About ROV


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Baja California, Mexico

There's very little in life that's more dramatic than a meeting of land and sea. 

The meeting becomes even more dramatic when that land is as dry as Mexico, and the sea is as rich as the Sea of Cortez.

We've made two trips to Baja.  The first was in 1989, by bus. We went with forty others, and spent a week on the beach.

The Coast of Baja California

I highly recommend the land approach.  It heightens your appreciation of the desert, to spend days passing through it. 

Our second trips was by air, then kayak. Our frequent travel partners, Gary, Bill, Sam, and my brother Steve, joined us in L.A. for the flight to Loreto.
We spent our first night drinking with a pregnant dog in a waterfront bar (it doesn't seem strange until you think about it afterwards), then met our guides, John and Lisa, to start the adventure.

Gary - One Mean Hombre

For five days, the trip was perfect, with pleasant breezes, smooth seas, blue skies, good friends, and great food.
The week was filled with mini-adventures. The hike through the temple of cholla (a particularly nasty cactus). Snorkeling with poisonous rock fish. Sam's daily struggle to find enough food to maintain his gas-guzzling metabolism.
We enjoyed warm nights, drinking rum and watching shooting stars.
Then, the winds changed. The weather was still agreeable, but the sea was angry

So we were grounded for two days. The seas were too choppy for us to land at our last takeout. We waited.

Unfortunately, time and food ran out. We would have to make a run for the nearest take out, then carry our kayaks to the ranch where we would be picked up.

We gathered on the beach for our paddle.

John spoke, "First, we’ll paddle straight into the waves, past that point. Don’t turn parallel to the waves. Keep the point on your right."
We nodded.
"Next, we paddle around this point, to the next point. The next point looks like a pyramid. To get there, we turn parallel to the waves."
"You said not to do that," countered Sam.
"Right. I also said this is risky."
I interrupted, "Risky? The waves are only three feet tall."
"Yeah, but in a kayak, that’s six feet, crest to trough. Out there, you’ll see nothing but water and sky."
"Sometimes not even sky." John continued, "The trick is to lean into the waves. Instinct will tell you to lean away from this white wall of foam. Ignore your instinct. Your instinct will flip the kayak. Lean in. Dig your paddle into it, like stabbing a whale. Let the water crash over you."
"And we won’t see the sky."
"Right. Finally, you gather on the other side of the pyramid and follow me to the beach."
"Surfing time," said Bill.
"Exactly. Done right, it’s fun. Done wrong, you bounce off the rocks until you’re more worn than old jeans."

Paddling out was hard work. We would climb one crest, slide down the backside, then repeat the process. After twenty minutes, we reached the point.
"Not bad," shouted Bill.
"I can still see the sky," I replied.

When we rounded the point, the waves got taller, and the ‘white walls of foam’ appeared. For the next thirty minutes, we leaned into the wall, and stabbed the whale. A few waves broke over our heads. Sometimes, true to Johns’ word, we couldn’t see the sky. Finally though, we rounded the pyramid. We turned to the beach and surfed in, enjoying the ride.

We celebrated on the beach, while John walked to the ranch.
Allejo, the rancher, brought his truck and picked up our kayaks. We followed, walking past mangy dogs, past a hundred goats, past dust covered children, and up to the house.

With Mexican warmth, the family welcomed us. We washed, drank our fill of water, and sat in the shade.

Lisa talked to Allejo, then turned to us.
"Allejo apologizes. He can’t fish in these conditions. He only has beans and tortillas."

Bubba models the Cortez Curl


I laughed, "Beans? There are goats everywhere."
Allejo smiled and started nodding.
"Glenn is joking," corrected Lisa, in Spanish. "We are vegetarians."
"I'm not joking. We’ll eat goat."
Bill agreed.
Lisa glared. "Cannibals!"
"Yeah." I smiled. "Cannibal kayakers."

Lisa grudgingly asked Allejo to prepare the goat. It would be an honor, he replied. He brought us his fattest goat and strung it up above a bucket. The goat started bleating, "AA-AA-AMMM."
"Listen, Sam," Bill said. "He’s calling you."

The crying summoned a dozen dogs as Allejo slit the goats’ throat. Blood poured into the bucket. The goat kept crying. Allejo clamped its’ mouth. "MNNNNMMM," it continued, pathetically. Eventually, there was no more blood, just twitching. Allejo sliced the chest and reached in. Everything he removed, he showed to us.

Did we want the bowels? We did not. The dogs got them.
How about the stomach? No. The dogs got it.
Liver? No. But Allejo kept the liver.

Allejo carved the remaining meat and handed it to his wife.
That night, we feasted on goat stew and cold beer. Tomorrow, some of the crew would suffer Montezuma's' Revenge, but tonight we laid down, contented cannibal kayakers.
I watched for shooting stars. Here, on Allejos’ ranch, we could see the sky.