Baja 2016

Feb. 20th _March 5 2016

Our long trips are over and now we are visiting friends and doing shorter paddling trips and even a just hang out on the beach for 5 days at a beautiful location. We will both be working courses in March and some of our time is prepping for them. Our pace is slowed as we enjoy areas that are some of our favorites. Enjoy the photos!

Feb.19, 2016

Our bodies are in tune with the 4:30 wake up. When we checked our watches and saw the time, we looked out of our tent and felt no wind and heard no waves. Don decides to make breakfast while Donna takes down the tent and packs up gear. We could see the light of the shrimp boats as they were heading back to the ports, still dragging their nets. The birds that were following the shrimp boats were announcing their successes. It was quite the morning chorus.  As the sun was treating us to a spectacular sunrise a whale sounded in the distance. Sunrises do not get much better than this. This stretch of coast is exposed to the North, so we paddled steadily to get around Punta Chivato. The wind stayed mellow and the tidal currents seemed non existent. It was a good morning to be on the water. We rounded the point our view now included the nice houses of this area. It is quite the development that is continuing to expand southward. In the middle of the houses is a Mexican fish camp. It is quite the contrast with metal siding and outhouses.  Pulling into a sandy beach for lunch we noticed lots of red coloring in the water. There should be lots of phosphorescent  in the water tonight. Several large rafts of grebes tempted us to try our luck at photographing them. It is amazing how quickly they can swim underwater. Currently our goal is to stop at a beach south of Mulege and spend the night. That way we would only have a 4 hour paddle tomorrow to get to where we started our trip a month ago. As we were making our way towards Mulege, several dolphins passed by. Then Don noticed a group of dolphins feeding close to shore. It was a dolphin feeding frenzy complete with dive bombing pelicans. There was a lot of red in the water which we initially thought was blood but on closer observation realized it was just the red tide. The tide is ebbing and so the shallow beach that we are landing on has quite the tidal flat. Since the tide will be ebbing for awhile we pull our boats out of the water and walk to the beach where we make ourselves an early dinner. Quesadillas with onions, mushrooms, cheese and peppers fill our stomachs. A cup of hot chocolate and we are thinking about moving. Our attempt at getting internet here is a failure. We can see the tower, but can not seem to have a connection. No worries, it was more out of curiosity than a need. The remaining part of the paddle is mostly protected so we did not need to get a weather forecast. With a full stomach and calm seas, we decided to just go ahead and paddle the 4 hours tonight. there should be good moonlight and we know the way. With our boats heading to the south, the tide gave us a little push and then a little wind from the north added to our movement. Soon we saw the NOLS branch with the lights on. Greetings from some of the folks there welcoming us back. Soon our kayaks were unloaded and we were fast asleep in our sleeping bags with smiles on our faces!

Feb. 18, 2016

It was a leisurely morning as we made breakfast after daylight. Our intent was to have a short paddle day and explore the numerous sea caves on the North side of the island. The weather forecast was turning out to be accurate and the sea state could not have been calmer.  We had been wakened by waves hitting the shore around 3 in the morning, not sure what had caused them, but now it was flat calm. This was our first time visiting San Marcos and we were impressed. On the North side there are numerous sea caves and a quite rugged shoreline. We took our time and explored each one that we saw. We felt blessed that the seas remained calm. We, however, were not the only ones on the island. As we rounded the island and headed south down the west side of the island we had several sites in mind to stop for the night, but they were occupied by fishermen.  After having had lots of wind the last few days they also were taking advantage of this nice weather.  Not wanting to join them we decided that since we had such a good weather window, we would continued on.  We rounded the southern part of the island and stopped for lunch. We could stop here or continue on to visit the town on the island. We had been advised to be aware of the dust potential from the gypsum mine. Today was perfect with no breeze therefore no dust. Perhaps we should go visit the town and if conditions persisted go back to the mainland. With that in mind we packed up after lunch and headed to town. We had been given a description of the town from our friends and the spot that we landed did not match. It was a very nice housing development and what looked like a nice hotel and cafeteria. We walked around for awhile and then a man in a truck drove up and asked if he could help us. His name was Carlos and he was an engineer who had worked at the mine for 27 years. We had landed in the managers location. The workers and supervisors lived on the other side of the dock. He told us about the mine and that it would probably only have a life span of 20 more years. He said that we should go visit the town site where there is a school, store and hospital. Thanking him for this information we headed back to the townsite. Landing our kayaks near the front of the town, we saw how we had missed it. It was set back from the shore. We also saw the coating of light gypsum on most objects. We were glad that the wind was calm. One could easily imagine what it was like when a strong wind would blow. We do not imagine that it would be good for your lungs. As we walked through the town, we were impressed by the neatness. A church and school were located near the square. Treats from the store included a package of chocolate cookies which we quickly devoured before heading back to our kayaks. Our paddling day is now stretching out much longer than we had planned. With it becoming later in the day and the sea still being calm we decided to do the 4 mile crossing back to the mainland. Don fishes on the way and catches a nice sized trigger fish for tonights dinner. Finally as the sun is setting we pull into a beach for the night. It was not the day we had planned, but it was one of fulfilling  activities.

