Baja, Monday April 13th 1998.

According to our maps, the next 28 kilometers of shoreline was very steep and rough. It was likely that we would be unable to find a place to camp in this area, although there were a few possibilities. We woke up at first light and got started early just in case we needed the extra time. We managed to get packed and on the water by 8:00 AM, a new record! Despite the long day ahead, several of us hugged the shore and went behind lots of rock gardens. That always keeps me so engrossed and happy that the distance doesnít matter and I can paddle all day. Don cut across many of the points and stayed far from shore. He didnít understand why we were wasting energy close to shore.

We came to a point that had a large dry cave through it and all of us landed to check it out. It was a large triangular crack in crumbly material that went in one side of the point and rose up to exit out the other side. We walked through and looked down the coast we had not seen from the water yet. I looked directly below the cave exit and scoped out a path through an interesting rock garden that I was able to take my boat through a few minutes later.

This section of coastline had steep cliffs, carved and painted like the Grand Canyon, usually dropping straight into the water. Staying close to shore we checked out all the landing and camping possibilities hoping to shorten the day a little. Unfortunately none of the few beaches had good landing or camping spots. The air got windy in the afternoon but it was blowing our way and helped speed us on. When we came to a less craggy section of coastline, Bob flew one of his parafoil kites and tried to get it to tow him down the coast. Jeff and Marie had a mast on their kayak and raised a spinnaker to pull them along. I spent half an hour trying to get my parafoil kite launched and failed. Then I spent the next few hours paddling hard trying to catch up with everyone else.

I finally overtook the rest of the pod after they rounded a gravely spit and headed west towards a kilometers-long curved white sand beach. This shell-strewn beach looks like the ones you see on travel posters of the tropics. We had spent days camping on rocky gravely beaches and this sandy beach was what we had really expected from Baja. We picked a low spot in the dunes just above the beach to set up camp. Iím happier, I suspect, camping in the rocky dessert areas where the pebbles donít stick to your clothes and follow you into your tent like all this white sand did.

All week we had been paddling along the west shore of the sea of Cortez. 20 or more kilometers offshore there is a large island named Angel De La Guarda. We paddled past the start of this island a few days ago and it seemed to go on forever. But now for the first time from our campground we can see the other end of the 60 kilometer long Guarda island in the distance. It is a concrete measure of the progress we are making down the coast. Ahead of us we can see the volcano on Isla Coronado. This is another smaller, (only eight kilometers long) island that is near the end of our trip.

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All text and images Copyright © 1998 by Mike Higgins / contact