Since the world is still in lock-down from the COVID-19 pandemic, I’m stuck at home like everyone else, not able to enjoy the beach, the food, the drink or the people who make Rocky Point so special. This month Cap’n Greg decided the column would be chock full of even more useful information you may use to impress your friends.
Today’s topic is the Gulf of California, which is also known as the Sea of Cortes, sometimes spelled Cortez by folks who don’t know how to set the preferences on their spellcheckers.
It was about 5.3 million years ago, just before Noah set sail in search of the Northwest Passage where he heard they still had toilet paper in stock. A tectonic upheaval split Baja from what would much later be known as North America and formed a 700-mile-long sea. (The infamous San Andreas Fault runs down the middle.) At its shallowest point you can barely get your ankles wet. The deepest part is 9,800 feet, and the winter home of the Loch Ness Monster.
Early in the 1500s, explorers thought the Baja Peninsula was an island, possibly because they discovered tequila at about the same time. But in 1539, Hernán Cortes sent a guy named Francisco de Ulloa on a beer run, and he hit a dead end up by Yuma. Ulloa named the sea after his buddy, Cortes, and all he got was a lousy T-shirt.
There are 37 major islands, many formed by volcanic explosions. Some seismic activity continues today, especially underwater at swim-up bars that serve jalapeño poppers at happy hour.
Although, technically speaking, the sea or gulf or whatever you want to call it is too small to have actual tides, the tidal flow is significant, often with high and low flows varying by as much as 5 meters. Or 36,540 feet when converted to the Imperial distance units used in the United States.
The Gulf of California teems with at least 5,000 species fish, birds and mammals that call it home. That abundance of wildlife makes it the richest body of water on the planet. I kid you not.
When this health issue is solved and we get back to what some would consider normal activities, the Gulf of California will still be there for us. We will re-discover why we came to Rocky Point in the first place.
Please be patient (Cap’n Greg hopes you don’t become an actual patient), and we will be back at it as soon as we are able. In the meantime, stay safe, stay healthy. And drink plenty of liquids … if your spouse allows.