Feb. 17, 2016

Up at 4:30 and neither the wind nor the sea was making any sounds. We are good to go! On the water before first light being enthralled by the light show put on by the dinoflagellates. Our paddles and boats created quite a pathway of light not to mention the fish swimming under the boats and the Grebes as they dove under the water. Soon we were past the large mine dock and turning the corner towards town. We looked for a place to land rather than go all the way into the marina, but not seeing anything that looked good we headed to the docks. It was a good decision as we were easily able to find a place to tie up our boats. It had only taken us 2 hours to paddle here. Don grabbed our water containers and the food list. He walked to town, did the errands which also included getting us set up with Telcel on our Ipad mini. We are still amazed how the ability to communicate has changed over the last 30 years. Don had found a taxi driver who met him at the water store and transported him back to the marina. Meanwhile I was entertained by the sailors who as usual had their stories to tell. Several of them had sold their houses and were now living on their boats. They were both doing repairs on their boats and I was glad that we had quite simple boats.Don was back to the dock by 11:00. The weather continued to be in our favor as did the extended weather forecast. If this pattern holds we may be crossing to the island today.  The next section of coastline was a real treat. Last time we had been so focused on keeping our bows into the waves and trying to move forward that we had little time to take in the scenery. Today it was a completely different story. When we got to the potential crossing, it was a green light and we headed across. Whales were spouting and for awhile we were in between several most likely finbacks whales. Landed on a beautiful spot. It was exposed to the North, but the swells and wind were from the South so it is home. With our new internet service we were able to talk to both boys and learn that we had gotten a contract to work in SE Alaska, Perhaps we should think seriously about paddling the Inland Passage way this summer. 

Feb.16, 2016

There was wind all night, but not as strong as the previous day.  Most likely we will be spending the day here. The wind was coming in several different directions early this morning, but by late morning, it was coming from the North. Definitely glad that we stayed put. I would much rather be here than the dock at Santa Rosalie. We went back to our breakfast nook and enjoyed another leisurely breakfast. This time I went for a walk and Don made the bread. I too was impressed with the amazing fig tree. Their root system is impressive. A humming bird did a pose, which is always fun. Diving in the afternoon once again showed a variety of fish. The next beach over is a fishing camp which is now occupied by several fisherman. From the looks of it, it is well used. I must admit the camp is a bit trashy, reminds me of some of the camps I have seen in the backcountry in Alaska near road heads.  A good day and we decide that we are going to go to bed early in anticipation of an early move. As we are organizing for hopefully the morning departure, a Mexican Navy boat approaches our beach and asks us our names. They also want to ask us if we have seen a single kayak. It sounds like there is one missing.  We had not seen any other kayakers in the last 3 weeks so they put their boat in reverse and off they went. With our camp mostly ready for an early morning departure, we took a walk down the beach and then headed to bed. Several hours later when we were both asleep, we were awakened by a boat coming to our  beach and a person yelling Hola. Not sure what to expect, Don gets out of the tent to see who landed. It was the Mexican Fishermen from the next beach over. They had seen the Navy boat pull into our beach and they wanted to know what they were doing. We told them about the missing kayaker and with that information they jumped back into their boat and off they went. We went back to sleep, glad that was all they wanted.  

