Baja California Surf Missions

El Conejo Beach for Christmas 2019. Spent the week at this Pacific break with a community of gringo surfers that have been coming on an annual basis for dozens of years. One afternoon, received a knock on the door of Casa de Lance, to greet some of the kids at camp that crafted a hilarious pot luck invitation, where i’d show up with a bottle of Cabrito tequila reposado and a superfood salad of beets and eggplant.

Met some very interesting fellow travelers at Conejo, in particular helping to snatch a couple stuck on the beach in their motorhome. Turns out Marty is the author of the book, The Darien Gap: Travels in the Rainforest of Panama, which describes a segment of my intended journey al sol to be addressed in order to cross from Central to South America. Between Panama and Columbia lies the Darien Gap, where no roads exist and is skirting by floating vehicles in a container on a ship, or the vastly more expensive drive-on drive-off ferry for larger or longer rigs.

El Conejo has many facets, in particular the beach break featured at high tide that breaks left. To the north, is a rocky point where an arroyo fans and forms several swimming pool lagoons at low tide. Further north the beach is all rocky, and becomes a dense minefield of urchins as waves break right.

The x-mas potluck was a blast. It’s amazing to see the spread of fixings that come out of camp kitchens and campers. There were even a couple of pumpkin pies, a posole soup that had been stewing since the eve, a bunch of solar oven pastries, and of course ice cold beers. Salud y feliz navidad.

At the San Pedrito surf break much further south, would meet and become rather close to a Brazilian couple Natalie and Daniel, who were on the tail end of their overland trip from Panama to Washington state in the USA. They were traveling in a similar diesel pickup truck and Casa de Lance Squire camper fitout, and were on a mission to trace the Pacific coast throughout Central and North America for surf, and finally reach snow up in the Pacific northwest.

Daniel is certainly a ‘gun surfer’, as the Aussies say. His energy in the water seems boundless as he constantly shreds the main break all morning until it eventually blows out. Natalie shoots with a telephoto lens and drone for their Click Swell page, when she’s not soaking up the sun or swimming in the tide pools. I approached their camp with cold beers and a bottle of tequila after a surf session, and soon we were sitting around the campfire sharing stories, and saving waypoints and destinations in Central and South America.

We exchange truck camper tours, and i was duly impressed with how they utilized their space for 2 people. Their Squire also had a fundamentally different floor plan, where the dinette was below the bed and made for a true open kitchen, however that put the fridge wall adjacent to the hot stovetop. On Casa de Lance, my dinette is separated from the bed by the fridge, which adds a full ceiling to floor wall instead of an open kitchen, as the fridge is opposite the stove.

Upon meeting in San Pedrito, Natalie’s brother and wife also happened to be joining a portion of their trip since NYE. He is a Captain and commercial airline pilot based out of Chicago, Il, and was elated to escape the Midwest winter like a snowbird for a brief overlap in Baja. When i took a moment to regard him, noticed his shoulders were already peeling even for a Brazilian, as i think he was trying to absorb enough sun to last the rest of his winter. But since he’s a pilot, i imagine when he’s back in the cockpit he’s off to other worldy destinations and seasons. I certainly envy the lifestyle, and revealed to him that i’ve been reading a copy of Stick and Rudder with aspirations to eventually take to the sky. But first more 2-D sailing with a vertical wing (sailing on the SF Bay), then kiting, then perhaps sailplanes. The progression and goal is to fly on bushwheels, maybe even a seaplane.. just some wild ideas at the moment but incrementally inching towards groundschool.

Later on at the end of January 2020, would meet up with Daniel and Natalie again at El Conejo and camp together near the lighthouse. Nights, we’d cook together, share meals (Daniel brought out these spicy ‘japanese’ nuts found in some of the local Baja mini-marts, ah the crunchiness was addicting), and chill around the camp fire with the playful stray dogs.

Published by Manolo al Sol

Learning by adventure.. will curiosity kill the cat ?

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