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Flying Down to Baja


Photo of Isla Coronado, Baja California Sur, Mexico.

Loreto's Isla Coronado, from 31,000 feet up.


By Gene Kira, Aug. 27, 2001, as published in Western Outdoor News:

I'm scribbling these notes, way up here at 31,000 feet.

Five miles below my window, Mexico's magnificent Baja California peninsula is passing slowlly by.

I see a chubasco blowing dust out to sea a little south of Puertecitos. Farther out, there are the Islas Encantadas, and way off to the south, I can just make out the big brown mass of Isla Angel de la Guarda near Bahia de los Angeles.

It's a wonderful view, like the full-color AAA Road Map of Baja come to life.

I'm flying to Baja in an airliner for only the third time in 30 years, and I have to admit, it takes some getting used to. This morning, I found myself instinctively packing my old orange "bathroom-digging" trowel, along with the little plastic bag of biodegradable toilet paper that has been a faithful companion on over 200 Baja camping trips.

Ridiculous! Where I'm going, there are tile-floored bathrooms with amazing luxuries like running water, and the even more amazing little hole where the water automatically disappears when you are through with it. Nevertheless, I feel a little naked without "old faithful."

I'm headed for a three-night stay at Cabo San Lucas' posh Hotel Solmar, and what I'm really looking forward to is the gourmet food, and especially, not having to cook it myself.

When you're dry beach camping in remote parts of Baja, the need to keep things light and simple makes food a secondary priority compared to considerations like drinking water and gas. In my camp, a can of Spam is considered a rare and precious delicacy, right up there with the Christmas turkey.

When my son was just a young tyke of about eight, sometimes people couldn't stand to watch the two of us at mealtimes. About the third day, people would start bringing us cookies, and chips, and occasionally, a nice, hot entree and a cold drink. They just didn't get it. We were busy doing man stuff, and we didn't need no stinking fried chicken and soda pops (although we did accept them, of course, out of courtesy).

But on this trip, things are different. As I look down on a slowly-moving Baja filled with so many wonderful memories, so many indelible, crystalline sensations, born largely of such self-imposed discomfort, I wonder if this airline trip is a mistake.

How can this coddled, packaged excursion on Aeromexico Flight 489 ever compare to those camping experiences? Look at all those strange and mysterious roads down there that I should be exploring!

There, clear and sharp, is the Cuesta de la Ley near San Francisquito, where I nearly lost a Suburban and boat trailer off the cliff. There, looking like a turquoise pendant against the shore, is San Lucas Cove, where I learned how rich and full of fish the sea can be. And there, is Loreto's Isla Coronado and the very beach where Abundio and Socorro Rodriguez lived with her brother, Ramon.

In 1 hour and 54 minutes, we touch down at San Jose del Cabo, and I walk across the tarmac in the incomparable warmth and light of Baja California Sur.

In less time than it takes to drive to San Quintin, I have showered in my deluxe room at the Solmar, and I am making phone calls, taking notes, and preparing for four busy days of fishing and meetings with a dozen of some of the most interesting people in Baja.

It's shaping up to be a great trip.

In the morning, at about the time I would normally be driving through San Ignacio, I stroll down to the Solmar's dining terrace and order eggs with three kinds of salsa, guacamole, frijoles, and chunks of fresh melon. Delicious!

Perhaps this flying thing isn't such a sacrilege after all.

(Related Baja California, Mexico, articles and reports may be found at's main Baja California information page. See weekly fishing news, photos, and reports from the major sportfishing vacation areas of Mexico including the Baja California area in "Mexico Fishing News.")