Feb.15, 2016

During the night the blowing wind was obvious as our noisy tent woke us up. Do not think we will be on the water today. Sure enough as it was light enough to see the white caps and swells were in force. We decided to take down the tent and move up the arroyo where we could make breakfast out of the wind. Found a great spot and had a leisurely breakfast, mostly in the shade. Don took a walk up the arroyo and came back with report of a wild fig that had sent its roots far below its trunk. Also spotted a small bird called a Verdin. Donna made a yeast dough and is watching it rise in the warm sun. Baking is so much fun in Baja. Afternoon was devoted to diving,watching the water and doing some reading. An update of a weather forecast called for strong winds again tomorrow. We need to stop in Santa Rosalie and  get water plus a little food. Our first choice is not to spend the night there so are hoping for a weather forecast that will get us beyond the town. Tomorrow does not sound good for that. We are okay about staying here, the diving is good so will go again tomorrow. The Santa Annas are blowing strong up North which is a good indicator of the weather we are having.

Feb. 14, 2016

Some waves were hitting our shoreline during the night, but no wind to speak of. Another morning of being on the water before first light. We were relieved when it was light enough to see that the seas were still calm. Looks like we are going to have a good chance of getting around the numerous cliffs of the area. A whale accompanied us for awhile and a group of dolphins passed us going north. The occasional sea turtle would check us out as well.  We kept a steady pace and felt good that we could make it around the numerous points and cliff bands. This is quite a beautiful section and we are glad that we can enjoy it rather than being focused so much on the weather. Several canyons on the way are quite inviting and if we would have had a good weather forecast perhaps we would have stayed at one of them. This time of year though we are happy to move on and plan a return visit some other day. By late morning the wind is starting to pick up and the waves as well. This stretch has numerous points and as soon as we round them we get some protection. Then as we move south we become more exposed and have to deal with wind and waves. The benefit of this wind is that it is pushing us in the direction we want to go. We are guessing the wind to be in the high teens as we round the last point to where we can camp. This camp has great natural shade so even though it is only 1:00. we are able to set up a camp next to the rocks. We have gone over 25 miles today and feel great about our progress. We set up our tent and work a while on the zippers. The sand is not a friend of zippers. Near our kitchen is a heart shaped rock and an okay tent olive shell. One of my favorites as the animal etches mountains on its shell. We can now see the lights of Santa Rosalie, Hard to believe that we were close to here over 20 days ago. Happy Valentines Day!

Feb. 13, 2016

Today we will be passing into another time zone. We have done that frequently driving our vehicle cross country, but this is the first time kayaking. We set our clocks ahead an hour. when we awoke it was still quite dark. The stars were out in all their majesty so thought that we would try to navigate by starlight. We knew the shoreline did not have any rock hazards so with that in mind and our headlamps handy off we went. The seas were treating us to another calm day. We heard whales in the distance, stopped to check out an estuary and paddled by an island covered with sea lions. Several were asleep with their flippers in the air and their nose just above the surface. Nearby was an island covered with black cormorants and sea gulls. They checked us out as we paddled by them. Another long day of paddling, planning to get set up for a crux move tomorrow. We will going by the 23 mile stretch with little protection. The weather forecast is good for tomorrow, but wind is predicted for the following day. We are able to find a descent beach to camp on and make preparations for the next paddling day. Since tomorrow is Valentines Day we decided to have a double portion of our favorite chocolate.

