Monthly Archives: September 2011
UNESCO World Heritage Site #153: Islands and Protected Areas of the Gulf of California
From the World Heritage inscription:
The site comprises 244 islands, islets and coastal areas located in the Gulf of California in north-eastern Mexico. The Sea of Cortez and its islands have been called a natural laboratory for the investigation of speciation. Moreover, almost all major oceanographic processes occurring in the planet’s oceans are present in the property, giving it extraordinary importance for study. The site is one of striking natural beauty in a dramatic setting formed by rugged islands with high cliffs and sandy beaches, which contrast with the brilliant reflection from the desert and the surrounding turquoise waters. The site is home to 695 vascular plant species, more than in any marine and insular property on the World Heritage List. Equally exceptional is the number of fish species: 891, 90 of them endemic. The site, moreover, contains 39% of the world’s total number of species of marine mammals and a third of the world’s marine cetacean species.
The property ranks higher than other marine and insular World Heritage sites as it represents a unique example in which, in a very short distance, there are simultaneously ‘bridge islands’ (populated by land in ocean level decline during glaciations) and oceanic islands (populated by sea and air). Moreover, almost all major oceanographic processes are present, of extraordinary importance for the study of marine and coastal processes. These processes are indeed supporting the high marine productivity and biodiversity richness that characterize the Gulf of California. The diversity and abundance of marine life associated with spectacular submarine forms and high water transparency makes this a diver’s paradise.
In August 2011 I visited the island of Espiritu Santo near La Paz, Mexico. We went out via boat and saw an abundance of marine life including sea lions, dolphins and sea turtles. The arid islands offered a sharp contrast to the deep blue waters of the Gulf of California. It was a great experience and one that I would do again in a heartbeat.
View my complete list of UNESCO World Heritage sites.
My 13 Most Wanted Destinations
I do not have a bucket list. If I did, I’m sure most of the things on that list would have been crossed off by now. That does not mean, however, that I do not have goals or a priority list of things I’d like to do. The following list is of the 13 places I would most like to visit.
You will notice that most of these destinations are out of the way and rather hard to get to. While I still haven’t visited many places which get large numbers of tourists (Shanghai for example), they are relatively easy to get to. If I really wanted to visit Shanghai I’m sure I could do it no problem. I’m also sure I’ll wind up going there at some point.
These places have all captured my fancy for some reason or another. Save for the locations in Canada and Australia, all are in countries which I haven’t visited before. (Technically, I have been to Chile when I went to Easter Island, but it isn’t the same as visiting the mainland of Chile)
Here is my list in no particular order are the 13 places I would most like to visit: