Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Salt Mining and Bighorn Sheep

While on our kayak tour we stopped at Salinas Bay, the location of the old salt mine. It’s an interesting place with both history and renewed life. Unfortunately, I can’t agree that it’s all good!
Approaching Salinas Bay & the old salt mine.
Isla Carmen lies within the Parque Nacional Bahia de Loreto but it’s privately owned by a subsidiary of a large company called Grupo Vitro which specializes in glass products. The island has been used since the middle of the 19th century to produce salt for a variety of purposes and Grupo Vitro bought the island in 1944 for the salt it needed to produce glass.
The salt mines closed in 1984 due to declining extraction rates and salt quality. But, have no fear, Grupo Vitro found a more lucrative use for the island!
In 1995 and 1996, bighorn sheep were introduced to the island and corporate executives now pay $58,000 - $74,000 (depending on the size of the sheep) for a permit to kill a bighorn. There are now about 500 sheep on the island.
On one of our diving days we stopped at a beach between dives. Someone spotted this bighorn on a nearby ridge. Luckily, Andrew had his camera out and managed to get this one shot.
Because the island is private property, and because of the hunting, public access to the island is limited to the beaches and camping areas. Joel asked permission for us to have our lunch at Salinas Bay and wander around a bit – which was granted.
Lunch under a shady tree.
The church is still in usable condition.  

An innovative use for an old rail car that once carried salt from the mine to the dock. 
Joel providing a lesson in types of cactus. Luckily there was no exam at the end!
Another unique cactus planter.
Accommodation for hunters and other tourists.
This warehouse as seen better days!
Anyone else remember what this is?  :-) 

Abandoned rail line and dock.
Here are two of the internet articles I used as reference for this article. The first is a tourist's blog and the second is an academic dissertation on protecting natural environments in Mexico. The part about Salinas Bay is on page 209. 

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