Feb.12, 2016

It was a beautiful morning as we watched the sunrise from our tent. It has been awhile that we did not get up to do a weather check in the early hours of morning. Can not say that I minded letting the sunlight hit our sleeping bags before we awoke.  Last night it was fun writing a birthday greeting in the sand for one of my early childhood friends. The ants were a no show this morning, but shortly after we made breakfast a couple of honey bees showed up. They must have been the scouts as within 5 minutes we were being swarmed by what seemed the whole hive. Any dish or pot that had liquid was an invitation to land. Soon our hot water pot was filled with the bees lapping up the water. Our relaxing morning had come to an end. We had to come up with a strategy to get off the beach without obtaining numerous stings. We picked up our tent and moved it away from the majority of bees and working as a team we were able to quickly pack it up. The pots and dishes were a bit of a challenge. I picked them up with the blade of my paddle and flung them into the water. We also made a pathway of water away from our kitchen which encouraged the bees to check it out. We did a record time of packing up the boats and moving away from the shore. Amazingly we were able to pack up camp with no stings. We were  thankful that the bees were not aggressive otherwise we might have had to spend the day there waiting for the night to come and the bees to leave.  Next stop was the small town of El Barill. We did not really need any supplies, but wanted to check out the town. It was around 9 when we arrived to the town, once again passing the large white house, but this time from a different direction.  Trucks were parked on the beach. The boats were gone so figured most men were out fishing. There was not much activity around any of the houses, but we did see a small school and were able to talk to one of the teachers. When we asked him about a store, he gave us directions to one that might be opened. It was closed, but we saw a man nearby and we inquired about a store with him and he said, follow me. We weaved thru the backs of several houses and finally reached a house belonging to his daughter. He called out to her and said that we would like to buy some food. She opened the door and led us into her house. In the bedroom was the store which consisted of several shelves that had neatly organized can good with prices. We made our selection and paid her. They were quite friendly and waved to us as we paddled by. This next section of coast we had done some of it in moonlight so it was fun to see it in the day. The wind and waves were behind us so we were able to make some good time. Due to the shallowness of the points we had to give them a wide berth as large confused seas were breaking on them. It was a long day as we finally pulled into a beach that would work. Unfortunately we became a bit concerned when there was as large number of turkey vultures where we had planned to camp. We were relieved when they were chowing down on a small manta ray and not a larger smelly mammal.  So far we have been able to camp at different sites than the ones we stayed at heading north. The last few days have been great paddling conditions and the weather forecast continues to look good.    

Feb.11, 2016

The seas were calm last night. It was if we were camped on the shores of a huge lake. A beautiful sunrise greeted us as we loaded our boats and paddled South. We heard whales sounding and numerous loons calling. It was a surreal morning. A large raft of Grebes seemed to be enjoying the morning as well. It was a morning of silence as we listened to the sounds around us. Several weeks ago we had crossed the bay rather then paddle the shore,  This time however, we enjoyed being closer to the shore and checking it out. We decided to take a break and as we neared the beach we saw a man walking along the shore. He came over and introduced himself as John and told us that he was also a kayaker. He had done a 6 month paddle of the sea of Cortez several years ago. He had found an old mining road that came close to this beach and he liked camping here as it was rare for him to see anyone. We traded stories and then it was time to go. Our next stop is at Bahia San Francicito. We hope that Alberto is here and that we can once again, fill up our water droms. The day continues to stay calm and we are hoping to be able to round the next point later this afternoon. There is wind funneling into the bay as well as some current. If the wind picks up we may be stopping here. Alberto is here and tells us more about the history of the area. At one time there were a lot of hard woods near his property. Folks from the mainland came over in sailboats and cut down a lot of the trees in the 30's.  A stone corral near the bay was used to keep cattle that were lowered on to the sailboat using the boom and then the cattle were taken to the mainland. He also told us about Carlos Slim who is now is new land neighbor.  Carlos Slim who we mentioned before who is quite wealthy is in the process of buying up as much of Baja that he can. Apparently he has been successful at buying a lot of the coast.  The weather was still being cooperative so we loaded up the water and headed out to round yet another point. A tidal race was running further out, but we were able to paddle close to shore and not fill its effects. We wanted to visit the town of El Barill in the morning so decided to stop at a spot about a mile north of the town. It was a beautiful white sandy beach that went on for miles. We set up camp knowing that we could sleep in and not be on the water at sunrise. We made pizza and rolls and had to move our kitchen as we were discovered by ants. They were just after any crumbs and after we moved all the food they departed. Glad that we can enjoy this site in the morning.

