Baja, Punta Entrada to Punta Baja, April 9th 2001.

The wind lasted all night again and was still blowing in the morning! We had to give up on going to Isla San Martin. I suggested that we should use the wind to go south. The only good landing spot we knew of south of here is Punta Baja 30 nautical miles south. We might as well do that on a day when the wind will help us. Konstantin was worried about some water he got in his boat through a possibly leaky hatch and wanted to stay close to shore. So we started out due west to get across the bay and close to land again. This put us across the wind instead of going with it. After crossing most of the way we turned southwest with the wind for a while, then south along the shore. The wind turned and came from the west and we had it across our boats again instead of helping us from behind. We should have gone south with the wind in the morning!

The shore was rough and unapproachable so we stayed well away from it. Sid and Konstantin had spent some time looking at the charts and considering landing at Campo Viejo behind a slightly protecting point. After 20 nautical miles we went in close to look at this place only to find large waves breaking on narrow beaches with rocky outcrops around them. There was no way to make a safe landing and we had no choice but to continue for another 10 nautical miles. Continuing on is called “Pulling a Sid” because he often paddles 40 nautical miles a day to get to a safe harbor. I was in good spirits and figured I could do this.

A large bluff could be seen in the distance, that must be Punta Baja. But as we came closer we saw a smaller bluff sticking out to sea that we must go around. Closer still another lower bluff became visible. Closer still our hopes are dashed again when we saw waves breaking way offshore (and south of ) this last bluff. We had to travel around these as well before we can rest. We worked our way around the breakers and finally made it into the cove.

Waves wrapped around the point and slammed into the steep beach in front of the fishing village. We looked down along the shore where the waves broke farther from shore and there might be a soup zone to land through. Konstantin didn’t like the cobble beach in here, so in front of an arroyo he said “I guess you have to go in and check it out for us”! I was in the only plastic kayak and got volunteered to risk my boat first. Before the trip started I had tried to convince these two guys that the ocean was going to have big waves this time of year. I had bought a new plastic boat so that I would have a nearly indestructible boat for rough landings. This is the result of my foresight, I get to be first to take all the risks.

I slipped over the impact zone and found myself in a nice large soup zone that we had been unable to see from out to sea. I backpedaled over the remains of a large set to show the other guys that it was an easy landing. But when I got to shore there was a cobble beach and the arroyo was short and steep, no good for camping. I stayed in the soup and worked my way 100 meters along the shore to the next arroyo. Just before the arroyo there was a smooth sandy beach, so I landed. Looking up the arroyo I could see it had a berm above the high tide and a deep flat valley to camp in! I raised my paddle to call in the others.

But apparently they had been unable to see me since I crossed the impact zone! Konstantin signaled me to come back out! I scooped sand into the air to show them that it was a nice beach but they did not understand. Sid said “I’m not landing there”. And paddled off towards the fish camp where it looked to me like the impact zone extended all the way to the cliffs. Konstantin signaled me to come out again and I reluctantly turned my boat around, launched, and got sopping wet plowing back out through the breakers again. Konstantin and I (after a little swearing on my part) chased down Sid and I described the arroyo. Sid reluctantly agreed to follow us to shore there. The landing was easy for everyone, although both the other guys chose to slip between the cobbles in front of the arroyo instead of carrying stuff from the sandy stretch of beach.

After a long day we set up tents and cooked into the dark. The sun had disappeared behind a menacing looking bank of clouds as we rounded Punta Baja and later in the evening it rained again. Water got in my tent again and I moved clothes and non-waterproof gear to the uphill side. Then at 3:00 AM a squall hit with tremendous wind and heavy rain. The wind plastered the rain fly onto my tent and drove rain water into all the fabric. Then drops rained down inside when the wind shook the tent. I rolled up into the high side of the tent and managed to stay dry enough to keep warm until morning. My extra thick Thermarest kept me up out of the puddle collecting in the floor of the tent.

All text and images Copyright © 2001 by Mike Higgins / contact