Loreto, the furthest north we got in the Sea of Cortéz, is mostly known to visitors for its fishing and for being the site of the first “successful” mission in Baja California. The Jesuits, led by Juan María Salvatierra, sailed the Santa Elvira from Sonora to arrive in the indigenous dwelling of Conchó in October 1697. Although only a few weeks after their arrival local indigenous people attacked the mission, the Mission of our Lady of Loreto became a cornerstone of the peninsula religious network.
Later, after the Jesuits were evicted, Franciscan Junípero Serra sailed up from San Blas on the Purísima, a two week voyage crossing over from the mainland, no doubt battling against some of those strong northerlies we experienced while exploring the area, and it was from here he later departed to head to San Diego and found the California missions.
We sailed up from La Paz to Puerto Escondido in February (it was a bit windy to anchor at Loreto, though in some conditions it can work to do that) via some of the most amazing scenery I’ve ever seen. Baja just got better and better for me as we explored the gorgeous islands and rocky coves. I’ve written about some of our experiences here, here, and here – I was totally blown away by the drama of the landscape. And now, after travelling down Mainland Mexico and having arrived in El Salvador, despite all the great places we’ve visited, it’s Baja and its waters that I’m still craving. Continue reading “Picturing history: Puerto Escondido, Loreto, and the art of Alejandro Curiel”