It doesn't seem possible that we have already completed our first month in Baja Sur, Mexico. Its stark beauty and kind people never fail to enchant us. We spent Christmas with family and friends in Loreto, then camped on Playa Regalito (a serene picturesque rock and sand beach between Tripui and Ligui), followed by a very bumpy but incredibly scenic drive to the gorgeous beach at San Basilio, then on to the remote town of Comondu'. One of our greatest delights has been talking with, doing things with, and learning about new places to go from fellow travelers. They have been a continuing source of fun, information, and inspiration.
We’ve always traveled the Baja in spring or summer and have been surprised at how much greener the plant life is this winter. (We see signs of recent rains, but haven't experienced any.) All the news about recent drug cartel violence made us a little nervous about this trip, but our interactions with local people have been encounters of kindness and generosity: At Playa Regalito, two men saw us helping some other travelers get unstuck from a mud flat and drove out of their way to come help; a group of men stopped for lunch on the beach where we were camping then came over as they left and gave us an armload of fresh oranges, grapefruit, and lemons.
Our goal at was to spend a month on one beach. We settled on Playa Regalito, moving twice up and down the beach until we settled on the mid-section: the south, sandy; the north, rocky; the middle, just right. A small tienda at Ligui provided basic foodstuffs, but for water and fresh meat we had to go to Loreto. We also learned to pay attention to where the sun comes up. It has been a cool 60 every morning. Our initial camp, near a rock cliff, resulted in no direct sun for a couple hours after sunrise (an advantage in hot weather, but not in winter.) In the end we managed 18 days filled with rest, kayaking, bicycling, hiking, and motorcycle riding. Then we agreed--it was time to move on.
Since we're spending lots of time outside internet and cell phone service areas, we're each carrying a Delorme InReach Explorer satellite communication device with pretty successful results. We were in San Basilio a few days ago and used InReach to get the local weather report. Learning we would have up to 25 mph winds off for the next few days, we started searching for non-windy locations in our region. So, even though we were on a beautiful beach, we decided to leave the blowing sand and to drive to the non-windy Mission San Jose de Comondu, a tiny town nestled in the bottom of a rugged volcanic mountain valley. Of course we took the back road, first driving nearly to San Javier then taking the 4 wheel drive only road over the crest of Baja to Comondu. Along the way we camped along the road at this random, remote, and beautiful site in the mountains
InReach isn't always instant like we had expected--sometimes it takes an hour or more for us to receive a sent message, but it's been really helpful when one of us is out on the kayak, motorcycle, or bicycle so we can keep the other posted on when to expect us back. It's also been a comfort to our family to be able to contact us whenever they want, and it allows us to send them a brief weekly update. (Messages, including the recipients list, are limited to 160 characters.)
During this past month we've fallen in love with Baja all over again. We've also fallen in love with two Mexican foods we'd not experienced before: Sponch (a delicious marshmallowy, coconut covered, jelly topped cookie) and jalapeños escabeche (pickled jalapeños, carrots, and onions) -- both amazing.