Ok as I start writing this blog this Wednesday morning I have three weekly blogs at different stages of completion, I’m really hoping to get one published this week, but the internet here at the park is somewhere between poor and nonexistent. We are starting week nine of this great fall vacation, and week four of our Baja adventure, we are settled into “Playa Norte Parque RV” and as I learned yesterday we are actually in “Buenos Aires” which is just north of “Los Barriles” and if you check it out on Google maps we appear to be separated by some massive river which is actually just a wash which carries the monsoon run off water to the Sea of Cortez which shows on some maps as the Gulf of California, but I’m rambling this morning so I will just stop there.
Wednesday, November 23rd, 2022: As I look through the sunshade on the windshield this morning, the water looks calm, there are a few clouds on the horizon which could make for a great sunrise this morning. I can see a couple of fishing boats making their way north on the horizon as the sky takes on hues of orange and pink. By 6:34 the sun had pulled itself out of the Sea of Cortez and we are scanning the horizon for any signs of whales, which now seems to consume much of my mornings. Miss Laurie made a pot of coffee and we sipped as the day unfolded, we decided to walk to this mornings turtle release and found a huge crowd of people this morning.
Apparently it was promoted in the local “Gringo” newspaper, which while I have not seen or read I have heard about it, there are enough English speaking people here all winter that most small towns have a “Gringo” paper to keep the snowbird informed as to what is happening in the local area. So, the turtle release, the Saturday morning market, property for sale, local restaurants, any business that want to promote itself to the snowbird community, but again I digress. This mornings turtle release was of over two hundred little guys, but of course with this many people here everyone is scrambling for the best photo opportunity. Which always ends up with some fool picking up a turtle to pose it for a picture, again I ask myself why are people so damn stupid, and while I have no answer, they never fail to exceed my expectations.
We returned to the coach for breakfast, bacon and tomato sandwiches this morning, as the smell of bacon whoffs through the park. Today our main objective is to just enjoy another sunny warm day here at the park. Yesterday the Baja caravan gang decided to have a potluck dinner to celebrate the American Thanksgiving on Thursday. Now most people might think that would be an easy task, but with today’s dietary demands of everyone in this group it is easier said, than done, Laurie had Al & Carmen pick up some produce to put together a coleslaw for the event. It was decided that the group would get together at 2pm on Thursday at the library/internet shelter, every afternoon the thermal winds come up making it just too windy to hold the dinner at someone’s site.
So today I removed the co-pilot seat from the coach, as I’m told there is a upholstery fellow here in the town that has done work for Paul before, so I’m going to get the rip in the cushion area repaired while we are here, and Paul has offered to take me to his location, as using Google Maps doesn’t really cut it here in Mexico, as most of these little businesses are located on tiny dirt roads, that in many cases do not even have a name and an actual street address or an actual building number, so a street name maybe a cross street and a village name is about the best one can hope for.
After lunch the gang ended up gathering under one of the sun shelters along the front of the park, the usual afternoon gathering place, to watch the water activities and to tell of any adventures or shopping experiences. Of course there are always a few adult beverages as we fill our afternoons enjoying perfect temperatures with daily highs of 78 – 85°F (26 – 29°C) and lows of 58 – 72°F (14 – 22°C) there is a slight breeze all the time usually on shore but from 11am till 4pm the winds increase to make this area a popular kiting area, Paul explains these as thermal winds caused by the heating of the land and at sunset they fall off to just to a nice breeze again. There is little humidity as we are still in a desert, but not as dry as the Arizona desert, the temperature swings are just enough to allow great sleeping, actually the overall temperatures have been close to perfect, the sun is hot, but the breeze make it seem great, but you can and will get burned if you are not careful.
As we returned to the coach I realized that I never got the co-pilot seat to the upholstery guy, I guess Paul forgot and I must of as well (a couple of adult beverages will do that), Miss Laurie made pasta for dinner, a nice treat that we haven’t had for a while. We decided to watch a movie tonight from our well aged DVD collection and tonight’s winner was “Tin Cup” a good rom-com movie, the first time the television has been on this month. So our schedules are changing, as we are settling into a world with limited internet, we are rising earlier, along with the sun, and going to bed earlier as well, our life’s are adjusting to the sunlight hours. They refer to 9pm here as the Baja Midnight and it seems to be true with sunset at 5:30 right now, most nights we are in bed by nine o’clock.
Thursday, November 24th, 2022: Happy Thanksgiving to all of our American friends, may we all take a moment just to appreciate all the things and people in our lives that we are thankful for…
Well I watched the sun pop up out of the Sea of Cortez again this morning, it is a scene that just never gets old, and just like sunsets everyone is just a little different. But sunrises always bring a new day full of opportunities and experiences, and that never fails to excite me a little, as I find out what will unfold today in my little piece of the world?
