- June 2016
Off The Grid In Baja
You know when you read a book and it takes you away. It takes you to a place, through untouched lands and untravelled waters. It takes you past the horizon, it submerges you into a reality painted in your mind through only words.
Niebla tells the story of our Ambassador Barry Mottershead and his group of friends who journey through a vast desert landscape using sea kayaks and a trusty 4x4 to navigate their way south. The journey lasted 14 days and they covered over 180km discovering great surf and a landscape where time seems to have stood still.
Read Barry's story below.
I read a book around a year ago about a man who built a sailboat in his garage. He surfed and explored the coastlines of Mexico. I wanted to meet the people he had met. I wanted to ride the waves he had ridden. I wanted to look out upon desolate landscapes and feel lost along this deserted coastline just as he had. So my girlfriend and I planned and packed and speculated a trip to kayak the coast of Baja California, towing surfboards.
As the tarmac turned to dirt beneath the tyres, I realised our dreams were becoming our realities. The sunset over lost lands, and we too were becoming lost. Lost in a beautiful expanse of possibilities. We spent a long time in the truck after we crossed the border, winding our way through curving mountain passes. The light faded. I itched with expectation. Maps were useless, freedom spanning out before us in every direction visible.
. The moon was full and bright as we cooked over the fire. There is nothing better than pitching a tent in the darkness, because the morning brings not only a new day, but a new day full of endless possibilities and surprise.
The sunrise woke us, and we eagerly unzipped the canvas, our eyes drinking in the perfection. Perfect waves peeled across the bay, the morning was warm and the air was still. The surf lined up before us, dream like point breaks rolling through. The perfect start to our adventure. The feeling of freedom and lack of responsibility was a special feeling and one I wont forget in a hurry. As we ate and pondered the day ahead a thick coastal fog had wrapped around us, the blanket settled around our shoulders and lapped at our ankles. It chased us to the jeep and we drove. Our spirits weren’t dampened as we still thrived on the adventure ahead. We were greeted along the road by a tiny village. The weather beaten fishermen mending their nets, playing cards, drinking beer, dogs and children played in the mud. Laughter echoed from the colourful houses. I felt myself falling through the pages of my inspiration. I reveled in curiosity.
We purchased supplies for the next two weeks and continued. Finding a track leading off down a dry riverbed, we descended towards the coast. The fog followed us, chasing the jeep, snapping at the tyres in pursuit.
Navigating was tough and as we crept down washed out ravines and across vast dry mud flats, I started to feel tiny flickers of worry crawl into my mind. One of the water tanks bounced off the roof on a bad stretch of track and we lost half our supply of drinking water. Trying to stay positive we persevered, and were rewarded with an abandoned fishing camp in which to set up camp.
The doubts began to worm their way back into my mind. The weather was unpredictable. We were a little lost. To set out in our kayaks tomorrow was to travel blindly into the fog. After all the meticulous planning and weather watching, I couldn't believe how ill-prepared I felt. We had left behind the safety of our homes for a book hunt through unknown lands. We were completely out of our comfort zone. But wasn’t this what I had wanted? To feel the freedom and uncertainty of the open road? The chance and excitement of uncharted waters?
Awaking the next morning we we're greated with lines of swell stacked to the horizon. Golden peelers falling into unison. We had camped out on a perfect point break. All my worries and wonders were washed away with the first wave. Overhead and hundreds of meters in length. I felt the feeling of anticipation descend over me as I paddled back out to the others.
The moment we braved the deep water was unreal. I had thought about this moment so much, and now it was happening. I paddled these waters in my dreams and now I was awake, and we were here. And it was completely unreal and unimaginable.
We spent the entirety of our trip like this. Amazed and overwhelmed. Welcomed by all that we encountered. Pelicans skimming the surf in the sunset, fish feeding our happy stomachs and this beautiful life feeding our contented minds.
The beers tasted cold and the surf tasted sweet. The trip was an unbelievable success. I had created my own story.