C.J. Bahnsen

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Top Stories by C.J. Bahnsen

 “Peter Benchley is on The Horizon,” our dive ops manager, Tracy Andrew, announced as she disembarked from the panga boat and climbed aboard our 85-foot charter dive vessel, The Ocean Odyssey. I was among the 16 shark divers and 10 crewmembers who stood bunched and excited on the afterdeck upon hearing the news. Hard as I tried to keep a dignified aura behooving a journalist on assignment, I found myself hip-checking through the small crowd and, with overeager impatience, asking, “Did you talk to him!?”  It was November of 2004. Our vessel sat anchored in the northeast leeward side of Isle de Guadalupe, some 300 yards off an area known as “Shark Heaven.” The Horizon, sister boat of The Odyssey, sat at anchor not far off, also loaded with shark divers, led by ecotour operator, Paul “Doc” Anes. I was signed on with Patric ... (more)

Letter from Loreto

Traffic is amping up with the Tecate sunrise now: exact time unknown. I can smell, even taste, the acrid carbon monoxide-dust fumes coming under my door like Dracula fog. The loose window slats – there are 16 small, sand-blasted rectangles held haphazardly in place with finishing nails sticking out of each window frame – also efficiently let in the new morning’s dirty noise rising off Hidalgo Avenue. I’m on the second floor at the Junipero Hotel. My room faces this main drag that cuts through Loreto’s heart. The town is one of Baja California Sur&rsq... (more)

Island of Deception

The self-guiding upper trail leads us through an ice plant meadow to Pinniped Point, an outlook more than 200 feet above an epochal expanse of rugged bluffs, cavernous alcoves, and a tide pool fringed with lounging California sea lions. First thing I notice is the sense of holy isolation once aloft. Then I remember the admonishments the guide from Island Packers Cruises had made to about 20 of us fresh off the boat earlier this morning. She told us to stay a body’s length away from cliff edges; many of them are undercut and the soil rests on decomposing volcanic rock &mdash... (more)