Sunday, March 31, 2013

The internet lied: Grinding it out to Santa Rosalia

Kids. Don't believe everything you read on the Internet. LA Bay to Santa Rosalia I knew was going to be one of the longest legs. Turns out it is hands down the longest. My Internet research found a site with pretty exact milages listed for this leg that said it was 139 miles. Boy was that wrong. The guy must have been smoking crack when he was  looking at his GPS. I ended up paddling almost 190 miles to complete it. Took me a couple of days to realize how off it was and that I needed to refigure on the charts. Made it to Santa Rosalia with one day of water left. Cut it kind of close. Psychologically it was a rough week at times. The realization of the added distance got added to the fact that I was in a grind out the miles part of the trip. The first two weeks you have excitement of the adventure and something new to get you going. Week three into four you have "wow, I have gone 200 miles which is an achievement but there are  still 500 to go!"  That and a rough day on the water (high wind and rough water in a bad spot of coastline) coming around Punta las Animas put me in a bit of a funk. However by the end if the leg I was better.  Had some beautiful camping spots, the weather has been very cooperative, and I have passed the halfway mark which means it is all downhill from here. 3 days gets me to Mulege which is the gateway to Conception Bay, one of the premier kayaking spots in Baja. So far I have only seen local fishing pangas. I have seen no other kayakers, no sailboats, no fishing trawlers, or a cargo ship until I got to Santa Rosalia. There I finally saw a cargo ship loading gypsum and a pair of sailboats.   The next section has Highway 1 (the main road up and down Baja) along it so I may see more people along here then anywhere else. If I don't see kayaks in Conception Bay then I may never see any. I was surprised I didn't see any in LA Bay. 
The wildlife highlight of this section (there are many to choose from) was a 2+ mile long line of whales (50 to 100 to I have no idea how many) that were leaping out of the water and making loud smacks when they hit the water. It sounded like thunder. It went on for about 5 minutes before the settled down and just went back to being a whale parade headed north.  Amazing to watch but too far away to film. 
More when I can report again. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Through the Heart of The Wall

First time I have gotten to a computer. Can´t find WiFi or I would add some pictures. Red sky in morning, red sky at night. Amazing sunrises and sets. Wildlife galore. Whales breathing as I sleep in my tent. Dolphins frolicking outside my tent. Sea lions grappling birds 20 yards off of my kayak. Just under 200 miles done at this point. The first week was a good warmup with lots of houses and a road nearby. This last week was the most technical section. The most remote area with no road anywhere near and the cliffs went straight into the ocean. Very few beaches if the wind picked up. Next section is 139 miles to Santa Rosalia which is just short of the halfway point. It tends to be very windy here. I have had 3 days of calm out of 13. I get up very early to get as many miles in before the afternoon winds start to pick up (usually starting at 9am. So far I have had one fisherman offer me marijuana and 2 run ins with the Mexican Navy so I would say so far the authorities are winning the drug war. All the Americans and Canadians that live down here feel quite safe. They say just don´t do dumb things just like in the US. I have met some great people here. People have invited me to their houses, fed me, given me rides to the market, etc. Both expats and the Mexican people. This is the 5th time I have been to Mexico and each time it has been great. The hardest part of this trip is missing Kathleen but I can look at the mountains and water and have to pinch myself that I am actually living this dream. It will be over before I know it. The funny thing is I keep dreaming about snow.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Into Mexico

     So I made it out of town.  Everything took much longer to get done then expected but eventually it got done.  The entire house was packed into boxes and everything was put into a storage shed for the foreseeable future.  Initially the storage shed was neatly stacked and packed but I will admit by the end I was just throwing things into it to get it done.  If there is an earthquake there will be major problems trying to get the door open.  While I was piling stuff in there I did have some moments where I was convinced I was about to be buried in a crap-a-lanche of my own belongings.  I managed to get everything done with only a few scrapes and cuts on my hands and shins. 
     I have now spent the last 5 days taking my time visiting friends as I made my way to Juli's house in LA out of which I am staging the Baja trip. I spent a night in Portland and then 3 nights in Northern California visiting friends from High School, undergrad, vet school, and former coworkers.  It was a relaxing few days to catch up with old friends and to slowly get my head wrapped around the upcoming weeks.  Good food, a few drinks, and chatting it up with friends I hadn't seen in way too many years was the perfect way to immerse myself into the trip.  It also allowed me to catch up on some neglected sleep. I picked up a friend Toby at LAX who is going to come to Mexico with me and then drive my truck back to LA where it will stay while I paddle.  The clouds chased me down then entire way.  I did get some sun yesterday afternoon but even today in LA it is completely overcast.  Meanwhile I hear that Seattle is gorgeous.  Soon after a few weeks of burning under the sun I will probably be praying for clouds.   
     Now that I am dropping into Mexico the amount of communication I will have and internet access will be very intermittent at best.  My cellular service will be disconnected so from now on the only way to contact me will be through email ( or through Facebook. I will only be able to check this when I can get a WiFi signal so it may be 2 months before I can get a solid update posted about my trip.  My SPOT tracker is supposed to update my position on Facebook  but it has not seemed to be working.  At least it has been sending a text message/email to my Mom and Kathleen which is the important thing it needs to do so they don't worry as much.  However on the front page of this blog there is a link for "My current position" which should show my camping spots for the last 7 days. Once I get back and have my own computer I can post pictures again
    The plan is to take a day or two to hang out in San Felipe, get a lay of the land, enjoy being in Baja and set off when the wind allows.  700 miles and 7 weeks later I hope to pull into La Paz.  My Mom has now decided that she is going to go to La Paz so she will meet me there and watch my stuff while I go get my truck and Kathleen to come back down to La Paz and get my boat and gear.  As a result I will have a much nicer hotel room then I would otherwise once I get to La Paz.  I will update as soon as I can.  Thanks to everyone for the support and help, especially Kathleen, my Mom, Juli and Morgan for being home base LA,  Nicole, Nick, and Heather for feeding me and giving me shelter on the drive down, Toby for helping with the launch, and GU for the support on this expedition.