Day 214 to 223
|February 5th to the 14th, 2008
From San Carlos to San Ignacio
San Carlos is a...say..ordinairy...small town...If the grey whales did'nt come here,
nobody but the fishermen probably would...Whales are a great tourist magnet.
Since we did'nt sleep "indoors" since December 21st, and that there are no
campgrounds in the area, we thought the opportunity was great to have a solid roof over
our heads, for a few days! Plus, we'll need a parking spot for the quads if we decide to
go see the whales.
There are two hotels worth mentionning in town. We choose the Alcatraz and...Hope they
let us out in a few days!
We were looking for a safe place to park the quads...
||..In the hotel!!!
Today is a work day. France sits in front of the computer while Marc sets up on a
vacant lot and gets busy changing the oil and lubricating the quads. He notes that the
tires have a lot of wear on them considering the distance we still have to go before we
are back in the USA. We'll have to pay special attention to avoid pavement as much as
possible because we'd be very surprised to find similar tires down here, in Baja. Oh well,
the problem is still not urgent. We'll see...
Feb. 6th, 2008.
We cruise in town to check where, when and how much it costs to catch a little boat
(panga) to the whales.
It's 650 pésos an hour ($65)! 3 to 4 hours minimum. And, of course, nothing guarantees
we'll even see a whale! Let alone pet one! We sit and watch the bay where they're suppose
to come for a while without even seeing one...
Marc: "Forget it! It's a tourist trap! There's many places where we can see them.
Lets try to find a small fishermen village where someone will take us for a reasonnable
fee. Let's go, we're moving!".
The trail is excellent from San Carlos to Lopez Matéo! That's a very welcome change
from the one that took us here! We make great time and get to Lopez before dark.
A friend told us it was possible to camp on the "airport" ground (one strip,
no building...) that is fenced and guarded 24/7. As a matter of fact, it is! We ask the
guard who opens the gate with a smile. We get near the bay where we can camp behind some
mangrove, out of the wind.
Surprise!! Oh! There a fence all right but about 1000 feet of it is missing so, despite
the guard, anybody can come in here, anytime! Very safe, in deed!!
February 7th...Incredible! We've been on the trail 7 months, already! Seems it was just
yesterday! So many things happened in those 7 months!
If you were to ask us what was the toughest part of the trip to this point, we would
have to answer together: The camping part! 7 months of quadding is cool! 7 months of
camping is a looooooooooooot of camping....
Speaking of camping, while trying to warm up some water for our morning coffee (instant
of course), we realize our little stoves' pump does'nt work anymore...No pump, no
pressure. No pressure, no flame. No flame, no coffee (not even instant...).
Sad to see that, because of a small rubber part that deteriorated quickly because we
use gas as a fuel, we are out of a stove...Oh! Marc has a repair kit, of course, but, of
course, the part we need is missing...
||When we say our gear is getting old...
M: "How about an orange juice this morning, Dear?"
After more searching, Marc finds an old part that he had replaced before. Why in the
world did he keep the old one, we'll never know...
He puts it back in and, new surprise! It works! Ok, it's not working so great, but it
should work for a while. Long enough for us to find another stove, we hope...
M: "Some coffee, Honey?"
Lucky us! The town ferreteria (hardware/general store) sells a butane stove that would
work for us. The only problem left is finding a place to put it...It's trailer clearing
day, today! If something new must come in, something else must come out...
Lopez Matéo is a much nicer little town than San Carlos. But it's another whales
watching tourist trap. Only here, it's $80 an hour for the boat...
We have lunch and re-move!
||We meet Lauro on the street. He insists we should choose his restaurant,
the Baja Mar, for lunch.
||We spoil ourselves!
||The combination plate:
Breaded shrimps and
garlic fish filet.
A real delight at just $16.00!!
The nights are pretty chilly and humid with a lot of dew. We look for a quiet spot,
safe, near the ocean, but not too close...Picky, right?
Voilà! The perfect spot! The sound of the waves will put us to sleep tonight because
the ocean is just on the other side of the mangroves.
The following is a re-enactement of events that really took place on the night of the
7th to the 8th of february, 2008.
Only a few words were changed to make the story accessible to all ages...
It's 1:00 o'clock in the morning.
France: "Hey! Marc! Did you hear that? The coyotes! They're really close!!!"
Marc: "Simonac! They're really really close!! They could come and
get Minnie... (She sleeps outside, in her box.) Get the pepper spray!"
France: "Euuuh...We don't have it in the tent..."
M: "Whaddayamean, we don't have it?!?"
F: "Well...It was so quiet here, and it's been so long since we heard any coyotes
M: "Bah, OK. No problems. Open the tent and try to spot them with the flashlight.
If we see them, we'll scare them off with the air horn."
France: "Euuuh...We...Don't have it..."
F: "Well...It was really quiet and.....
M: "OK Now! We're going to get out of the tent and we're going to get all that
stuff! It'll probably scare them off to see us (hopefully...)."
M: "Good, they seemed to be gone now. Man, it's cold as hell!! Check out all that
fog! It's almost like it was raining!...Brrrrrr, it's cold! Especially in our underware!!
Is Minnie OK?"
F: "I don't know, I don't see her..."
M: "But... Her leash is here...OH! SHIT!! HER LEASH IS BROKEN!!
THERE'S NOTHING AT THE END OF THE LEASH!!
F: "WHERE IS SHE???"
F & M: "MINNIE! MIIIIINNIIIIIE!!!
F: "Oooh! Ooh! Here she is! Are you OK, baby??? (Many little kisses...) She seems
to be OK!"
M: "With all the noise we just made, we should be good for the rest of the night.
Brrrrrr...Man, it's cold!"
