San Lucas to Isla San Marcos, March 27th


Starting at San Lucas was about one days paddle farther down than I had originally planned. That plan had us starting from Santa Rosalia, paddling south for two days, then taking a layover day so I could paddle around Isla San Marcos. So the revised plan was to paddle one day and then take that layover day. Then Don Fleming told us that he had paddled around Isla San Marcos before and knew a beautiful campsite on the island. So we revised the plan one more time and headed out from San Lucas in calm flat water to make the crossing to the island.

We hoped to see whales but saw very few on this trip and none on the first crossing. We did come across a bait ball in the water with dozens of pelicans diving into it, gulls screaming and swallow tail frigate birds flying down to steal food from everyone else. The crossing was only around 7 miles and we soon found ourselves rock gardening up the beautiful shore of Isla San Marcos.

Dons campsite on Isla San Marcos turned out to be even more beautiful than described. We paddled under a large stone arch to land on a sandy beach. The beach turned into gravel that extended inland for 50 feet or so with lots of room for our tents. There was another exit from camp over a small beach next to the arch. The water was calm and clear and we went swimming. It was possible to swim out under the big arch, turn right and swim through a smaller arch, past the slot to the second beach in front of camp, swim back in through a third arch, land on a small gravel beach and scramble over the rocks back to camp. It was a new experience for me to go swimming in a rock garden that I would normally go kayaking through! We had arrived in time for lunch, swimming, lazing about or hiking on the island.

Doug and I hiked up to the highest nearby peak before dinner for the view. On the hike back down I slipped and gashed my ankle on the sharp volcanic rock. It was a pretty bad cut and in civilization I might have gone to see a doctor about it. Kate DesLauriers (a Nurse Practitioner) and Andrea put Steri-Strips and New-Skin on my gash. While it healed I was unable to go swimming for a few days. I also had to try to get in and out of my kayak without getting my dressing wet.

I set my tent up close to the big arch, actually under the overhang and in the shade out of the hot desert sun. As darkness fell, waves started breaking noisily through the arch. The tide should have left our tents alone but the addition of the waves on top of that put my tent and Andrea Wolfs in danger. So I moved my tent a little farther up under the overhang. Andrea moved her tent way up the arroyo to avoid having to move it twice. I ended up moving mine farther the next day.


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