Imperial Beach to Punta Descanso, October 7th 2007.

We woke up early in the hotel and carried our kayaks the short distance from the roof of the van. The beach was empty when we arrived but filled up with board surfers as we packed. I worried about having to paddle through the gauntlet of surfers without smacking into one of them. However, I plowed out over a few waves and did OK. Charles Harris picked a good window in the waves and didnít get his face wet. Gregg Berman picked a large set and submarined his heavy out through one big wave after another.

We went offshore a ways to avoid drawing attention to ourselves on the border crossing. The US border patrol would probably only care if we turned around and crossed back across the border. In general the Mexicans donít care when or how you cross the border. Technically if you cross the border in a boat you are required to check into the nearest port. If anyone stopped us in Mexico our story was that the boats crossed the border on top of my car and launched in Tijuana. Look: We have tourist cards already! Unlike the last time I approached the water by kayak, it was a clear sunny day. I could see the fence along the border and when that fence pointed directly at me I knew I was sitting right on the international line. I still could not see the black line on the water that all the maps show.

After crossing we went closer to shore. It was an uneventful day with the usual seals, dolphins and pelicans diving. The shore of Baja here is very developed with condos every mile advertising new models for sale. Shore-Front Views! If you lived here you would be home now!

When I drive down the coast here I pass through the town of Rosarito and I always assumed that it was just a strip of condos, hotels and restaurants along the highway. But from shore we could see that it is a large city that extends far inland. Charles joked that half the population of the whole peninsula must live here. At the north end of the town is a large electric power generating plant with an offshore pier for docking tankers to supply gas or oil. When I started going to Baja I didnít see any power lines, now they are running all over the place.

South of Rosarito we rounded a point to look at a south facing beach to camp on. On the point was a funky old hotel called Calafia. Ahead we saw more condos and development as far as the eye can see. We landed on a nearly deserted beach below a new condo construction site. Even a skeleton of steel girders like this had a sign in English advertising future units for sale now.

The beach sand was washed by the high tide at night but there was a berm of rocks to camp on. Charles and Gregg were wary of my love of camping on rocks but gave it a try. This day was Charles 60th birthday. We gave him the choice of sitting back and letting us cook dinner for him or, as a special birthday treat, letting him cook for us. He chose the latter so that he could empty out some of the volume and weight in his kayak on the first night. In the evening a big neon sign at the point lit up saying ďCALAFIAĒ. Not quite the wilderness experience yet.

All text and images Copyright © 2007 by Mike Higgins / contact