Where you are standing or sitting is where you are – we can all agree on that. What direction or your heading is an entirely different story – that is not so easy to know or to necessarily agree upon.
A friend wrote this to me yesterday referring to my recent blog entry wherein I described the great wall in our driveway running along our south property line, “…hate to be a stickler about this but the wall is on the EAST side of your house, not the south. The beach is on the south and the sun sets in the west, as you have no doubt noticed from your balcony.”
Of course my friend is wrong about this correction. The interesting thing is this person has been living here in Puerto full time for ten years or so; and knows the area generally about as well as anyone – even better.
It is easier to get turned around than one might think. Let us try and sort this out. First there is true north and compass or magnetic north and magnetic declination, sometimes called magnetic variation to take into account. To avoid the complications of compass readings let us just use True North and not use any magnetic compass directions, to be on the same page sort of speak.
Google Earth and most maps depict north as the top-of-the-page thus the bottom is south; the far right is east and the far left is west. Using that standard below is a Google Earth photo of my house ostensibly from 650 feet above, although Google uses the word satellite, most of the high-resolution imagery of cities is aerial photography taken from aircraft flying at 800 feet (240 m) to 1,500 feet (460 m); however, most of the other imagery is from satellites. The photo I use here was taken August 7th, 2013.
The most current Google satellites are orbiting at 311-mile (500-km) high. From that altitude, the satellites are able to image objects less than 32 inches (80 cm) in diameter – amazing! In this photo I can clearly see our little bodega in the backyard – also amazing!
Pulling the view back a bit.
Clearly, to me, you can see the two vacant lots east of the two white rectangles and south of where our casa is located.
So how did my friend get turned around? Easy actually. Most people know that the sun “rises in the east and sets in the west”. However, most people don’t realize that is a generalization. Actually, the sun only rises due east and sets due west on 2 days of the year – the spring and fall equinoxes! On other days, the sun rises either north or south of “due east” and sets north or south of “due west.”
Each day the rising and setting points change slightly. At the summer solstice, the sun rises as far to the northeast as it ever does, and sets as far to the northwest. Every day after that, the sun rises a tiny bit further south.
At the fall equinox, the sun rises due east and sets due west. It continues on its journey southward until, at the winter solstice, the sun rises are far to the south as it ever does, and sets as far to the southwest.
Puerto is only about 50 kilometers from the most southerly point of Mexico. Jump in the ocean heading south from Puerto and the next landfall is Antarctica.
In my last Blog entry I closed mentioning “Tune in next time to view an unusual visitor to the Calypso kitchen.”
The other morning Anita came charging out of the kitchen area like a rodeo bull being released at the gate. I noted fear across her lovely face. This is more of a concern these days as small bugs, spiders including scorpions, geckos and even iguanas in our yard and even in the house are customary to her. In other words she does not rattle easily.
I am not sure where she was going as she streaked through the living room area heading towards the door saying something about, “…In the kitchen….” I had to investigate.
There right next to the sink, where Anita is often found was a pretty large toad – a two fisted sized amphibian. I grabbed a broom trying to gently direct it out of our house. It was not coHOPerating at all. So I went into a sweeping action that eventually rolled it into our front garden outside – where I was able to capture a photo.
This hombre was better suited in the garden.
Most of you do not live amongst scorpions, geckos, possums, crabs, toads and small crocodile sized iguanas – and even small crocodiles. Our friend Charlie related a story the other day about returning home from the States to find a small crock in his pool!
What can be said – living at the beach has its Wild Kingdom attributes and I would not have it any other way. Stay Tuned!