The Sea Kayaker

Baja Bernie - 7-20-2007 at 07:37 PM

I have come across many unusual sights while wandering up and down the beach at La Salina. I have found women sun bathing in the nude and men wandering around in the altogether. I have found glass floats, cork fishing floats of every style, size, and color. Driftwood by the cord has been lugged home. Broken diving masks and shattered surf boards were not that unusual. Other people’s shoes by the gross (always the wrong size). I have even found unexploded naval ordinance.

Nothing, however, prepared me for what I stumbled across one day just after daybreak. Approaching the north end of the beach I saw a fairly large man who appeared to be attempting to set fire to his boat.

Getting closer I realized that the boat was a large ocean going kayak and the guy was just trying to stay out of the wind and light a single burner Bunsen stove in order to heat his morning tea. When I told him what I originally thought he was trying to do he laughed and admitted that on numerous occasions he had, in fact, thought about burning his boat.

Brad Meyer’s was his name and he said that he had chucked everything a few months back and left his home in Anchorage Alaska to fulfill a lifelong dream of kayaking around Baja California. He smiled a lot as he told of taking five years traveling along the coast of Alaska in a ‘small’ kayak to prepare for his adventure around Baja. Brad was no kid; he had to be between 40 and 45 years old. He readily admitted that he might have read too much “Tom Sawyer” as a kid.

He shocked me when he admitted that he had no idea what the name of this area was. This surprised me and I became even more amazed when he told me that all he had to navigate with was a “Road Map” of Baja! Unbelievable!
I took him up to the Cantina and introduced him to Dick Harrison the manager. When I told Dick about “his map” he just chuckled and shook his head.

We had coffee and then Harrison shuffled back to his office. He returned and gave Brad a large book containing all of the latest nautical maps of both Baja and the Mexican mainland. Like I said before, Dick is one big cream puff.

Several months later a letter arrived at the Cantina from the Kayaker. Brad told of how he had completed his dream voyage, and that he had decided to try his luck in wandering south with the idea of going around Central and perhaps South America. He closed his letter by saying that he would stop by La Salina on his way back to Alaska.

It was crazy! Brad reminded me of may of us who think we can navigate our way through life with only the most rudimentary road map.

P.S. It has been many years since that dreamer came ashore at La Salina and we have heard nothing since that brief note.

FARASHA - 7-21-2007 at 02:31 AM

HM - I think Bernie, that this is all what ADVENTURE is about, just to follow whatever comes up, and take it from there - I like this Guys attitude. Matches mine - to Go with the Flow. Using Intuition or Instinct, common sense and good judgment call - If one has it and can afford it nowadays! Nice Story ! TY >f<

Crusoe - 7-21-2007 at 07:26 AM

Great story Bernie....Thank You....Over the years in my travels I have also met quite a few fellow adventerures like your friend Brad.These type of travelers are always the most interesting and resourceful. Seat of the pants navigating with just a road map is more common than you would think. It does work to a point. Thor Heyerdahl made himself famous with this type of fanfare at the expense of the Norwiegen taxpayers. For 40 years his erronious theories of Alaska bieng setteled by indians from South America and Polynesia in big canoes was all poppyc-ck and disputed by all the latest anthropoligical evidence as to what really happened. He went completely against all the proven theories and was able to get funding and huge govt. grants to support his hog wash. And by the way..... Kon Tikki ended up "raft wrecked" on a remote South Pacifc reef on her maiden voyage and they were very lucky to be rescued.It was really good adventure reading for young boys in those early years.I cant remember but I think it was in 1950? So much for seat of the pants type of navigation!! Its always the kind people you meet along the way that you will remember the most. Like the cantina manager Dick.. ++C++

Baja Bernie - 7-22-2007 at 10:03 AM

Dick Harrison was one hell of a Marine and a treasure lost when he passed on.

For those of us privileged to know him...

Dave - 7-22-2007 at 11:57 AM

Originally posted by Baja Bernie
When I told Dick about “his map” he just chuckled and shook his head.

That describes him to a T.

DianaT - 7-22-2007 at 02:32 PM

Nice story, Bernie.

Those type of people are always interesting to meet. This year we met Alan on his bicycle on the road from Bahia de Gonzaga to San Felipe. He had flown from Switzerland to Argentina and was riding to Alaska and then across Russia---a really interesting person. He was not doing it with the intention of writing or anything, just following his dream.

Keep the stories coming.