March 8 2010
Three of us sit here in our in our mini mobile classroom trailer, eleven feet long, filled with our luggage as we travel; when we are camped it transforms into a mobile media center. An eighty-watt solar panel is on the roof wired into two six volt 105 amp hour batteries and a 1000-watt inverter. The students put the system together back at base camp before we left. Ohms law meets the Baja California sun and we have about 600 watt-hours of power each day. We now sit 50 yards from the breaking waves in San Roque, Baja California Sur, two students beside me with their computers happily humming away on the day’s store of solar energy. The view out the trailer is five miles of deserted beach with pelicans diving after fish that are trying to escape the patrolling lobos Marinas (sea lions).
San Roque is an abandoned fishing village about half way down the peninsula on the Pacific side. The village once supported about 20 families. Just off shore is Isla San Roque, the whole area is one of the Nuclear Core Zones of the Vizcaino Biosphere Reserve. The island supports a large colony of harbor seals and many species of birds. Twelve kilometers to the south is the small town of Bahia Asuncion; it also has an island just off shore with its own colony of sea lions. The town is not a tourist destination, so our presence here has a much different feel than our other haunts. We have been bringing students here for a number of years and many people in the town know us and greet us warmly. The local young people come to our beach camp for boogieando (boogie boarding) to play music, dance, practice English/Spanish and share food.
One of the reasons San Roque is abandoned is because there is no fresh water here. We bring what we need from town and the twelve of us subsist on less than 10 gallons a day. We wash our dishes and bodies with agua del mar, a very hands on lesson in conservation and appreciation for what we take for granted, and the magic of this place rubs off on the students just as planned.
By: Tom Weistar