Thursday, 26 February 2015

Baja California Mexico - Sea kayaking in Paradise!

Wow, wow, WOW said Sonja.  What? Where? Was my response as I looked across and tried to follow where Sonja was looking at. A whale, ...a whale ... she said as I saw the tail fluke, 150 mt away, beginning to descend.

There is no easy way to get out to Baja and in particularly Loreto, a small town on the east coast of the peninsular, 2/3rds of the way down and looking across the sea of Cortez.  From the UK it took us about 30 hours travelling time, as we had decided to fly to Mexico City, then into La Paz and get the 5 hour bus ride North.  Its a bit cheaper than flying direct into Loreto, from the USA, but longer.  On reflection travelling via the USA and saving some travelling time would be worth the additional expense, unless time was also spent paddling in La Paz.  

The plan was to paddle for 6 days, around Isla del Carmen anti clockwise and then back across and around Isla Danzante.  We had a water pick up in town, as one can't use the tap water, so larger quantity's of water are bought at water shops - but this water really tastes treated.  Much better to pay a little more for the bottles of water in the supermarkets and fill up the water bags, you've brought yourself or hired form Maddie. We had a drop off at Puerto Escondido from Maddie, the Opps Manager from Sea Kayaking Baja Mexico.  And what a super location to start from, with Pelicans fishing from the back of the Pangas (boats) and Vultures cooling out close by on the Cactus!

Back to the water.  We had 42 litres of water in seven, 6 litre water bags, the most the water I had ever taken, but at least this load would get lighter and we felt we had more than what we needed.  We didn't have to ration it!  Otherwise we had focused on noodles and soups for dinner, so we got more fluid in and a couple of oranges each, for each day.  This worked well.

The rock formations of Carmen was fascinating and varied ...

Punta Baja we decided to get to late afternoon as the only limited shade was from 2 palm trees, so we had a nice steady day with a longer snoozing lunch.  On arrival it was time for a swim and watching the Pelicans and Egrets, just a few meters away ...

I loved these colourful guys.  Just so quick, sensing movement from a fair distance - a good way to ensure survival!

The photo below is of a jumping Ray.  We had been told this event was happening, and we had heard splashes yet we was always to far away.  Finally we were close enough to see it first hand.  It was one of my highlights of the trip, although It took a little while to get my camera pointing in the right place!!

The clarity of the water at times was stunning and fish could be seen clearly beneath the kayaks ...

Evening setting and a Pelican going for one last catch ...

The morning of the 5th day and we were treated to 30 minutes of a pod of Dolphins moving slowly up the sound.  Clearly working on their breakfast with some tail slapping action (to stun the fish), as they cruised slowly on by.  What a great start to our day ...

Later on that day I saw an Osprey flying with a fish in its talons, and then landing on a Cactus.  Probably a Trumpet fish, due to its length and how ridged it was.

Our last night was on Danzante on the West coast and a super show of colour on the hill and mountains opposite our camp, as the sun descended.

I was treated to a close up of a Ray that was being very mellow and doing slow circular patterns close to the surface of the water ... I guess feeding on the small particles and Plankton ...

The brown Pelicans which one never tires of in Baja ...

A Seal lion colony ... which I took a photo of when I went Scuba diving for the day

Our trip had been amazing and 4 out of the 6 days we had very gentle winds and a super sea state, while the other two days were F4 and occasionally F5.  We had got to the NE corner of Carmen and decided to back track our route at the end of day 3, as it wasn't clear if the wind would drop or continue.  On reflection we would have hired for 10 days, which would have allowed a mellow pace to continue with adequate time for exploring and a chance of getting around Carmen too.  We never had to use a fly sheet, but I used a tow line to secure the tent to each of the sea kayaks.

We saw one small Scorpion, strangely we found it under our tent!  Otherwise as it begins to get dark a mixture of flying biting insects descend.  Sonja seemed to be OK, but I got a few bug bites.  This may have something to do with Sonja's Marmite intake!

The following shots were taken from a motor boat on a Whale watching trip on the West Pacific coast and what an amazing day that was ...  2 week old Grey Whales with their Mums and just so curious.  Occasionally a young calf would spy hop (go vertical) and have a look around, rub up against a motor boat and slowly move on ....

It was on the way back and after a couple of missed tail shots, that I got lucky!

Baja and the sea of Cortez, totally surpassed my expectations.  Loreto was a big town with a small town feel.  People were just so friendly.  The wildlife was the star of the weeks, with Hummingbirds, Frigate and Blue Footed Boobies. Oh, .... not to forget the Pelicans, 3 pods of Dolphins (one close up), 2 distant Whale sightings and most likely Blue, jumping Rays, a Turtle, nesting Osprey's and many colourful Fish.  Then on the Pacific coast 2 week old Grey Whale calves, with their mums and to many to count!  Would I go back.  Oh, yes!


PS:  Thanks Ginni for transferring our deposit!

roger chandler


  1. Great write up, might have inspired Amanda for her 50th birthday when ever that is ;)

  2. Thanks Mark - I'd highly recommend it. You both would really love it ... ;)