A gypsy kiters trip

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After a lockdown of 2.5 months in the windy, dusty little town where we happened to experience this quarantine; we felt quite in need to get out and do our thing. Go exploring remote spots in search of wind, waves and the least people around.

The trip was planned for the first days after the reopening of the coasts by the local government, that is, for the 15th of June 2020.

A Russian comrade, a French mademoiselle and a Mexican amigo complemented with three canine little buddies, where the pack lined up for these adventure.

Being patiently waiting for the right time and crew to join the exploration of the pacific side of la Baja which encounters with the strength of the Pacific Ocean.

The attractiveness for the three of us on this trip was the fantasy of a remote coast with a point break and a long beach break, no hotel or whatever you can think for proper lodging and/or tourism infrastructure for as far as your sight can got, topping that fantasy with the deep desire of catching some thermal wind currents that will allow us to take out our kite wave gear and just ride.

Aside note: The native dog of la Baja, whose unique breed is not yet found on the canine official catalogs; comes from a mixture between a wild male canine such as a coyote and a domestic yet street female dog, causing from that fusion what is called a “coydog”, hybrid canine with mixed dna merged with wild and domestic street dog genes.

These special wild encounters in the “ejidos” (big pieces of land that where distributed to the working families after the mexican revolution) of the windy, dusty town, have created a special breed of dogs that seem to be such a trend in the west Canadian coast. Dogs that are better known for “Ejidos Shepperd”.

We loaded to the grindstones the van of the russian comrade filling in all the free space inside with kiting and camping gear, eating hardware, tents, blankets, portable stove, coolers, sleeping bags, yoga mats, large bag of dog food, surf boards, twintips, cameras, electro cumbia music and a mountain bike with the rear tire semi flat, delivering some 60 minutes of good riding before the air inside sneaks out. These last two elements are part of the russian comrade heritage to these world.

We planned on camping for a week or so.

To get to the spot, we had to take the road to La Paz, capital city of Baja California Sur and stay in the only road that goes north, clear the police check point where the officials sometimes check and sometimes don’t (depends on the heat and mood of the day), keep on driving north for an hour and so, pass Conquista Agraria´s exit to then find a dirt road directing it self towards the Pacific Ocean, that is towards the west side. The precise directions in these case don’t matter much here, since the fantasized spot is well located in google maps.

What matter here are some details about what’s next..

Once we where in the dirt road driving very slow in the packed van pimped up with some tires that showed the left overs of a thread; a valley starts unveiling below and suddenly these green spiky tall beings appear everywhere. A scenery tattooed with the main symbol of la Baja; the Cardones, shows its unique massive art in a valley we are just encountering. The Cardones are cactuses that actually grow in a rate of 2 cm per year in average, measuring up to 4-5 meters, equation that gives us an approximate age of 200-300 years community. Data that when known, makes you respect a bit more these elderly spiked up funky beings.

Shrubbery, plateaus and desertic landscape complement the view until you come down from the hill to start crossing the only dirt road available through the Cardones valley, for half and hour or so. Then by the horizon a dark green-blue line appears and disappears from the view, that after driving for some time inside a desert, the sea at the line of the horizon, may look as an illusion. The kind of illusion for those ones lost in the blazing dessert for days, fantasizing with an oasis full of crystalline fresh water that will refresh their dry throats and some tall palm trees that will deliver shadow to hide for a bit from the pounding sun.

But in our case the illusion of a coast with waves, wind and loneliness predominated the petit collective desire.

photos: Jeanne des Vallieres

Finally arrived to the untamed coast, where the first thing you see are it´s waves.

Point that offers a nice pealing left, head+ high, that if you nail it on a proper swell, will deliver world class waves according to the only dude camping there (and some surfers friends too). Blessed with thermal side on shore winds that blow mostly from spring through summer, created by the change of air pressures between the fresher temperature of the sea side vs. the warmer temperature of the land side.

Few huts appear close to the point looking as abandoned as they can look. Made out of pieces of metal sheets, pieces of wood, plastic tarps, reused stuff and an old piece of a car seat facing the ocean as if the silhouette of a rusty fisherman still sitting there in a forever contemplation mode of the vast sea and all of its hidden treasures; are part of these unique and bizarre coast scenario that makes you feel like in a Wild West movie but kiter version.

With the luck of those adventurous people whose search is all about remoteness and the least people around that could interfere with the intention of merging with the nature, its rhythm and sound; forgetting time and surrendering to the present and it´s elements (note that there´s nothing else to do now, since the whole world is kinda collapsed); we found only two campers in these rather large raw coast of conejo´s ranch.

The one actually living in front of the break; came immediately out of his rusty camper and hustled towards the van that showed a mountain bike on top, just about to fall down, because of the bumpy dirt road we just traversed and the high russian knowledge in inefficient knots. The man intercepted our wandering around to desperately make use of his unused tongue. He spited few words on his brandy voice and let us know that we where the first ones to come after the lockdown. He also pointed that since this time he hasn’t spoke to no one since the campground was closed the whole time.

The man in his late 50´s, presented a roughed face like if he has being living out in the nowhere for ever, with the arms tattoed, showing inside the right forearm the typical sailors anchor as Popeye´s style, but much rustier and disheveled.

Finally gave us some details of the different places to camp and also recommended us to go see the campground keeper mr. Nardo.

As we heard before, the “campground” of Punta Conejo, stayed closed for the whole quarantine and the keeper had being rejecting people in these time. On the other hand, ourselves just synchronized these visit exactly at the official reopening, hoping not getting kicked out.

What we didn’t imagine is about the peculiar “campground” site.

Such campground is nothing else but a huge extension of land that locals actually call it a ranch which owns several kilometers of raw coast, cliffs, dunes, bushes, desertic plateaus, tiny plants on the ground with violet leafs and rabbit wholes every where in the dunes, reason why the name of the place: Rabbit Point-Punta Conejo.

The only house-hut is made out of four concrete walls and a ceiling which presents a rather simple lobby for receiving the visitors that dare to visit this peculiar campground; a couple of benches made out of old surf boards and twin tips, few plants hanging here and there and a wooden oven with a grill where Nardo cooks variety of fish dishes and the delicious authentic Mexican Mole (maybe the most elaborated mexican dish), throwing from time to time tequila, beer, dancing and kissing parties (as Nardo said).

To finish the scene of the “campground reception”, a couple of old rusted small rv´s parked outside of the house where another peculiar fella from California passes his time.

Nardo offers in this pseudo campground a shower and bathroom that seem to be jus ready to fall down on top of whom ever decides to take a shower or leave the moles rests in there.

So after slowly discovering the surroundings of the site, we decided to place our rather improvised camp a little far away from the point on top of a small cliff that had some dunes covering themselves from the ocean breeze by bushes, with a million dollar first seat view to the sea and its waves. The chosen spot had some narrow sidewalks going down to the beach. A private beach big enough to rig and launch our gear, merged with a dynamic sea that painted white lines of breaking waves all along the coast.

The sea temperature in the northern pacific side of Baja, varies between 14 to 18 oC, rising up in summer maximum to 21oC. Temperatures that are actually quite cold for the average mexican, leaving these long coast, quite lonely and desolated. Kilometers of raw shore, pretty much left for the use and joy of the rabbits, pelicans, cormorants, the few rough fisherman that have battled against hidden marine beasts of that sea in order to feed their families and of course the wave riders, that are used to be immerse in cold waters and battle in a sporty way with waves and spend the after sessions in lonely camping quiet spots.

photo: Jeanne des Vallieres

Unloaded the van and choose our respective camping spots and due to the blistering summer sun we had to hurry up, improvise and put together our engineered camping knowledge in order to construct a tent with few old ropes we found on the beach, some sticks, few blankets, some rags we brought and ended up creating a flexible but solid enough tent that actually ended looking quite gypsy which generated just enough shadow for us, the food and the doggies that insisted on taking most of it on their daily naps.

So, having refused the bathroom about to fall, that the campground hut offered; we had to improvise.

Bathing ourselves on the fresh sea and making little holes in the ground for disposing our human biological waste with the organic matter of the produce we ate, to leave it grounded and let it decompose with time in order to compost back again that arid ground.

