BY BRAD FALKNER
I first had occasion as a Cabo newbie in the pre-pandemic glory days to cruise the San Jose Marina, (officially known as the Marina Puerto Los Cabos). A buddy of mine lent me one of his top-of-the-line bicycles, so I decided to spin my wheels on the smoothly paved path around this marvelous Marina. I really liked it but didn’t fall in love with it. Alas, upon reflection, I believe it was it because I took the trip solo for exercise purposes. I could have just as easily joined him on his boat, an invitation that was always readily welcomed and available from him.
Full disclosure folks. I was commissioned to write this piece by a person who has never led me astray – David Flores – the editor of this precious periodico. Perhaps Flores intuitively sensed that I was missing out on more than a local treasure, and a slice of history. No, I think he knew that spending a romantic Sunday afternoon with my girlfriend strolling around the Marina would make us both happy.
I asked Flores if he was looking for a particular angle for this article. He simply suggested that I go to the marina with my girlfriend and that we walk hand in hand around its entirety. He recommended that I write about the experience paying special attention to the exceptional artworks of Leonora Carrington. More about the intriguing Carrington legacy later.
Neighboring the San Jose estuary, only a few miles as the crow flies from historic downtown San Jose del Cabo, the Marina Puerto Los Cabos offers a sanctuary for all whether you are a yachtsman, fisherman, amphibious creature trying to avoid their hooks, a biker or just someone out for a casual scenic stroll. Before you access the marina, you will also find its manicured botanical garden, with thousands of endemic cacti. But that’s not all. This full-service marina has all the amenities, including eclectic dining options that do not disappoint. If you are looking for good eats and great prices, “The Drunken Sailor” is a safe bet.
So on a glorious Sunday afternoon in March off we went. It felt as if we found ourselves in a modern-day Beatles video version of “Good Day Sunshine” from their transformation 1966 album Revolver.
“We take a walk, the sun is shining down, burns my feet as they touch the ground. Good day sunshine. And then we lie beneath a shady tree. I love her and she’s loving me, she feels good, and she knows she’s looking fine. I’m so proud to know that she is mine.”
As we explored, we were captivated by the famous works of art neatly placed around the marina as well as the spectacular contrast between the landscape on one side of the town and the seascape on the other side. We were drawn in by the mixture of paintings and sculptures, some of which were quite haunting. We felt the works of art were the quintessence of surrealism. There was an assorted cast of local and tourist characters meandering around these hidden gems taking breathtaking photos.
These fascinating pieces of art belong to the permanent exhibit of the iconoclastic artist Leonora Carrington OBE. She was a British-born artist, surrealist painter, and novelist. She lived most of her adult life in Mexico City and was one of the last surviving participants in the surrealist movement of the 1930s.
As Alejandrina Calderoni, a highly sought-after local surrealist artist of instinctive brilliance and creativity, shared with me, “Among magicians in the world, Leonora Carrington is one of the most inspiring artists of all history. From symbolic references to magical surrealism, she can pull you out of rational form and get caught in an unconscious mind; it’s a gift to live in a mundane world and have the access to visualize such amazing otherworldly pieces of art.”
Not unlike Calderoni, Carrington’s talents are an infusion of surrealism and literal feminist portraits that melt one’s soul. Carrington pieces honored and largely showcased a feminine perspective on what had otherwise been a largely male-dominated artistic movement. Time and again she boldly demonstrated that women should be seen as artists in their own right and not to be used as muses by male artists.
Carrington was also a founding member of the women’s liberation movement in Mexico during the 1970s. In my mind’s eye, I picture that tennis legend Billie Jean King, an artist on the court and one of the key figures of the feminist movement, admired Carrington’s commitment to this cause.
As Carrington claimed, “I didn’t have time to be anyone’s muse; I was too busy rebelling against my family and learning to be an artist.”
Nearing dusk we concluded our adventure with the sunset and fortuitously we bumped into a picturesque restaurant right in front of the harbour called “The Hook Up”. This open-air eatery is exactly the type of joint where we were eager to drop our anchor, catch a great feed and take in el atardecer.
This restaurant is set on a rustic wooden deck overlooking the marina and offers a full bar, diverse menu and fair prices. We were also told by the friendly staff that it was ecologically constructed from a recycled sea container. I was shocked that after living in San Jose for three years I had never heard of this place. Clearly The Hook Up is still one of the best-kept secrets in San José del Cabo.
The thinking here is that the Marina Puerto Los Cabos will forever remain on the collective Los Cabos radar.