This morning Paul stopped by the coach to make arrangements to go to the upholstery guys place, so after breakfast we ventured into town to find said upholstery shop. This worked out great as I got some one on one time with Paul and a pretty good run down of the town, where many things are located, restaurants, markets, laundry, and last but not least the upholstery shop. The gentleman Jesus said he could replace just the worn panel on the seat, he will stitch in a new piece, and should have it done in a couple of weeks, the cost will be $2100 pesos or $145.50 Canadian dollars, Paul was wondering if I thought it was a fair price, which I did. To replace a single section on a vehicle seat is a difficult task, as a mechanic I know replacing a whole seat cover is a hard enough task to just remove an old one and secure a new one, well over an hours labour for sure, but this is taking that seat cover apart and sewing in a new section, the time and the talent alone, plus the patience involved to cut and fit the section. There isn’t nobody back in Ontario that would even look at it for that kind of money, and I had already looked into seat covers, and they were going to cost over a thousand dollars American for the pair, so yea I’m ok with the price.
Well it is the day of the potluck, and we need to do some prep work. The area has a couple of six foot long plastic tables, and adding our folding six foot table there will be three, so with six people per table, that covers our seventeen people perfect. There is a long counter on one end, a perfect spot for the food, the counter in the library is perfect for the bar, Paul and I put up some string LED lights that Al had, because as much as “Linner” (Lunch & Dinner combined) is scheduled for two o’clock, it gets dark early. So with every thing scrubbed down, a few insects (ants) dealt with and we are ready. Now some of you may be questioning the number how did we get to 17, as our Baja group was originally 14. Well Richard and Cheryl, long time friends of Paul and Lorena from Las Vegas who now spend their winters in Los Barriles are joining us and they are bringing a Canadian friend Sheila who owns and operates an ice cream shop up the highway at San Bartolo. Sheila has been in Mexico for fourteen years now and runs a thriving homemade ice cream business, who also just happens to be bringing desert, more on Sheila and her ice cream business later in the blog.
Out pot luck was a huge success even with all the different dietary needs, I have always loved pot lucks as it allows trying so many new dishes, with different spices, preparation methods, and change is the spice of life, and I for one like to eat different foods. After dinner we had a great evening of conversation although with this size of group there were often multiple conversations happening at once.
Friday, November 25th, 2022: Today is starting like any other day in Mexico, a great sunrise, there is no moon now so the high tide is higher today than before. Miss Laurie wanted to go to today’s turtle release so we headed down the beach, as you may remember there were over two hundred turtles on Wednesday and today there were five, there is a turtle release every day no matter how many turtles, if they were hatched they are released, the numbers are only controlled by nature. After we returned to the coach Laurie put together an omelet, while I worked on some blogs, as the internet at the park seems better earlier in the morning, I got a new book downloaded so I can read again, I’ve been doing a lot of Sudoku since the internet has been so poor, but I do like to keep myself busy with something.
I headed downtown this morning to get some pesos out of the ATM, there are very few ATMs in town and one or more is always inoperative so to score some pesos can be a challenge. And then add in the language barrier, and determining the exchange rate as well as the surcharge to use the machine, yes lets just leave it at challenging. Now we brought a pretty good quantity of pesos with us, but the best prices are in cash, and we are needing a lot of cash for an upcoming adventure, you see Lorena just got a call that they had just opened up snorkelling with the whale sharks in La Paz, and we are booked for a charter on this coming Tuesday.
Saturday, November 26th, 2022: This morning’s sunrise was nothing but clear sky, and I watched the sun just rise on the horizon, out of the Sea of Cortez, this just never gets old for me. We are going to the “Farmers Market” this morning, it is held every Saturday morning in the community park, it is advertised between 9 – 1, but we were told the bakery items sell out early.
“Last Saturday Night Live with Paul and Lorena” so many of you might be wondering what the heck I’m referring to, and I will try to explain, but I will also include a link to the YouTube video.
And for those of you who don’t YouTube, our friends Paul & Lorena have a YouTube channel, in fact that was where we first discovered “The Motorhome Experiment” back some six years ago. And with most things they have evolved and are rebranding their channel as “Life with Paul & Lorena”. And they used to do a live Facebook/YouTube broadcast the last Saturday night of each month, well with COVID hitting and life changes they have not done a last Saturday night live for well over a year, but they have decided to do one this month from the beach here at the campground in Los Barilies. The broadcast was approximately an hour long with all of the Baja caravan group there as a live audience as well as lots of people watching the live stream, and Paul and Lorena normally just answer questions from the audience and explain what is happening in their world right now. It’s worth a watch on YouTube as we play a bit of a joke on Paul & Lorena during the broadcast.
After the show I returned to the coach, it had been a windy day and I seemed to have gotten a chill, so I crawled into bed with my book and my mattress warmer to warm up, and call it a night.
Sunday, November 27th, 2022: There are a few wispy clouds in the sky this morning as I watching some fishing boats heading from the beach this morning. The sea is much calmer this morning than it has been the last few mornings, there is still a little breeze out of the north, as the palm trees on our site are rustling. Mister Sam has allowed me some lap time this morning, he has been just going to the big bed after I vacate my spot each morning, so I’m feeling pretty special this morning. The group has an outing planned for today and our departure time is 11:30, so I’m trying to catch up on a blog or two and I have a couple of small fixes in the coach to work my way through.