One week bathing ourselves in the shore of that empty, large coast with salty water, that oscillated around 14oC. Every morning, we’ll walk down the little path way, half awake to meet the fresh ocean water, dip in and feel that awakening effect all over the body that only the cold water creates. Normally Jeanne would wake up by sunrise and take a walk by the long shore followed by the dogs or instead have a yogui misty session. Andrey the Russian and Alex the Mexican, would normally get out of the tents when the sun had risen enough to create a little chicken roosting oven inside. And will follow the awakening routine with a deep oxygenation hike along the coast and/or a yogui – stretching session finalizing the ritual with a dip inside the fresh pacific salty water. Following that, the preparation of breakfast will take place, for then have a chat, read a book, smoke a spliff, lay down, relax, wait and hope for enough breeze. After digestion was made, we´ll go down to play on the waves in the beach break in front of our camp making big efforts just to paddle out. The surf wasn’t that good at the point which ended up a bit far away from our gypsy kiter camp, so decided to just play around with the shore break like kids getting their first waves on a boogie board.

We had three wind and wave sessions in a seven day frame. Every day the ocean breeze blew side on shore, but on some days just not enough to clear the shore break with the 12m (biggest kite we had), that in that time was head height average. But lucky enough, those three sessions that Punta Conejo delivered us, where simply amazing. Two days with the 12m and the third one with 8, 9 and 10m.

Riding along the shore line, rodeoing the lines of waves breaking everywhere, giving you few seconds to get in it and surf it down. Feeling and hearing the breaking of a double head high wave just behind your boards tail really pumped the adrenaline, surrounded by a completely empty virgin shore was a pretty sweet kiting experience.

photo: Jeanne des Vallieres

The fact that every day the oceans breeze blows side on shore originated by a thermal effect, means that around 2 pm sand starts flying around.

Even though we chose a strategic place inside the dunes covered by bushes for the gipsy kiter camp, the “kitchen” and the food baskets where breaded with sand. There’s nothing we could do about it, but bringing a nice well equipped camper and eat inside. Maybe next time..

So after few days of feeding ourselves with highly charged vitamin d and sand dishes, we started feeling the power of that arid soil running inside our veins and also the stiffening on the skin.

But these lifestyle indeed is not for everyone. Living exposed to the elements and the nature (insects, mosquitos, rain, wild dogs, humidity, no bathroom, etc), that in our case and specifically in these case, was a quite improvised camp; but with just enough infrastructure to feed ourselves rather tasty, rest just warm enough to be able to live a week or so and fulfill our desire of being out there, with the nature, our gear, the doggies and ourselves, as far away to any sort of virus form, as possible.

We experienced the fact that when you surrender to the moment just the way it is, then you come in to sort of a melting down with the surroundings, that in these time frame, the surroundings gave us some epic moments mainly at the sunrise or in the sunset. Part of these magical show is created by the mist coming from the sea and bumping in to the coast mixed with the rays of sun, creating a visual effect not easy to explain. A visual time lapse where the encountering of an ocean, a raw coast, the marine breeze and the sun rays are the main characters in play.

These sensorial orchestra, do not plays everywhere. Plays just where the Pacific ocean meets the arid land with its unique rocky faced cliffs. Plays only like that just in Conejo´s ranch.

So lucky to have so many different kinds of sensorial orchestras to become and spectator in these world.

Andrey felt like hitting the road back, but at the end we all had the sensation of witnessing one more sunset. So we went hiking again to the top of the rocky faced cliffs, highest point that these coast offered, to meet for these last chance a sunset and its visual spectacle, that being pretty much free, would be hard not enjoy it.

photo: Jeanne des Vallieres

Immerse we where in these visual trance and specific sound of the waves scrubbing the shore when the sun was finally swallowed another time by the oceans horizon.

Suddenly out of nowhere appears the new moon, just above the sun’s line, with Venus aligned just on top of it. The new moons fine radiant smile gave us such a warm feeling inside, like when some loved one gives you one of those hugs that erase time and sides.

photo: Jeanne des Vallieres

And after witnessing that last sunset with the new moon appearance, then we felt ready to go back to La Ventana´s sauna..

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