Hello from La Paz! All is well, we just don’t have internet very often these days. The Baja has delivered exactly what we were hoping for- plenty of open space by the sea and a bit of a new culture. People have been very kind to us too. We’d been traveling with Sandie & Karsten and then met up with their friend Ivan from Spain so we’ve been three campers moving around together. It’s funny, the three of them met on the ship when they were riding with their campers across the Atlantic to N. America. We’ve done so many fun things together now and covered a lot of ground. It seems like everything is fit for a picture and there are so many good ones, too many actually.
It’s a bit of a blur but since doing the whales on the Pacific side, we’ve been hanging out mostly on the Sea of Cortez side now. Mex 1 winds back and forth from side to side and there are many little spur roads that head to each coastline so tons to do. Ivan found a great beach campspot in Mulege, which is a cute little town that has a spring The cattle looked healthy with a fresh water source and looking down from the mission over the green palms of the oasis was pretty. We did some socializing in Mulege, some dinners at outdoor restaurants, and met some other overlanders like Fabian from Switzerland who has traveled the world on his Royal Enfield diesel motorcycle. I wondered if leaving the sailing scene would mean we wouldn’t meet as many free souls with that wild look in their eyes and interesting stories to tell but that isn’t the case. We’ve found them. Among the things that you experience that you “just can’t make up”, apparently the town was late paying their electric bill so the electric company shut off the power to the water pumps so the town had been out of water for 4 days when we got there. They got it back while we were there and everyone was out watering their plants and probably taking a much needed shower too.
We restocked and headed further south to Bahia Concepcion where the water colors become more brilliant and the sandy beaches allure you. There aren’t any towns and very little development. You pay a few bucks for a palapa on the beach and take out the water toys and the BBQ. We hung out for several days like we were on vacation, kayaked, some of us swam, and we sat with our feet in the sand and made great meals together. An occasional vendor would come by selling shrimp & scallops, tamalies, banana bread or Mexican trinkets, often they didn’t even get out of their car unless you motioned to them that you wanted something. Between us, we got some of everything. We hiked up the backdrop of hills for views and to see cave paintings, camped on a sandspit and told stories. One night when there was a soft onshore breeze, we realized that the shoreline was shimmering in green light. The phosphorescence was like nothing we’d ever seen before. Different than what we would see sailing, this was like magic dust where the shore was all lit up, including the wet sand above the tideline and if you walked in the water or just wet your hands with it, everything would be green for several seconds. Crazy! I never knew.
I’m not sure what the water temp is but it isn’t balmy. But, I’m totally excited to snorkel here, especially in the shallows (we have no fins). There seems to be plenty of life, the water is fairly clear and I know it gets better the further south we go. The kayak has come into its own. Jon & I have really been enjoying it and it’s easy to get in & out of the water onto it when we’re snorkeling because it’s very stable.
When we ran low on water and produce, we headed to lovely Loreto for some civilization. There’s a great campground right in town where we could walk to the square and down the pedestrian friendly streets and sometimes get an ice cream. This helped make up for the constant crow of roosters and barking dogs that kept us from sleeping in. Jon found a hardware store and we got another pair of knippers, a saw and a pair of loppers. Mexican made and appear of good quality. It’s all I heard about for a couple of days Jon was so pleased with his purchase. All set for pruning now and we’ve used them already.
Loreto has a great vibe and a pretty malecon and you can walk on it as long as you have your mask on. When we pulled ours down to take a group photo, the cops came by and politely motioned for us to put them back on. You can stretch your dollar in Mexico. We had 2 great dinners on the plaza at the same place sitting outside having margaritas and seafood. The chef Juan Carlos came out both nights to greet us and take our order and then he would send something out like a plate of fresh clams on the house. We still haven’t gotten over them. Loreto looks out to beautiful mountains behind it and to high, offshore islands so it’s very picturesque. When we were in San Ignacio, Jon & I saw a little wooden whale hanging on the wall at a taco shop and had wished we could have one like that for our wall in the camper. In Loreto, we happened upon a little shop on the plaza that had one and then another, of a turtle. We now have a bit more color on our white walls (which we like very much because it’s so bright inside) and it reminds us of the great time we had in Loreto.
