We just finished up 5 amazing days of kayaking, snorkeling, science, and other adventures. We kayaked up and down the western side of Isla de Espiritu Santo. We were accompanied by our trusted and very knowledgeable guide Bernardo (Chad), our guide Benjamin from the kayaking company, and Luis Angel, our boat driver/serenader (he sang beautifully and loud throughout the 5 days). We haven’t been able to blog because we have been disconnected so I’m going to let you know about each of the days that we were out. For those of you who were worried, we asked a passing boat about the football scores so we knew who was in the Super Bowl.
On day 1 we were shuttled in a motorboat out to the island from La Paz. Our kayaks were already there and so was a group of Colorado State University students. If there were a definition for ‘glamping’ (glamour camping) in the dictionary, it would describe this exact scene that we witnessed. They had huge white tents with queen-sized mattresses inside. The mattresses were topped with fluffy down comforters and throw pillows on top. The dining area was exquisite, including wood chairs, chandeliers, table cloths, and decorations on the table. When it was time for lunch they clanged a knife on a pole to let the students know. I think some of us were a little more interested in CSU after that.
Enough about them, we were about to embark on our journey ,but first it was tamales. These were the best tamales I’ve ever eaten. There were even dessert tamales that I didn’t even know existed until then, and they were delicious. We got a lesson from Bernardo on how to sea kayak properly and then we were off into the ocean. On day 1 it honestly looked more like a clear lake. It was glass the whole way to camp. Once we were in camp I had a moment where I felt like we were glamping. They brought a delicious appetizer called “ceviche” that could’ve been the main meal but was followed by fajitas that were arguable better. We indeed ate well on the 1st. Day 1 was a successful day.
On Day 2 we started early and kayaked from our campsite on the south island to the north island. Once we were there we had the coolest science class that I’ve ever had. Our class was to make qualitative and quantitative observation of different species of fish and other marine animals. We swam out from our campsite and around to the point for our classroom. Not many kids have snorkeled for the Science class in Baja California. Day 2 was a successful day.
Day 3 was the day that everyone was looking forward to. We were staying at the same campsite as the night before to go snorkeling and on a hike. We were excited for snorkeling in particular because this time we were going to snorkel with sea lions. We went in the morning after breakfast in 2 separate groups because the motorboat couldn’t take everyone at once. We were shuttled from our campsite to a group of rocks at the northern most point of the island. I lucked out and was in the 2nd group. Since we had snorkeled the day before my wetsuit had more time to dry and the sun was up a little bit more than the first group. Once we got there we suited up, and I went into the water as soon as we were allowed. I couldn’t wait to hop in and see the Sea Lions swimming around.
After hopping in and snooping around for about 2 minutes, 2 Sea Lion pups showed up. Bernardo told us to, “not look like a floating black log” because the pups are the ones who play with humans and they don’t want to play with a boring black log. We were told to dive, roll, and flip so that was what I did. The more playful I was, the closer they got to me. After many twists and flips in the water from both parties, they left and went exploring around the rest of the little island. We ended up playing with 4 different groups of pups throughout the island. The more time we spent in the water, the more the group dwindled because the water was still pretty cold.
The last group we found had 2 pups and a third every once in awhile, who played with us for about 5-10 minutes. They really enjoyed us. Portia even touched one, and another nibbled on my flipper without me knowing (I only found later on the boat). We were out there for a little under an hour and then joined the other group back on the beach. After lunch we went on a short 5-minute boat ride to the bay next to us. We walked from the western side that is on La Paz bay all the way to the eastern side to a cliff that over looked the Sea of Cortez. Along the way Bernardo taught us about the different plants and wildlife that we could sea. He was a fantastic guide and taught us little interesting facts throughout the whole trip. He had a passion for his job and a passion for life. Day 3 was a successful day.
On day 4 we kayaked back to the south island. After we ate lunch we split up into 2 different groups and 1 had science class while the other went snorkeling. In science class we had learned about the different zones of a sandy beach environment, and rocky coast environment. This beach was perfect to explore these 2 zones. We were looking for different life and different characteristics of the zones in order to ask some questions and then explore those questions when we get back to school. Then we switched groups and went to a cool snorkeling spot where we saw a bunch of cool species of fish. After dinner we had to perform a skit for the teachers. We all got roles to do a sort of improv skit about whether a resort should be built on Las Palmas (Once of the beaches we observed). We had to bring up different facts about why it should or why it should not be built depending on the roles we were given. It was also so the staff could have something to laugh about. We decided to do a musical and Eli stole the show with his singing voice. The musical went interestingly to say the least. Day 4 was a successful day.
On Day 5 we had to do our most distance yet. It seems daunting being the last day with the most distance; however, the day wasn’t bad at all. The wind was at our backs and the swells were pushing us forward. We were all trying to surf the waves and it was really fun. We flew through those miles and ended up at our campsite way earlier than Bernardo predicted. When we got to camp we started unpacking and when we were about halfway done we were told to stop. When the waves are too big the whole bay shuts down for small motorboats like the ones that were going to taxi us back to the mainland. We would’ve been stranded until the 31st and missed our flight if we didn’t take the bumpy boat ride back to Baja. We camped on a beach that was right next to our pick up spot and walked there the next day. Day 5 was a successful day.
We had a great kayaking trip and a great month in Baja. We had many interesting adventures and learned a lot throughout our time here. We have mixed feelings about going back to Colorado. We are sad to leave the ocean and the warm weather, but are excited to get back to the snow even though it’s freezing. Baja was an amazing, harmonious and definitely a successful trip.