Island Paddling in Southern Baja
First Things First
One: Bring lots of fresh water and have it easily available. Bottled water in plastic jugs can be bought cheaply at the CCC Supermarket in La Paz (just don't dispose of the bottles in the same way as the locals).
Two: Cover up. Wear dark sunglasses, long-sleeved shirts, and a wide-brimmed hat. And bring plenty of SPF 30 sunscreen.
Three: Wear runners to avoid standing on spiny urchins or sand rays. They are slow to leave when you walk out into the deliciously chilly water after the heat of the day.
If You Go
The best time to visit is between March and April, when the winds are light and summer hasn't hit its stride, though this also means contending with more people. There are numerous weeklong kayak trips advertised in brochures and on the Net, including a number of day trips to Isla Espiritu Santo by organizations such as Club Cantamar (www.clubcantamar.com) and Baja Diving Service (www.bajadivingservice.com). Establishments such as Hotel Cantamar also rent kayaks for unguided trips. If at all possible, bring your own paddle.
You can paddle the whole of Isla Espiritu Santo south to north in one long day, and back again on the second. That would, of course, be missing the point. The bays on the west side and the beaches and bluffs on the east make a fine four-day excursion (with an extra day added as a "wind factor"). If you stay less than a week, no permission is needed. Add 18 kilometers each way if you start from La Paz rather than Pichilingue.
By air: American, AeroMexico, AiroCalifornia, Mexicana, and Air Alaska fly into La Paz (LAP) on a regular basis.
By sea: The car ferries from Mazatlan (16 hours) and Topolobampo (10 hours) arrive right at Pichilingue, which is a good place to start.
Where to start/finish: Next to the ferry terminal, the Hotel Cantamar offers kayak rentals, a full diving service, fishing charters, boat charters (handy if the wind is blowing and you must get across the canal), and snorkeling rentals. Call (112) 21826 or go to www.clubcantamar.com.
Article copyright Â© Rick Hudson. All rights reserved.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication