Thursday, May 17, 2012

Time for Kayaking and Kayak Tours

Just wanted to put a note out there that the water and weather have been great for kayaking around San Juan Island.  I am a guide here in Friday Harbor Washington and we have been taking tours out daily.  Not sure if there are any readers here in to taking kayak tours, but if you are, stop by www.dskayaks.com and check out what we offer.

For those with your own kayaks, it is time for a weekend getaway to the San Juan's for a bit of kayak fun.  Stop by the shop if you have any questions on tides and weather.

All in all I just cannot wait to start seeing more kayakers arrive to the island as the weather progresses from Spring to Summer.

Happy Paddling

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Kayaking Baja Planing and Tips

I wanted to spend a moment to write about my recent trip to Baja for 10 days of kayaking. My goal is to not simply share how much fun the trip was, but also a good description of the logistics and planing for the trip.

First off the trip was not a guided trip. We decided to rent kayaks and explore on our own. This is a good option if you have good experience camping in remote areas, good route finding skills over water and of course a good set of kayak skills. This is a fun way to do thing

Let me add that even being an experienced kayaker, guided trips can be lots of fun. The trips offered by the various outfitters in the region seem to be pretty amazing and have a lot to offer to those of any skill level.


So let me get started with the plans we made while still in the states. After selecting our dates and deciding on a general route we need to find kayaks. With a bit of searching on the internet we found two companies in La Paz, Mar Y Adventuras and Baja Outdoor Activities (BOA). After having conversations with both companies we were able to secure kayak with Mar Y Adventuras. Along the way we had email communication with Benjamin at Mar Y Adventuras. Any questions we had were answered.

Now that we have kayaks and the dates secured we needed to get all the travel details to La Paz out of the way. You will have two options for airports to fly in to. You can fly directly to La Paz or you can fly to San Jose del Cabo airport. We flew into San Jose del Cabo since it was cheaper. We still have to get from Cabo to La Paz. With all the research we really could not come up with the best way. So we decided to just arrive and figure it out. When we arrive everyone was really helpful and in no time we had a bus set up with Eco Baja Tours. We were lucky and arrived minutes before a bus was leaving. I recommend reservations which can be made over the internet. The buses are really nice sprinter vans that have internet service and movies. It is a pretty nice way to get to La Paz. Out friends arrived later and rented a car. Renting a car seemed like a good way to go if you have 4 or more people.

So the route we decided on was from Loreto to La Paz. The actual route we did was based on where the kayak company could drop us off and pick us up. So we departed from Ensenada Blanca to Punta Coyote.

I highly recommend getting the book The Guide to Baja Sea Kayaking by David Eckardt. I would also take the book along on the trip. The book combined with a GPS will allow you to travel to the exact beaches you want and have a good description of all the beaches along the way.

The night prior to the kayak trip we stayed at Posada Luna Sol which is attached to the kayak company. It is a great place to stay for the day before and after the trip.

We did all of are food shopping in La Paz. There are good super markets that offer anything you will need to fulfill your meal plan. Once all the food was back at our place we spread everything out and packed. We had plenty of space at Posada Luna Sol to layout all of our gear and food to get organized.

The morning of our departure we loaded the van and the driver tells us it will be around 5 hours to the launch location. So we set back and got comfortable for the ride.

After arriving at Ensenada Blanca we quickly packed our kayaks so we would get on the water and get a at least 5 miles of kayaking done. You can camp at Ensenada Blanca but there were a good number of people there and we wanted to push on to have our own beach for the night.

Over the next 10 days we kayaked and camped at stunning
beaches. The first part of the trip was wind free and the water was calm. We traveled at a comfortable pace logging around 10 miles a day on most days. Some days we would put in 15 miles. But overall a nice an ease pace.
There was no good way to collect weather information when you are out. I had a VHF radio but never picked up any weather data. We mainly chatted with local fishermen and took their word on the weather. They were usually correct.

The typical flow is the be up early and be on the water near sunrise and off the water in the early afternoon as the south wind usually begins to puff a bit. On days where the norther lies came in we would get on the water early and only have a modest plan for the day. The north winds are strong and for us they picked up by 1030am. But overall the water conditions were calm.


I recommend getting a fishing license. You can get a 7 day license an
d you can buy one once you are there. I used pretty light tackle and could have used a bit
heavier line. I would use 20 pound test line next time I go. You can hand line or rod fish from y
our kayak. I chose to you a small rod and real. The two lures that seemed to work best for me were 3 inch silver and back diving Rapala's and 3 inch Buzz Bomb. The fishing is good and we could have fish for pretty much any meal.





As for wildlife we saw whales, dolphins, sea lions, sea turtles, Blue
Footed Boobies, Pelicans and more. Oh an I do not want to forget the thresher shark jumping. The wildlife is abundant and you will always have something to see.




Once at Punta Coyote we had to search around to find a place to take out near the road. There
was not designated location so we simply found a spot that was closet to the road and hauled out and waited. Eventually our ride showed and we packed all the gear and head back to La Paz.

We spent our last night at Posada Luna Sol and the next morning we use Eco Baja Tours to get back to the Cabo airport. This time we had reservations for the bus, which we made before the kayak trip. The buses do sell out so I do recommend a reservation.

Spend some time in La Paz if you can. We planned to have a couple days before the kayak trip to explore La Paz. There is great food and night life along the water front malecon. The general atmosphere is fun and lively. We stayed at Casa Verde Inn for a couple of nights. It is a wonderful place. Located a short walk to the malecon but yet far enough away to avoid the noise of the night life.

Well I hope this post helps those out there looking to plan a kayak trip to Baja. I am sure I missed lots of things that you might want answers to. Feel free to leave a comment to ask me questions.