Pta. Blanca trip report.

bajaandy - 12-22-2004 at 09:55 PM

Note: This is a rather long trip report, so feel free to get up and stretch, use the bathroom, get something to eat.... you get the picture.

Well, we actually pulled it off. Jim, Mike, Brandon and I snuck out of work early on Thursday afternoon and crossed the border by 3:00.

A quick stop in Ensenada at Taqueria el Pique and then back on the road. By San Vicente it's windy. I mean WINDY. We roll into El Rosario around 8:30 and make our first stop for gas.

I ask the attendant if Antonio (BajaCactus) is there. I am quickly hustled off to the hotel and there is Antonio with his family. How great to see them again after the feista last summer. I have a photo for his father from the fiesta, and I am happy to be able to give it directly to him.

Antonio shows me around the hotel, and I am IMPRESSED!! Meanwhile, my friends are back at the gas station wondering where I am. I ask Antonio if he might have room for four road weary travelers, and of course he says yes. He gives us the "experimental" room. (I think it was room 248.) This room has two large king size beds and two additional single size beds in an upstairs loft. More than luxury for us! Antonio is a more than gracious host. We take the room and order up a 3:00 a.m. wake up call. Mike and Jim are starting to regret drinking that cup of hot coffee at the gas station.

On the road again by 3:30, we head south through ever increasing wind. In the dark I miss the turn to the coast and don't realize my mistake until we are in Catavina. A few miles to back track and we are in the dirt. At the top of the first hill near the roadside shrine we stop to air down for a smoother ride. The sun is just starting to lighten the sky in the east as we motor on making good time down the road towards the coast. Along the way we see a very healthy looking deer and an equally healthy coyote.

We make the small detour down to the fish camp at San Jose de la Piedra and bump into OBWoody. They've been exploring and spending time with the pescaderos. The swell is pumping already. We decide to continue south and backtrack again to the little turn off we want.

There is quite a bit of water left along the road from a recent rain and the mud is as slick as ever. Crossing the first salt flat, I get a call on the radio that Jim is having transmission problems. I turn around and by the time I get back to the flat he is moving along again. Something had definitely happened, but he is under way again.

Around 10:30 we stop for an impromptu brunch at a very scenic vista atop a hill overlooking the start of the Seven Sisters. We make it to camp at our ?secret spot? around noon and the point is looking like it's getting ready to go.

The first paddle out is down the beach towards the center of the bay because Mike spies what looks like a makable left. We spend the first session trying to locate a peak for the elusive left. The wind is so hard offshore that you have to close your eyes to drop in. The blow-back off the waves is at least 75 feet. Mike manages to make the drop on a few left hand bombs, but there's just no getting around the corner. Brandon also gets a few lefts and rights. I drop in on one or two closeouts and decide to call it quits and head for the point. The walk back up the beach in the howling offshore is the hardest part of the entire session.

I walk back to camp and then out to the point to see if it looks any good yet. I sit and watch and as I do, Mike paddles up from the south. I wait for a lull and jump off the point to join him. We spend the next half hour trying to figure out the take off for this spot. Mike is way outside, looking for the big bombs that haven?t yet arrived. I sit in close to the point, but finally realize that it either needs to get bigger or I?m gonna have to sit right on the rocks to take off. I end my first session with the long paddle back through the bay to the beach.

The wind continues to blow all night, but listening to the building surf gives me the best sleep I?ve had in days.

Saturday morning Jim and Brandon and I get up early and take off down the beach to see what we can find. No buried treasure this time, but lots of cool stuff in the dunes behind the beach.

We get back to camp and Mike is still sleeping. We roust him out and within the hour we are getting suited up to go out. The wind has calmed and the point is beginning to work.

We make our way out to the point and time the lull to jump in. It?s so nice to be able to just jump in and make a few strokes into the lineup rather than having to paddle all that way. The sets are coming in ten to twelve wave groups. I miss the first one of the set. Mike goes on the next one and misses the drop. Finally I?m lined up with the bowl and everything just clicks. A few strokes, I?m up and it feels like I?m flying down the face. Jim later tells me that from the point it looks like we were all in slow motion, just cruising along like a long boarder on a nice clean day. Mike picks off a bigger one outside, and I watch from the shoulder as he makes the drop. From my perspective it looks double overhead. The slope of the wave doesn?t look that steep, but I know what it feels like. Brandon comes out on his 6?2? retro single fin and paddles for a few shoulders. He finally hooks up and makes the drop. We catch a few more, but the wind is getting back on it, making the faces chopped up. The drops are getting to be a little harder to make, with the wind picking up the board and the texture making us skip down the wave. I drop in and can?t set the rail and the next thing I know I?m getting driven deep. I stroke for the surface, but the backwash pulls me down again and it?s few seconds before I pop back up. A few more waves and the wind gets just too strong. My shoulders and triceps are burning and it?s time to go in.