Now let me start by saying that I’m not sure why we would pick a Sunday to take a group of fourteen to a small tourist village for lunch and to explore, but while the most organized adventures it all seemed to fall into place. We again bummed a ride with Al & Carmen in their Jeep Wrangler for our journey to El Triunfo, a village that we had driven through only a week or so ago. We were heading to Cafe El Triunfo a restaurant and bakery in the middle of town, and we were able to score a table that was almost big enough for ten. It was located overtop of a garage, and had great view of the restaurant and gardens. The restaurant was known for their pizza and while some looked good ours was undercooked, but the ambiance and the view made it seem ok.
From the restaurant we wandered through the streets and made our way to a historic area that had been home to some sort of mining, with the only thing left standing being a huge smoke stack, a beautiful walk through the village and along the highway to the Mission that was closed today and through a few of the shops selling art and trinkets.
We left El Triunfo and headed to San Bartolo, it is a small village on the highway back to Los Barriles, San Bartolo is the home of Zopilotes, the home of Sheila’s ice cream shop, and it was to be the sweet end to our day of exploring (and Sunday is the day of two for one ice cream sundaes), so a sweet treat at a discount … count me in. Because we had doddled earlier we had to hustle to make it before she closed and by the time we got back to our coaches the sun had set. And as I look back there was enough things going on today that this could have been a couple of adventures, sleep will come easy tonight.
Monday, November 28th, 2022: Today is a unwind day from yesterday’s excursion and a day to prepare for tomorrow’s adventure, I have rounded up enough pesos to pay for tomorrow, and have loaded all our snorkeling equipment in the toad. We have decided to drive to La Paz this afternoon while it is light, there are just way too many creatures wandering around on the roads down here during the daylight that I want nothing to do with driving in the dark.
So we are heading to Playa El Tecolote, a beach on the Sea of Cortez just a few kilometers past Playa Balandra the beach we had visited when we were in La Paz a few weeks earlier. We were planning on just parking on the beach in the toad, leaning back the seats and sleeping right there. It is allowed and would have us just a few miles from the charter the next morning, and yes I know sleeping in the car seat will not be real comfortable we still felt it a better option.
Our journey took us back through El Triunfo so we stopped at the bakery to pick up some croissants for breakfast, and made our way to the beach a couple of hours before sunset. The beach was surprising bust for a Monday evening but we enjoyed a nice walk on the beach before tucking the toad back out of the way for a reasonably quiet nights rest.
And while a very dark night, we could hear the waves from the Sea of Cortez hitting the shore line, which should help for peaceful evening.
Tuesday, November 29th, 2022: We woke this morning on a beach, around six o’clock, it wasn’t one of the best nights sleep but I still think it beat driving two hours to the Marina this morning. We shared a almond croissant for breakfast as we headed into La Paz for an adventure of a lifetime. Today is going to be a special day, not a cheap day but a special day, we have an adventure chartered to swim with “Whale Sharks” these are the biggest fish known to man. And unlike their cousins the Great White Sharks these sharks are totally harmless.
Our charter is scheduled for seven o’clock this morning from the La Paz Marina, it is going to cost 2700 pesos per person ($185 Canadian or $140 American) but it is going to check another item off of the bucket list. So let’s start with a little information on Whale Sharks. These are definitely Sharks, the whale part of the name is because of their size, they can be up to 40 feet in length and weigh up to 40,000 pounds, their life span can be over 100 years and are what is referred to as a filter feeding fish. An adult can have a mouth with a five foot span, and while they have the normal rows of shark teeth they just eat by fingering nutrients out of the water and will spend 8 to 10 hours a day filtering. There is no danger to humans from these sharks and that is why we will be able to swim with them today. It is just juvenile whale sharks that come to feed in this area of the Sea of Cortez. And it the prevailing north winds that blow the nutrients into this bay near La Paz, they only feed in water that is 70°F or higher, so we are only wearing shorty wetsuits for today’s swims.
The number of swimmers allowed is limited, and each company only gets so many licences or permits to do these charters, so each boat has to check into and out of the viewing area, also each charter is limited, so we had to be out of the water by eleven o’clock which allowed us only three hours to find a whale shark and get our swims in, and we are still early in the season, in fact permits were only issued on the previous weekend and the sharks were still limited.
This was a bucket list item, one that we can check off, it was a great adventure and worth every peso that it cost. The charter included photos and videos so I have added those to give a better idea of the size of these creatures.
We all went for lunch and everyone was concerned that I would not go along, and I disappointed them all and agreed to the vegan restaurant of their choice. Let’s just start by saying that I will try almost anything when it comes to food, and I have no issues with vegans, vegetations, or whatever. But here is my question … if you don’t want to eat meat that is one thing, and I guess I can understand the whole no leather items, but why try to make your vegetables taste like meat? I’m just going to leave it there, cause growing up on a farm, I just don’t understand … period
WOW, WOW, WOW!
One thought on “Week 9 of our vacation 2022”
Wow! A great read and stunning photos.