Guerroro Negro to Loreto - 6362miles. 6th December
In the morning we looked out as it got light and there was a thick mist. The locals told us that it would clear by mid morning and the sun would shine again. It happens every day here. On the streets the shopkeepers were all sweeping the sand away from the shop fronts that had accumulated the day before as the whole town is built on beach-like sand.
The road to the sea looked clear on the map. One road about 6 miles long. We spent all day trying to find it and eventually went round in a large circle back to town with only a glimpse of sea. The main industry is sea salt and the whole outskirts are salt lagoons. One surprising find was that on about a quarter of all the electricity poles there were large Osprey nests complete with young Osprey. They were flying everywhere throughout the town. We later learned that this area of the Baja is the main breeding area for the American Osprey.
At the bank in town we met an American couple who had arrived by bus and were cycling down the Baja from here. They were Todd and Drennan.
Heading out of town in the morning late to avoid the mist we covered miles of more dead straight, flat, boring desert. At San Ignacio we came across an oasis. It was a fertile green valley where they grew dates. Our campsite for the night was among date palms by a spring fed lake.
In the local bookshop in the Town Square, David bought a book on Mexican Birds. Our bikes were parked just outside. As we came out, David saw a young boy crouching by his bike. He quickly ran off chased by David who had realised that the boy had stolen something. The boy evaded him by dashing through some houses but David grabbed another youngster who was obviously with the group. It was the brother of the one that got away and he was so terrified by David's furious mood that he volunteered to get the stolen bits back. Joan confirmed that it was the pump and the cyclometer that were missing and David gave the boy an ultimatum "Bits back in 10 minutes or I call the police". This had several village children running around trying to find the culprits who had now hidden even from their friends. It worked; the cyclometer came back first, followed by the pump. Each had been stolen by a different boy.
What really upset us was that only an hour previously we had been talking to the same group of boys and showing them our bikes as they were keenly interested in what we were doing. However, the temptation to steal was too great for some of them. David did not call the police, but a local shopkeeper did. The culprits were identified and we were told that they and their fathers would have to attend the local police station for a stern lecture. We hope it works.
Heading on across more desert we stopped at a small roadside cafe and the women there was preparing cactus leaves to eat. She was taking out the spines and skinning the rest. It would be fried and the tender bits stripped from the fibre with the teeth.
At Santa Rosalia, a small ferry port, there were the remains of a huge copper processing plant, which used to process copper from ore mined from the deeply scarred landscape we had just ridden through.
A cheap hotel was chosen as there was nowhere to camp. As we strolled along the harbour wall, we met the American couple Todd and Drennan just arriving into town. An evening meal out was arranged to chat over our experiences. It must have been the most expensive restaurant in town as it cost more than the hotel.
Mulege (pronounced Moolahay) was the first real tourist town we encountered on the Baja. It was decided to move on to find a beach campsite a few miles out of town.
The camping prices on these beaches were expensive. The first one we came to said it was six dollars a night just for our tent and us. This turned out to be the going rate for this area and it was decided that we would stop at the next bay whatever the rate.
The next bay was a wonderful site. There was a row of thatched shelters (Talapas) by the water and a shop and restaurant nearby. Trudging along the beach we found two empty spaces with a notice between them saying that the site was reserved. On enquiring with a nearby RV we were told that only one was reserved as he had paid for it already and was saving it until his friends arrived a week later "Why don't you use it as it is paid for." he said. "Thanks very much" we said, and soon were settled in for the night. It was a wonderful spot. We were camped on a beach at the edge of a large inlet. The other side was about two miles away across deep blue water. Pelicans were constantly diving for fish even a few yards from the shore and we could see thousands of small fish swimming in the shallows. The water was warm and we both had our first really enjoyable swim in the sea. Joan enquired about sharks and was told that they don't come in the bay - but barracudas do.
The bay was called the Bay of Conception as it was a breeding ground for many fish and also whales, but we were too early to see the whales.
The temptation was too great. We stayed four nights. A notice was put by the roadside for Leo and Nadine in case they passed while we were there. There was only one road and as they were only four days behind us there was a good chance that we would meet again.
David made up some fishing gear from fishing line, hook, weight and a plastic bottle as reel. Using fresh clams, which we raked from the seabed a few feet out, he had several bites but could not catch one. The bites were probably from the many small 3-4 inch fish. The larger 10-20 inch fish we could see in about four feet of water were small barracuda. Most of the Americans and Canadians that were there spent their time boat fishing for trigger fish, barracuda, and snapper. The most successful were those that went spear gun fishing with scuba gear or snorkel. We took up the offer of using a rowing dingy and some fishing tackle, but still caught nothing.
Joan's hair must have looked a mess as one American who arrived after us said he was a hairdresser and cut it free of charge. Joan thought it was too short but it looked much better afterwards. We met many friendly people and were given some delicious Trigger fish to cook for our evening meal, fresh water whenever we needed it (there was none for sale) and a bag of cookies to take with us when we left.
Another 70 mile trek across hilly desert to Loreto. Slightly cloudy skies kept it reasonably cooler and a pleasant surprise was a Mexican who passed us in his car and stopped up the road to hand us oranges and lemons.
Found a Scorpion in our bag in the hotel.