Outside Loreto by about 40km is the Sierra de la Giganta mountains and the town and mision of San Javier. Its unique in how well it’s preserved and so we drove up there to check it out. Pretty with flowers blooming around it and a 350 year old olive tree, we spent the afternoon there and toured the church and walked around. It felt more touristed because it was a paved road to get there so it wasn’t our favorite but still interesting. Since getting to Baja Sur I think there are too many dogs. They’re generally really nice and it makes my heart hurt. It’s not just dogs, its any living thing really including humans- the plight of trying to live and make a good life in what can be trying conditions. That everything needs to eat to live. Everything is eating everything else. It can be both heartening and sad. Anyway, dogs befriend us and sometimes they keep us company for a while.
We moved down to the Puerto Escondido vicinity to do a couple of hikes. Someone has a vision for Puerto Escondido and put in a great marina in a hurricane hole which is pretty quiet right now maybe because of covid. But there is also a lot of pavement and rich landscaping with a bunch of home plots but no building going on. Too bad because the infrastructure is already there. There are hiking trails to pretty views and we know what it feels like to pull into a place like this in your boat and know that there will be no waves or wind to worry about for a while and you can hike all around for exercise. I’ve really noticed all the handpainted signs in Mexico. This is a lost art in the US because you don’t see them. We had to work at finding a sign painter to paint the name Evergreen on our boat because everyone uses vinyl and most other signs are neon or big plastic jobs. But its still the way to do it here. Lots of murals too. But at Escondido, this one really cracked us up!
We took a side trip out to Mesquite Canyon to do a hike that was listed on IOverlander. While there are many handpainted signs, it is not to say all things are signed especially trails since there are very few real trails. Like for this hike we had to head out a rocky dirt road past an active gravel pit hoping that we would end up at the right place which is usually just a wash. But people are helpful here and so we were waved on through right away and pointed in the right direction by the workers and they asked us for some water. It was a hot day. Turns out the hike was the best we’ve done in all of Baja. It goes up a wash past thin horses that didn’t recognize a carrot as food, but then turns into a full on hiking trail and ends at a beautiful oasis. We had lunch there and found a big rock shaped like a perfect heart. In the clear pool there were two interesting things we’d never seen before- an electric beetle (big!) and some kind of scorpion stick bug that lives underwater. We want to go back there and hike more of the area.
My Moon Guide suggests a trip out to Agua Verde and San Cosme, a couple of remote fishing villages on an incredibly beautiful dirt road that hugs cliffs, climbs over mountains and eventually heads down to the sea. We made our way down stopping to take pictures of each other and ended up beachside again at the little village of San Cosme with an adjacent thermal pool and offshore islands to explore by kayak. The birds were fantastic. We watched blue footed boobies fishing, pelicans giving us the stare-down, a frigate bird steal the catch from a seagull and a seagull patiently kill it’s fish and then carry it down to the water to float it and then reposition it to swallow it. We made group dinners and watched shooting stars in the southern sky and of course, soaked in the thermal pool. It was fun to snorkel till we got cold and then jump in the pool to warm up.There was never anyone else at the pool besides us. Jon & I biked over to the village of Agua Verde on more beautiful road and decided we wanted to eventually come back with the truck and stay a little bit.
We spent a few days in San Cosme with the 5 of us but knew our time was coming to an end because Sandie & Karsten needed to make their way back to the US for visa purposes. What a bummer because its been such a blast and there’s so much more to see. We all like to do the same things and had a good routine. But we hope to meet up again in the coming months. So Ivan and us took our vehicles over to Agua Verde and Karsten & Sandie met us on their bikes so we could have one last taco lunch together. The area is striking with two huge offshore rocks, one of which looks like a breaching whale. To Jon & I, it is one of the most beautiful spots we’ve seen in the Baja so far.
And now we are two campers traveling together. We sat on the rocky beach at Agua Verde with cameras in hand having a beer after a day of hiking. The breaching whale rock was glowing white at sunset with all the bird doo on it and the pelicans were diving for fish in front of us. Ivan made a profound observation. When a pelican dives for a fish it usually does a 180 before re-surfacing so that it’s facing the opposite direction. This kind of thing makes me smile. Jon & I had such a great day, with good company.