|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.
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.
||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, well paddle straight into
the waves, past that point. Dont turn parallel to the waves. Keep the point on your
"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, thats six feet, crest to trough. Out there, youll 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 wont 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, its fun. Done wrong, you bounce off the rocks until youre 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.
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 couldnt 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.
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.
||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. Well eat goat."
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."
|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.
Allejo carved the remaining meat and handed it to his wife.