Feb.10, 2016

With the internet giving us a good weather prediction and being able to get a Southern CA weather forecast of The Santa Ana's last night saying the winds have lessened, we are encouraged.  We may be able to do a longer paddle.  Out of the last 10 days we could only paddle three of them and when we did we paddled less than 3 hours each time. Being winded in is a good opportunity to slow your pace and head back into the land environment, but I am ready to be on the water and head down the coat. This morning when we did the weather check, it was a green light. We are going to be on the water! We had gotten up at 4 and were on the water by 5:45. A slight breeze, small swells and the tide going out made for us increasing our paddle speed. Due to the weather conditions we were able to head across Animas bay instead of hugging the shore. The colorful cliffs of Animas point came into our view. Last time we were here the cliffs were covered in fog. They are quite impressive and we could see that it is good to go around this point in good conditions.  Once we got to the point there was a great campsite, but with the winds being down, we moved on. The wind picked up some and the waves starting hitting us broadside which makes for harder paddling. We were impressed by an arch that we did not see on the way North.  We really enjoy reversing our paths whether we are hiking or kayaking. Seems like one sees so many new things when one approaches with different angles. Finally we were able to pull into shore and take a shore break, the wasps however were quite numerous and the break became quite shortened. With all the rain that occurred this fall the insect population has exploded, especially the bees and wasps. When we made it to San Rafael it had been a long day so we decided that we would take the first good camping spot. Unfortunately that was not to be in our near future. The shore line had become rocky bluffs with no opportunity to pull in. Then when we saw a break in the rocks the beach was occupied by several Mexican fishing boats. Not wanting to join them we continued on. We were rewarded with  several wildlife sightings. The first being a coyote fishing on the shore and then there was a rock outcropping covered with young curious sea lions. Finally saw a place to call home. It had been a long day from first light to dusk. From our estimates we had paddled over 35 miles. Out in front of us were 6 large fishing boats similar to the ones in Alaska called purse seiners. Later we found that they were fishing for sardines.  Looking forward to sleeping well and anticipating another day of good paddling conditions.

Feb.9, 2016

Last night we planned to get up at 4:30 am to do a weather check. Our little camping spot is superb. We are well protected and when we first awoke we had thought the wind had died. Not the case as we got closer to the beach. The wind was blowing just as strong as yesterday morning. The stars were out and after locating the North Star we realized that the wind was coming from the west. Looks like we are experiencing the el elphantes of this area. The swells have gone down some, Don took a walk out to the point. Definitely better than yesterday, but with a major crossing to do there was not much of a reason to leave this camp. We saw several Mexican fishing boats and when Chaco did not show we thought that perhaps the owners were returning in one of these boats.  We headed over to the Yurts to let them know that we had watered and fed the dogs. They thanked us and told us that a group of 10 guests were coming from San Diego on  Thursday. They also said that after today we should have several days of calm weather. We are hoping that is accurate.  Back to our camp and then took a walk to one of the higher points. Found a coyote skull and great vistas. I also had time in the afternoon to create a logo for us out of trivia shells. Chaco comes over and hangs out with us. I decided to take him back and when I do there are two different folks there. Bruno and Theresa. They have worked for the yurt company for many years.  Bruno wanted to know if we needed anything and said that we could use their internet. I went back to our camp to get Don and our ipad. Had a nice conversation and a cup of tea. with the two of them.  The updated weather report was predicting calm weather. Sure hoping that is true!

