Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Baja Odyssey, Pt 4

To better see what Zack and I were doing, check out da map

Day 4: Go up early beach and headed south east along the coast. Like the day before there was no wind for a while, and occasionally I'd look back at Zack way back there. Then the wind picked up, and today we were going with the wind and waves. Soon it was getting big. I didn't relish the prospect of going around big and exposed Punta Santa Marta. We cut wide out to sea so we'd save a little distance and stay clear of the nasty shoals off the point, but the waves there were still the biggest I've ever been in, yet still Zack managed to look like he was still back there, sometimes paddling, sometimes not, sometimes surfing. Once past the point we headed straight for the beach on the opposite side of the point and sheltered in the wind shadow and wave eddy there. There was a lone palm tree, and we relaxed under it and explored the headlands. We went no further that day. There was evidence of recent NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School, for young adults) course passing through and leaving some cool artifacts (bandana with knot diagrams on it, snorkel mask) which we scooped up.

Day 5: Woke up early at Lone Palm and headed out, optimistically for San Nicolas. Stopped at beautiful Medano Blanco beach and played in the dunes. When the coast finally turned straight south and into the big protected Bahia de San Nicolas we set up a tent-fly sail and really got moving. After about half an hour Zack's arms were getting tired so we started paddling again, Zack a little behind, sometimes filming, sometimes paddling. We didn't quite make it to San Nicolas, but found a really nice arroyo beach, and just down the shore was a nice big nook in the rocks where we could chill out, sheltered, with a little fire. Zack even slept there, saying it was his most favorite spot to sleep all trip.

Day 6: Slept in a little because we were sheltered in the big Bahia and were really close to San Nicolas, where we planned to spend some time. Before we left the 20-member NOLS sea kayak course passed us and we talked with them. Turns out we had passed them the day before while there were hidden somewhere in a little cove. We finally meet Ronaldo, a NOLS guide, the guy Zack knew who rented us the boats*. Zack had never met him in person before. We met up with the NOLS course again in San Nicolas. Running low on cookies and other supplies we headed up the lagoon into the arroyo, left through the fence and a barn yard, up the hill, and into the only store in town. We got some sweets and rice. Also practically bought out the only beer vendor in town (with his cooler beside his isolated house on another hill), and got some salt fish because I though it'd be a good idea. Noticed all the palm trees by the lagoon, and all the fish, shark, eel and ray carcasses on the beach where the NOLS course would stay for a few days... mmmm, dead hammerhead! We left late in the afternoon and headed east into the rising night, pulling around the point north of Punto El Pulpito, onto a sandy beach, while sea lions taunted us from the point, spooky and unseen in the moonlit sea.

*The boats we got were 18' figerglass expadition boats. They were good to us, but were used and re-paited ex-NOLS boats - mine was twisted so without the rudder compensation it turned port quite a bit. We thank Ronoldo again for renting us the boats and trusting us without a guide, because it's nearly impossible to rent boats without a guide in Baja.

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