one of our trees were bouncing up and down, shaking and rustling, completely obvious as to where this animal was. It gave another one of its raucous calls, and with that, my little 2-year-old turned around and ran with a look of fear on his face. Laughing, I tried to coax him back, to take a look at one of the oldest birds in this area, appearing as a wild turkey, and known as the Chachalaca.
If you are new to this part of Mexico, and happen to be taking a walk in the jungle of Sayulita, you might see animals a little bigger than raccoons crossing from one side of your pathway to the other. They have long tails held erect, leading many first-time visitors to think they are monkeys. Since there are no monkeys in western Mexico, it can only be the "tejon."
If you have ever passed through Camaron Campground parking lot on the North side of Sayulita, an impressive grove of palm-like trees greets you. The fanned out "branches" create an arc of symmetry, towering to impressive heights, and providing abundant shade. These plants are known as the Travellers Palm and are a beautiful addition to many ornamental landscapes throughout town.
After a vacation away, I always know I am home as I head into the final stretch of the highway past Bucerias, heading towards Sayulita. The roadside pandemonium ends, and the jungle greets me. Towering above, sometimes creating a tunnel-like feel, are the giant Parota trees.
Hanging delicately from branches of trees throughout the tropical forest, are the pendulous, tear-shaped nests of the Calandria. The form of these beautifully woven nests has always been a striking feature, another wonder of the natural world in this area.