Feb. 8, 2016

Up at 3:30 to do a weather check. The wind had been quite gusty from the west and without any moonlight we were not able to see what the waves were doing. The move around the next point was rather short so thought it worth an attempt. At this point it was a bit of a yellow light so we decided to pack up our gear and have breakfast.  It was a telling scene when the light appeared and we could see the waves. Safety is our first priority and when the wind was gusting in the 20's by 7, it was an easy decision to stay in camp. By noon the gusts were in the mid 30's and the swells were quite large. Plan B was to take a hike and visit the houses that we paddled by yesterday. Chaco, the dog showed up and joined us on our hike. What we found was unreal. The place was abandoned. It was like walking thru the twilight zone. A calendar in one of the buildings stopped at Oct. 2014. We tried to think what event occurred then. hurricane?  Two of the structures were close to being completed. One that looked like it might have been a restaurant had new refrigerators, ovens and wine coolers. Lots of tables and chairs were packed in the corners. A beautiful mural from mainland Mexico was painted on the walls. Some of the chairs in the buildings were still wrapped in plastic. One could just imagine all the work that went into these buildings and surroundings. A lot of  projects not completed  were scattered around the compound. The roofs were quite intricate. The doors were opened and one could see that occasionally there had been visitors in the buildings.  A huge generator in one of the buildings lay in ruins. This place was a mystery to us.(later we found out the this was a Carlos Slimm project. He is one of the richest man in Mexico and had started this development and then abandoned it.) We returned to our camp and decided to try to find a more protected area from the wind. The first sight looked good until small rocks that were being blown by the wind started falling on us. Time for another selection, but first we wanted to take Chaco back to his home. He had been doing a lot of running and was quite thirsty and we did not have water to spare. There was still no one around. The doors were all opened so we were able to find water and dog food which we gave  to both dogs. Seemed that this was well needed.  Meanwhile a cat that was in the yurt bolts for the door. Fortunately we were able to catch it and return it inside, otherwise it would have probably become coyote treats.  Now there are two places near us that have an weird feeling. Back to camp we were able to use an abandoned fish camp for our new home. Some of the items that they had left were quite useful for using for sand camping. Took the fly off of the tent last night which made for great star watching. Also got a weather report on the radio that was still calling for strong wind in CA. An update from our friend Yuri on the satellite phone was a bit lacking in formation.  All it said was a warning telling us to be safe. The actual weather forecast for whatever reason had been deleted. Looks like we will plan on doing a weather check at 4:30am and make a decision at that time.

Feb. 7, 2016

Last night we made a plan to wake up early and do a weather check. Since we are rather far in a protected bay, we knew that we would have to walk out to a point to get an indication of the wind. There is a constant breeze that we can feel, it is not blowing hard, but also know that we are quite protected here. We are assuming that further out of the bay the wind is probably much stronger. Also know that there is a high pressure ridge and the Santa Annas are blowing Plan now is to get up at first light, eat and go for a longer walk up the arroyo.  Time has become irrelevant out here. We keep track of it to know that we need to get up early for travel and also to give us a feel for what the tides are doing. Each day is a new day for what it has to bring.  Every day we see new things even when we have been winded in for several days at the same place. Yesterday a large pod of dolphins sped past us. At our dune camp I had been watching sea gulls drop sea shells to open them and wondered how they learned that behavior. Interesting that I only noticed mature gulls dropping shells. The curlews were out in force there as well. with their awkward looking bills, but quite useful in obtaining the food they need. The natural world is so incredible. We are carrying a radio with us to see if we can pick up any weather reports from So. CA. Unfortunately along with the weather there are also news reports. Hard to listen with any length as it is quite depressing. At night we have been taking turns reading John Muir. Years ago I was in awe of his thoughts and once again I ponder his words. When one thinks of what he did and the joys of discovery he expresses, one or that would be me wants to have him as my mentor. To see things as with new eyes for the first time even having seen them many times before is an attribute I want to follow. Each day is a new day and with it brings so many blessings. Hard to believe the sequence of this day. As we finished eating breakfast, we noticed a calming of the water.  Took our tea and once again hiked out to the point and then a little higher.  We decided that we would move our campsite to a new location, one that would give us a better view of the sea state and also it would not have a huge tidal flat. Back to camp, pack everything up and walk out to where the tide is just beginning to come in. Had anticipated a short move, but as we got to our campsite that we had chosen, the winds continued to calm so we continued on as well. Around a point we went and even though the tide was against us the wind and swells were pushing us. We were making good time and continued across a bay to another point. Checking out beaches along the way in case we need to bail. Rounding this point we head in to hug the shore and take a break. Awaiting at the shore are four beautiful coyotes. They acknowledge us and then move on. Further down the bay are what appears to be several palapas and two complete looking houses that are quite artistically done. No one seems to be around when we paddled past.  By this time the wind had become stronger and with the fetch being short we were just dealing with wind and not waves. That was good cause we were flying! Instead of paddling I was using my paddle as a rudder and making good time. Decision time loomed, should we go around another point or take advantage of a beach that we could land at now. With a strong gust of wind hitting us we decided to stop at the beach. After securing our gear we went for a walk with the wind gauge and got readings in the high 30's. Around the point and in the next bay is a yurt resort. We thought we would pay it a visit to see if they might have an updated weather forecast. It was an easy walk cutting across the point. Alas, the only inhabitants were two dogs. One being very friendly whose name on his collar said Chaco. Chaco followed us to our camp and then I walked him back and told him to stay which he obeyed.  Don made a delicious dinner tonight. The weather report on the radio said that the Santa Annas will continue to blow for another two days. Not a bad place to be winded in.  Lots of exploring to do and who knows we may even have a dog come with us when we go hiking.

