Added 5 May 2007

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Saturday, 17 March 2007, San Juanico (Scorpion Bay) to Laguna San Ignacio, Baja California Sur, Mexico

The morning was blustery and chilly enough to be less than pleasant. I started off not really wanting to do anything in the wind, but eventually decided that if I was going to be chilled, I might as well be in the water getting some exercise to warm myself up. I decided to go wave-crashing in my kayak, just to get some more experience in the surf zone. I tried a new kayak entry technique, which didn't work very well, but despite some difficulties getting out and paddling, at least I didn't flip. Still, I was floating well before I got my spray skirt on, and got hit by a couple of small waves while trying to get it on.

Once I got the spray skirt on and got settled in, I plunged forward into the oncoming waves. I had a blast moving out through the surf, then coming back in near shore to head back out again. One time while paddling back towards shore before the next set of waves came in, I looked over my shoulder to find the next set of waves coming in earlier than I expected. Perhaps foolishly, I decided to turn around to meet them head on. I was only half-way around when the first wave hit me. Fortunately, it hit me right before it broke, so I it rolled under me without mishap. I had almost made the complete turn by the time the second, breaking wave hit me. I made it through that one without incident as well. Disaster averted.

I continued to play in the surf for a while longer, having a grand ol' time, and feeling rather like I'd mastered the waves (at least of the size I was encountering). I went through set after set. Going through one particular wave, I felt like it was the same as all the others, until the yak started to roll over on me. I had time to do only one thing: think to myself, "Well, I guess I'm going to find out what a wet exit is like . . ." And then I promptly found myself upside down in my first ever kayak roll experience. I was barely even underwater by the time I was out of the boat. The thought of actually trying an Eskimo roll never even crossed my mind. I flipped it back over and was happy to find only a few inches of water in the cockpit.

In retrospect, I should have tried a wet re-entry, but instead I chose to head to the beach to bail the boat out. As I floated and walked to shore, Chuck walked down to the beach to see how I was and get a good chuckle about my flip. Trying to rib me wouldn't have been effective though, because I thought rolling the kayak was cool as hell, and I'm rather glad it happened, just to have the experience. He got a picture of me crashing through the wave that capsized me, but had seen me successfully go through so many waves that he didn't keep his camera trained on me while I flipped. Marisa was the first to notice that I'd flipped, and when she told Chuck, he naturally had to get a picture of my kayak upside down with my head bobbing next to it.

I had noticed while playing around that the surfers in the area would bail off their boards when they got near me, apparently for fear of a collision, so instead of going back out to have some more fun, I decided to let the surfers have the waves for a while.

While I was playing in the waves, Marisa went beach combing, and as soon as she got back, she was ready to go kayaking. Chuck wanted to be a lazy bum, so although I didn't particularly want to go on a kayak excursion at that point, I said I'd go with her. Then I proceeded to convince Chuck to go. Once I succeeded in haranguing Chuck to go, I decided to stay in camp and relax while they went out kayaking.

When they returned I got my camera out so I wouldn't miss another opportunity to get photographs of Chuck flipping his kayak again. Both he and Marisa landed uneventfully, however, so I wandered down to help them haul their kayaks back up to camp. It was late morning by this point, so we all ate lunch and took one more ice cold shower before hitting the road once more.

Chuck must have really freaked Marisa out on the pothole road, because she stuck with me yet again for the days drive. On our way out of town we stopped to get another block of ice, then went to a liquor store so Chuck could pick up more Tecate. Our trucks drew the attention of the local Mexicans and gringos alike. The store owner really liked Chuck's truck, and a gringo who lived in the area really liked mine. So we both ended up in conversations. As Chuck pulled away, another local gringo walked by and saw the kayaks on my roof and wanted to chat. I was soon rolling again, and caught up with Chuck, who was waiting around the corner.

While in town, Chuck got some more information about the road to Laguna San Ignacio . . . Something about going past the town dump of a fish camp, and driving up a sand dune at the pile of clamshells . . .

The first part of the trip was on a rough washboard road. Shortly after that road got really annoying, we turned west to head down to the salt flat road, which is much nicer, but potentially more hazardous, as the tides can make it impassable. Even when the tide is out, it's possible to find yourself stuck in a quagmire.

The tide was in our favor, so all we had to worry about were hidden mud pits. We minimized that danger by sticking to established routes and choosing the highest route available. Eventually we came to the fish camp of El Datilon, where we got stuck behind some slow moving troops in Humvees. Chuck felt certain that they would pull us over and inspect us, but they just kept plodding along. When we came to the clamshell pile, we shot up the sand dune and took the high road the rest of the way to Laguna San Ignacio. I wonder if we wouldn't have been better off sticking to the salt flat road, as the high road, although undoubtedly safer, was a nearly continuous series of large humps in the road. It was like we were in an ocean with closely spaced three foot swells. As we got close to Laguna San Ignacio, the road improved, and we arrived by late afternoon.

The plan was to meet some friends of Chuck at Antonio's whale watching camp, and they were there when we arrived. Rob and Kat had rented a palapa for the night, and we joined them and Bella, their sweet, attention hungry dog, at the palapa.

We all chatted for a while then went down to the beach to check out a whale skeleton and watch a beautiful sunset before dinner, which we had at the dining room at Antonio's. Our choices were shrimp, scallops, or shrimp and scallops. I decided to take a break from vegetarianism for the night, something I only do when traveling abroad, and had the shrimp. I'd never had scallops before, and didn't want to take the chance. I tried some of Chuck's scallops though, and they were really good.

The folks running the place knew we were planning on whale watching the next morning, so they didn't even appear interested in getting money from us for the meal or camping until we left the next day. One doesn't often find that level of trust in the U.S. After dinner, we hung out under the palapa for a while and talked until going to bed.

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