At about 2:00 in the morning:
M: "The coyotes again! They moved around us! They're now coming from behind the
tent!! We're going to have to get out again to scare them!"
F: "Wait! The zipper's stuck!"
M: "Come on! Come on! We got to get out there before they get here!"
F: "I know! I know! But the zipper does'nt work anymore. It's not stuck, it's
M: "Simonac! (Now, here's a word that's been
changed...) Let me see..."
After a few very very long minutes...
M: "Good, it's working again!"
France opens the tent and flashes the light all around, everywhere.
F: "I think there gone!"
M: "...Yeah, another nice little night!"
F: " Boy! That was a pretty busy day!!"
In the morning:
M: "I'm beat..."
The distance between Lopez and San Juanico being pretty long, we decide not to chance
it and make a small detour to Villa Hidalgo to fill up the tanks.
The map says there's a gas station there...
Fortunately, in most small towns, someone sells gas.
Important: Don't forget the condom! But even more important! DO NOT secure the silk
condom with a rubber band! The contact with gas might degrade the rubber and the rubber
band might fall in the gas tank! Been there, done that! I had to fish it out of the tank
with a piece of wire! The wire that I now use to hold the silk in place!
Different sceneries, between Lopez and San Juanico.
A lake !!
Here, vehicule steering is optionnal...For over 25 miles, not one curve. Nothing but
sand and cacti...
||...As far as you can see ahead...
Gettiing close to San Juanico! Fabulous!
La playa de San Juanico is AWESOME! We rode on it for over 7 miles without seeing the
end...And that was in one direction only!
Of all the beaches and the places we've been to in Baja, this has to be our favorite!
We found a small palapa that will protect us from the wind and protect the tent from
the dew while giving us a little more privacy. That is all we need!
San Juanico & Scorpion Bay in a few shots:
A sunrise on the Pacific!!!
F: "Hon, you sure we did'nt make a wrong turn somewhere??"
Because of the geographic orientation of Scorpion Bay, it's possible here to see
sunrise and sunset over the ocean!! AWESOME!!
Coffee in the morning is routine.
Coffee here in the morning is an extra-ordinairy treat!
Same spot,next morning...
||Minnie seems to say: ''Hey, guys come check this fog out! Amazing!!!''
Today, we appreciate our palapa even more. It protected the tent from the moisture left
by the thick fog.
A few hours later...
|The San Juanico gas station is well equipped!
||Our first militairy check point...
||"Minnie!! Leave Mr. Soldier alone! His friend has a machine
Seriously, the guys are pretty cool! Just a very casual inspection.
Did Quadtrek make it to the Sahara already? No! Not yet...Maybe in another trip...For
time being, we're just enjoying playing in the dunes along the ocean.
Industries - Canada
Polaris Industries - USA
In El Datil, the kids come out running to meet us and, surprise!!.. Each and every one
of them carries a little puppy!! Lovely little things barely 25 days old!
Night time is coming...
We think: "Now, what is going to keep us awake tonight?"
In the morning...
Nothing... Absolutely nothing happened last night!!! Although we heard some coyotes in
the distance yesterday, even before it was dark...
Roberto mentionned we could catch a boat to the whales here, at Kuyma. At $80 for both
of us, for a 2.5 hours long ride, it's the best deal we've seen yet!
||The size and weight of the gray whale are comparable to those of a semi
Here's mommy (light colored) and her little one when we first met them...
A baby, only a couple of months old...
The whales, the young ones particularily, are pretty curious and come very close to the
boat that, by the way, is about the same size as the baby...
"It's smooth and soft to the touch. Like wet rubber".
At one point, mom and son went directly under the panga and across to the other side.
Not to worry, grey whales are very friendly. Fortunately!
The tail of the mom alone seems to be about as big as the boat!
A few moments later, we are lucky enough to witness a "courtship" session
between a big male and a female travelling with two youngs. At first, the female does'nt
cooperate and tries to get away from the male (sound familiar?). The speed they can
acheive is impressive! Then, she changes her mind...What a storm at sea! 120,000lbs (2X30
tons) of muscle and fat spiraling and turning over just under the surface of the water.
Guys, as proud as you are, we had a chance to see the male reproductive apparatus a few
times and, trust me, you don't want to compare...
We come back delighted of our experience!
As far as we're concerned, it's the best place to experience whale watching. A
campground with ecological installations also offers sites here for $10 a night. The place
is very clean, impeccable!
Ecoturismo Kuyima. See www.kuyima.com
||A solar water heater capable of attaining temperatures high enough for you
to make tea with the water that comes out of it!
The "road" between the laguna and the village of San Ignacio is simply
horrible!! But the scenery there is changing and surprising!
||After the Sahara, Quadtrek is now playing in the snow?!?
No! It's sea salt left there after the laguna partially dries out.
|Yeah ! To see and touch the
||We hit lucky on our little jaunt to the whales!
||One day, Two flats !!!
||A few minutes apart. 2 sidewall cuts, in 2 different tires,
one of them is probably finished...
Within minutes, we used all the tire plugs we had
left (5 on one and 3 on the other). Plugs are a must to fix flats...Of course, the more
miles, the more the tires are likely to get flats...Interesting...
After more than 6 hours to ride less than 40 miles, we're finally back to San Ignacio,
where we'll stay at Rice and Beans for a couple of days, to evaluate the situation.
||Exotic is'nt it? We're set up near a sheet metal palapa...
Will we be able to fix the "finished" rear tire?
Will we have to find another one?? If so, where in the world (actually, where in
Baja...) will we be able to find one of the right size?? And when??
Maybe we could ride on the spare the rest of the distance to the States...But the load
seems to be a bit much for the skinny front tire...