Feb. 6, 2016

Up at 4:30 and it looks like this might be the day that we can move, at least across the bay. The wind has mostly died, the waves have become mellow and there are a lot of clouds in the sky. All good omens for a weather window. Hope it lasts, being near town was okay, but would rather be away and looking at the mountains and sea rather than buildings. We paddled over 200 miles to get here and now are planning on reversing with a side trip to an island if the weather lets us.  At first light were were loaded and ready to push off. Not too far out Don can not find his glasses so we quickly return to the beach, but no luck. Then as he is getting back into his boat there are the glasses. We try to keep our systems exact, but then there are the occasional slip up. Onward and with a steady pace we make it to the other side of the bay,  By the time we had crossed though the wind started picking up and the swells increased. Quickly there were white caps and we knew that it was time to get off of the water. Since we had camped in Don Juan before we knew that as soon as we rounded the point we should have some good protection. Sure enough as we surfed the swells into the bay we soon saw calm water before us. It was only 8:30, not a long paddle day, but a good move to get away from the town and to set us up for the next moves. Since we had plenty of time, we paddled around the bay and checked out potential camp sites. We chose a well protected one and soon had a cozy camp for the day. Seemed like we should go hiking so we headed up the hill behind camp.  Soon the next hill beckoned us and when we went over it we ended up on a flat volcanic plain. Lots of boulders were thrown in a explosion type event. On the horizon we could see the next bay. We may be doing some inching down the coast if the wind just gives us morning hours to paddle. Back at camp we explore an old fishing boat that is up on the shore. Always fun to think about the story it may tell. Don finds an old spoon covered in many years of sea growth, I think it is probably from an early explorer. The tide is going way out this evening, we are still confused about the pattern and the tide charts are of little help. Make pizza and rolls tonight. Lately most of our meals that we make while hiking are ones that we have dried and the cook time is minimal. This trip is a different approach and a lot of our time is food prep. To bed by 6:30 with hopes that we can get up early and do a move.

Feb. 5, 2016

Up at 4:30 to check the wind and sea state. There is a lot of energy in the water and the waves were pounding the beach all night making it hard to sleep.. The wind has died down slightly, but not enough for us to want to leave. Since we are here longer than expected, Don heads into town once more to get another drom of water and a little more food. He connects with Ryan who says that he has a trip planned to Baja this weekend due to the windy conditions which will make good kite boarding. Not exactly what we wanted to hear. When Don returns from town I walk down the beach and get some wind readings over 20 knots. Good thing we stayed here today. There are a lot of clouds coming up from the South so perhaps we will get a short window tomorrow that we can start heading South. Tonight the wind actually did die down.  We even set out on the beach for awhile. The tide is once more quite extreme, glad that when we hopefully leave in the morning it will be up. So far this has been the most calm night in a while. Stay tuned for winded in with the Fords!

Feb. 4, 2016

The wind blew all night so it was an easy decision to stay put in our dune hideaway. We both slept well and warm. Glad we had extra layers to put on. After breakfast Don packed up for his venture to town, about a 45 minute hike. I stayed back to guard the camp, well not really, just wanted to be sure that nothing blew away and that we were able to charge our electornics with our solar chargers. While Don was in town, I organized our food, sewed up some gear and read. I also have been translating food packages from Spanish to English. It has been a practical use of my time. Don returns with everything on the list that we had made before he left and then lost somewhere. The bakery was a bust as the goods were not ready till late afternoon. He got the latest weather update which is still calling for strong winds. This is quite the sandy area to camp and we are continually removing sand from everything.  As the tide retreated today the birds gather in large numbers to eat the bounty of the sea. Curlews, oystercatchers, semipalmated plovers, willets, gulls, ravens, reddish egret, great blue heron and more that i probably missed. A little mouse is visiting us tonight, hope his teeth do not find any goodies. Looking forward to reading more of John Muir tonight.

