There is a rapture on the lonely shore;
There is society, where none intrudes.
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more...

-Lord Byron

Definition of Walkabout :

a short period of wandering as an occasional interruption of regular work
Showing posts with label Baja California Sur. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Baja California Sur. Show all posts

17 January 2015

another snorkeling attempt at Chileno beach

It's no secret, I think the ocean looks better from the shore, or a boat. Anything other than actually getting in the water because, you know, sharks are in the water.

This paralyzing fear has been with me since I was a wee child, yet slowly, I'm working towards facing that fear head on.

I was ready to try snorkeling at the pristine Chileno beach between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo.
Ten a.m. and the far side of the beach was empty. I wanted seclusion in case I failed to conquer my fear. The temperature was perfect in the water and out. I donned my mask, san fins, and slowly entered my nemesis....
The strength of the tide surprised and scared me initially, but once I became used to the motion, I let it pull me freely as I surveyed the underwater landscape. Brimming with life, schools of fish moved quickly between coral and stone.

Needle fish were seemingly motionless, crabs scurried to hide upon my approach, and all other manner of sea life came out to view the new visitor.
Paranoia did keep my head constantly turning to search for sharks, and the shadows and light created images that made me imagine horrible scenarios that in reality were nothing.

I didn't venture too deep or swim out too far, but that was fine by me.
The goal was to not chicken out and actually get in the ocean, and in that respect, I surpassed all of my own expectations, and can now push the envelope even further next time.


10 January 2015

playa El Tecolote

As I reached the city of La Paz, I knew it wasn't going to be my final destination. The town was nice enough, but with the hustle and bustle of the work day happening, I wanted to find a more blissful and solitary location.

So I found the coastal highway, and followed it out of town. Everything disappeared as I went over the mountains, and the road was winding around cactus landscapes and run down seaside bars and surf shops.

I kept driving until it was only me on the highway. In the desert, I see a man riding a bike with a dog running alongside. I make out the shapes of a building or two in the distance.
As I pull up closer and park the car in the empty lot, it seems like another run down and abandoned seaside shanty. Slowly though, a few people emerge to check out the new arrival. I've found the hidden gem of El Tecolote.
A place where white beaches meet up against the Baja mountains. Isolation is the name of the game here in this paradise. RV campers are hidden in the sand dunes, their patrons in beach chairs with a book and a beer. As I walk past I get a hand raised in acknowledgement, then they go back to being lost in literature.
A young boy has drawn an incredibly detailed piece of art into the sand. He calls for his Mother to come out from the local bar they own to see his masterpiece before the incoming tide washes it away. She smiles at his work with the appreciation only a parent has, then goes back inside.
I carry on down the beach, making it as far as one can go. I observe a lone vulture overhead, scouring for a meal.

The crashing of the waves lulls me to sleep and dream the peaceful thoughts that come with worry free days.

04 January 2015

The Guadalupe Mountains

My sense of direction was gnawing to go left instead of right, and so with a quick flip of the steering wheel, I leave my view of the coast and head up into the Guadalupe mountains of the Baja California Sur.
Before I know it, the tall cacti leave me and are replaced with lush vineyards and majestic mountains. Small, sleepy towns have men in rocking chairs that tip their cowboy hats in greeting as this gringo drives by. Little children stop playing for a moment to watch me as I pass.

I reach a particular summit, and see a weathered and broken bus stop bench next to a small shed. I stop for a moment to take in the view. The shed houses candles and Spanish momentos, which I believe are a catholic tradition to honor those that have past.

But I may be mistaken.
Singing can be heard from the town in the valley below, and it reaffirms my belief in the beauty of the Mexican people.

30 December 2014

Playa Cerritos

Cruising on down the Baja California Sur highway, enjoying whales breaching to my right, and the beautiful Mexican landscape to my left. The worries of the work world are melting away with each passing kilometer.

In the corner of my eye I spot what appears to be a mosque built on the edge of the cliff, overlooking the ocean. I slow down and look for the unmarked dirt road so that I can explore further.

The dirt road leads to a surf camp and recreational vehicle park, with a smattering of personalities strewn about...American surfers sitting around a fire, Canadian travelers in their RVs drinking Tecate or Corona, people in tents looking to live off the grid, etc....

I wave as I pass each one, with friendly salutations given in return. Their are no judgments found here, as we all seem to be striving for the same thing.....freedom to just live the way we want.

The mosque building is actually a hotel, although the owners are about to go out of business. I park on the cliffs overlooking the Pacific and hike down to the water.
The tide is coming in as I get closer to the shore. All manner of crabs are scrambling on the rocks, bracing for the impact of the waves as they crash upon them. I see the remaining shells of crabs that lost this never ending battle with the ocean.

As I'm focusing on a particularly colorful monster crab, I pay no attention to the waves until it is too late. With a loud crack the wave slams against the rock and drenches both myself and the crab. Of course I'm taking a video during the whole ordeal, and the scene is captured in all of it's mundane brilliance.
I laugh uncontrollably as I take off my shirt and shorts and pin them to the car windows to dry off in the sun as I rest in Playa Cerritos.

29 December 2014

playa El Mirador

Without much stress, I use my own internal compass to find Highway 19 out of Cabo, and before I know it, I'm cruising along the BCS coast toward the town of Todos Santos.

It's a little over an hour, and with the window rolled down and the music turned way up, I relish the tingling feeling of sun burnt skin.

The town, not without it's subtle charm, doesn't have the "it" factor I was looking for. The Hotel California stationed here seems more to trap tourists than having any historical or musical significance. I'm somewhat bummed, and start to head back....

Only a couple miles outside of town, and a car heading the opposite direction on the highway suddenly veers off onto a dirt road, and disappears. The urge to follow is a strong one.

I reason that if my head is to become severed and put on a stick by drug dealers and left in the Mexican desert for vultures, it will happen I turn quickly down the same dirt road.
The other car is nowhere to be seen. I find old, abandoned buildings in various stages of decay. I can hear the ocean but can't see it as the desert brush and cacti obscure all view. At a crossroads in the dirt, a weathered sign has the words "El Mirador" painted on.

I follow until the sand looks too deep for my little rental car to enter without getting stuck. I park and look around me....

The beach is perhaps fifty yards away. I cautiously step to avoid a chance encounter with a rattler, and find myself completely alone on a pristine sandy beach with massive ocean waves from the incoming tide.
I run like a wild horse, kicking my feet in the water and screaming to the pelicans overhead. Shoes leave my feet, and the freedom that only childhood holds floods my body, if only for a little while.
The smile from such an unexpected discovery stays with me the rest of the day, as I look for more little dirt roads to explore.

27 December 2014

stopping the clock in Cabo

"Do you remember the name of the town Red? a little place right on the Pacific?"


Those words have been rattling around in my head for twenty years, with dreams of seeing for myself the bluest waters sparkling from the Mexican sun. The plane touches down and my feet step onto the earth of the Baja California Sur.
Days are filled finding dirt roads that lead to uninhabited beaches, colorful sunrises and sunsets to rival any artist's palette, observing life under the surface of the mighty Pacific. All of those stories are to be forthcoming, but for now, lets set the mood...
Cabo San Lucas....