Room Service Or Camping?

There’s room for both in Baja
BY: TOM MORROW

Either kayaking or paddle boarding is an economical way to enjoy Baja and owning your own paddle board or kayak makes it free after your initial investment. Buying equipment down here is the challenge. Fine, if you’re going to buy those rinky dink kayaks in Costco that will be a pain in the ass to paddle, but finding good equipment is more challenging. If you’re driving down, bring with. You can quickly sell it here when you’re finished and defray the expenses of your trip.

Another way to go is renting or joining a tour group, which can range from $150 a day up to $1500 a day for a company that outfits you and takes care of you. My recent trip was $300 for rental, and one night of camping and meals. Yeah, pricey, I could have stayed in the Hilton for that. The trip included two days of paddle boarding or kayaking, with a boat escort for the gear, and one night of camping including camping stuff and one meal. You can find these outfitters online, and why they’re so expensive I don’t know.

You can also rent kayaks and paddle boards by the hour, half day and day almost wherever there is good paddling water.

As a native of Texas and Idaho, my experiences with water were all fresh water. Moving to La Paz has offered me pleasures and experiences I had never experienced, such as ocean going stand up paddling, sailing, surfing, and kayaking. At first I was a bit intimidated and maybe a little worried about those creatures out there in the sea, but I quickly overcame those fears, as I got to know them.

My first encounter with sea life was with a large group of sea lions. At first I was not sure what to expect or how I should behave  but after watching them I quickly became infatuated with their behavior and the happy energy they gave off. I felt as though I had just entered a kindergarten class and all the kids were saying watch me! Watch me! They would spin, swim, jump, and play right in front of me, like they were performing for me or trying to get that attention a child craves when they do something they think is awesome. Before I knew it, I was feeling like a kid myself.

Sitting in a kayak you are so close to the water you can feel like you’re one with it. You bob along with the currents and you can see into the water without glare from the sun. Stand up paddling has its points, but you are five feet from the water, so far away, you might as well be in a boat. Sailing? The whole point is to harness the wind to rip you along as fast as you can go, so you’re not exactly communing with the critters of the sea.

My first time in an ocean going kayak I spotted a massive shadow in the water. Like a dark spot, it was. It could have been anything from a shark to a big fish for all I knew. Then the dark spot surfaced, and I saw it was a sea lion which I felt smiled at me. Hesitantly at first, I reached out and it eyed me just as warily, and then effortlessly glided closer to me, so close I felt it was inviting me to reach out and touch it. Intimidated as I was, I did  lean over the edge of my craft and try to touch him.  But it was not to be; he, (she?) was only teasing, and with a swish of its tail  it was gone and my hand was reaching out into thin air. Close, but no touch.

Watching the cranes fish was the next excitement of my trip. These are odd ball looking creatures that must have incredible sight, because they were successful at snagging prey that I couldn’t even see.

Some folks believe the desert is a solitary and forbidding place. Those are the Hilton type of people who believe that if there’s no room service personnel hovering over them, they’re in a scary place. But if you become comfortable with nature, you are never in a scary nor lonesome place because Baja is literally crawling with friendly crawlers, swimmers, and fliers.  Become acquainted with them and you soon realize how beautiful and friendly this part of the world is.