Flight of the Errant Torpedoes
Baja de los Angeles to La Paz
Baja Sea-Kayaking Adventure #4
26 days, 480 miles, Nov 1977 with John and Al
1. deviating from the regular or proper course.
2. journeying or traveling, as a medieval knight in quest of adventure; roving adventurously.
In the fall of 1977, John, my rock climbing partner at the time, and I had spent three weeks floating down the Yellowstone River, hunting for agates - which at the time were quite valuable, if you knew were to look, and if you could find the right ones. John had grown up around there and was among the elite at finding the best agates. I was broke and John was so fugal it wasn't even funny, and we had gone to the river in order to grubstake the Baja trip.If our river trip had one theme in common during those starry campfire discussions, it was that upcoming Baja kayak trip. I had twice paddled from San Felipe to Bahia de Los Angeles - about a third of the way down the Baja peninsula - and now wanted to make the journey from there to La Paz, an additional distance of perhaps 500 costal miles. John had never paddled a kayak before but was eager to experience such a trip. A group of three seemed the best size, as a compromise between having enough manpower to deal with an injury or illness, and yet small enough so that things would be kept relatively uncomplicated and efficient, allowing good progress. My first choice for our third was one of my Outward Bound students of the past summer named Allen. A red-headed Canadian, Al had proven as strong as a proverbial bull, and based on his outstanding performance on that 3-week program I imagine he might make an agreeable companion for this trip. I wrote him a letter stating our intentions and inviting him to join us. He wrote an enthusiastic reply, saying that he would be delighted. ----------------- So John, Al and I find ourselves in California, driving to San Diego. Along the way we make occasional stops to hurriedly lay up another paddle blade. I had made a mold for this on a previous occasion, and from it had made my paddle. The paddle is a very personal thing to most sea-kayakers, and I wanted Al and John to have the satisfaction of having completed the trip using a paddle they had made themselves. Our paddle construction consists of carving the end of a wooden shaft (a 6-1/2 foot length of 1-1/4 fir closet rod) to fit the contours of the mold, then cutting several layers of fiberglass cloth to the appropriate size, mixing a pot of resin with catalyst, and finally putting it all together with a throw-away paintbrush. The sultry heat of the day accelerates the setting process, and in no time the new blade is popped off the mold, trimmed to shape with a pocketknife, and we are off on another stint of driving. Reaching San Diego, we provision with several bags of groceries, place my Rambler in a storage yard, and begin our journey south of the border in John's old VW van onto which we had securely tied, although quite precarious in appearance, three kayaks purchased as factory seconds from a small firm in Utah. We manage to transverse Tijuana and extricate ourselves from this unbelievable maze, and get on "Mexico 1," the Transpeninsular Highway running the length of the Baja peninsula. With renewed hope we drive far into the night, then stop for impromptu camping near the beach north of San Quintin.
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1976 Baja3 Linda
1981 Baja8 Ed