2 days and counting …..

Sunrise in Loreto

Countdown to Friday departure as the Baja Peninusla lures me south once again.  This trip, I’ll again have the joy experiencing the extraordinary and diversified beauty of the long finger of desert, rock and mountainous terrain.  If you’ve never done the drive, then you don’t really know Baja.

Cathy and Patrick are packing their respective bags.  This will be Cathy’s first road trip, and I’m excited for her to experience the open spaces.  We’re still jockeying between one or two cars .. but in any event, the clock is ticking and soon the open road will be under our wheels.

Plan is first night at El Jardin, the most serene motel tucked off the road just north of San Quintin.  The gardens surrounding the motel are amazing – even a small grove of orange trees fills out the back.  Early Saturday, we’ll book it for Loreto, checking into “Casa de Catalina” for a day’s road rest.  Supplies will be gathered and a joy trip to the Tiligues (Sunday open air market) to fill out the fresh veggie/fruit part of our food group.  Either late Sunday, or early Monday – depending on surf and social life conditions 🙂  – we’ll make the drive to San Juanico, surfboards and suntan lotion loaded on the Explorer.

The last two days have been registration, insurance – and the procurment of a sentri transponder for my car – the second in the ‘fleet’ – for easier crossing back into the United States.  It’s part of the Trusted Traveler Program of Homeland Security and it’s nice to be a vetted American.

Promises to self this trip : Stop for more photographs. Take time to sketch and to paint. Surf ’til you drop!

Dreaming gets Easier …

Always looking for waves ……

Baja dreaming gets easier/sweeter when I’ve another trip that’s within striking distance .. This one, just ten days out, and I will head south.  I’ve got a short stop in Loreto to pick up extra boards and supplies .. and then head to San Juanico for a few days of sun and play.

With luck, we’ll get a bit of a bump from a New Zealand ‘disturbance’ due to coincide with our arrival.

Yes .. It WAS a birthday party!

Happy Birthday Catharine!

Where better place to have a birthday party than one that you love and cherish?  The chatter began the last trip south, and the decision was simple – San Juanico!  Cynthia said – yes – I’ll cook – We’ll have a party!  And so the plans began.

Martin drove up from Todos Santos.  Drake drove down from Oregon.  Pat drove from Montana.  George arrived from Santa Inez.  Saw Dennis the night before.  The rest of the crew was already in place – one way or another.  To all participants .. Thank you!  It was a GRAND TIME!

[more photos to come later][[gotta go surf!]]

San Juanico Dreaming

perfect wave

Dropping down the face of a perfect wave

Swells hit the points in the sleepy Mexican village – at least that’s what my girlfriend, Cynthia emails to me.  My  mind drifts to turquoise waters and waves that wrap around the points across the open bays.  Some of my most fun surfing – ever- happens here.  For the most part, everyone in the water is friendly, no one is too agro about sharing waves, and the energies of the sea, the sky and the desert all come together to make surfing bliss.

When I’m stuck in the states, my heart wanders… to the waves, the friends that are shared.

Last trip I met the “La Ventana” Group .. Irene & Ron, Norm, Kento & Jeff .. all who camped above second point and spent their hours on the water on their SUPs – Stand Up Paddle Boards.  The boards are a new addition to the SJ waters – and not loved by all.  What they can do is surf during the tides that are not conducive to normal surf.  Waves that are too slow .. or don’t ever really get around to breaking.

As with all journeys, there were high points and low points.  Good times at John Fields house ..of Juan & Juan .. I’ve never met the other Juan, but John and his wife, Carol are the sweetest folks.  He started with a garage, expanded it to several, and it makes up his ‘play box’. With a prime location overlooking the surf, parties at John’s house are always fun.  He cooks a mean hamburger – but watch out for his margaritas – or so I’ve been told.

Donn Stein – who had first loaned me a surfboard a year ago and sent me down my re-surfing passage – was already in town with his girlfriend and her daughter when I arrived.  Ran into them at Pizza Friday – and then again in the water.  Donn always wears a big smile.

Spent some time in the water with Dennis Choate.  Fun to surf with him both north and south of the border.  Still waiting for that promised surfboard 🙂

The waves came up .. the waves went down.  George Granger had been in town with his to-be-inlaws – his daughter is marrying a sweetheart, and when the party-goers left, George stayed to surf for a few days.  I gave him a ride back to Loreto and the airport.  It was a nice chance to get to know him better.  He spent a lot of time in Laguna when he was growing up – and we were able to share stories about old times, old houses, and old surf 🙂

Now .. three weeks later, I’m jonesing for some SJ surf.  Coming up!  I’ve got a trip planned for the end of the month  … Going to celebrate my birthday -and with good luck, the wave gods will be with us, and all the folks who said they’d show up will actually make it down and over.

Yep .. San Juanico dreaming ……………

Surfing into Sanity

catharine surfing

August, 2009 - Month 3 of re-surfing

There is one truth that I discovered in the past year : I am healthiest when I spend time in the water.  Surfing has quickly become the water connection of choice.  I think it’s because of the intimacy, the complete identification of self with water that happens with a swell under my feet.

The waves are my Zen – my soul space – my sanity.

I know that I’m not the first to have this experience, nor will I be the last.  Thousands of surfers would attest to the sense of timelessness that happens when they paddle into a wave, feel the power generated by winds sometimes thousands of miles away, move and change their lives.

I had surfed when I was a teenager, and then some time spent in Hawaii.  But when I returned to the states, I ran into some really agro male surfers who pushed me off waves, cut me off – basically tried to convince me that they owned the water.  And I guess they won.  I went to college, worked three jobs, and then an inland marriage carried me within visual sight of the water, but a long drive through crowded freeways.

San Juanico, August 2009

Someday with luck this will be me ... such beauty!

It took a major upheaval in my life – to not coax me – but throw me back into the water to find myself, my voice, and my sanity.  Now, there’s not much to keep me out of it.  I’ve broken my nose on my own surfboard – and found my way back into the water six days later.  I’ve got fin cuts, bruises, and rock slices on my feet.  Doesn’t matter. Doesn’t stop me.

A friend, Mikey, said, we get hurt, but we go back.  It’s true.  It’s what do, because there is magic in the waves …  Magic worth the paddle effort, the injuries, long drives or plane flights …

Now, when I run into agro guys, I first try to befriend them – if that doesn’t work, ignore them – and at last jump, just surf alongside of them.

The waves are free ….  the waves are free …..

Surfing fun waves with good friends …

Spent days in San Juanico with Cynthia and Cal Wagstaff, who graciously shared their home.  Their son Justin was visiting from Idaho, where he’s a snowboarding instructor, among other things .. and I was happy to share hours in the wate with him at first point.  Cal loaned me a longer board which made it easier to zoom and play on the face of 2-3′ waves.  While the size wasn’t awesome, the fact that we usually had no more than three people in the water at any one time was super special.

Easy Days in San Juanico

Daybreak, San Juanico.  Small waves crash upon the rocks at First Point and early light colors everything.  Gulls rise and fall searching their breakfast, and to my back, the full moon pulls the tide through extreme ranges of high and low.  This morning, barely a swath of sand.  Mid-morning, none at all.   Easy days of surf and friendship.  Cal and Cynthia share their home on the hilltop, and their son, Justin visits from Idaho.