To quote the sage of the age, Bruce Springsteen, “the poets down here don’t write nothing at all, they just stand back and let it all be.”
As a photographer, my first instinct is to grab my camera whenever something catches my attention. But, sometimes I just have to tell myself to sit and enjoy something. The last night on the island I watched an incredible sunset. The sun was already below the horizon, but the last strains of orange were still in the sky. It turned from violent to purple to black. There was a small home in foreground lit up against the night. It was very striking, calming and moving all at the same time. And I left my camera in the bag. I guess I could have captured it to share, but this time I just wanted to enjoy it.
There is a small but classic lighthouse on the far end of the island. It was built in 1935 and enjoys a view from just about the highest spot on the island—about 400 feet above sea level. It’s still operational, although the light keeper quarters below it are abandoned—as is true with most lighthouses. As we were talking about alternative sources of income for the island, eco-tourism being one of the most obvious, we all agreed that the light house would make an amazing bed and breakfast or lodge. The views are breathtaking and it’s just a cool structure. And the better surfing spots are just down the hill.
It became a running joke all week about the “conveniences” on the island. Giving someone directions “Do you turn left or right at the Starbucks?” or “Just take a taxi if you need to get over there.” Neither of which exist on the island of course. With a total population of 400 or so people, you don’t need them. And everyone we met was willing and happy to help out as much as they could. There was never any hesitation. A cup of coffee? Just ask. A ride somewhere? Hop in.
The diving and fishing is run by a cooperative on the island that takes care of everything. They organize the diving, provide utilities for everyone, process the catch and sell it at market. And they are already looking at alternatives for their island and the marine protected area it’s in the middle of. They are working with Reef Check to train the divers to monitor the health of the MPA and looking to train them to work with recreational divers in some of the thickest kelp forests I have ever seen.
For people interested in having a coffee shop on the corner and a resort with a spa and maid service, there are plenty of places to visit in Mexico. But if you’re looking for a place where the night sky is inversely proportional to the cell signal, Isla Natividad has some real potential. And it is the sort of place that inspires you to just sit and watch a sunset as the sky turns to black.
When I see things like what I have seen while researching this project, the good and the bad, it makes me take a lot of things (office politics) a lot less seriously. And makes me think people who do play those games really need something more important in their lives. Probably the best lesson of all for me. There is a much bigger world out there than our little problems..