We have lunch and decide to go for a hike to the north. The osprey nest at the top of the point looks abandoned. Last year this time there were three of them. I wonder what happened to them? We walk to the point in the middle of Bahia Blanca and look up and down the coast. A cervesa on the point and it seems that all is right with the world. (Well, ok, maybe just MY little world at this point in time.)

We stroll back down the beach and head back to camp. The wind is calming a bit again and we decide to do another afternoon session.

Mike and I walk to the point and time the jump. But this time a set pops up out of nowhere and we almost get caught. We make it out and I turn to paddle for one. It bounces me right out of the lip. I watch Mike make a clean drop on the first wave of what turns out to be the biggest clean-up set of the day. I paddle for the next one and miss it. As I turn to paddle back out, the error of my missed wave hits me full on as I see the set stacking up outside. It looks enormous. I paddle like mad and try to duck dive the next one, but just as I kick deep, I feel a sharp pain in my groin. The groin muscle I had pulled last June has picked now to remind me that maybe it?s not yet fully healed. I break the surface and continue to try to stroke for the outside. All I do is get myself right into the impact zone. I take the next four waves right on my head and just let them roll and wash me back towards shore. My only concern was to stay away from the rocks. I belly-whomp back to shore and limp back to camp defeated and peeed off.

Brandon decides to give it a go and takes a bigger board out this time. Jim and I watch from camp as Mike and Brandon get some of the longest rights we?ve seen. Because I?m injured, I decide to tap into the supply of medicinal tequila. Jim joins me and soon we?re doing the two man wave in our folding chairs for the rides Mike and Brandon are getting. Mike finally gets one or two of the bigger outside bombs. The wind cranks back up and the session finally ends.

That night it?s food, drink and story around the campfire. Jim takes Brandon on the traditional agave hunt, and they are successful. As the second agave ball goes on the fire, a scorpion scurries away up the stalk to escape the flames. We drink cervesas and talk story and laugh until the tequila is gone and we fade out. The wind blows so hard that night that sleeping in the truck feels like sleeping in a boat, it rocks so much.

By Sunday morning, the swell is beginning to drop off at our little spot, so we make a big breakfast and pack up camp.

We?re on the road by 9:00, but now Jim?s little transmission problem is more than just a little glitch. Turns out he?s got only 4th gear. No low gears and no reverse. He limps back across the flats and the estuaries but when we get to any hills he has to put it in low range just to get enough torque to make it up.

In spite of the mechanical problem, we make pretty good time. A wrong turn or two and we see some other points that will require further exploration on a future trip.

As we come through the narrows in the riverbed, Mike and I see a very nice looking bobcat. He?s healthy and looks young. We stop and watch him for a while. Or is it that he is watching us?

We continue on and head up the hill. As we get to the green meeting house at Santa Maria, Jim turns down a wrong road and since he?s got no reverse he tries to make a wide turn to get back to us. In the attempt, he hits an old fence post and lacerates the side-wall of his front right tire. It?s flat in a proverbial heartbeat. Out with the jack and the spare and soon we?re ready to get back on the road again. Only now, somehow Jim?s transmission problem has mysteriously vanished just as quick as it came and he has all his gears back. The Baja gremlins are playing some serious tricks on this trip!

Back on the road and a few miles outside Catavina we stop for a desert lunch: PB&J sandwiches with home-made pomegranate jelly and what?s left of the Christmas cookies. A few minutes more and we make the highway and bee-line it for El Rosario. It?s about 3:30 when we roll into El Rosario. There?s some talk about staying at the Baja Cactus motel again, and we even stop in to visit with Antonio. He tells us that in the high winds some 12 big rigs have been blown over on the highway. We never saw any of them.

We decide not to stay another night, but to push on for the border. At Ensenada we stop again at Taqueria el Pique for tacos adobda. Brandon eats twelve of them.

An hour or so up the toll road and we are at Tijuana. We make the turn onto Calle Internacional and as we crest the hill Jim calls on the radio that he has a cop pulling him over. I call back and tell him not to pull over until he can catch up to me. I pull over and wait as he pulls up right behind me. The cop sees what?s going on and mysteriously gets ?a more important call?. He never even tells Jim why he pulled him over in the first place. The final push puts us at the border around 10:30 with maybe a 30 minute wait.

It?s over way too soon. In my mind, a trip to the Seven Sisters region requires at least 5 or 6 days. But the consensus is that breaking up the trip with a stop at the Baja Cactus Motel is the way to go. Nice rooms, color TV, HUGE showers, comfortable beds and the graciousness of one of the nicest families in Baja.

As soon as I got home, I was right back to the maps and satellite pictures reviewing the trip. What a trip? good friends, good surf, good food. And as usual, I?m already planning and scheming how and when I can make another trip to Baja.

[Edited on 12-24-2004 by bajaandy]

David K - 12-22-2004 at 10:23 PM

*) Excellent Report!
**)Wild Trip!
**)Antonio Mu?oz and Baja Cactus Motel & Pemex ROCKS!