Feb. 3, 2016

A slight breeze was blowing this morning, but the waves that were crashing on to the shore have mellowed. Looks like we might have a go. With that in mind we eat a hearty breakfast of pancakes and are on the water by 6:30. The weather does not seem settled, but seems like we will be able to have at least a couple hours of paddling in before the wind returns. On the way across Donna just about collides with a sea lion. It jumped right in front of her boat and then turned around to follow her. Don't think that it liked being surprised. We were on the shore by the marina at 8:30. Glad to be on the move after having spent 3 nights at the last camp site. A weather report was at the dock. If it is accurate we will be spending some time here as well. Our tasks once we landed were to refill our water and go grocery shopping.  Don does the water and Donna does the food. Both were successful tasks. As we were waiting for the errands to be completed, Donna met a women who was at the booth near the dock. She was helpful in helping us with the internet and also where to camp for the night. Her name was Brisamarina which means sea breeze.  She has lived here all her life.  We took her suggestion and moved to a place by the lighthouse. From here it is a 45 minute walk to town. We are surrounded by dunes which give us some protection from the wind. Tonight we slept warm because we put all our clothes on. The wind continues to blow. Good chance we will be here tomorrow.

Feb. 2, 2016

The location of our tent is much better. We were able to sleep last night without being disturbed by the wind. We awoke by 5 and could tell that the wind had died some, however the waves were still hitting the shore. We opted to make an early breakfast and check out the sea state when we could see.  As we were eating breakfast, a coyote walked within 10 feet of our tent. It seemed fine just to check us out and keep on moving. Keeping a clean camp has seemed to help us avoid any negative encounterswith the coyotes. As the sun began to give us light, we could tell that the wind had shifted to the North and the waves were still formidable.  It quickly became apparent that we were not going to be moving yet. With the wind shifting, it was necessary to move our tent once again. So off to a third location which is closer to the beach. This beach is made up entirely of pumice, Small volcanic rocks that float. Hard to describe, but it almost seems like walking on crunchy sponges. Looks like it is going to be another day of reading and resting. We should be well rested when we can leave this beach.  Donna read more history of Baja. The Jesuits and their interactions with the natives was quite appalling. Washing our clothes in the salt water was an activity in the afternoon. We had decided to do a load of laundry in the town, but figured it was not worth it to have them feel clean for a day. One insect that is becoming a bit of annoyance is the honey bee. They are attracted to the smell of water and since we keep our water containers inside the kayaks, they are currently massing on Don's boat. Good thing is that they leave at dusk and we are usually packed up before they return in the morning.  We just finished reading the book Zero, Zero, Zero today. It has given us quite the insight of the drug culture.

Feb. 1, 2016

During the night, the wind picked up forcefully I was sleeping on the windward side and was taking the brunt of the wind. I was getting quite the back massage as I was hoping that our poles would not break. Actually sleep was not really an activity last night.. Finally I switched sides with Don so that he could feel the force of the wind. When first light came we knew that we needed to take down the tent and move to a more protected area.  The wind had intensified and the waves were crashing onto the beach. We packed up all the gear that was inside the tent and put them into our boat bags. Don stayed inside the tent to keep it from blowing away and I went outside to begin the process of taking it down. Our method worked and it came down without breaking any of the poles, A bit of grace I think! We checked the wind and got a reading of 36 knots. The waves are being tossed in an erratic manner. Looks like we will be here for the day.  Moved camp up the arroyo and made a wind break for the kitchen. Not great, but so much better than being on the beach. A large cardon cactus is growing out of a rocky hillside. As usual we are amazed at the adaptations of desert plants. Time to read and catch up on journals. After lunch I inventoried our food and made a list of what we hopefully can buy in Bahia de Los Angles. We took a walk down the beach and noticed a sailboat that had taken advantage of the more protected area. There were also the remains of two boats that had run a ground, most likely during a hurricane. We had met a woman last year in Loreto that had lost her boat during a storm and we wondered if one of these might have been hers. The wind is still blowing strong after dinner and the temperature has dropped. Most likely we will spend another day here.