Our week with Robert and Martine, from kookynet.net, was surreal…seriously. They are two of the neatest, most interesting, kindest, generous people that we have ever met.
Robert and Martine have been traveling the world since 2005 and needless to say, they know their stuff. We have learned so much from them and had so much fun while doing it!
We started off literally packing up camp in San Juanico in a matter of an hour. (Now for those of you that don’t know, that is very fast for us. It usually takes about 2 hrs to break down camp and get everything into the 4 runner in its rightful spot.) We were packing fast for two reasons: 1) we spontaneously decided to caravan with Robert and Martine to Magdalena Bay and south to Todos Santos, 2) we were trying to get out of camp without paying for the last 4 nights. (I know, sounds super sketch. But, at $23 a night on Federal Land we felt we were being robbed.)
From San Juanico, we headed south and met up with Robert and Martine in Ciudad Insurgentes for some supplies. After we got loaded up with gas and comida we hit the road for Bahia Magdalena, with promises of miles of mangroves and calm waters.
On the way we had noticed big black rain clouds, which we thought we were driving away from. Come to find out about an hour later that we were driving right into the thick of it. Luckily the rain let up a little once we hit the track and held off until we got to camp.
Throughout the drive Robert and Martine were full of helpful advice. They pointed us in the direction of the Agua Purificada stations where it is a great deal cheaper to fill our 19 liter jug. We were also alerted by someone at the gas station that told us that a river had flooded and there was “no pase” to get to Todos Santos. Instead of just taking the guys advice Robert and Martine had the great idea to go to the police station and ask. Turns out we misunderstood the guy at the gas station and we wouldn’t have any problems.
At the end of the road was a little fish camp with shacks and a panga boat the locals use to fish. Robert had been here before and parked the Fuso down by the water. We decided to park up on a pile of shells to try to stay out of the mud. Although it was gloomy you could still see just how beautiful the bay was. Calm waters lined with mangroves and sand dunes.
The rain clouds coming our way were moving fast and we knew we didn’t have much time before they reached us. Jamie worked on getting everything from the 4runner out and under the car while I set up our sleeping arrangements. It was obvious that we weren’t going to have time to set up the umbrellas and make dinner before the rain came. Robert and Martine invited us to hang out in their camper so we wouldn’t have to eat dinner in the rain, but literally seconds after we finished wrapping up our burritos the skies opened up. We had just enough time to jump in the 4runner and roll up the window.
After dinner I encouraged Jamie to run over to the camper and let Robert and Martine know that we wouldn’t be able to make it tonight. When he came running back over he said that they had cake waiting and we both couldn’t resist, I hopped out and made a break for it.
We ended up thoroughly enjoying ourselves and time flew by. When it was time to hit the sack we opened up the door and were surprised to find that the tide had raised and the truck was sitting in a foot of water. Robert jumped out of the camper and into the truck to move us to higher ground. Luckily the 4runner was parked on higher ground and we weren’t in the same predicament.
The next morning it was pouring rain and at this point we were regretting putting our rain jackets in the storage box on the roof. Jamie spent the morning putting up umbrellas with the help of Robert. Of course, the second we have shelter and the jackets are brought down the rain subsides and we get glimpses of blue skies.
The rain continued to come down off and on. By mid morning we were starting to think that we were going to have to spend the whole day in the 4runner. Fortunately for us Robert came over and told us that rain or shine we were going to explore the mangroves today. So we hopped in our wet suites, grabbed the standups and away we went!
It was magical. The waters were soooo calm and because of the rain there was nothing but silence. We paddled along the mangroves and then Robert took us down a channel to explore further. On the way in we were paddling against the current so on the way out we didn’t even have to paddle. We just laid down on the boards and let the rain fall on our faces, while the current carried us back into the bay.
Once back in the bay we decided to paddle across to explore the sand dunes and look at the Pacific Ocean. The Pacific Ocean with its crashing waves is a stark contrast to the calm waters of the bay. While walking along the ocean we found a turtle carcass surrounded by paw prints. As it turns out the place is teaming with coyotes.
By the time we started making the trek back across the dunes to our boards the sun was shining and blazing hot. We paddled back across the bay and had a quick lunch in the shade. After lunch Robert took Jamie out fishing while Martine and I cleaned up camp.
A few hours later, I’m sweeping out the truck and I hear, “KELLEE!! KELLEE! Camera!!”. So, I do as I’m told, grab the camera and run down to the water. When I get there Jamie is standing in the water holding a giant pink fish and a smaller silver fish! As it turns out he caught that one little fish and it was getting late so he had decided to head back home. Before he started paddling though he thought, “why not?” and threw out the line one last time. Lucky for us he did because he ended up catching a 3 ½ lb red snapper!
Now, Jamie is not an avid fisherman and unfortunately neither am I, so we really didn’t know how to skin the fish. Enter Robert, the avid fisherman! Robert taught Jamie how to skin, fillet and cook this amazing fish. That night we ended up having the most delicious seafood dinner, with fresh fish, oysters, clams, and scallops, all caught and picked up right in front of our camp.
While we were eating Jamie retold stories of how Robert taught him to search for giant axe oysters. You have to get off your board and wade through the dark water while shuffling your feet. Once you feel the sharp edge of the oyster you bend down, plant your feet, and pull. He said he found two and decided that was enough. Just a wee bit too creepy for his taste. haha Unfortunately we neglected to take pictures of these giant oysters. Sorry! Also, for those of you who know me, yes, I tried every single item on the menu and even had more than just a taste of the cooked oysters!
The next day we packed up and headed south again. Along the way Robert took us to a beautiful lookout point with a view of Bahia Magdalena from the Southern most point. It was breath taking.
At one point we stopped and the guys took off in the 4runner to take a look at the roads. We were worried that we’d be stuck on the coast after all the rain. While the guys were gone Martine went to work on some splinters I had gotten on the bottom of my feet. One of them was starting to really bug me and they both couldn’t stress enough how important it was to get those things out before they become infected. I agreed, having an infection on the bottom of my foot did not sound like fun. When the guys came back they informed us that we would definitely be able to get out of there. With that we headed west and set up camp for the night.
We stayed two nights on the beach, during the day Jamie went surfing, Robert fished (and caught 4 more fish!), and Martine and I relaxed. It was heaven.
We left for Todos Santos bright and early Monday morning…actually it wasn’t bright, it was just reeeeallly early. We needed to stop in La Paz and get some supplies. Jamie and Robert went to Home Depot and Martine and I went to Walmart. Martine and Robert have been living in Todos Santos for over a year now and go into La Paz about once every two months to grab things that they can’t get in Todos Santos.
From La Paz we shot West for about 1 ½ hrs until we hit the fabulous little Pueblo called Todos Santos. You may have heard of it as the home of the famous Hotel California from the Eagles song?
That night we had dinner with Martine and Robert and they let us sleep on the roof of their home. It was beautiful! We left the cover off of the tent and just slept under the stars.
We are planning on slowing way down now. The weather is perfect in Todos Santos and it is the perfect spot to use as a home base while we travel around the southern most tip of Baja Sur. Plus we have awesome internet access!
Peace out, cub scouts!
PS I hope you enjoy the slide shows as much as I enjoy posting them! J