Thanks Andy... great photo, too!

break it up into paragraphs pleeeeeze

capt. mike - 12-23-2004 at 08:32 AM

easier to read. and make some line spaces. thx.

signed, dicks lexus and la zee

El Jefe - 12-23-2004 at 08:34 AM

Andy, what a great report! Looks like you had a great trip. The wildlife sightings, the wind, the roads, the agave torches, the waves and your buds....The Sisters trips are the best!

elgatoloco - 12-23-2004 at 08:57 AM

Thank's for the report.
Crazy when it's blowing off shore TOO hard to surf! :fire:
Baja adventures are the best.:cool:
Re:boards. Bigger IS better!:P:saint::biggrin:

bajaandy - 12-23-2004 at 10:10 AM

Wazza' matter cptn mike? Feel like you need to come up for air? HA!
But you're right. I was just too lazy to do it right the first time.
Happy now?

David K - 12-23-2004 at 10:19 AM

Thanks Andy!


capt. mike - 12-23-2004 at 12:08 PM

me gusto.


Mexitron - 12-23-2004 at 12:59 PM

Nice photos!! You're making me salivate! Can't wait to get back.....looks like an awesome trip!!

woody with a view - 12-24-2004 at 09:25 AM


it was great putting a face to the name. glad to hear you guys had fun. i'll post a "report" later today (with fotos!):o

cardonhugger - 12-24-2004 at 11:21 AM

This ought to be a real popular first post in this fine forum which I've been observing for some time now......reckon I've finally been moved to respond.
Hey "Surfer Dudes", maybe you'all could please back off a bit on the roadmaps and names of some of the places you are now discovering. There have been others for 30+ years now that grabbed a "AAA" map and gone off throughout Baja in search of refuge from the mayhem. And there's a reason you've found some of these places in the current condition: Most others(especially surfers and fishermen) prefer to allow others to explore on their own.

I realize I'm to receive a bunch of crap for this reaction. Yet look at "The Wall" and Pta. Pequena. Then just think how your names, gps maps and pictures will rapidly change the nature of your "discoveries".

You "dudes" are from the San Diego area. What does the Chargers' "L.T." do when he finds the endzone? He flipps the ball back to the official.....

bajaandy - 12-24-2004 at 01:51 PM

Merry Christmas cardonhugger, Merry Christmas.

I'll get a hold of my contacts at AAA and get them to take those place names off the map. And I guess I better get a hold of all the publishers of all the various books that go into great detail about those areas also and get them to pull their books off the shelves. And while I'm at it, better get a hold of all the periodical and magazine publishers too.

Of course I say all this with tongue firmly in cheek. I know exactly what you are spewing about. How many Baja breaks have been 'ruined' by being advertised? In the past two decades I have seen many, many secluded Baja breaks get turned into 'destination' spots, complete with all maner of the dregs of humanity. (No, I'm sorry, this was not my "discovery" first trip south.)

But a board like this is a place to share the stories and experiences of the Baja. Many of us have been at it far longer than the internet has been around. And in the end, you probably will get a "a bunch of crap" for your reaction, and wrongfully so. You're just trying to protect what you hold respect for. Nothing wrong with that.
For my part, I hope you're smart enough to have noticed that I never claimed to have "discovered" any of the places we went, and that all of the names in my report were of places already on the map. No "names, gps maps and pictures" were used to direct anyone there. The adventure is still there, and plenty of it. But I'll take your impassioned plea to heart, and think twice before I post another trip report.

By the way, nice screen name: it seems to fit. And welcome to the Baja Nomad board.

elgatoloco - 12-24-2004 at 02:16 PM

I enjoy reading the reports, keep em coming! Especially the photos!! Just don't delete the parts about the bandidos,crooked officials and price gouging campsite owners,terrible roads,! :lol:

As for 'secret' spots try googleing 'baja surfing maps'. Lucky for the rest of us most surfer's can't afford a computer! :P

The best defense is to buy some land at your favorite break then put up a gate so only you and your buddies can get in.:rolleyes:


Sonora Wind - 12-24-2004 at 02:38 PM

I hope I have missunderstood that last post.:cool:

cardonhugger - 12-24-2004 at 03:58 PM

Andy, thanks for not being too defensive in your response. I don't think you shouldn't post trip reports, maybe just share them without being so specific. I know of all the books, maps etc. that are out there. Yet the Internet is changing things so rapidly. You're a surfer and have seen the results.

Of course the bad surfer reactions shall ensue. We, along with yourself and Woody bring provisions for the locals. Can't tell you how much trash we've cleaned up over the years. Did you notice the large areas of burned desert in your travels? The ranchers were burning the "weeds" (Cirios. Cardons, Elephant trees etc.), so grass would grow for Las Vacas. A practice totally destroying huge areas of the "Valle de los Cirios" that will never recover from uncontrolled burn. I personally spoke with Dr. Ezickiel Izcurra of the Mexican environmental ministry and believe the practice has stopped. Surfers aren't bad folks...except some of those that only follow the crowd.

I just seek solitude.

Merry Christmas!