Baja, Punta Final, Wednesday April 8th 1998.

On Wednesday morning the wind and water were calm and we finally got underway. We left the long sandy beach in front of the hotel and paddled across Gonzaga Bay to Punta Final. This point is the start (or the final section if you are going north) of a rocky stretch of coast that we will be exploring in the next nine days. Punta Final is actually a rugged section of coastline made out of a half a dozen points. Between several of these points are sandy beaches, but some of these already had tents camped on them. We keep going around the points looking for a secluded place. The area we planned on stopping turned out to be very rocky with no sandy beaches. Penny and I (both in sit-on-top boats) landed on one rocky beach to climb over a berm and look at a landlocked lagoon that shows on the maps. The lagoon is beautiful but the beach is too rough for some of our delicate hard-shell boats to easily land on. We split up and explored a few more beaches between the points. Penny planned the trip using 1:250,000 scale topographic maps, while I ordered some 1:50,000 maps with five times as much detail. My map showed that the next lagoon was open to the sea, so I paddled ahead with Don to check it out.

The lagoon was indeed open and is a very beautiful spot. There is only one small beach in the corner of it and I didn’t think we could fit our campsite into this. When Don and I meet everyone else, however, they had not found any other good campsites. We lead them back to the lagoon for lunch. Jean brought detailed tide correction tables and charts, and spent some time with Bob and others calculating what the tides will do. The result of a lot of figuring was that we can expect a tidal difference of almost four meters. The lagoon we are in will be landlocked at low tide the next morning. Despite this everyone decided to stay on the little beach in the lagoon and either drag the boats out or just leave later when the tide comes back up.

Because this is a BASK trip, we planed on having very nice food while camping. Everyone was supposed to plan two dinners and two breakfasts to feed five people. Two people will cook every evening and every morning. I planned a Japanese meal with cabbage salad, Sukiaki, rice, hot sake and lychee nuts for desert. Most of the vegetables were pre-cooked and dried in a de-hydrator, except for the onions and cabbage. Since we had time that afternoon, I was one of the cooks and made this meal. It worked well, but produced enough to feed ten people instead of five! I saved some of it for lunch the next day and still had leftovers to throw out. At Marie’s suggestion I only used three of the five “success rice” packages with the meal and it was still too much rice. This turned out to be a pattern that repeated for the rest of the trip: We always had too much food at mealtimes and probably could have gone on a twenty day trip.

The tide went out and trapped us in the lagoon, then came back in at midnight. Penny convinced Don to get up in the middle of the night at high tide to check and see if the boats or tents were drifting away. (We were OK). Jeff and Marie got up later in the night and heard a whale breathing! They said it was so loud that they thought it had come inside the lagoon! The Sea of Cortez has fin whales which can be very large and I don't think there was room for an adult in our little lagoon. Early in the morning a coyote investigated our camp. Then it stopped nearby to howl and bark and wake everyone up.

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