Cathy, shadowdaddy and I successfully hooked up with Mar Y Aventuras this morning for a kayak trip to El Mogote, the little peninsula that protects the city of La Paz from the gigantic bay of La Paz. It's funny to think that the first time was here I thought the opposite side of the true bay of La Paz was actually the other side of the Sea of Cortez. In fact, from here the Sea of Cortez is so very broad you can't see across it at all, but the sight of the silvery pink mountains hovering on the horizon across from La Paz is still really impressive. The do look so very, very far away. However, the fact that the song "Horse with No Name" kicks in whenever I look at them kills the magic a little.
No, I'm lying. They still look incredibly foreign and exotic, even for a desert rat like myself. It's hard to believe anything survives here at all, but there is so much magic happening under the water that it makes all of this end of the Baja peninsula mysterious and exciting. It's stunningly full of life, as long as you know where to look, and its forms are myriad.
Today we started our kayak trip by crossing to the Mogote from a non-descript public beach about a block away from Mar Y Aventuras (where sallysimpleton and I stayed two years ago). Our first landmark was an abandoned hotel on the peninsula. It looked so strange - from a distance, its whiteness and the size of the buildings made it hard to believe it had actually been abandoned, but as we came closer it became clear that the seabirds were the only regular residents here.
We headed toward the mouth of the bay, floating in extremely shallow water, while a panoply of desert and sea life paraded by our boats. We saw hawks perched in strange cacti, kestrels (?) wheeling high overhead, and a flock of turkey vultures hulking just a little ways off shore near where a fisherman had pulled up to clean his catch. This was the most interesting section to me, because I realized the seagulls were working over some very strange fish - some kind of stingray, a shark (at least its head), and a manta ray. Then, as I cruised along the shore, I realized that the ocean bottom was littered with the skeletons of other manta rays. They were extremely bright and easy to pick out from the boats ... a graveyard of seamonsters just below me. It was incredible.
As we continued, we saw a memorial on the shore made of whale bones and ship's spars, with a cross in metal nailed to it, and a brown pelican flew between shadowdaddy and I, all of about an inch above the water and a foot away. We made it around the point and pulled up to the lovely beaches on the bay side of El Mogote, where we stretched and had a snack. The wind started to kick up while we were there, and the return became a challenge, lots of hard paddling on one side of the boat and thrusting the paddle in the other side to try to get the boat spun back on course. We did get to paddle in the middle of a school of dolphins, which was briefly exhilirating but became kind of scary when I realized that they were all as big as my boat and weighed a lot, lot more than I did. It was smooth sailing (a terribly appropriate description) once we did finally make it around, but Cathy and I were worn out from the whitecaps and we decided to skip the tour we could have made through some mangroves and just headed straight back. The whole adventure took about 5 hours, and when we made it to the Super Burro roadside stand afterwards we were all ravenous.
Tomorrow we're going whale watching and Saturday more kayaking is on the schedule, so I'll see if I've got time to update again. Today was so exciting that I really wanted to write about it, though. We'll see how Ispiritu Santo holds up on Saturday - it should be really amazing and then I'll be right back.