"Well it was just another wonderful Baja kayak tour with great weather, fine beach campsites, star gazing and nightly checks of the position of the moons of Jupiter, snorkeling, hiking, bird watching, and on and on. Ryan and Joel were great hosts and I will be back next year for another tour."
It's been a beautiful winter down here in Loreto. The weather has been warm and the winds light. Most of all, we've had some amazing trips, made many new friends, and seen a lot of wildlife. Thought I’d give you some highlights!
The season started in November with our Carmen Island Circumnavigation. It was 10 days of excellent paddling. The first 2 provided a welcome ‘ease-into it’ start with smooth seas and relaxed paddling. The group enjoyed the best snorkeling and bird watching of the trip on a rocky reef I know well near Punat Baja at the southern most tip of Carmen.
On day 3 we smiled all day, appreciating a tailwind that carried us all the way to Salinas Bay. Bahia Salinas is one of my favourite spots for exploring on the whole island. It is the site of an old sea salt production facility that closed down in the early 80's and is now full of interesting relics: decaying railroad ties, rusty equipment, sunken tugboats, empty buildings, and a huge dried salt pond that is still rimmed with large salt crystals.
We had a rest day just south the Sea Lion colony at Punta Lobos to wait for the wind to die before we started around the exposed northern tip of Isla Carmen. While waiting for the weather several of us spent the day exploring the arroyos and canyons behind our campsite. The view from the summit of the mountain behind our campsite was incredible and it was satisfying to see the distance covered and providing the right perspective for how much more there was to go. Normally hiking is not encouraged on Carmen Island, but as this was the more remote northern section and by following the arroyos we carefully left the desert ecosystem untouched.
The rest day rewarded the group with perfectly calm water making the 2 day paddle around the 3 northern headlands of Isla Carmen comfortable and stunningly beautiful. We stopped to camp at El Refugeo, one of my favourite beaches of this route. El Refugeo is a beautiful white sand beach facing north, rimmed by tall limestone cliffs. Just back from the beach is a huge, 100 foot sand dune to explore. Making jump-turns down the steep face is the closest thing to skiing I have done in the last 5 years!!
Once around the northern section of the island the group slid into a more relaxed kayak touring rhythm and enjoyed some shorter, more leisurely days. There was even enough time to spend two nights and one full day exploring Danzante Island before we paddled back to Puerto Escondidio on day 10 to finish our trip.
Following a short turn around I was back on the water for a custom trip following our Islands to Agua Verde route. This 7 day route starts by exploring the islands and then follows the coast south to Aqua Verde. On Danzante Island we were able to do some snorkeling and go on a hike up to the ridge line behind our campsite for a view across to Carmen Island and down the coast. After our two days on the islands we crossed back to the peninsula to start our paddle south, but during the crossing the group was visited by a mega-school of pacific white-sided dolphin before they continued their journey over the horizon.
The paddle south along the coast is always awesome with the Sierra Giganta (Gigantic Mountains) rising dramatically out of the sea providing endlessly stunning views from our kayaks. While on the beach the pelicans, jumping eagle rays and other shore birds fishing delivered our daily entertainment.
On this trip 2 two really good Rooster Fish were caught from the kayaks. During the fall these game can be found in large schools along parts of this remote coast. The first one was big enough to easily supply our group with a fresh Ceviche lunch and a huge dinner of seafood pasta with white wine sauce! Fishing from the kayaks is something that I really enjoy and there is nothing finer than fresh fish while experiencing the Sea of Cortez.
Towards the end of the trip we spent 2 nights camping at Carazillitos Vantana, the location my family is especially excited about. Last year we all spent a week camping here and now offer it as a location to base-camping from (with kayak day trips, beach walks, hiking and the daily soaks at the intertidal hot-spring!).On both days here the group spent much of the afternoon relaxing in the natural hot springs! There is a multi-generational family operating a remote ranch here who we’ve connected with for many years. They enjoy visits and offered to take us on a mule ride trip into the mountains – a highlight event for our guests. These folks have worked this land for generations and are the real thing - traditional Mexican cowboys, happy to share their culture, songs and local knowledge.
Paddling into the epically beautiful Agua Verde for our last night of camping is a terrific end to the trip. The color of the water, the amazing snorkeling, and the light reflecting on Roca Solitara (a 150 foot sea stack protruding from the water at the entrance of the bay) at sunrise is breathtaking!
While it may have been a slower start to this season than past years, with some smaller and custom groups, Joel and I have really enjoyed the opportunity to get to know everyone that much better. Each person has showed such a fun sense of adventure and a willingness to explore and to learn about this amazing place. I feel honoured to interact with such great people and to guide them through this amazing part of the world. Baja Kayak Adventure’s spring reservations are now filling up, and we are looking forward to another 3 months of new adventures, the coming whale season, and making many new friends.
Plus, check out our new Ranch Multi-Sport Adventurers at the amazing Rancho San Cosme. With kayaking day trips, mule and horseback riding, excellent snorkeling and exploring, and the natural hot springs, it's the perfect trip for your group and family! Our San Basilio Eco-Villa Getaways are also new this year. Stay with us at 100% off-the-grid eco-villa in the stunningly beautiful San Basilio Bay.
See you on the water,