Isla San Jose, Punta Colorada, April 13th 2009.

In the morning we launched and paddled past a little more of the spectacular shoreline with caves and arches. Then just the normally interesting wild Baja shoreline. Half way down the east shore of Isla San Jose the Google Maps showed section with a very dramatic shoreline. Narrow points sticking way out to sea with sandy beaches between them. We passed one of these with dumping waves and stayed away. Andrea Wolf insists that we have to stop every two hours and us macho paddlers need to stop more often to give her a break. We had not had a break and lunchtime was approaching. So when the next sandy beach was not dumping, Dough Hamilton and I went in for a landing. This beach wasnít dumping, but it had a wide soup zone. Kate DesLauriers got turned sideways in the soup, rolled over by a spilling wave, exited from her kayak and walked to shore though the shallow water.

Seeing this, Andrea refused to land. She and Herb Howe paddled around the next point. There they met some paddlers from New Zealand and had a pleasant lunch with them talking about the beaches we would see the next few days. So us macho paddlers ended up landed earlier than we wanted on a beach we didnít really want to land on. Kate was cold and wet so we stayed there for lunch. If we paddle too long without stopping it is all my fault. If we land early it is also all my fault. One solution to this would be to paddle by myself.

After lunch and an easy launch though the soup zone we passed up Andrea and Herb. Kate was exhausted by her swim, didnít feel like landing again and didnít feel like being social, so Doug and I missed out on talking to the New Zealand kayakers. We hugged the shore and did find the coastline as dramatic as the maps suggested. The cliffs were made out of layers of sandstone carved by the wind and waves into fantastic shapes. We passed the last sandstone cliff and saw that the coastline became rocky with little cover out of the wind. So we backtracked to the last sandy beach and landed to camp. Herb and Andrea soon came around the corner to join us.

It was early in the afternoon with time to read and hike. Doug discovered that you could walk on the ridges of the sandstone cliffs around the points from beach to beach. Sometimes these ďtrailsĒ became narrow ledges high above the water but the worst that could happen to us would be to fall into deep water and have to swim back. This never actually happened to either of us.

Some of the layers in the sandstone were full of fossil shells. Sticking out of the stone we started seeing larger fossils. We found a complete turtle, or at least most of the belly plates exposed by the weathering. Ribs from ancient whales. One fossil of a three toed something. The foot of a turtle? The flipper of a whale? The claw of a proto-bird?

I was low on drinking water but didnít have a place to sit and run the desalinator out of the sun. I waited until after dinner to sit in the dusk and pump water. While I worked it became dark and I saw phosphorescent fish in the water. These fish would turn in their lights, swarm into swirling groups then dive together and turn their lights off. Turning on my flashlight revealed some non-descript minnow sized fish that quickly swam away from my light.

All text and images Copyright © 2009 by Mike Higgins / contact