All photos and videos by Same New Love
The 2,600 km drive from Grand Junction, Colorado to Loreto, Baja Sur was spectacular. Our 4 day sea kayaking trip was the cherry on top of our wonderful couples vacation through Baja.
The Baja peninsula itself is an incredible combination of mountains, desert and ocean. Imani wrote about our whole couples vacation through Baja, proving places to stop and things to do.
But the highlight of our time in Baja was a four day sea kayaking excursion – through Sea Kayak Adventures – out of Loreto to Danzante and Carmen Islands in Loreto Bay National Park.
In total there was eight of us on the trip: Me, Imani, my parents (Bill and Dolly) who met us in Baja, another guest (Horuko), the guides (Mario and Rafa), and the captain of the supply boat (Ramon, or as Mario called him “grumpy grandpa”).
We began our kayak adventure from Puerto Escondido. We were given some basic instructions on how to properly use a sea kayak before packing up our gear and and launching the kayaks. My dad and I had been sea kayaking before in Alaska but this was the first time for my mom, Imani and Horuko.
Our first stop was at Honeymoon Cove on Danzante Island. About halfway there, we were greeted by a pod of 90+ long beaked common dolphins! They were showing off and jumping out of the water. It was breathtaking. I had never seen that many dolphins in the wild before. We all stopped and stared in awe. It was a hell of a way to start the trip.
We continued on to Honeymoon Cove where we stopped and had tortas for lunch. After lunch we went on a hike up to a point where we could get a 360° view. It was a sight to behold but not everything was as it seemed. Rafa and Mario pointed to two boats that were fishing to the west of us. They explained that they were illegally fishing for rays. It was frustrating to hear that they had complained about these poachers earlier in the week but nothing had been done.
We launched our kayaks to make the four mile crossing to Carmen Island. Unfortunately, the wind had picked up and the second crossing was more of a workout. Rafa and Mario made it look effortless but my shoulders were on fire! Two hours and several water breaks later, we finally made it to Carmen Island. We camped at Playa Blanca which was a pristine, white sand beach. It was one of the most picturesque beaches I have ever been on and we had it to ourselves!
We had an amazing dinner of pescado (fish) de Vera Cruz. We found out that not only could Ramon talk non-stop, but he was an amazing cook! I appreciated the magic that Ramon was working in his makeshift kitchen. We were surprised with pineapple upside down cake for dessert! This was the best meal we had had in Baja!
I stayed up until midnight Baja time (9 PM) and hung out with Imani, Horuko, Rafa and Mario. We quickly got to know each other. The quality time you spend with people in remote locations like this is always a highlight for me. There is a marked difference in conversation when you take away the distractions of the outside world. We were quickly becoming friends.
I fell asleep that night to the sound of the waves crashing on the beach.
I have always romanticized falling asleep to the sound of waves crashing on the beach, but I found out that they are just as apt to jar you awake as they are to lull you to sleep, as I was awoken early by the sounds of the ocean. Stepping out of my tent, I was rewarded with a beautiful sunrise. I felt refreshed and alive. The sleep after a hard workout is always the sweetest.
Ramon had already been hard at work in the kitchen, and we ate a wonderful breakfast of fresh cantaloupe, beans and eggs. Watching the sun rise and the island come to life around me was an idyllic way to begin our second day.
Later that morning, we paddled up the west side of Carmen Island to explore Marquez Bay. Before leaving, I saw Mario preparing ceviche for lunch. My mouth immediately began watering. Ceviche is one of my favorite foods!
The route we took had us in the shadow of the mountains of Carmen Island. In many places the island seemed to fall into the ocean. The geography was something to marvel at. My favorite rock formation was one called gorilla rock. It looked like King Kong’s head!
Before I could feast on the ceviche, the group decided to take a hike to the interior. Mario said we were going to Valle de Gigantes or Valley of the Giants. On the hike, we were surprised by an enormous tarantula on the trail. It was easily the size of my hand! Rafa was brave enough to try and pick it up. I thought he was crazy.
When we arrived in the Valle de Gigantes we were greeted by several enormous Cardón cacti. Mario and Rafa told us that each was well over 500 years old. I was shaken by their age. Civilizations had risen and fallen, wars had been fought, discoveries had been made and none of these events had mattered to these ancient cacti. It was a humbling experience.
We hiked back to the beach where I was finally able to devour the ceviche I had been thinking about all morning.
We were running out of daylight so we had to hustle back to Playa Blanca. Horuko and I still wanted to go snorkeling so we teamed up and paddled ahead with Rafa. Horuko and I struggled to keep up with the effortless paddling of Rafa but we managed to squeeze in 45 minutes of snorkeling.
We arrived back at the camp site and were greeted by the smells of chicken mole. Ramon had outdone himself again!
Everyone was wiped out after dinner so we all retired early.
In the middle of the night, the wind picked up and was absolutely howling. I woke up and decided to walk around because I couldn’t sleep. I was glad I did. There were bio-luminescent organisms in the water! Each time a wave broke, the water lit up. It was a surreal experience.
I awoke groggily. I had not slept well due to the intensity of the wind. Like the previous morning, the waves crashing on the beach refused to let me sleep in.
Mario had some bad news for us. Due to the high winds, we would not be able to leave the Playa Blanca. We were stuck here for the day. The change of plans were a reminder that we are always at the mercy of mother nature and she is a fickle woman. We spent the morning reading and relaxing. Mother Nature did provide us with a present. The rain squalls passed to reveal a beautiful rainbow!
In the afternoon, the wind died down and Imani, Horuko, Rafa and I were able to go snorkeling. The conditions were much better than the previous day. The water was clear and the aquatic life was active. We saw a ton of fish and several eels!
When we returned to Playa Blanca, Rafa reminded us that it was Christmas Eve. I had completely forgotten. It did not feel like Christmas with all the sand and warm weather. We had a Christmas dinner of steak fajitas and mashed potatoes. Over the course of dinner we had a great conversation about Christmas and our favorite Christmas memories. We felt like a family.
I woke up to the smell of Ramon making quesadillas for breakfast. It was a bit sad as we packed up. I had enjoyed our time here on Playa Blanca. I was not ready to go back to reality. Before we left, I took the time to wander up and down the beach and enjoy the beauty of this magical place one more time.
We began the long paddle back to Puerto Escondido. We took many breaks out on the water which I enjoyed. When I am on a sea kayak, I feel like a part of the ocean because I am so close to the water. Every time we stopped to take a break, I felt a powerful connection with the water. This was a new experience for me. I had always felt much more comfortable in fresh water and in the past, the depths of the ocean had scared me a bit. All the time we had spent on the kayaks over the last four days had rid me of this fear.
We were greeted by a sea lion as we approached Puerto Escondido. He barked at us several times before dipping beneath the waves, as if the national park was saying goodbye to us. It was a great way to end our sea kayaking adventure.
Would you go on this kayaking trip? Have any additional questions or suggestions for cool kayaking trips? Comment below!
Loving the old; exploring the new,