Baja Mexico

March 2012


Baja Mexico

Baja Mexico ~ A paddle, a pair of boots, and a snorkel - all gear to kayak, hike, and swim under blue skies and magnificent springtime weather of Baja island hopping. In March of 2012 I joined a small group and a terrific crew to enjoy the waters of the Sea of Cortez, traveling with our Baja Expeditions support boat from Loreto to La Paz while camping on the beach along the way. Some days were triple-header of kayak, walk, and snorkel, but mostly we relaxed after two. Our chef created stupendous meals, often of the sea caught that same day.

From top-left: (1) Baja Sunset, (2) Cardon Cactus, (3) Walking an Arroyo, (4) Truck from San Jose Island Salt Works, (5) Sea Lion, (6) Fisherman's Panga, (7) Giant Barrel Cactus (~12' tall), (8) The Future at a Remote Village.

Espirtu Santo Island

Espirtu Santo Island - Nearby La Paz is the National Park called Archipíelago del Espíritu Santo, a protected island of wonderful marine diversity. Our group enjoyed two days there.

San Jose Island

San Jose Island - In our travels, we spent 4 days exploring this island. Besides enjoying the geology, one day we kayaked the mangrove forest waterway at the south end of the island.


Sunrise - Poking my head out my tent, I caught the sunrise of yet another stupendous day while we were camped for 2 nights on Santa Cruz island.


Sunset - Mostly we were graced with ideal daytime temperatures, while a few days we enjoyed a few broken clouds to offer cool shade and colorful sunsets.


Boxfish - Over the course of our trip, we snorkeled three times. Thankfully our tour provider provided wetsuits as standard equipment for snorkeling. On one of those visits to the depths we passed through remnants from jellyfish, and I can assure you that the areas not protected by my wetsuit, especially around the face mask, were stung. Fortunately this adversity was temporary. Oh my, the things we do in search of enjoyment!


Starfish - Although there was abundant sea life to view while snorkeling, I found the clarity of the water to be only fair.

Sea Lion

Sea Lion - North of La Paz is the National Marine Reserve of Archipíelago del Espíritu Santo, and a bit further north is the small island of Los Islotes. Here on this tiny island we moored for a few hours, along with throngs of other boats, to snorkel with the sea lions. They were very playful and a lot of fun. Thankfully, these waters were free from jellyfish.

Whale Wake

In the Wake of a Whale - One afternoon while we were kayaking on route to the mangroves at the south end of San Jose Island, our support boat viewed a large and distant pod of dolphins. So as quickly as possible our group boarded the support boat, stowed the kayaks, and headed to the excitement. It was a wild feeding frenzy. Hundreds of common dolphins had herded billions of sardine sized fish in their ritual feeding maneuvers. Sea birds, including numerous pelicans and blue-footed boobies, joined in the delights of the sea. And then there was what appeared to be this yearling whale who took advantage of an easy meal. It was quite thrilling to be part of this frenzy.

Salt Works Machinery

BAJA, MEXICO (AP) - Four days ago the La Paz Museum proudly unveiled a Salt Works Tractor as its latest historic acquisition. Museum curator Kino said of the "impressive machine" that "it mined white gold, an ancient Maya mineral which now helps bind our community's survival through the long hot seasons." Two days later the theft of that tractor was used to tear down the museum's iron doors providing access to its collection. An enormous pearl, made famous by John Steinbeck, was stolen.

Mr. Kino appeared shaken by the theft, while longtime college friend Karl Rove consoled him. Mr. Rove said he often "escapes" to this quiet town, coming here after a "vague 2012 election year misstep." While drowning their troubles in a game of Splash Cup Beer Pong, he said they "exchanged tall stories." As if repeating his 1970 college prank, Mr. Rove said he chanted "free beer, free food, girls and a good time for nothing" all while reaching for a 30 year old bottle of El Señorio Mezcal Tequila. Mr. Rove said "Kino's eyes sank." Hidden inside that bottle was an enormous pearl con gusano. As the Policía handcuffed Mr. Kino he was heard ranting "never trust that slimy worm."

Old Truck

Old Truck - Another relic at the old salt works at the south end of San Jose Island is this fine truck.

Fishing Village

Fishing Village - On a day of turbulent winds we spent an extra and unscheduled day on San Jose Island. It turned out to be quite interesting, informative, and was a highlight of my trip that I will always remember. That day we walked across the width of the island to a small fishing village, a locale where some of our crew had family. It was special interacting with true locals, literally watching the activities of the family. It was adorable watching a young family member doing her chore of the moment of herding goats.

Fisherman's Panga

Fisherman's Panga - Along the sandy beach of the fishing village were these pangas.

Adorable Future

Adorable Future - Too young to help with family chores, I was able to capture the adorable personality of this shy young girl.


Sisters - Later on the day of turbulent winds, we visited another village, but this time on the peninsula. We were again greeted by charming families, while these sisters escorted us on a tour. Their path was one of youthful exuberance, one that directed us to scramble through a mangrove forest sized for youth rather than age.

Walking the Arroyo

Walking the Arroyo - When not kayaking, we often explored using arroyos as a natural foot path.

Bearded Cactus

Bearded Cactus

Giant Barrel Cactus

Giant Barrel Cactus - Our guide Crista stands next to and gawks at the height of this giant barrel cactus. It's about 12 feet tall. Impressive!

Giant Barrel Cactus Flower

Giant Barrel Cactus Flower

Cardon Cactus

Cardon Cactus - Many species of cacti grow large here. This cardon cactus is a cousin to the smaller saguaro that thrives further north.

Group Photo

Group Photo - From left: Betty, Connie, Christa (leader), Randy, Joan, Ed, and Herb.